Article published in:The Persistence of Language: Constructing and confronting the past and present in the voices of Jane H. Hill
Edited by Shannon T. Bischoff, Deborah Cole, Amy V. Fountain and Mizuki Miyashita
[Culture and Language Use 8] 2013
► pp. 389–414
The mediatization of register shifting and the maintenance of standard in U.S. public discourse
This chapter analyzes the “language panic” (Hill 2008) following Hillary Clinton’s register-shifting performance of the gospel song “I Don’t Feel No Ways Tired” during the U.S. presidential campaign in 2007. We observe that mediatization (Agha 2011b) creates and maintains the conditions by which some messages and uptake patterns remain unavailable to wider audiences while others are continuously recycled and increasingly accessible. We argue that the maintenance of unequal divisions of semiotic labor can be facilitated by mediatization as currently practiced. We observe that value projects attached to mediatized fragments work to maintain the hierarchy of perduring semiotic registers (Goebel 2010) in U.S. public discourse in which Standard (Hill 2008) continues to dominate all others.
Keywords: discourse analysis, language panic, register shift
Published online: 28 May 2013