ANTB21 LECTURE 2
What is language – connected to social identities, how we think about ourselves,
helps us communicate with our inner thoughts – very common feeling about
how language is built within us. repeating, reflecting, reusing, recycle – words
that can be used from other contexts. We often use stuff that we experienced
somewhere but there are things that comes from inside such as emotions and
feelings. Language is involved in creating social identities. What makes a name
cultural? How do you determine that? If Anit Patel was in Delhi then it wouldn’t
sound cultural name because he’ll be staying within his culture and it would be
Gestures, facial expressions and something about the way we talk is important to
the social identities. Different way to think about social identities – something
about the way the language works [very differently] which enables us to
determine the ethnic and racial sort of stuff
All have these ideas about how language works – but they don’t really describe
reality well. Language ideology- its not about race but its about correctness of
the way you speak. In certain kind of context, you would talk orally or formally
which is where the institutional power comes from – very difficult
All of these examples explain that it’s a difficult phenomena and change the
question to how does language work
There’s nothing in the name “Anit” which would make it “cultural”.
Different meanings of mean” – The man in the audience answered Russell. What
does “man” mean? Anit Patel What does “Anit Patel” mean? – cultural name?
The category has to match with description – pointing out on a woman whereas
as they’re talking about “man”
When we’re trying to explain the intuition between names – in order to figure
this out, we need to know that words and bits and pieces create different signs.
What is a sign? –Two elements – a symbol or some kind of forms which has some
kind of meaning for people.
How to cross intersections 101: urban transportation in North America – Red
signal. [stop – while driving] and green signal = go [while driving]
There’s something about these signs that have a meaning that are highly
contextual. Ex. Driving along and socialized into the sign – marginal example
The complexity of Signs – language . When we look at signs for figuring out all
these complex situations, rich vocabulary is required. Language is unique and
that works as framework to do anything i.e. imitating
Signs (roughly) – signs are forms that have meaning for some group and which
can be used while communicating. More technical definition: meaning is a
process that involved” three component signs (whatever stands for something else), objects (whatever a sign stands for) and interpretants (whatever a sign
creates insofar as it stands for an object)”
Linguistic sign: There is a FORM like man – function, another form is Anit Patel –
and will have different function. When we say man we think about the structure
and function about that word. One thing that is complicated is multifuntionality.
With the form of Anit Patel, it can signal that it’s a cultural or ethnic name.
The same form is multifunctionality – MAN AND ANIT – same form.
How does a man look like – part of a lexical knowledge. That man answered
question – more of a formal tone, whereas the dude answered the question –
uses an informal tone or socially recognized tone. The way forms function varies
across culturally within the same culture but different contexts. How those kinds
of social meanings like names are produced?
Ferdinan de Saussur, 1857-1913 – important for structuralism and post-
structuralism – he was extremely involved with structural anthropology. He
came up with the terms signifier and signified. Completely revolutionalized
without the books that he read. He was interested to understand the language in
a very restricted sense. He was interested how the form man would work with
the reference to other sign language. [reading #2]His ideas are misunderstood
and are called structural.
1. Duality , 2. Arbitrariness, 3. Referential function from Saussure’s model of the
Duality: In terms of language he uses concept and sound image. He’s not talking
about any given instincts like man but rather a psychological reality that
associates sound image of man with some kind of concept. What we mean by
concept as signified is not concrete but rather abstract. Whole sentences are
requires and how you’re analyzing it.
The relationship between the two inseparable house between them –
arbitrariness means there’s nothing about the tree that determines the shape of
the sound image or signifiers. There’s no greater proof of the social nature of
words. – there’s nothing about the natural world that is imposed to form
language. Trees mean different to different people. Some people might take it as
a form of worship or ancestral stuff.
This is what we talk about in terms of referential functions – noun that indicates
the object and refer to it. Sassure shaped his ideas in a way as if things were
referred before the world existed.
Saussure’s model of communication – contexualized utterances (Parole) :
Audition, phonation, look at the picture at ppt.
Charles Sanders Periece –