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Anthropology has some answers for U!

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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 of Sounds that are used to communicate thoughts and emotions Gestures that are used to communicate thoughts and emotions What’s being communicated in 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 learn is the palate by which we color our lives allows 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 language Study of the relationship between language and other aspects of culture & society Anthropologists 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
Cat Chat Gato Pungwul Displacement Arbitrariness a r c s h No self-evident link between word and sound The ability to communicate about something that is not happening at the moment. The ability to join words in infinite meaningful combinations The 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) t l m s Productivity Duality of Patterning

6 Socio (or ethno) linguistics
Studying Language Descriptive Historical Socio (or ethno) linguistics Descriptive: mechanics & pattering of language (phonology, morphology, syntax) Historical: relationships of languages to one another, reconstruct how languages change over time Sociolinguistics: 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 used Morphology: study of smallest combination of sounds (morphemes) that carry meaning Syntax: way in which morphemes put together into phrases & sentences Seeks 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 Alphabet Phonemes and allophones /l/ and /r/ = phonemes (English has 40) /p/ and /ph/ = allophones Other sounds Tones, 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 Sudan Ethnolinguistics: 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 / kah Honorifics and social status: Usted vs tu Gender differences: cousin vs primo / a Multilingualism Words 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 ancestors Sheep Mutton

11 Language, Gender & Racism
Men: hear & speak a language of status and Independence Women: hear and speak a language of intimacy

12 The Complexity of Language
No primitive languages Languages have different ways to categorize English: hand, arm, fingers Spanish: mano, brazo, dedos Arawak: upper arm and shoulder (daduna), lower arm and hand (dakabo) Food for Thought: Does your language have a word for the back of the knee or the place in the arm 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 head Food for thought: Are there any symbolic gestures in your culture which have a different meaning in North America?

14 Proxemics

15 Proxemics

16 Cultural Time Present Oriented Past oriented Future Oriented
Past-oriented: (culture history; traditions; take a long-view of history): Native Americans, Japanese, French Present-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 Phrases How are you? You fat! Behold the waters of life

18 Material Culture Artifacts & features are part of silent language. Members of a particular (mini)culture share an understanding of the SYMBOLIC meaning of their material culture.

19 Language and Culture

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