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Dr. Rosina Lippi-Green: Linguistic Authenticity and Stereotyping

February 7, 12:00pm - 1:15pm
Mānoa Campus, St. John 11

A politician may spend 20 or more years running for office, and just as many years on the campaign trail trying to keep or win over voters.

The public language of political candidates has always been complicated by questions of attempted audience accommodation, performance and authenticity, topics which were rarely if ever raised to the level of national awareness or serious debate. Then, in 2008 what had been a homogenous candidate pool expanded to include an Anglo female governor from rural Alaska and an African-American senator/law professor with a multi-cultural background. As a result, topics having to do with race, sex, class and education were raised in public forums in ways that overlapped with issues of performance and authenticity.

For many commentators, the challenge was not to minimize potential offense to the candidate or the audience by circumlocution, but to find ways to express the forbidden and still avoid backlash. It is in situations like this that standard language ideology and language subordination tactics are the first and most effective tools, able to override logic and fact. The last two presidential campaigns provided a wealth of examples of linguistic subordination tactics designed to make racist, sexist and classist sentiments more publically palatable. I look at some of this data in the larger context of interpretation of stylistic practice.

Event Sponsor
The Charlene J. Sato Center for Pidgin, Creole, and Dialect Studies, Mānoa Campus

More Information
Christina Higgins, 956-2785,

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