One’s identities can be various. I am a girl who is 19 years old, a Hong Kong people, a daughter, a university student. We have so many different identities. Some of it will change, some of it is stable and unchanging. So, before the explanation of the relationships between language and identity, the definition of identity have to be define first. According to Abercrombie (2000),
” this is the sense of self, of personhood, of what kind of person one is. Identities always involve both sameness and difference.” That is mean identity is a sense of belonging. I define who I am by such as where I belong. I live in Hong Kong and feel myself is belong to Hong Kong, so I will describe myself as a people in Hong Kong. Meanwhile, people in Hong Kong not the only identity I have. I have different identities in different areas. It makes both sameness and difference involve in identities. Since identity is fragmentary and in flux. Richard (2008) points out that We have identiﬁed at least four ways in which identities can be conceptualized: * Master identities, which are relatively stable and unchanging: gender, ethnicity, age, national and regional origins * Personal identities, which refer to roles that people take on in a communicative context with specific other people. * Interactional identities, which are expected to be relatively stable and unique. Reference ways in which people talk and behave toward others: hotheaded, honest, forthright, reasonable, overbearing, a gossip. * Relational identities, which refer to the kind of relationship that a person enacts * with a particular conversational partner
* In a specific situation.
Identity is thus a complicated notion. We have seen that some identities are stable, while others are dynamic and change with the context of interaction; and some identities result from individuals belonging to a social group while others are personal, and we like to feel that they are unique to a particular personality.
Based on this theory, identity has been separate to four kinds. Since there are many type of identity, this essay which believe the usage of language can define identity will only focus on regional identity and personal identity. The former is relatively stable and unchanging but the latter can change across time and space. The first part (regional identity) of the essay will explain why language can represent people’s regional identity from both spoken and written language with real examples from life in Hong Kong in general and an argument for some drawback. The second part (relational identity) will explain how language show people’s relational identities such as the usage of honorifics can show the relationship between speakers and the status of each other.
Part one – How language usage represent our regional identity The usage of language define where we belong. What language we use to speak and write can represent where we are come from. Part one will separate from a) spoken language and b) written language to explain how people can through the language usage to distinguish regional identity.
a) Spoken Language-Accent represent regional
The way we speak or the language we use to speak can represent our regional identity because of accent. Different countries people speak different language such as Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Thai, English and Spanish etc. When we use Chinese to speak, the first impression we give is we are Chinese. It represent our nationality. Then, accent become a way to distinguish regional. Local accents are part of local dialects, the dialect is based on the region. Different region has their own dialect and that makes local accent. Take English as an example, since it is a lingua franca which means “a language systematically used to make communication possible between people not sharing a mother tongue, in particular when it is a third language, distinct from both mother tongues”(Viacheslav 2008). Many...
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