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Essay example - Show how language use reflects social identity and discuss any implications you can draw for second language teaching

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Pages 4 (1004 words)
Language is the single greatest difference between man and the animal kingdom. The intricate system of sounds made by humans has the power to convey thoughts, emotions, and history. Through the expression of language, individuals can situate themselves in relationship to others, define their in-group, and designate centers of power…

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As the world becomes more global through communication and immigration, teaching a second language begins to have a greater impact on our society.
Language not only expresses thoughts and ideas, it creates a representation of the speaker to their audience. As an example, respect is an aspect of that can be gained through speech and illustrates the broader relationship between power and language. Power is the degree to which one agent is able to control the behavior of the other. Physical strength, age, wealth, sex, or profession, are all unspoken ways to convey power. However, the introduction of a second language creates another center of power. That center derives its power from sociolinguistic solidarity. Using non-solidary forms express distance and formality, while solidary forms express intimacy and familiarity. Solidarity can be achieved in cooperation where communicators share some common attribute, such as attending at the same school or working in the same profession. However, to be a successful communicator in a linguistically diverse environment, it is necessary to know the languages, their nuances, and develop an appreciation for the power derived from language solidarity.
A member in a community may have several groups with which he wishes to identify and associate with. ...
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