ETHNOGRAPHY OF COMMUNICATION As a domain of inquiry, linguistic anthropology starts from the theoretical assumption that words matter and from the empirical.
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ETHNOGRAPHY OF COMMUNICATION As a domain of inquiry, linguistic anthropology starts from the theoretical assumption that words matter and from the empirical finding that linguistic signs as representations of the world and connections to the world are never neutral… (Duranti, (2002: 5).
Sociolinguistics and Linguistic Anthropology Connected to sociology Quantitative methods Urban environments Developed in the 1950’s and 60’s Subfield of Anthropology Qualitative methods Small scale societies Developed by Frank Boas (early 1900’s)
Influenced by Ethnography of Communication Dell Hymes (1960’s and 1970’s) Linguistics in the widest possible way: folklore, international linguistics, cognitive anthropology, sociology, etc
Ethnography of communication: The study of communication in its widest cultural and social context, including rules of language, norms of appropriate language use in particular settings, and evaluations given by members of a culture to various speech styles
Concern with: Segmentation of a speech communities: class, gender, race, age, and ethnicity Alternative means utilised by speakers to obtain goals The roles of speakers as social actors; The function of speaking as a social activity
Speech event and Context “Would you be so kind as to pass me the salt? “Gimme the salt! Many ways to achieve several purposes
Communicative rules: Exist in all cultures Define acceptable behavior Give directives shape behaviour and help in evaluating others May change from context to context Cultural specific
The most important aspects of a communicative interaction are: Settings Participants topics Goals They are interconnected Two types of communicative interactions: formal and informal
Formal: University Class Setting: a fixed arranged local, A university classroom Participants: are defined: students and teachers Topics; fixed: math, history, anthropology, etc Goals: to teach and learn, etc.
Setting: Arena for action Define events Culturally defined formalities
Universal Aspects of Formality (Irvine, 1979) Increased structuring: rules of etiquette Consistency of co-occurrence choices: stylistic choices Emphasis on positional identities of participants: play of multiple roles or identities Emergence of a central situational focus: constrains on choice of topic
Participants Speakers, addressees, and audiences Choice of speakers: --pronunciation --prosodic features --syntax --choice of words --nonverbal cues
Terms of address FN, Title + Last name (TLN) Reciprocal FN and TLN Non-reciprocal: FN-TLN and TLN-FN Pronouns: T and V from the French Tu and Vous Honorifics: markers that signal respect
Nahuatl degrees of respect I. intimacy and subordination: prefixes between intimates of similar age and status to signify closeness II. Neutrality and distance; prefixes employ among strangers III Honour: to address older woman and men IV Restricted to people who are in a compadrazgo relationship
TOPICS and GOALS TOPICS Preference of co-participants Disapproval of violations of rules GOALS Individual and collective Expressed in a variety of forms Formal or informal language
Anthropological Approaches to Language as Action Bronislaw Malinowski (1884—1942) the native’s point of view the native’s relations to life the native’s vision of his world
Malinowski’s Ethnographic Theory 1. context of the situation 2. language as a mode of action Inadequacies of translation limitations of traditional grammatical analysis
Ethnographic Theory of Language Living among the natives Coral Gardens and their Magic (1935) in Trobriand Islands Function of language: Pragmatic, active Pragmatism typical of all languages Pragmatics: Verbal acts, Speech acts
Speech Acts as Units of Action J.L Austin (1940’s) Speech Acts Limitations of declarative sentences or assertions All men are mortal. The snow is white. The king of France is Bald.
A locutionary act the act of saying something: You are fired, I will pay you back next week, What time is it?
An illocutionary Act the act the speaker can accomplish in saying something by means of the conventional force of the locutionary act. You are fired: may be used to change someone’s status from employee to unemployed
A perlocutionary act the actual act produced by the uttering of the particular locution May or may not coincide with illocutionary acts