Stereotypes of English in Hollywood Movies : A Case Study of the Use of Different Varieties of English in Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings and Transformers.

University essay from Stockholms universitet/Engelska institutionen

Abstract: This essay deals with the use of linguistic stereotypes in Hollywood movies. It investigates whether attitudes towards English dialects found in studies on perceptual dialectology are reflected in the selected movies and discusses the notion of linguistic identity and how standard and nonstandard speech, respectively, are used symbolically to emphasize features of characters in eleven movies from three different movie series, namely The Lord of the Rings, Star Wars and Transformers, with a main focus on syntactic and phonological dimensions. The essay finds a correlation between standard speech and features of competence and wisdom, and nonstandard speech and features of solidarity, sociability and traits of stupidity and humor. Moreover, very specific perceptions of certain varieties of English are probably utilized as amplifiers of equally specific characteristics of some characters. The use of dialects and accents in these movies is probably intentional and not coincidental.

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