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PSYC14 - Lec 8 - Culture and Language - near-verbatim.docx

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University of Toronto Scarborough

PSYC14 Lecture 8 Language and Culture PY Date Nov 8 2012 Slide 2 Overview1 Coevolution of culture and language2 Universal features of language3 Culturally distinct features of language4 Language and thoughtthe SapirWhorf hypothesis o Support and challenge to hypothesisSlide 3 Human Culture and LanguageHistorically speaking1 Humans havent always been verbal o Communication hasnt always taken the form of words in the pastgestures and sounds that arent semantic no lexical or linguistic base to themo Chimps provide a modernday model of what human communication once wasChimps groom each other for 20 of their waking hours bc grooming is the primary way of maintaining social bonds with their kin in their groupsIts possible that humans in the past engaged in behaviors like this as their primary form of socializingSlide 4Human culture has changed across time language doesnt remain staticas culture changes so does language2 Human culture evolved necessitating language o As Robin Dunbar 2004 sees itA nonverbal lifestyle had its limitsIf grooming was the main form of socializing theres some problems o Grooming was problematic because its extremely timeconsuming chimps groom for 20 of their waking hours to maintain society and their group consists of approx 50 memberslot of time human group in past would have had 150 group membersso significantly more than 20 of waking hours spent groomingsocializing40 to maintain social bonds only fosters connection between 2 individual involves handeye coordination takes your attention away from other thingsNonverbal lifestyle seems to be doing its job until the group gets too large and grooming gets to be too timeconsumingtherefore language also changes to accommodate for the culturalcommunity based factorsNot particular efficient as a means of socializing Evolving manual skills that compete with groomingbut grooming takes up so much time so grooming really needs to be replacedThus factors that pushed for change1 increase in theof ppl in the community o Too many ppl to groom 1PSYC14 Lecture 8 Language and Culture PY Date Nov 8 2012 2 humans at this time are becoming increasingly sophisticated when it comes to developing manual skills like tool building and construction of shelter o Makes sense that humans develop verbal mode of socializing to replace nonverbal method of social grooming o Verbal mode of socializing includes laughter and spoken wordSlide 5Accordingly humans evolved a verbal mode of socializing in order to replace nonverbal modes of communicationNew verbal mode was functionally superior bc o Quick dont have to have dialogue for hours to maintain basic level of acquaintance o Can be done in group much more efficientlyo Something that allows us to multitaskSupports manual habits that were increasingly developingthis time make tools and talkthe same timetherefore adaptive change in culture that put demands on ppl that was accommodated by the development of language o More wordssee world more complexlyway that we speak influences way we think o More clarificationSlide 6Languagehuman culture are COEVOLVINGLanguagehuman culture are 2 diff domainsthey change independently of each other but the fact is because one has changed it leads to changes in the other domain because language changes human culture changes because human culture changes there are changes in the way that we express ourselves linguisticallyits a process of interanimation o Example 1 language and craftingCraftingcultural activity Knitting groupsocializationtalking while accomplishing the work that theyre doingCoevolution of human culture and languagewhats happening to language bc of this quilting groupIn these groups most women couldnt read but there were a few that could and they would be appointed as the reader in these quilting groups and they would read and so the other illiterate women would have opportunity to expand their vocabso culture the knitting group acts on languageelaborating on the persons lexiconvocab increasesThe idea also becomes that its cool to be able to read and women should be able to read also 2
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