English and Ethnicity

RonButters at AOL.COM RonButters at AOL.COM
Mon Sep 23 13:52:30 UTC 2002

I find <dsgood>'s question interesting. I think if <dsgood> substitutes
"thought of" for "conceptualized" the passage will not seem so alien. It
might help, too, to see "problematize X" as meaning something like "requires
X to be reanyalyzed in a new way."

So, the identity that is "revealed" to me is that of someone for whom {-ize}
is a highly productive morpheme. What is being "signaled here" would seem to
be "social scientist" or "academic," though maybe I am getting that more from
content than from style, since (I guess) the popularity of {-ize} is not
confined to academics, nor are long sentences filled with semicolons found
only among academics (see, e.g., legal writing). Footnote: for what it is
worth, I had to force my AOL spell-checker to accept "problematize" (as well
as "reanyalyzed" and "discoursal"), but none of the other words and morphemes
in the passage cited.

In a message dated 9/23/2002 12:51:39 AM, dsgood at VISI.COM writes:

<<Is this variety of English used to signal an identity?>>

<< > Such a position problematizes certain key notions: the notion of
> identity must be conceptualized as complex, multifaceted, and socially
> constructed through a process of situated interpretation; the notion
> of ethnicity must be conceptualized as both subsuming and transcending
> earlier notions of "race" as well as including a wide range of
> perceptions of relevant cultural background; English itself must be
> conceptualized not as a monolithic linguistic entity with one
> "standard" form, but as a highly complex linguistic construct with
> spoken and written forms, and a wide range of dialectal variation that
> can be conveyed through shifts at all levels of linguistic
> organization (prosodic, phonological, lexical, morpho/syntactic,
> pragmatic, discoursal).

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