Create a new account

It's simple, and free.

Language Choice and Identity

Trudgill (200a) argues that language choice, especially for individuals who are bilingual or even multilingual, is integral to the creation of a personal identity. Even when language choice is represented by the use or elimination of dialects and/or regionalism and colloquial language or phrases and terms, the individual is clearly determining how he or she will present the self to the world in social interactions of all types (i.e., professional versus interpersonal, academic versus casual, written versus verbal, and so forth). Through one's use of language, said Trudgill (2000a), one is in a very real sense "known" to others; the person who uses regionalisms in the United States may, for example, be identified as a Southerner and assumed to have specific beliefs, values and ethical codes as well as political opinions based on this single aspect of identity. It is not accidental that virtually all national broadcast and cable news reporters and anchors all sound as though they were born in some anonymous Midwestern city and not natives, so to speak, of Spanish Harlem, the Mississippi Delta, or the barrios of Southern California.

Further, Trudgill (2000b) makes the point that in choosing a language or a style or idiom of a particular language, people are identifying themselves as part of a specific social group or class. In England, for example, a Cockney or Uplands accent identifies an individual most likely not a member of the upper class or the aristocracy; consequently, many English men and women deliberately cultivate the sounds and terminology employed by these classes to affiliate them with a class perceived as superior to their own. Another example provided by Trudgill (2004b) centers upon the ways in which immigrants who have moved to a country in which they must, in order to advance, acquire a second language. For many speakers of second languages, it becomes important to achieve fluen


Page 1 of 4 Next >

More on Language Choice and Identity...

APA     MLA     Chicago
Language Choice and Identity. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 14:56, December 06, 2021, from