Language and status

Carefully read the chapter from Communication Skills for Medical Professionals Language and Power (page 32-57). Then, building upon what you learned in this chapter, please keep a notebook about your conversations with various people–professors, parents, bosses, friend and peers, siblings and others–for an entire week. Jot down specific words or phrases from your conversations that may denote some statement about status or power of those in the conversation, including you. For example, if you address some people as “sir,” others by last name or title (Mr. Smith or Dr. Watkins), while you call others by first name, that is a status-defining choice. These are hundreds of words and phrases, intonation or other facets of language that people use to establish their superior or inferior status compared to those they are speaking with. This often occurs even among “equals,” such as your peers. Status may also be established by tone or loudness, interruptions or allowing oneself to be interrupted by the other person.

For this discussion, share at least ten observations you made in your notebook. Do these in list form by quoting or paraphrasing the words of statement and then briefly explaining how they attempt to define the status of one speaker (you) to the other.

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