Linguistic Discrimination

Linguistic discrimination (also called linguicism and languagism) is the unfair treatment of an individual based solely on their use of language. This use of language may include the individual's native language or other characteristics of the person's speech, such as an accent, the size of vocabulary (whether the person uses complex and varied words), and syntax. It may also involve a person's ability or inability to use one language instead of another; for example, one who speaks Japanese in France will probably be treated differently from one who speaks French. Based on a difference in use of language, a person may automatically form judgments about another person's wealth, education, social status, character, and/or other traits. These perceived judgments may then lead to the unjustifiable treatment of the individual.

In the mid-1980s, Linguist Tove Skutnabb-Kangas, captured this idea of discrimination based on language as the concept of linguicism. Kangas defined linguicism as the "ideologies and structures which are used to legitimate, effectuate, and reproduce unequal division of power and resources (both material and non-material) between groups which are defined on the basis of language." Although different names have been given to this form of discrimination, they all hold the same definition. It is also important to note that linguistic discrimination is culturally and socially determined due to a preference for one use of language over another.

Read more about Linguistic DiscriminationLinguistic Prejudice, Language and Social Group Saliency, Examples of Linguistic Discrimination, Other Examples

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