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date: 03 June 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter addresses how intergroup relations are shaped, maintained, or modified through language. Some of the strategies discussed are blatantly derogatory, including homophobic epithets and metaphors, whereas others represent much more subtle linguistic tools, including word order, grammatical gender, language abstraction, and even seemingly irrelevant “junk words,” such as pronouns. These language tools fulfill a wide range of functions in intergroup relations because they drive attention to specific social groups, guide social categorization, maintain or change stereotypes, express and protect social identities, transmit broad cultural worldviews, and justify existing societal systems. In its most extreme form, language serves to dehumanize minority groups, thereby creating and/or justifying openly hostile intergroup relations.

Keywords: homophobic epithets, metaphors, word order, grammatical gender, language abstraction, pronouns, social categorization, stereotypes, social identity, cultural worldview, system justification, dehumanization

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