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Lecture 2

ANTB21H3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Noam Chomsky, Performativity, Intentionality

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Donna Young

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Week 2: ANTB21h3
Tutorial #2
Performativity: words and society and how it forms a society.
- Theme: relationship between language, performativity and social action
- Different forms of language action through speaking. This idea of saying is doing.
- key ideas from the readings: the main point is that the performativity is that what
you say. Performing as a concept is not the same as common usage of performance-
not exactly what we’re talking about. How did we think about language before?
- 1st the Chomsky perspective was looked upon.
Main theme: conceptual trajectory of “performativity” 1st she says that the
idea emerged from Chomsky when he was looking as 1. competence vs.
-Competence: knowledge about what you’re talking about. Unconscious
knowledge that speakers have. - ideal - There wouldn’t be any silence or a or
um. Which is impossible in reality. Everything will be perfect.
- he’s into intentionality – the way you speak with profs or TA’s are different
than how you talk to your friends.
- Performance actual, institutional context. Having the language in a
context. Putting unconscious knowledge into context.
Critiques: anthropologist are redefining the notion of competence. There are
boundaries within language. For some anthropologists performance is more
important than competence.
Dell Hymes competence of use. Its not only the competency but also the
ability to use it. People learning new language requires both of these.
2. Performativity: “doing by saying” Austin
Austin interested on constative and performatives. 5 mins example [will be
ready in 5 mins or the game will end in 5 mins] constantive, could be either
true or false and descriptive
Performatives : thoughts that performs an action by saying it.
intentionality : the intent of the action. Its very much based in English which
is an action based language.
Loosing the passive voice takes away the action. Just the act of talking is
doing and can determine the gender.
Centers on intentionality “saying is doing an action” , looking at
circumstances surrounding the utterance of a speech
Constantive- sentences that “say” something – descriptive
3. Performance as verbal art: - Bannan notion of the audience. How does
the audience get information out of the performance. It may differ from
position or who you’re sitting with. Audience changes because you may not
see what other people may see. The way that the interaction is might be
different cause of the audience.
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