Presentation on theme: "Anthropology has some answers for U!"— Presentation transcript:
1 Anthropology has some answers for U! Have you ever wondered. . .Anthropology has some answers for U!
2 What is Language? A system of symbols with standard meanings. All languages consist ofSounds that are used to communicate thoughts and emotionsGestures that are used to communicate thoughts and emotionsWhat’s being communicatedin these pictures?
3 Language. . . is the palate by which we color our lives is humanity’s calling card.is the primary way by which we learnis the palate by which we color our livesallows humans to communicate and is the main vehicle of transmission of culture.provides context for symbolic understanding.
4 Anthropological Linguistics Study of language and the speakers’ use of languageStudy of the relationship between language and other aspects of culture & societyAnthropologists long interested in language: how it’s patterned, how it works, its history and development, its relationship to other aspects of culture.To do ethnographic fieldwork, anthropologists have often had to begin by compiling their own dictionaries and grammars
5 Language’s Key Features CatChatGatoPungwulDisplacementArbitrarinessarcshNo self-evident link between word and soundThe ability to communicate about something that is not happening at the moment.The ability to join words in infinite meaningful combinationsThe use of a relatively small number of units of sound (phonemes) to combine and thereby create & transmit meaning in words. English has 45 phonemes; Italian 27; Hawaiian 13. Nonhuman animals cannot combine sounds (1:1 correspondence of sounds)tlmsProductivityDuality of Patterning
6 Socio (or ethno) linguistics Studying LanguageDescriptiveHistoricalSocio (or ethno) linguisticsDescriptive: mechanics & pattering of language (phonology, morphology, syntax)Historical: relationships of languages to one another, reconstruct how languages change over timeSociolinguistics: the relationship between a language & culture (each mirrors the other)
7 Descriptive Linguistics Structure Phonology (sounds)Morphology (words)Syntax (grammar)Semantics (meaning)Grammar (rules)Descriptive: mechanics & pattering of language (phonology, morphology, syntax)Phonology: study of sounds usedMorphology: study of smallest combination of sounds (morphemes) that carry meaningSyntax: way in which morphemes put together into phrases & sentencesSeeks to discover language rules that are not written down but are discoverable in actual speech.
8 Phonology The study of sounds of a language. No human language uses all the sounds humans can make.IPA – International Phonetic AlphabetPhonemes and allophones/l/ and /r/ = phonemes (English has 40)/p/ and /ph/ = allophonesOther soundsTones, nasals, clicks, umms, huh?
9 Historical Linguistics Historical: focuses on relationships of languages to one another, reconstruct how languages change over time. Anthropologists are interested in cultural features that correlate with language families
10 Sociolinguistics Relationship between language & culture Nuer, southern SudanEthnolinguistics: the relationship between a language & culture (each mirrors the other). Sociolinguists are concerned with the ethnography of speaking—cultural and mini-cultural patterns of speech variation in different social contexts. Examples:Pronunciation and dialects: potato / potah to ; car / kahHonorifics and social status: Usted vs tuGender differences: cousin vs primo / aMultilingualismWords don't merely match pre-existing things in the world. Rather, they shape and encapsulate ideas about things--how they are categorized (compare dog vs. canine), how we are interacting with them (compare sheep vs. mutton), how the word functions grammatically (compare the noun cow vs. the adjective bovine), and how we wish to represent our attitudes about them (compare critter vs. varmint).Nuer: southern Sudan, cattle pastoralists, cattle central aspect of life (food in form of blood, milk, occasionally meat), primary currency in bride wealth; men can recite generations of each of their cattle; cattle serve as links with dead ancestorsSheepMutton
11 Language, Gender & Racism Men: hear & speak a language of status and IndependenceWomen: hear and speak a language of intimacy
12 The Complexity of Language No primitive languagesLanguages have different ways to categorizeEnglish: hand, arm, fingersSpanish: mano, brazo, dedosArawak: upper arm and shoulder (daduna), lower arm and hand (dakabo)Food for Thought: Does your language have aword for the back of the knee or the place in thearm that is at the front of the elbow?
13 Silent Language & Symbolic Communication Beckon with index finger: “come here” in America; in many places (middle East, Latin America) it’s considered rude, vulgar.Make a V sign:With palm outward, Peace, love, victory; in Europe, palm inward means shove it.OK sign: in America means okay; in Brazil, it refers to a place where the sun rarely shines.Patting a child on the headFood for thought: Are there any symbolic gestures in your culture which have a different meaning in North America?
16 Cultural Time Present Oriented Past oriented Future Oriented Past-oriented: (culture history; traditions; take a long-view of history): Native Americans, Japanese, FrenchPresent-oriented: present most significant. Tradition holds little importance, planning for the future is not emphasized, but rather spontaneity and impulsiveness are more appreciated, and lifestyles tend to be relaxed and casual: Philippines, Latin America, and many countries with an Islamic tradition.Future-oriented: place a firm focus on planning and forward movement, present activities are viewed as a bridge to this future goal. This is the dominant tone in the United States.Future Oriented
17 Ritualized PhrasesHow are you?You fat!Behold the waters of life
18 Material CultureArtifacts & features are part of silent language. Members of a particular (mini)culture share an understanding of the SYMBOLIC meaning of their material culture.