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Lecture

ANTH100 Lecture Notes - Sociolinguistics, Historical Linguistics, Language Family


Department
Anthropology
Course Code
ANTH100
Professor
Jennifer Liu

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ANTH 102 Chapter 9: Communication MARCH 4
How do we Communicate?
- “communication is the process of sending and receiving meaningful messages. Among humans it involved
a form of language, a systematic set of symbols and signs with learned meanings”
- Spoken words
- Written words
- Body language (Gestures, clothing, hairstyles)
- Sign languages
- Silence
- Body language (walking style, eye movements, posture)
- Clothing (head coverings, kimono sleeve length, different colors according to gender)
Phonemes: Sound that makes a difference in spoken language
Ethnosemantics: Meaning of language in particular cultural contexts
Media Anthropology
- Cross culturally study of communication through media
- Radio, TV, film, music, literature, newspapers, internet
Critical Anthropology
- Who’s interest do the media serve?
- Liberatory or controlling?
- Power, access, effects?
Language, Diversity, Inequality
- Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis: people’s language affects how they think. People who speak different languages
know the world in different ways
Words and grammatical structures shape reality
- Sociolinguistics: cultural and social contexts shape people’s language and their meanings including a
person’s social position
Edward Sapir
- No two languages are similar enough to be considered as representing the same social reality
- The words in which different cultures live are distinct worlds, not merely the same world with different
labels attached
Language Change
- Historical linguistics: language families from which languages derived
- Language family: a group of languages descended from a parent language
Ex. Niger-congo
- Writing systems emerge with the development of the state
4 stages of language decline and loss
1. Language shift/decay
2. Language endangerment
3. Near-extinction
4. Language extinction
“deciding which version of an endangered language to preserve may have political consequences at the local level”
Language Extinction
- Some argue language loss is related to cultural loss
- Loss of knowing a way of the world
- Over last 500 years 4.5% of world’s languages disappeared
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