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.
- 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
- 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
- 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.
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.
"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.
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
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
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
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
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
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