1 Aug 2022


Non-standard/vernacular dialects in modern media

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Academic level: College

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Popular media reinforces negative stereotypes about non-standard/vernacular dialects in different ways. Popular media portrays non-standard dialects as “bad” language. They inform their audience that these dialects are inferior to the standard language used in popular media, which is English. Additionally, the syntactic features used in non-standard dialects in the popular media are, in most instances, devalued and considered to be bad language. Another way in which popular media reinforces negative stereotypes about non-standard dialects is through inaccurate representation. In most instances, the popular media inaccurately present the non-standard vernacular to the audience (Moinuddin, 2010). For instance, when television media is introducing the features of a specific non-standard dialect, they rarely speak with its accurate accent. Such is also true when non-standard dialects are used in such media as films where the actors are not originals to the dialects leading to the loss of the accent and thus, inaccurate presentation to the audience. From another point of view, the popular media stereotypes non-standard dialects by ensuring that they are less documented or undocumented at all. It is a way of depicting the dialects as inferior as compared to the standard languages that have been widely documented in a wide variety of popular media. 

On the contrary, non-standard dialects are privileged in different ways. One of the most notable sources of the privilege is the fact that they have high chances of maintaining their originality. Stereotyping the dialects makes them less popular for use in the media, which in turn protects them from being spread and practiced by people from multiple cultures who might represent the dialects inaccurately (Moinuddin, 2010). As a result, the dialects maintain their originality, thus, becoming more valuable from a historical point of view. Furthermore, the stereotyped dialects hold more privilege than the standard ones because they can retain their originality. 

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Moinuddin, S. (2010). Media Space and Gender Construction: A Comparative Study of State Owned and Private Channels in the Post Liberalisation Period. Cambridge Scholars Publishing. 

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