Read me. Enjoy. Think. Comment.

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https://www.theguardian.com/law/2010/nov/26/expert-view-lawyers-corporate-jargon

https://www.theguardian.com/education/2016/may/12/trainee-teachers-from-northern-england-told-to-modify-their-accents

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8 thoughts on “Read me. Enjoy. Think. Comment.

  1. Could you suggest that lawyers, using this example, are a discourse community? They’ve acquired their own lexis/jargon which is littered through the article, they have common goals of fighting for innocent and/or guilty people and would use intercommunication to talk to clients, each other, the higher jury and more.
    Also, the one about teachers highlights the need to diverge their language and they have to have a more formal register for their job. However, I don’t agree that their accent should have to change – only their language should differ to how they would commincate outside of school. I don’t think that they should have to talk in a specific manner with a specific accent. Their fight for this could link to Labov’s MV study where the locals wanted to keep their pronunciation/accent to distinguish who they were – the teachers don’t think they should have to lose who they are by changing to RP.

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  2. Absolutely! An excellent example of discourse community and how language is used to fit this.
    I wonder if at times this jargon can be alienating – sometimes even consciously. I guess language in a legal setting can be incredibly powerful and persuasive; even destructive.
    If you look at “The Plain English Campaign” (they fight to get rid of jargon/complex language in public communications) they attack the legal sector quite explicitly. Stating:

    “For many years we’ve struggled to influence the language of the courts. Legal language is still very much how it’s always been – largely archaic, Latin-heavy and pretty much impenetrable to non-experts.
    There’s never been a justifiable excuse for this – just as there’s absolutely no reason why barristers and solicitors don’t use plain English rather than language very few can understand. But perhaps changes are finally afoot”
    …..READ THE FULL REPORT HERE…… http://www.plainenglish.co.uk/news/1265-legal-rulings-judged-overlong.html

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  3. northern accents sound more like jargon is pretty harsh so I agree with the article in that it is describing this negativity from the mentors that northerners sound less correct to southern accents. Alexandra Barratt’s research and theory is very believable and makes out that the system has linguistic prejudice in a system which claims they have no problem with religion or race.

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  4. I believe that the main link between a person’s language use and occupation is specifically based on how much power/status somebody has. It could be suggested that the technical jargon lawyers use is irrelevant as they are trying to make themselves sound more knowledgeable about the subject matter, yet it distinguishes a sense of authority between the lawyers and other members of the court room thus I believe it is a perfectly suitable concept. As stereotypical as it seems, you would expect lawyers to have a jargon that is formal, above standard, otherwise it would equalise them to an occupation that has little to no status eg: a shop worker. The reason members of the public use lawyers is so that they can challenge members of the hierarchy and so technical jargon is expected, right?

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  5. I believe that the main link between a person’s language use and occupation is specifically based on how much power/status somebody has. It could be suggested that the technical jargon lawyers use is irrelevant as they are trying to make themselves sound more knowledgeable about the subject matter, yet it distinguishes a sense of authority between lawyers and other members of the court room/society thus I believe it is a perfectly suitable concept. As stereotypical as it seems, you would expect lawyers to have a jargon that is more sophisticated, above standard, otherwise it would equalise them to an occupation with little to no power ie a shop worker. The reason the public hire lawyers is so that they can challenge members of the hierarchy and so technical jargon, although overwhelming, is expected right?

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  6. I agree with the article in that Northern accents clearly sound differently to the “ideal” accent of received pronunciation but i fail to have any understanding how an accent effects an individuals ability to teach. Students and teachers all have there own individual differences all of which can effect a relationship between a teacher and student and i do not believe accent is one of the more important factors. Giving teachers feedback such as ‘go back to where I came from’ is demoralizing and benefits no one. Furthermore if this phrasing is used in other contexts for example in a discussion about race it would be frowned upon not excepted. The issue of a teachers accent does clearly differ from the issue of racism in society but frankly i still feel it is revolting behavior to give almost amateur feedback which has no clear effect other than harm dampen the individuals morale. I do believe Alexandra Barratta’s research to be very interesting as well as it makes out that the system has linguistic prejudice (which is accepted) in a system which claims they have no problem with religion or race. So how is prejudice of a regional accent acceptable? Surely it cannot be justified. -JJ

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  7. I find it hard to agree with the idea that certain accents can have direct impact on your professional life. Your accent doesn’t determine your academic ability, having a northern accent doesn’t suddenly deem you ‘less educated’ just like having a southern accent doesn’t automatically deem you ‘educated’ and therefore I feel as though they’ve failed to develop a coherent line argument. Furthermore, telling a person to ‘go back from where they came from’ is derogatory and completely unnecessary feedback, that shows a higher lack of education in common social practices. However I do feel that this recurring discrimination in the work place fuels jargon being used as jargon does give someone higher status due to it sounding more ‘professional’ and ‘credited’. Therefore, you could maybe speculate that people who do acquire an accent may use jargon to a higher extent to try and prove themselves as being just as ‘academic’ as their fellow colleagues who may not have an accent?? – Lucy

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  8. It could be argued that lawyers use similar lexical terms and distinct jargon to create a collective identity, as they are part of the same discourse community. John Swales would argue that this is because they have common goals and so may possibly use occupation specific terminology to satisfy these and understand each other by using neology (coining new terms.) They may use jargon as they want to form a collective identity in their occupation. Heritage may argue that it is to seperate themselves – subject specific jargon may be used in the lawyer occupation distinctinly for that job and to create common identity and understanding as they all follow that occupation. -Rachel

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