Linguistic Prejudice

Linguistic Prejudice is that generated by the linguistic differences existing within the same language.

In such a way, it is associated with regional differences from dialects, regionalism, slang and accents, which are developed over time and which involve the historical, social and cultural aspects of a certain group.

Linguistic prejudice is one of the types of prejudice most used today and can be an important driver of social exclusion.

Linguistic Prejudice: what it is, how it is done

In the work “ Linguistic Prejudice: what it is, how it is done ” (1999), divided into four chapters, the professor, linguist and philologist Marcos Bagno addresses the different aspects of the language as well as linguistic prejudice and its social implications.

According to him, there is no “right” or “wrong” way of using the language and that linguistic prejudice, generated by the idea that there is only one correct language (based on normative grammar), collaborates with the practice of social exclusion .

However, we must remember that the language is changeable and adapts over time according to the actions of the speakers.

In addition, the rules of the language, determined by normative grammar, do not include popular expressions and linguistic variations, for example slang, regionalism, dialects, among others.

Elucidatively, in the first chapter of the book, “ The mythology of linguistic prejudice ” he analyzes eight very pertinent myths about linguistic prejudice, namely:

  • Myth No. 1“ The Portuguese language spoken in Brazil has a surprising unity ”: the author addresses the linguistic unity and the variations that exist within the Brazilian territory.
  • Myth No. 2” Brazilian does not know Portuguese” / “Only in Portugal do you speak Portuguese well “: it presents the differences between the Portuguese spoken in Brazil and in Portugal, the latter considered superior and more “correct”.
  • Myth No. 3” Portuguese is very difficult “: based on arguments about the normative grammar of the Portuguese language taught in Portugal, and their differences between speaking and writing by Brazilians.
  • Myth # 4“ People with no education say everything wrong ”: prejudice generated by people with a low level of education. Bagno defends these language variants and analyzes the linguistic and social prejudice generated by the difference between the spoken language and the standard norm.
  • Myth n ° 5“ The place where Portuguese is best spoken in Brazil is Maranhão ”: myth created around this state, which is considered by many to be the most correct, best and most beautiful Portuguese, since it is closely related to Portuguese from Portugal and the use of the pronoun “tu” with the correct conjugation of the verb: tu vais, tu queres, etc.
  • Myth No. 6“ It is right to speak like this because it is written like this ”: here the author presents differences between the different variants in Brazil and the use of formal (cultured) and informal (colloquial) language.
  • Myth No. 7“ You need to know grammar to speak and write well ”: it addresses the phenomenon of linguistic variation and the subordination of the language to the cultured norm. For him, normative grammar became an instrument of power and control.
  • Myth No. 8“ The rule of the cultured norm is an instrument of social ascension ”: due to social inequalities and differences in variations in certain social classes. Thus, linguistic varieties that are not standard of the language are considered inferior.

On this subject, the writer Marcos Bagno states in his work ” Linguistic Prejudice: what it is, how it is done ” (1999):

“It is a real hit with human rights, for example, the way in which the Northeastern speech is portrayed in television soap operas, mainly on Rede Globo. Every character of Northeastern origin is, without exception, a grotesque, rustic, backward type, created to provoke laughter, mockery and debauchery from other characters and the viewer. At the linguistic level, non-Northeastern actors express themselves in a language that is not spoken anywhere in Brazil, much less in the Northeast. I often say that that must be the language of the Northeast of Mars! But we know very well that this attitude represents a form of marginalization and exclusion. (…) If the Northeast is “backward”, “poor”, “underdeveloped” or (at best) “picturesque”, then “naturally”,

This type of prejudice affects many groups considered to be of lesser social prestige, where language is used as a tool for social distinction.

However, it is worth remembering that all linguistic variations are accepted and should be considered a cultural value and not a problem.

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