RE: Analytical Essay

For this project, you will perform research and analysis connected to a sociolinguistic topic of
your choosing. One possible approach to this project would be to look at representations of
specific language varieties in the media and any ideologies underlying these representations;
for example, you might choose to explore how the southern U.S. dialect is represented in
contemporary horror films, or how AAVE is represented in network sitcoms of the 90s, or what
sorts of characters speak with Cockney accents in fantasy films and television. If you take this
approach to analysis, the selection of a narrow set of primary sources to analyze for
representations of language varieties will likely yield the most interesting results, given that you
are writing a relatively short paper.
Another possible approach to this project would be to explore a specific language-related policy
and discuss the language ideologies which underly the policy (similar to Sally Johnsons
discussion of the debate over German spelling reform in the Week 4 reading). Or you might
discuss meta-linguistic discussions and debates in the real world; for example, you might
analyze criticism of linguistic features associated with womens language in the corporate or
political settings.
Whatever approach you take, your paper should include analysis of one or more primary
sources (which could include a wide range of texts, such as newspaper articles, broadcast news,
television interviews, commercials, radio shows, theatrical films, scripted television shows, and
musical albums) in order to support an argument of relevance to the field of sociolinguistics.
Many of the studies weve looked at this semester (such as Rosina Lippi-Greens analysis of
Disney films) show how many sociolinguistic topics are hovering beneath the surface of the
media that we take in every day, so the possible approaches to this project are endless!
You will produce a 4-6-page essay (standard 12-point font, 1-inch margins, double-spaced) on
your topic. Your paper should include analysis of at least one primary text (see the list of
possible types of texts above) and should include support for your analysis from at least two
scholarly secondary sources. At least one of these sources should be a book or article not
already assigned as reading for this course.