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The Anthropology of Language: An Introduction to Linguistic Anthropology Chapter 5 Silent Languages 1.

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Presentation on theme: "The Anthropology of Language: An Introduction to Linguistic Anthropology Chapter 5 Silent Languages 1."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Anthropology of Language: An Introduction to Linguistic Anthropology Chapter 5 Silent Languages 1

2 The transmission of messages w/o spoken word – Sign languages analyzing signs – Gestures and nonverbal communication – Speech substitutes – Body language Smell, Taste, Touch Proxemics & Kinesics – gender, status, culture & space – types of gestures – Gesture systems 2

3 Sign language IS language ‘Language performed in three-dimensional space’ Generally associated with deaf people Often associated with Deaf people Natural vs. Manually Coded sign languages – Syntax is complex, unique to specific language American Sign Language (ASL; Ameslan) vs. British – Mutually unintelligible; not based on English syntax Signs = concepts, not words (‘right’ vs. ‘right’) Syntax = one sign can stand for several words – E.g., “I-ask-her” is one sign » vs. Signed English (SEE1 & 2) which follows English syntax 3

4 Primes – Basic elements of signs (correspond to phonemes?) – Combine into morphemes Three kinds of primes – Hand shape Fist (A), Flat (B), Cupped (C) – Hand placement – Hand movement Minimal pairs – Apple vs. candy (shape: fist hand vs. cupped hand) – Summer vs. ugly (place: forehead vs. nose level) Analyzing Signs 4

5 Sign language is NOT gesture View this ASL exampleASL – Can you separate the gesture from the sign? – What elements of paralanguage play a key role in this performance? – Note the gender shift as the performer moves from his pre-performance self to the performance self Men typically perform signs lower than women 5

6 Body Language Learned in cultural groups Interpreted unconsciously Often overrides verbal language ~60% of communication? Beware of guidebooks. 6

7 Smell, Taste, and Touch Smell – And ethnicity, culture – Cigars, perfumes and status Taste – And group membership Spicy foods… Touch – And gender and power Relation to proxemics… 7

8 Proxemics Edward Hall, 1950s How people perceive and use space Cowboy proxemics Getting to theatre seats 8

9 Gender, Status, & Space Entering into someone’s ‘space’ Getting the ‘best’ office – Or the biggest bedroom Having one’s own ‘space’ – Dens vs. sewing rooms 9

10 Culture and Space Different arrangements – US grids & French circles – German doors: closed vs. open Different uses – Where to eat in the Comoros Depends on gender, too 10

11 Kineme with allokines – Kinemorphs – meaningful units of visual expression – Later, kinemorphs abandoned as a concept, kineme comes to mean both the minimal and the meaningful units. Kinesics – meaningful movement (Birdwhistell) 11

12  Emblems – direct verbal translation  Illustrators – depict or illustrate what is being said  Affect displays – convey emotion  Regulators – control or coordinate interaction, for example indicating that it is someone’s turn to talk  Adaptors – expressions of restlessness or unease, facilitate the release of tension Kinesics – another model of meaningful movement (Ekman and Friesen) 12

13 Where verbal communication is difficult Topics and contexts are limited – Simple alternative systems Little or no syntax – Sawmills, baseball games, sailboat racing – Complex alternative systems Syntax based on spoken language: – Australian women mourners – Some monastic orders Syntax independent of any spoken language – Native American Plains sign language » Signs used in varying order Gesture Systems 13

14 Typology of Gestures Eckman & Friesen, 1960s – Emblems Translatable (waving) – Illustrators Of what is said (steering) – Affect Displays Convey emotion (smiling) – Regulators Control or coordinate (pointing) – Adaptors Facilitate release (wiggling) 14

15 Gesture Systems Where verbal communication is difficult Topics and contexts are limited – Simple alternative systems Little or no syntax – Sawmills, baseball games, sailboat racing – Complex alternative systems Syntax based on spoken language: – Australian women mourners – Some monastic orders Syntax independent of any spoken language – Native American Plains sign language » Signs used in varying order 15

16 Speech Substitutes Sound signals substitute for spoken words – Or parts of words Useful for communicating over distances Examples: – Drum languages based on tones (Nigeria) – Whistle languages based on tones (Mazateco) based on vowels (La Gomera) – different whistled pitches = different vowels 16

17 Speech substitutes Present only parts of words, listeners fill in the blanks. Stereotyped and predictable. How are these different from ASL?ASL – ASL is a language, NOT a speech substitute! How are ASL and SEE different?ASL and SEE 17

18 Filling in the blanks Yoruba talking drumsdrums Use of a “talk-box,” from the Master“talk-box 18

19 Creating a Language Create a proxemic system – define degrees of space: private, personal, social & public Create two or three gestures: – friendly, obscene, teasing, aggressive, etc. Practice! Use your greetings and proxemics rules, try out your gestures. 19

20 Next: Language in Action – Read: Textbook Chapter 6 Workbook/Reader: – Good Tracks (pp ) – Prepare to do: Writing/Discussion Exercises (W/R p ) Practice with Languages (W/R pp ) Language Creating (W/R p. 135) Conversation partnering (W/R p. 136) 20


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