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Accent, standard language ideology, and discriminatory pretext in the courts

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 February 2009

Rosina Lippi-Green
Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 48109-1275


Title VII of the U.S. Civil Rights Act clearly forbids an employer to discriminate against persons of color for reasons of personal or customer preference. Similarly, a qualified job applicant may not be rejected on the basis of linguistic traits linked to national origin. In contrast to racial discrimination, however, an employer has considerable latitude in matters of language, provided in part by a judicial system which recognizes in theory the link between language and social identity, but in practice is often confounded by blind adherence to a standard language ideology. The nature and repercussions of this type of linguistic discrimination are here explored. (Language and law, accent, discrimination, standard language ideology, critical language studies)

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1994

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