Justifying race talk: Indexicality and the social construction of race and linguistic value

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When individuals link linguistic behavior to speaker identity, they justify the differentiation of social types based on speech style, and also attach social value to ways of speaking. This study examines ten interviewees' racial characterizations of pre-recorded voices and highlights how they justify their identification of speaker types and speech styles as socially recognizable. Findings illustrate how interviewees formulate links between linguistic habits and social types with a range of accompanying interdiscursive justifications across orders of indexicality. Implications for theory and practice include connections between normative evaluative race talk and its role in the dialectic reproduction of language ideologies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)108-129
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Linguistic Anthropology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 1 2008


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

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