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Chapter 2: Attitudes


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Title: Chapter 2: Attitudes

Chapter 2 Attitudes Ageism
  • and how language is interwoven with both

  • 3 components behavioral, cognitive, affective
  • These components color
  • how young people feel toward old people
  • how people feel and think about the aging process
  • how people behave as they grow older

Concerns young people have
For better or for worse, January 20, 2006
Age norms you assign them well talk
  • 1. Wearing a short skirt and high heels
  • 2. Living alone
  • 3. Getting married
  • 4. Raising children
  • 5. Being considered sexy
  • 6. Drinking alcohol
  • 7. Driving a sports car
  • 8. Having others make decisions for you
  • 9. Displaying affection in public
  • 10. Running a marathon
  • 11. Running for U.S. president
  • 12. Retiring
  • 13. Becoming pregnant
  • 14. Enrolling in a 4 year college degree program
  • 15. Receiving a heart transplant

Age norms cultural reflections?
Ben http//
Age normscultural reflections 2
What do these have in common?
Clips from http//
Age norms language development
  • Age 3 talk about ideas and feelings
  • Age 7 milestones with abstractions
  • Age 8 milestones jump in complexity
  • Teen years social and linguistic complexity

Psychological state terms by age 3
  • As children approach their third birthday, their
    talk about psychological states changes in
    several ways. Children begin to refer to the
    causes and consequences of feelings more often
    and discuss a wider variety of feeling states.
    Brown and Dunn (1991) suggested that these
    developmental changes in childrens emotional
    state language influence their ability to enter
    into conversations about psychological states.
    Through these conversations, children have the
    opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the
    mental states motivating human behavior.
  • A second important developmental change that
    takes place around age 3 is that children begin
    to make references to cognitive states and to use
    words such as think and know.

Lee Rescorla (2002).The use of psychological
state terms by late talkers at age 3. Applied
Psycholinguistics 234
Child language development age 7
  • Should have mastered the consonants s-z, r,
    voiceless th, ch, wh, and the soft g as in George
  • Should handle opposite analogies easily
    girl-boy, man-woman, flies-swims, blunt-sharp
    short-long, sweet-sour, etc
  • Understands such terms as alike, different,
    beginning, end, etc
  • Should be able to tell time to quarter hour
  • Should be able to do simple reading and to write
    or print many words

Child language development age 8
  • Can relate involved accounts of events, many from
    a time in  the past
  • Should be few lapses in grammar e.g. pronouns,
  • All speech sounds, including consonant blends,
  • Should read with ease and write simple
  • Social amenities should be present in appropriate
  • Control of rate, pitch, and volume are
    well/appropriately established
  • Can carry on conversation at rather adult
    level Follows fairly complex directions with
    little repetition Has well developed time and
    number concepts

Advanced language stage over 12
  • Adolescents essentially communicate in an adult
    manner, with increasing maturity throughout high
    school. Teens comprehend abstract language, such
    as idioms, figurative language and metaphors.
    Explanations may become more figurative and less
    literal. Literacy and its relationship to
    cognition, linguistic competency, reading,
    writing and listening are the primary focus in
    this age group. Teens should be able to process
    texts and abstract meaning, relate word meanings
    and contexts, understand punctuation, and form
    complex syntactic structures.

Language, stage, identity formation
  • Its weird, I was so mad Developing
    Discursive Identity Defenses in Conversational
    Small Stories of Adolescent Boys
  • Luke Moissinac Michael Bamberg, Clark
  • Accepted for publication in the Texas Speech
    Communication Journal Special Issue, Narratives
    We Live By, October 2004
  • Abstract
  • We view identities (and masculinities) as
    fluid and contextually sensitive, constantly
    being accommodated to interlocutors through the
    use of increasingly sophisticated discursive
    skills, especially during adolescence. Based on
    analysis of the interactions of one cohort group
    of boys observed at the ages of 10 and13, we show
    how the development of discourse abilities is
    intertwined with the management of situated
    identities. . . . Specifically, our data
    demonstrate that 10-year-olds mount only
    rudimentary defenses to threatened identities
    whereas 13-year olds are able to construct more
    elaborate devices against identity challenges
    such as such as concessions, externalizations,
    and normalizations

Sampling advanced language (adapted from
Retherford 2004)
  • Sample the changes Oral and written narratives
  • Hadley (1998) Nippold(1998) Scott Stokes
  • Semantics
  • ??Cohesion Markers (Halliday Hasan, 1976) how
    words are
  • connected within a sequence
  • lexical cohesion-by selection of vocabulary,
    using semantically close items repetition,
    synonym, antonym,metonymy
  • reference personal (Sharon, her) demonstrative,
  • substitution These cookies are stale. Buy some
    fresh ones.
  • ??Connectives
  • Quirk et al (1985) Nippold, Schwarz,
    Undlin(1992) Nippold(1998)
  • In English, cohesion is most simply
    marked by connectives such as and, but, or so.

Semantics of advanced language
  • How Literate is the Lexicon (Nippold, 1998)
  • Does the speaker produce/comprehend
  • Nouns for technical and curriculum activities
  • ??salutation, oppression, circumference, proton
  • Verbs to refer to metacognitive activities
  • doubt, infer, hypothesize, conclude, assume
  • Verbs to refer to metalinguistic activities
  • assert, concede, imply, predict, interpret,
  • Verbs with presuppositional aspects to their
  • Factitive truth assumed know, notice, forget,
  • Nonfactitivetruth is uncertain think,
    believe, figure, suppose

Retherford 2004, continued
(what is a presupposition?)
  • A presupposition is background belief, relating
    to an utterance, that  
  • must be mutually known or assumed by the speaker
    and addressee for the utterance to be considered
    appropriate in context
  • generally will remain a necessary assumption
    whether the utterance is placed in the form of an
    assertion, denial, or question, and
  • can generally be associated with a specific
    lexical item or grammatical feature
    (presupposition trigger) in the utterance.
  • Identify the presuppositions in Jane regretted
    that she had stopped buying crystal before she
    left Ireland.

Social expectations about language
  • Value judgments about language are socially based
  • People notice and evaluate ways of talking
    that are different from their own
  • They hear words and accents and assign gender,
    age, region, class, and even ethnicity
  • And attitudes arise . . .

When reality intersects with attitude
  • Female adult voices typically show a pitch
  • that is 75 higher than the males
  • different vocal cord length mass
  • Male vocal tract length is 15 longer
  • resulting in different resonance (and
  • greater risk of choking on food)
  • Vocal organs show sexual dimorphism
  • Gender is something assigned or constructed

Gender-cued language and attitudes
  • Lexical and morphological differences
  • morphology in some languages (Japanese)
  • emotive words color terms
  • Stylistic differences claimed
  • go-aheads, hedges F
  • interruptions, direct orders M
  • Difference or dominance?
  • rapport or informational?

Generational differences in lexicon
Pickles. January 20, 2006.
Preston on linguistic prejudice
  • A primary linguistic myth, one nearly universally
    attached to minorities, rural people and the less
    well educated, extends in the United States even
    to well-educated speakers of some regional
    varieties. That myth, of course, is that some
    varieties of a language are not as good as

Preston collected perceptions of correct speech
Mean scores for correct Lowest ratings South
and NYC 150 EuroAm, both sexes, all ages
classes, from Michigan
Perceptions of pleasant speech
Mean scores for pleasant By Alabamians Again,
Just in case you didnt get it
Hand-drawn, from Michigan http//
You try it rate this speaker
  • Use the rating form provided. Transcript goes
    with the voice clip
  • Well listen to it three times.
  • Now I was born in Charlotte in the Presbyterian
    Hospital. And it was downtown on the corner of
    Mint and Trade. Upstairs over the drugstore.
  • And um my father was afraid the doctor who lived
    down the hill wouldn't get there in time so he
    took my mother to the hospital on the streetcar
    -- on a Saturday night and I was born Easter
    Sunday morning.
  • Easter Sunday?
  • Yeah. (laughter)

Auditor perception of discourse F1 of 3
  • Factor 1 About the Tellers Competence including
  • (Multiple Regression Relationship with Construct
    of Auditors Rural--Urban Place
  • of Origin)
  • Loading Item Response
  • .67 5 The Teller is friendly
  • .67 7 The Teller likes telling stories
  • .62 17 The Teller knows other stories
  • .59 21 I think the Interviewer, as a person,
    is polite
  • .51 28 In everyday life, the Teller is polite
  • .47 23 I believe that people said what the

  • reported them as
  • .41 12 The story the teller says is true
  • .40 35 The Interviewer likes talking with the
  • .37 8 The Teller likes the Interviewer
  • .37 43 The Teller tells stories superbly
  • .36 33 The Teller knows more than she/he tells
  • .35 38 The Interviewer thinks the Teller tells
    stories well
  • .35 40 I know the Tellers story style
  • .32 24 The Interviewer is interested in the

Additional significant relationships in Factor 1
Evaluating competence of TELLER
  • (Note Multiple Regression finds a Relationship
    between Place of Origin and Factor Score 1, when
    controlling for other demographics ,which
    accounts for 12 of the variance.
  • As auditors construct of place of origin is more
    rural, they assign greater competence to the
  • Item Demographics
  • Class Place of origin
    M Educ F Educ

  • w-lmc-mc- country-town-smcity- gr-hs
    -some coll- gr-hs-some coll-
  • umc-u bigcity suburb-big
    city full coll-profess ull
  • Teller is friendly .01436 . .00050
  • 7. Teller likes telling stories
  • 12. Tellers story is true 01357 .04700
  • 17. Teller knows other stories .00248 .00275
  • 21. Interviewer is polite .00007 .04879
  • 24. Interviewer is interested in
    Teller .04469 .00040

Factors affecting language in aging
  • Each of these factors can affect language
    production and cause social withdrawal, as people
  • hearing and vision impairment
  • slower processing of information
  • mild memory difficulties
  • shrinking network of friends

What aging sounds like
  • Voices are heard as hoarse, high pitched,
    breathy, tremulous or shaky
  • Men are heard as hesitant
  • Women are heard as passive
  • Mulac Giles 1996

Stereotyped projections of elder speech
  • Tangential speaker wanders off the topic
  • Vacillating speaker cant make choices
  • Repetitive speaker repeats same words
  • Too wordy speaker gives too many details

Age-biased reactions Ryans research
  • overly familiar talk
  • shouting
  • non-listening
  • showing disapproval
  • condescension
  • dismissive comments
  • avoidance
  • impatience
  • controlling talk
  • baby talk or
  • Elderspeak (simplified speech)
  • Often, we dont realize that we have changed our
    speech when we talk to an older person.

  • Can be seen as patronizing wrong message!
  • Overaccommodation - such as babytalk, Elderspeak,
    or being overly familiar - means we are talking
    to the stereotype of being old and not to the
  • Thats not the message we want to send.
  • (Ryan Cole, 1990)

  • Freezing people out sending the wrong message
  • We under-accommodate a speakers needs when we
    show that we are not listening, or use dismissive
    comments, condescension, or controlling talk. We
    move away from them.
  • Thats not the message we want to send.
  • (Giles et al, 1990)

How we change our speech 1
  • Conversation with adult 54 years old
  • 1. I tended to display my interest by nodding
    much more instead of interrupting
  • Conversation with adult 94 years old
  • I was much more likely to interrupt with
    interjections and clarifying statements
  • Example from Batson 2003

How we change our speech 2
  • With the person aged 54
  • 2. I participated actively with my honest
    opinions in this dialogue
  • With the person aged 94
  • I was much more likely to sugar-coat my
    opinions and/or modify my more modern points of
  • Example from Batson 2003

How we change our speech 3
  • With the person aged 54
  • 3. I spoke more softly and more quickly
  • With the person aged 94
  • My voice was much louder, and I spoke slower than
  • Example from Batson 2003

How we change our speech 4
  • With the person aged 54
  • 4. I was less unnecessarily pleasant, meaning,
    I didnt use complimentary language unless very
  • With the person aged 94
  • I consistently mentioned how nice the individual
    looked, and how I enjoyed talking to him/her
  • Example from Batson 2003

Age-associated differences in communication
  • Ryan Butler (1996 192) comment that some
    distinctions between young and old adults that
    influence intergenerational relationships arise
    from historical differences in socialization
  • This affects patient-provider roles. Haug
    (1996252) reports less time given to
    consultations for patients 60 and older, and that
    doctors may speak more slowly, in a louder
    voice, use simplified language, and take on a
    patronizing air, blaming older patients, but not
    younger, for forgetfulness

Special issue, Health Communications 8.3 (1996)
Healthcare worker interactions
  • Burda (20058) notes that older people either
    have little experience with or feel questioning
    professionals is inappropriate. Since many
    interactions involve tasks (ADL), noncompliance
    may ensue -- particularly if the older person
    doesnt understand the healthcare workers
  • Hmmm. Were back _at_ attitudes

Burda, A. Hageman, C. Perception of accented
speech by residents in assisted-living
facilities, J Medical Speech-Language Pathology
13, 7-14
Language issues for new nurses whats beneath
the surface?
Smith JONAS Healthc Law Ethics Regul, Volume
6(1).March 2004.15-16
Workforce demographics, NC
Ageism in general
  • In North America and Europe, Older adults are
    often marginalized, given low social status, and
    either ignored in the media or portrayed in roles
    reinforcing negative stereotypes (Nelson, 2002).
  • Unfavorable stereotypes characterize older people
    as forgetful, sick, unattractive, useless,
    lonely, and dependent (Hess Blanchard-Fields,
    1999 Nelson, 2002 Palmore, 1999).
  • Trait sorting studies have identified several
    negative prototypes of older persons such as
    shrew-curmudgeon, despondent, and severely
    impaired (Ryan et al 2004 344)

Nussbaum, J., Pitts, M., Huber, F., Krieger, J.,
Ohs, J. 2005. Ageism and ageist language across
the life span. Journal of Social Issues, Vol. 61,
pp. 287--305
Jigsaw Ageism, news stories
  • http//
    l Japanese homeless
  • http//
    Ageism UK
  • http//
  • http//
    l Gray Panthers in Chicago
  • http// Canada
  • http//
    BBC on US legislation
  • http//
    Generation X UK
  • http// Ageism -
  • http//
    BRD1817PAG461dept_id222087rfi6 Ageism -

Intergenerational communication 3 models
  • CAT communication accommodation
  • Convergent X divergent strategies
  • CPA communicative predicament
  • Problematic talk lt negative stereotypes
  • CEM communication enhancement
  • Tailor speech to individual needs and thereby
    reduce stereotypes

Nussbaum, J., Pitts, M., Huber, F., Krieger, J.,
Ohs, J. 2005. Ageism and ageist language across
the life span. Journal of Social Issues, Vol. 61,
pp. 287--305
Youth X old age in Asia X Canada
  • Views of the old in the East often resemble the
  • Expectations about declining personal vitality
    increasing benevolence in old age were found
    among young and old respondents in the East
    (Peoples Republic of China, Hong Kong, Korea,
    Philippines and Thailand) and West (U.S.A.,
    Australia, New Zealand Harwood et al., 1996,
  • Accepting public norms of filial obligation and
    honor need not conflict with negative inner
    beliefs about aging and older people

Ryan, E., Jin, Y., Anas, A., Luh, J. (2004
)Communication beliefs about youth and old age in
Asia Canada. J Cross-Cultural Gerontology 19
Ryans cross-cultural work suggests
  • Educational interventions the CEM model - to
    improve intergenerational communication between
    young and old may be more likely to succeed if
    they target
  • fostering of positive attitudes toward empathic,
    socially skilled, story-telling aspects of
    communication in later life
  • rather than the reduction of negative attitudes.

Ryan, E., Jin, Y., Anas, A., Luh, J. (2004
)Communication beliefs about youth and old age in
Asia Canada. J Cross-Cultural Gerontology 19
Ageism, language and marketing What are the
appeals? What are the stereotypes? While well
discuss aging and the media later in the
semester, here, we pause to preview some
pervasive features of ageism --
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