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Department
Anthropology
Course
ANTH 204
Professor
Jennifer Paige Mac Dougall
Semester
Winter

Description
ANTH204AnthropologyofMeaningNotesINTRODUCTIONLanguage and cultural meaning Bonvillan 2004All languages encode values ideas and emotions in different ways myth legend and religion provide moral codes of behaviorThe grammatical structures of language express intentions and actionEnglish encodes the rights of people to control other beings linear cuts up in past present futureNavajo encodes the rights of all beings to decode on their actions cyclical entityThe experience encoded in language is not absolute objective or abstractit is lived and makes sense in a particular sociocultural modelFoundations of linguistic anthropologySapirWhorf hypothesis linguistic relativity in that ones language influences ones world viewStudies of Native American languagesVocabulary names meaningful or useful cultural objects and activitiesMultidirectional in that naming things also makes them culturally significantCoding of the environment and cultural vocabulary ex Palute peoples of Nevada Arizona and New MexicoLanguage creates and then reinforces cultural categoriesCausal relationship between language and thoughtLinguistic tagsHow do the denotations of vocabulary influence behaviorStandard Average European vs Hopi understandings of time bounded and objectified entities SAE vs continuous and cyclical HopiConceptualizations of time influenced by languageVocabulary and grammar influence perception attitudes and behavior the world is constructed as a cultural model through language BUT ones environment and experiences also influence the development of languageInnovation Options of thought BilingualismWeak language influentialStrong language directiveDomainsDomains of language aggregates of words all relating to a specific topic defined by similarity and contrast the body kinship color etcCultural variation in defining different aspects of particular domains based on needs and intentions animals gender age breedsNew concepts are incorporated into similar domainsCultural contact and domain transformations Tzeltal of Mexico sheep replaced word for deer and eventually deer became wild sheepComponential analysis Ward Goodenough 1950sUnderstanding cultural differences between the organization and significance of lexical components within a domainKinship terminology and definition of social obligationsEg Iroquois P54The meaning of kinship terms suggest social obligations which differ for users of different languages words reflect ones social and cultural modeloDifferent social configurations examples grandmother having children after her daughter had children cultural concept of way language developed depending on bodily experience of lifeoOperations of language not being clear cutVariability in the classification of domains ethnolinguisticsThe Papango in Arizona classify 1 people2 birds 3 animalsBut the general word for living thing is the same word as animal so perhaps animals are the best example of living things for the Papango whereas Birds and People hold specific significanceBirds and plant categories illustrate the significance of these entitiesbeings in a cultureLexical classificationsSome domains of vocabulary are clear other are not Assumptions based on perceived characteristics and associations whales tomatoes etchedges useful for uncertain categories strictly speaking loosely speaking only used when meanings are debatable of contextually sensitiveAnimate and inanimate objectsEx personhood not limited to humans ObjibwaTeosinthe oClassification in empirical termsFocal meaning prototype and schemaColor terms universalRed different hues shades what is the focal choice for red Is there agreement across culturesPrototypes most typical example within a category an idealization vs NonprototypicalatypicalLinguistic categorization also based on use ex cup becomes vaseSchema an abstract model that is not based on a prototypical example involves abstract conceptualizations of phenomena change over timedepending on cultureEx Writing marriage friendship writing dog house variation etcCulturally shared schema enable for effective communication without specifying detailSome cultures have a fluidflexible view of what can be considered animate or notCultural presuppositionDenotation and connotation schema World Series Stanley CupMontreal etcMaking assumptions about intention facial expression tone of voice appropriate word choiceGreetings and appropriate communication different connotation How are you Doesnt really mean how are youUsing language symbolically advertisingNew improved bigger better value of progress modernityMetaphorMetonymyComparison between entities that share certain featuresunderstanding one thing in terms of another
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