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Lecture 5

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James Stinson

Lecture 5 (Sociolinguistics)  Stratification and symbolic domination o People use and evaluate speech in the context of social, political, and economic forces. o The speech of low-status groups may be evaluated negatively (eg labeled as “uneducated speech”) not because it is ineffective in itself but because it has come to symbolize low status. E.G. stigmatizing of BEV as “incorrect” o “Proper language” itself becomes a strategic resource-and a path to wealth, prestige, and power. E.G. This partly explains difficulty of characters in ethnography of entering the “formal” service sector economy o Bourdieu calls this symbolic domination, when people who don’t usually use a prestigious dialect come to or are force to accept its authority and correctness Historical Linguistics  Historical linguistics studies long term linguistic change  Languages change over time, dividing into sub-groups (dialects)  If dialects are isolated long enough, they emerge as distinct daughter languages  Historical linguists can reconstruct many features of past languages by studying contemporary daughter language-languages that descend from the same parent language (protolanguage) Eg. English, German, Dutch all descend from Germanic  Historical linguistics classify languages according to their degree of relationship  Language Change o Invention  “googling” o Diffusion-indirect borrowing  Mix of English and Spanish on US Mexico border o Acculturation-direct contact, often forced change  Pidgins, creoles=new dialects  Pidgin-new type of language develops in colonial setting. Mix of indigenous language and English language.  Creole-mix of 2 different languages. Has a longer history then pidgin language…pidgin become creole language when the language becomes first (native) language learned through enculturation  Language Loss o An indigenous language goes extinct when its last speakers die o Half of the worlds linguistic diversity has been lost over the past 500 yrs and of the 7000 languages that exist today, 20% are endangered and half are expected to disappear within the next century o Some researchers and programs are trying to document the last speakers of the most endangered languages through digital audio and video recordings in order to preserve or revitalize them o Wade Davis on language loss-half of the language is not taught to children. Losing language means ur losing a way of seeing the world. Ways of Knowing, Ways of Being Beyond Religion  Objective is to explore how diverse cultural groups to understand the eworld, and how understanding is related to ways of being and social practice  Epistemology- study of knowledge and scope of knowledge  Ontology-the study nature of being, existence, or reality as well as the categories of being and their relations  Anthony Wallace (1965:5) defines religion as belief and ritual concerned with supernatural beings, powers, and forces  Supernatural-non-material, beyond the observable  Why might Wallace’s definition of religion be problematic? o Religion can guide the material world as well. Not all cultures have a concept of the supernatural. So it assumes the idea of supernatural is a universal category and that all religious beliefs relate to the supernatural realm. Relational Ontology  Animism-belief that non-human objects in the natural world are “animated” by spirits or “souls”  “Animism” derives from the latin word for “soul”=animus  Defined in 1871 by Sir Edward Tylor as a form of religion that attributed life or spirit to aspects of nature.  Tylor saw animism as the earliest form of religion as well as the basis of all religion Animism, Religion and science  Tylor interpreted animism through an evolutionary framework that saw it as a flawed and childlike belief system  Contemporary spiritual and religious practices seen as “survivals” of earlier forms of animism  Science (rationality) seen as superior and though to inevitably replace belief and superstition The New Animism  Term “Animism” abandoned due to negative connotation-“primitive”, “unsophisticated”, “childlike”  New research argues that Animism represents complex and intimate relationships between “communities of beings” (Be
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