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Lecture 6

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Lecture 6: June 13, 2013 Continuation from Lecture 5: Linguistic. Other half of the lecture will be Ch.9 Religion. Next week no lecture (Reading Week). Mid-term on June 27. Sociolinguistics - Linguists recognize that there are many forms of English, and not a single correct once with subservient variants - linguistics relativity. - Ethnicity/Race/Class Speech Contrasts - Ethnicity, social status/class, and "Race" can also impact the way people use a given language E.g., (BEV) Black English Vernacular - BEV is a dialect of English Spoken by the majority of black youth in inner city urban areas, most rural areas, and is often used in casual speech of adults- not spoken by all African Americans. - BEV is a complex linguistic system with its own phonology and syntax. - There are clear phonological and grammatical difference between BEV and Standard English (SE). E.g., double negative in BEV. - SE is not superior to BEV as a linguistic system, but it is the prestige dialect with the most "symbolic capital" - a resource that can be used to gain social, economic, and political advantage. - The education system denies linguistics relativity by suggesting that prestige speech is inherently better than non-standard dialects.  Stratification and symbolic domination  People use and evaluate speech in the context of social, political, and economic forces.  The speech of low-status or lower-class groups may be evaluated negatively (e.g., labelled 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".  Certain language or dialects comes to have symbolic attachments to it. They just symbolize as lower status.  "Proper Language" itself becomes a strategic resource - and a path of wealth, prestige, and power. E.g., This partly explains difficulty of characters in ethnography of entering the "formal" service sector economy.  Bourdieu calls this "symbolic domination," when people who do not usually use a prestigious dialect come to or are forces to accept its authority and correctness.  A particular way of speaking can look dominating to others. Historical Linguistics  It is a long term linguistic change  Languages change over time, dividing into sub-groups (dialects).  If dialects are isolated long enough, they emerge as distinct daughter language.  Historical Linguists can reconstruct many features of past languages by studying contemporary daughter language - languages that descend from the same parent language (Protolanguage) - E.g., English, German, Dutch all descend from Germanic.  Historical linguists classify languages according to their degree of relationships.  Indo-European branches of the language tree. --> Germanic - classify into English, German, Dutch, etc. Language Change  Invention  "Googling" new words have invented like  Diffusion - indirect borrowing  Mix of English and Spanish on U.S. Mexico border.  Acculturation - direct contact, often forced change.  Pidgins: linguistics word to define new colonial setting- take elements of language and create new language, formed when two culture come in contact. Creoles: mix of 2 diff language. Creole has to do with, people's primary 1st language, young people getting in culturated..start speaking pidgins, thus the  Acculturation leaves to the formation new unique dialects/language. Language Loss  An indigenous language goes extinct when its last speakers die.  There are 7000 languages spoken  Half of the word's linguists diversity has been lost over the past 500 years and of 7000 language that exist today, 20% are endangered and half are expects to disappear within next century  Some researches and programs are trying to document the last peaks of the most endangered language through digital audio and video recordings in order to preserve or revitalize them.  Wade Davis on Language Loss. Making only 1 language world-wide. Language is not only element of culture, it is centre..if you lose one language, you are losing that culture capital that we have built up in human diversity. Language loss is also a large-scale of culture loss. Chapter 9: Religion Religion is one of the element which is quite central to the ways of knowing, understanding the world. Ways of Knowing, Ways of Being. - Beyond Religion - Epistemology and Ontology - Objective is to explore how diverse culture groups understanding is related to ways of being and social practice. - Epistemology: the study of knowledge and scope of knowledge (More of a Mental) - Ontology: The study of the nature of being, existence, or reality as well as the categories of being and their relations. (More of a Physical) - 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? - it just not only deal with supernatural, but also in materialistic world as well. - Assumes Universal category "supernatural" and that all "religious" beliefs relate to the supernatural realm. Relational Ontology  Has to do with the ways of being in the world and acting. Particularly concerned with understanding the relationship between culture/religion.  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 flawed and childlike belief system.  Contemporary spiritual and religious
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