Comparison in the Language of the Social Classes of England (Based on Contemporary Works of Art)

7 Pages Posted: 23 Mar 2021 Last revised: 27 Mar 2021

See all articles by Ekaterina Vlasova

Ekaterina Vlasova

Department of Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO University)

Date Written: December 5, 2020

Abstract

The report is devoted to the establishment of means of expression of comparison in the speech of characters of the upper, middle and lower classes of modern English society. The article analyzes the contexts of using the comparison introduced by the like modifier in the speech of 23 characters in the works of modern English writers, and for the first time reveals the means of representing comparison in the maxims of representatives of different social classes of modern English society. The study demonstrates that the choice of different language means for expressing comparison is dictated by the characteristics of the social layer to which communicants belong, such as leading values, level of education, income, and the degree of freedom in expressing emotions. It is concluded that the comparison of the speech of upper class representatives is expressed by neutral vocabulary to convey positive emotions and informal vocabulary to demonstrate hyperbolized negative assessment, reflecting a critical and ironic view of events. The comparison in the statements of middle-class representatives is expressed by formal vocabulary, French words, rhymes, political terms, cliches, deformed phraseological units that reflect the desire to imitate the upper classes, and indicate the modesty and self-doubt of communicants. Comparison in the judgments of lower-class Englishmen is conveyed by argotisms that help to express a flash of negative emotions, as well as religious and literary allusions that are used out of place and contain an abundance of logical errors.

Keywords: comparison, upper, middle, lower classes, English society, speech

JEL Classification: Linguistics, Sociolinguistics

Suggested Citation

Vlasova, Ekaterina, Comparison in the Language of the Social Classes of England (Based on Contemporary Works of Art) (December 5, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3743378 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3743378

Ekaterina Vlasova (Contact Author)

Department of Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO University) ( email )

Novo-Sportivnaya, 3
Odintsovo, 143007
Russia
89775692077 (Phone)

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