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Lecture 3

CMNS 110 Lecture Notes (Week 3&4)

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Simon Fraser University
CMNS 110
Jean Herbert

Week 3 Language and Culture Language Evolution andAcquisition (CAPS) - language origins - language acquisition - "magical" words - two theories of language origins - Charles Hockett's Design Features of Language Augustine. Confessions (397 AD) "Magical words" - politeness: "Please" and "thank you" - expletives (cursing, swearing) - hate speech (illegal in Canada and other jurisdictions) - euphemisms (for death, excrement, etc) Two Theories of Origins: - The Call of Nature Hypothesis: out of the inarticulate calls, cries and grunts of our Hominid ancestors, speech gradually emerged; this echoes Augustine's intuitions, but now (18 Century) language is thought of as socially created (not divinely bestowed upon each individual) - The Gestural Origins Hypothesis: gestures arose first, and uttered language came later; infants use their limbs to reinforce inarticulate cries; ancient hominids may have needed to coordinate hunts with visible gestures; in the 18-19 century the "call of the nature" hypothesis was the leading one Hockett's Design Features of Language - difference between a communication system vs. an actual language (animal vs. human communication) PRIMARY ORALITY: - Walter Ong - Marshall McLuhan: literacy introduces linear thinking and linear rationality; electronic culture retrieves orality/aurality; think about how the medium itself orders thought (example: how do we think about cities?) Polychronic and Monochronic Time - Monochronic (M) time: linear, scheduled, quantified (saved or spent or wasted), task orientated (roughly-business/gendered as male) - Polychronic (P) time: non-linear, unscheduled, unquantified, people-orientated (roughly- family/gendered as female in the West) - the linear character of the post-alphabet/literate era is directly related to the increased schedule- obsessed, task-orientation of modern Capitalism...with attendent effects on the gendered division of labour, spatial organization of cities by urban planners, the organization of TV schedules and programs, etc Imagining Primary Orality: "Imagine writing a treatise on horses...all the points of difference..." (Walter Ong, Orality and p
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