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Language and Cultural Meaning

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1 Language and Cultural Meaning
Chapter 3- Bonvillain

2 Foundations of Linguistic Anthropology
OUTLINE: Sapir Whorf Linguistic Relativity Boas’ research among the Yupik (Inuit) Cultural Emphasis Ethnosemantics Cultural presupposition Extended and transferred meaning

3 Cultural Emphasis Boas: Language a window into culture
Culture reflected in language Elaboration of vocabulary Finer distinctions between items Inuit snow, seals Nuer cattle U.S. sports

4 Ethnoscience as Method
From Cultural Emphasis to Ethnosemantics Cognitive anthropology/ethno science or ethno semantics Ethosemantics as a Field Method Emic & Etic perspectives

5 Hanunóo Color Terms Dark Light Fresh Dry
Reflecting an agricultural focus.

6 Linguistic Relativity
Languages are different Languages are arbitrary systems Differences are not predictable

7 Searching for Universals
Berlin & Kay Basic color terms Focal points vs boundaries Sequence black & white add red add green or yellow ditto add blue add brown add purple, pink, orange, and/or gray Problems: defining basic; no ‘standard’ measure.

8 How Culture Reflects Language
Linguistic Determinism Sapir… Whorf… Strong Whorf… Weaker Whorf… Examples… Experiments….

9 Linguistic Determinism
“Human beings are very much at the mercy of the particular language which has become the medium of expression for their society.” (Sapir 1929) “we cannot talk at all except by subscribing to the organization and classification of data” (Whorf 1940).

10 Sapir “The worlds in which different societies live are distinct worlds, not merely the same world with different labels attached.” (Sapir 1929).

11 Whorf “We dissect nature along lines laid down by our native languages.” (Whorf 1940) Strong Whorf Language determines thought Weaker Whorf Language influences thought.

12 Examples of Linguistic Determinism: Hopi
time = a process units of time = cycles passage of time = endless repetition of same cycle.

13 Experiments in Linguistic Determinism: Yucatec
Grammar stresses material Connects words for wood, tree, table Individuals group cardboard items together.

14 Experiments in Linguistic Determinism: English
Grammar stresses shape Different words for wood, tree, table Individuals group boxes together.

15 Cultural Presupposition
Participants in a speech interaction come to encounters with an array of knowledge and understandings of their culture as expressed and transmitted through language. Shirley Temple & Punky Brewster Topo Gigio El Chavo del Ocho & Cantinflas

16 Extended and Transferred Meaning
Metaphor & Metonymy Metaphors Metaphors of Kinship Metaphors of the Body Other metaphors? Metonymy Review article:Shakespeare in the Bush

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