Comparing The Breakfast Club 'And Clueless'

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1.1 Introduction. I am going to research two popular coming of age films as part of my sociolinguistics assignment, and evaluate the different aspects of dialogue and language used to shape the characters, their backgrounds and social standings. I believe that language is a profound indicator of identity, and so by analyzing the dialogue used in these well known films I hope to be able to understand and attribute certain linguistic features to different social classes. I also wish to explore how language is used to express age, through the employment of certain linguistic features. The two films I have chosen are ‘The Breakfast Club’ which was directed by John Hughes and released in 1985, and ‘Clueless’, directed by Amy Heckerling and released ten years later in 1995. I hope that the decade between the two films will provide an interesting contrast in dialogue, and show how “...Language is not a static resource, we mold it to suit…show more content…
(Labov, 1978) It has been widely stated that an individuals speech patterns are fixed in early adulthood, and as such, older people use of certain language features represent the typical use of that feature in the community when they themselves were young. (Susan Evans, 2012) The construct of apparent time (Bailey et al. 1991, Bailey 1992) is a widely used construct, originally from Labovs initial apparent time studies. It is the assumption that, at some point in an individual’s adult lifespan, their vernacular is fixed and no further significant and systematic changes are possible. (David Bowie, 2005) This construct is supported throughout The Breakfast Club, with Vernon’s dated speech style. Certain phrases such as ‘monkey business’ and ‘don’t mess with the bull young man, you’ll get the horns’ appear outmoded next to the teenage characters use of ‘waste-oid’ and ‘burners’ as derogatory

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