Taboo Language Attitudes

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Introduction In order to study taboo language attitudes, it is necessary to understand what the term attitudes and language attitudes refer to. Therefore, different theoretical aspects of attitudes are reviewed, including their definition from a mentalist perspective, their structure and the different processes responsible for their formation.The direct method to the measurement of attitudes is also explained. Then, the notion of language attitudes is identified, followed by a discussion of taboo language attitudes and the factors influencing them mainly age, gender and context.The final section of the chapter is concerned with Algerians’ attitudes towards taboo language. 2.1. The Concept of Attitudes 2.1.1. Definition of Attitudes Social…show more content…
For behaviourists , attitudes are located in people’s responses to a given stimulus and they can be measured through observation, quantification and generalization of overt behaviour (Bain, 1928).However, “ the observation of external behaviour may produce mis_categorization and wrongful explanation. Such behavior may be consciously or unconsciously designed to disguise or conceal inner attitude ” (Baker, 1992, p. 15). Wicker (1969) argues also that “ attitudes account for only about 10 percent of the variability in behaviour ” (as cited in Gardner, 1982, p.132). From this statement, it can be concluded that an observation of external behaviour does not always lead to an accurate understanding of an attitude and this is the reason why the behaviourist theory has largely been discredited. Thus, most of contemporary attitudes’ research is more based on the mentalist…show more content…
147). For mentalists, attitudes are not dependent on any particular behaviour but they remain “ an independent variable in the form of a latent psychological constant which is not tied up to the specific external stimulus situations in which the responses are made ” (Agheysi & Fishman, 1970, p. 138). A typical mentalist definition is given by Allport (1954) who defines it as “ a learned disposition to think, feel and behave towards a person ( or object) in a particular way ” (as cited in Garrett, 2010, p.19). In Allport’s view, attitudes may constitute three components, including the way people feel, the way they think and the way they act towards the target object or person . 2.1.3. Attitudes’ Components Baker (1992) describes attitudes as hypothetical constructs which are formed from threefold components : Affective, behavioural and cognitive. This tripartite model is one of the most cited models of attitudes. These components are usually connected, but recent research in social psychology suggests that not all of them will necessarily be represented in any given attitude and that they can not always be distinguished from one another ( Bohner & Wanke, 2002 ). The structure of attitudes is clearly described in the following figure

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