1. How is language used as an instrument to show social, racial, and class differences in various texts?
This video centers its topic fully on code-switching, especially with the register of African-Americans against the register of White Americans.
Language here is used to show social, racial, and class differences. Since the two speakers in the video are biracial (White and African American), they express these two races with a humorous approach. They’re normal register sounds more like the White Americans. However since they are usually considered as African Americans, they say that they are able to “adjust their blackness”. As a social status, they code-switch to the African American register when trying to empower their identities, trying to  “terrify white people”. People who have two or more different cultural background will often be able to code-switch, finding the best language style for  certain situations. In addition, this video conveys how language is used in identifying race. Different races have different dialects and registers. Along with this we can also say that the language we use is a part of our culture; the way we think is based on the language we speak. Both of the speakers in the video show how they code-switch to the African American dialect, and this certainly does change the way they react to each other, or changes their attitudes. Since African Americans have stereotypes of gangsters, rappers, or other figures that are much more casual than the stereotypes of the white. Sometimes they happen to be portrayed as an evil  character or a lower class, due to the history America has between races. However time has past from then, and people are accepting different cultures as globalization becomes the norm. The two speakers in the video take a comical approach to this slight discrimination; accepting, and seeking acceptance by turning it into humor.

How Can Language Empower or Disempower People?

As we are living in a modern world filled with cultural diversity, technological advancement, and many other factors that can impact our perspectives, the language we use can also change the way we communicate with others. How can language empower or disempower people? This can be answered by exploring the two texts, “Body Ritual Among the Nacirema“, a study of anthropology written by Horace Miner (Text A) and “The Clash of Communicative Strategies in Australia“, (Text B) a blog post by Olivia.

When we read a certain text, the way we perceive the information given is different within each and one of us. The main purpose to Text A would be to have the readers question the logical understandings or set in stone rules we always had. Miner describes the Nacirema (or just ‘Americans’ backwards) as these “North American group”, in order to have the readers view themselves from a third person perspective. Readers do not notice that the crude culture or actions by the “Nacirema” is just describing Americans with a negative tone. On the other hand, Text B is a blog post with its aim to the point. The writer discusses the clash of language and culture between the Standard Australians (SAE) and the Aboriginal Australians (AbE). The purpose of this text is to introduce this ongoing issue or segregation (hence the website name) to the readers. In addition, the target audience for this post would be any readers who are interested in the topic of cultural diversity, or cultural bias. Likewise, the target audience for Text A would be readers who are interested in culture differences. It would mainly be targeted for students, teachers, or educators who are studying the topic of anthropology, or social sciences.

Text A and Text B share many common topics. One of them is how they express ethnocentric views. The main cause of having different views on some cultures can be due to ethnocentricity. When a person is thinking in a ethnocentric way, it means that the reader is basing its own culture as the center of logic. Ethnocentrism is the evaluation of other cultures according to the standards of your own culture. Text A takes a reverse view of the Americans, studying the behaviours or rules they’ve always had and unquestioned. One of the most disempowering idea Miner brings up is how hospitals are used in modern society. “No matter how ill the supplicant or how grave the emergency, the guardians of many temples will not admit a client if he cannot give a rich gift to the custodian.” (¶ 14) In our world today, this rule is a logical rule; we pay doctors and hospitals to cure our illness. However, when taking out our logic or ethnocentricity, we start to see the inhumane act hidden. If hospitals are a place to save lives, wealth should not matter when accepting patients. In addition, the way Miner describes American culture has an extremely negative tone, disempowering the readers. “The use of these objects in the exorcism of the evils of the mouth involves almost unbelievable ritual torture of the client.” (¶ 11) Miner describes how a patient is cured at the dentist, using words such as “evil”, “torture”, or “exorcism”, which gives off a cruel image of Western culture. 

On the other hand, Text B compares the SAE and AbE, as well as tackling the difference between these two cultures. Text B empowers the SAE, while disempowering AbE. This can be seen by how the blog post comments on the lack of power of the AbE; “Aborigines have found that the easiest method to deal with White people is to agree with whatever it is that the Anglo- Australians want and then to continue on with their own business. ” (Liberman249). Here, it shows how the AbEs have given up on trying to communicate with the SAEs, which means that the language currency of the AbEs are decreasing. It is also said that the AbEs have used code-switching in order to suit the SAEs way of speaking english. The post also describes how such misunderstandings can cause an AbE speaker to admit a crime they were not responsible of, at a court of law. This means that even a small difference between the two can be the cause of an unintended crime.

Both of these texts describes the pros and cons of our usage in Language. Text A focuses on cultural bias, ethnocentricity, and how language determinism can alter or persuade the readers mind in discriminating a certain culture. Text B also shows what cultural bias can cause, and how one language can be disempowered by the other. Throughout the two texts, we can see how language can be a very significant factor in communication. If we reduce cultural bias and over ethnocentrism, we would be able to accept other cultures and languages, just as they are. The first step to this would be to actually get to know the diverse cultures around the world.  



Julius Caesar – Antony’s Speech – Imagery Presentation

In our English class, we have been working on the play, “Julius Caesar” by William Shakespeare. Recently we’ve been focusing on Mark Antony’s speeches in Act 3 Scene 1, especially the imageries Shakespeare uses.

This task helped me stand in the perspective of Shakespeare. By reading the text closely and finding the imageries, it made me think about how these give an effect to the whole speech. Thus it made me think about why Shakespeare chose to write these things. All these things made me pay attention to the specific techniques in the speech. And to find the meaning of the text, I had to research further, which in overall made me understand the whole play even better.

I didn’t find a lot of difficulties, since our teacher explained thoroughly what to do, and she showed us an example of what we were supposed to do. But I learned that I can embed a google document or presentation onto the blog.

This is a presentation I have made, which represents the few imageries of Mark Antony’s speech in Act 3 scene 1.

My Presentation on Antony’s Speech(Imagery)  – Julius Caesar

Presentation explained:

Slide 1

This photo is a photo I searched on flickr, representing line 265, in Act 3 Scene 1; “Blood and destruction shall be so in use”. The drop of blood obviously represents the blood in the text. The reason why I chose this photo out of the many, is because of the texture and atmosphere of this photo. This photo has a dull atmosphere, and it has darker tones of colour on the edges, making the blood stand out even more. This dull atmosphere related to my idea of “destruction”.

Slide 2

Line 254 of Act 3 scene 1 says, “O, pardon me, thou bleeding piece of earth,…” This photo is from the common search of NASA, and it shows the Earth’s heat, when putting the thermographic effect. When reading this line, I simply thought of a photo which has the Earth, and blood drooping out. Although when looking at this photo I thought it related to the feeling of the line.

Slide 3

“Which like dumb mouths do ope their ruby lips”. This line is line 260, from the same scene. I chose this photo since it simply displays “ruby lips”. This photo is also from flickr.

Slide 4

This photo is based on line 268 of the same scene; “Their infants quarter’d with the hands of war,…” This is also another photo from flickr, and is a photo thought to be taken during a riot.  I thought this photo represents well of the war, and also how it is blurry, it expresses the chaos of wars.

Slide 5

This photo is what I chose from reading the line, “Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war,…”, line 273. This photo is shot right at the moment where a dog is jumping. I thought the excitement would be well represented in the photo.


Poetry Blog Post ~A Birthday Candle by Donald Justice~

The poem, “A Birthday Candle” is a poem by Donald Justice. This poem is the 77th poem in the poetry 180 website. This poem is a very short poem, which has six lines in one stanza.

I think this whole poem is a one big metaphor, simile using a birthday candle and a birthday. In the first line, the speaker mentions, “Thirty today”. This simply means that the speaker has turned to thirty years old. “I saw The trees flare briefly like a candles on a cake”. This part uses a simile. This part expresses how the speaker saw the sunlight shining behind the trees, flaring briefly like the fire flaring softly on the candles of a birthday cake.

“As the sun went down the sky, A momentary flash, Yet there was time to wish”. This part is a metaphor as well. “As the sun went down at the sky”. This line expresses how the candle is about to be blown away. When the sun goes down the sky, the light goes dimmer and dimmer. This is the same as the candle. You can see that the momentary flash in this part is when the fire on the candle is blown away. “Yet there was time to wish”. I think this part is explaining that a day goes very fast, even a birthday. So the speaker wanted to show how a birthday can go away very quick like how the candle is blown very fast.

This poem is a very short poem with many metaphors and similes. The whole poem is mainly a simile and a metaphor. By this, it is quite hard to understand at first. I understood the whole meaning after reading it for around three times. I think Donald Justice uses similes and metaphors in a unique way. This poem is a free verse, which has no regular rhyme or rhythm to the poem. This poem also gave me a simple imagery of the sun going down the sky with the trees, then a birthday candle being blown away.

The poem, A Birthday Candle by Donald Justice

Poetry Blog Post ~At the Un-National Monument Along the Canadian Border by William Stafford

In this blog post, I will be analyzing the poem, “At the Un-National Monument Along the Canadian Border” by William Stafford. This poem is the tenth poem on the Poetry 180 website. This poem has ten lines, which are split into two stanzas.

During the whole poem, the poet tries to describe about a field, where no one tried to know more about. The Title of the poem suggests where the “field” is located. Along the Canadian Border. The Whole poem explains about a monument, which isn’t National and nothing really happened.

In the first stanza, the poet shows what it is like around the monument. “This is the field where the battle did not happen”. This line gives a strong beginning to the poem. It shows how the monument wasn’t built as a historical monument of violence or war. “where the unknown soldier did not die”. This line describes how this field didn’t have any battle. It shows how everything was in peace. The line, “This is the field where grass joined hands” shows the relationship between the environment and humans. This line suggests that at the field, the relationship between the environment and humans were good. “where no monument stands”. This next line shows how at the field, there were no buildings or monuments. How the field was clear and plain. These first five lines shows how at the field, everything is peaceful and clean.

In the second stanza, the first line says, “Birds fly here without any sound”. This line is simply showing that birds just glides and quietly flies at the field. The next line also expresses the birds. “No people killed—or were killed—on this ground”. This line, again shows the history of this field. That violence never happened. “hallowed by neglect and an air so tame”. This next line shows how the field was untouched. How everyone never tried to know more about. The field was a place where the air was quiet and tame. “that people celebrate it by forgetting its name.” The last line of this poem shows how the people think about the field for the first time.

During the whole poem, it gave me an imagery of an open field where birds flew without any sound, high above the sky and the wind blew quietly but briskly through the grass. This poem has rhymes but the rhymes do not have a certain pattern.

The poem, At the Un-National Monument Along the Canadian Border by William Stafford

Poetry Blog Post~Before She Died by Karen Chase~

The poem, “Before She Died” is a poem by Karen Chase. In this blog post, I will be commenting and analyzing this poem. “Before She Died” is the twenty-sixth poem on the Poetry 180 website. This poem has ten lines, which is formed in five couplets.

Throughout the whole poem, it mainly describes about what had changed after she died, even though the title is “Before She Died”. This poem describes the contrast between before she died and after she died. The poet never says who the speaker is in this poem. The poem mostly shows the environment of the speaker, what is happening around the speaker.

In the first stanza, you can see that the speaker is telling about the first impression and feeling after she died. “When I look at the sky now, I look at it for you.” This line expresses how the sky reminds the speaker of the person that died. Maybe the speaker is reminded with memories of her. This line describes how the speaker sees the difference before she died and after she died. “I look at it for you”. This line also means that the speaker is looking at the sky, almost as if the speaker is trying to find her. “As if with enough attention, I could take it in for you.” This line shows how the speaker feels about the person that died.

In the second stanza, the first line says “With all the leaves gone almost from the trees”. I think this line represents that the speaker is in the season of autumn. By the speaker showing a season, this represents that time had past after she died. “all the leaves gone”. I think this line describes that after she died, maybe almost everything had fell apart. And maybe the poet linked these two things, the season autumn, and the feelings of the speaker. The next line, “I did not walk briskly through the field.” This line shows what the speaker is doing and how the speaker is feeling. This line created an imagery in my mind, how the speaker is walking very slowly, alone, through the fallen leaves on the ground. This stanza explains how the speaker is lonely after she died.

In the third stanza, the speaker mentions a dog. “he panting and aged”, this part is explaining the dog. By this line, it shows that the dog is old and aged. This can also show how time passed after her death. “me looking at the blue”. This describes how the speaker is looking at the blue sky. This line is linked to the action of the speaker in the first stanza. The speaker was also looking up at the sky in the first stanza as well.

In the fourth stanza, the speaker mainly focuses on what is happening at that moment. For example, “A stand of hemlock across the lake catches my eye.” “Leaning on him, I wondered how finite these lustered days seem to you”. This line shows an image of the speaker lying down on the field, with the dog, looking up at the sky, wondering about her.

In the last stanza it says “It will take a long time to know how it is for you.” This line shows how the speaker wonders about how it is for the actual person to die. How it feels to see that you are gone. The speaker thinks that it will take a very long time to know what it feels like.

The poem, Before She Died by Karen Chase