Styles of Communication, Vol 5, No 1 (2013)

A Qualitative and Quantitative Analysis of Selected Ethnic and Racial Terminology Present in Assorted Public English Corpora

Natalia Pietraszewska


The central focus of the article is to analyse large collections of linguistic data in order to unveil language patterns pointing to the pervasive racist sentiments. Lexical choices made by speakers are assumed to reflect their attitudes to certain minority groups. Since languages reflect ideas present in a society, it is possible to find examples of racial and ethnic prejudices expressed either overtly with ethnophaulisms or more inconspicuously in certain lexical choices. This study is concerned with discriminatory practices in the form of racist and ethnic slurs as well as the most frequent collocates pointing to negative stereotypes of selected ethnic minorities. The search for biased language was conducted in large British and American English corpora, including Internet treated as corpus. The author attempts to present how the visual and cultural differences as well as the portrayal of particular minorities in media may influence language pertaining to ethnic groups. The results indicate that ethnic stereotypes are still reproduced in both British and American English. Prejudiced language appears to be associated with both visibility and socio-economic status of a particular group in a certain country.


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