Language is the method of human communication, either spoken or written, consisting of the use of words in a structured and conventional way. It has been proved that some types of language can harm people. Bias-Language occurs with gender but can also offend groups of people based on sexual orientation ethnicity, political interest, or race. To remedy the harm, politically correct language was started.
It's supporting or relating to broad social, political and educational change; it's also, especially, to redress historical injustices in matters such as race, class, gender and sexual orientation.Politically Correct Language is not the solution to prevent the stereotypes that bias-language creates which can cause harm.I. In Maggio's essay "Bias-Free Language: Some Guidelines", she introduces us the impact of Bias-Language and Stereotypes on our society and how it can harm people more than actions.
Along her essay, she claims that Naming is the most important thing in Language, "Language both reflects and shapes society". If words are more harmful than actions, then why not using another type of language in order not to put Asians, African Americans or Women in a category because they are less powerful or/and different form what is stated as being "normal"(quote of the High Schooler). She demonstrates us how Politically Correct Language could be the solution of this unfairness. Maggio says that when refering to a group of mixed gender or a person of unknown gender, we must not use words and phrases that imply masculinity (he, sir, ect..
.). Later she goes to suggest the general removal of the letter combinations m-a-n and m-e-n from many everyday words. Under this policy, we would also have to change many other words on the grounds that they might offend.We would have to change many things to actually stop saying things that could harm people or reinforce stereotypes like the discrimination towards women; "a high school student who felt that nonsexist language did demand some changes said 'But you don't understand! You're trying to change the English language, which has been around a lot longer than women have!' ", this quote proves us that people are used to a specific language that they've been talking all their lives and that they are maybe not willing to give up on.
And these changes would need to be implemented, not just in writing, but in verbal communication as well, so once again, it would change completely our way of expressing ourselves.II. In Langer's essay " Language and Thought" , she shows us the importance of Symbols which are the cultural representations of reality based on experiences and perceptions and how it's similar to Conception, "Language is the highest and most amazing achievement of the symbolistic human mind"; so Maggio and Langer have both the same opinion about language. The other thing that they both have in common is that they are both women so we have two essays that are expressing Language in different ways but at the end with the same conclusion: Language is male-oriented, words harm people that are put in categories and women is one of the categories. Their definitions of Naming and Symbols have somehow a connection; that they are both types of Conception. Nowadays, language is different.
Most of the people that are put in categories want to change that, Women have been fighting for years to be heard and language doesn't help them because they label them as the weak gender. Therefore, Langer is on Maggio's side maybe because they also want to be heard. Additionally, they might think that by changing language, they will change mentalities; but isn't it a little bit too easy ?III. In Naylor's essay "Nigger", she focuses her whole essay how different people use the word "Nigger" and how the written word is less important than the spoken word so that it's maybe how you react to the actual word that is important for example in this essay, how you understand Nigger is important not how you write it; plus she defines how the written and spoken language can give different meanings to a word.
Along her essay, she remembers a time when a third-grade classmate called her "nigger." By examining the ways in which words can take on meaning depending on who uses them and in which cases. To illustrate how the same word can have different meanings, she describes the moment when she became aware of the word “nigger.” When a boy in her class called her a “nigger,” she instantly knew that it was a bad word. The teacher confirmed her suspicions, when she “scold him for using a bad word”.
The true meaning of the word is still unclear even though she heard it many times at her own house; that's maybe why she's never seen the word "Nigger" being bad. In her family, the word “nigger” can be used as an acceptance for the qualities of a man.When used by a woman, as a possessive adjective, it represents a “form of endearment” And it can also represent power and strength. As a plural, it defines a group that “overstepped the bounds of decency". Although there were so many ways to use the word, a woman would never be called a nigger.
Maybe that’s how she realized that when the boy called her “nigger”, it was an insult. For Naylor, it will never be considered as “racism,” when her family uses the word “nigger”; but it is, when used by a white person Along her essay, she shows us how the same word can have a different connotation and in which cases it's taken as an insult or as almost a nickname. She also shows us how we have to be careful with words which joins Maggio's essay on how harmful words are/can be. Naylor concludes that "words themselves are innocuous; it is the consensus that gives them true power".
IV. In Lakoff's essay "Hate Speech", "How we feel about hate speech and the First Amendment reflects our view of language itself"' with this quotes, it basically summarizes his essay and how he perceives language. He also demonstrates how we use language with conception which is the cultural representations of reality based on experiences and perceptions; "Meaning goes beyond semantic reference". He claims that Politically Correct Language is the opponent of free speech therefore he is against it so he supports Kakutani's point of view.
V. In Kakutani's essay "The Word Police", she claims that Politically Correct Language is not the righ method to change what Bias-Language has caused. She shows us the controversy of our language with the Political Correctness. She seems to be against the fact that they are changing words in order to have harmless words because it would change the total actual language.
She supports the claim that our language is along the absurdity because we hide our 'true identities' and 'inequalities' with euphemism which is a mild or indirect word or expression replaced for one considered to be too harsh when referring to something inpleasant or embarrassing; but the problem is that it changes what people say but not what people think, and that's the real problem that needs to be changed, Kakutani shows that euphemisms "tend to distract attention from the real problems of prejudice and injustice in society". When you look at politically correct terms, they are attempting to correct people's attitudes through attrition. Attrition being if you stop hearing the words, you stop thinking in those terms, which is good on paper, but if i can say stupid in practice.Additionally, she criticizes Maggio's point of view on how language should be changed and that it won't work because she doesn't have real actual support. They both see what is wrong with language but they just don't have the same solution to it. Kakutani sees the "Politically Correct Language" has a too radical method.
Concluding, Kakutani states that the actions taken by the politically correct activists are being "purchased at the cost of freedom of expression and freedom of speech". She ends her argument with an illustration of how the Gettysburg Address would sound if it had been written in a politically correct manner. Therefore, she loses the reader's attention because he would maybe see how the book wouldn't be itself with this 'new' language.In general, we have five different authors that all agree on at least one thing, that Language needs to change in order to be harmless but Kakutani and Lakoff don't believe in Politically Correct Language that would be maybe be too radical and many people would be against it. The solution would be to find a way of expressing ourselves in order not to harm but without changing our entire language; restriction is not the best way to change that.