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Off the Shelf
17-27 September 2020

What did you say? – Podcast

  • Hope
  • Podcast
Thu 24 September, 10:00am 30 minutes

Emma Moore, Professor of Sociolinguistics, explores how we evaluate the way other people form words and sentences, and what happens when people use non-standard grammar.

The project

Do the things we say reveal who we are?

Are some people better than others at matching words to viewpoints?

This 5 minute game showcases the incredible flexibility of language, and the clever ways in which our speech sends messages about who we are and what we believe. The game will also gently probe your prejudices by asking you to evaluate examples of real language use.

Prejudices are inevitable but become damaging when they stay hidden. Believing that certain dialects are ‘better’ than others can have real life consequences for those who speak in a negatively stereotyped way.

During the game, you will click on one of three pictures which you think best characterises where an utterance was spoken. This should make you think about the kind of person who most likely uttered it. So, for a sentence like “There ain’t going to be no second chances”, you might see a picture of a TV news studio, a night club, and a classroom. Can you get it right?

Getting an answer right scores a point, and you can see your total score at the end of the game, along with how the people next to you do. There’s full feedback and a chance to explore why an utterance was used and why it provokes stereotypes.

The exhibition is situated in Futurecade and is available to view online.

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