linguistics- first and third lecs

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10 Feb 2011

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Language Culture Prejudice
x Nature vs nurture
x - What is culture? comes through ^
x -Nature- human life governed by influence of genes on our behaviour and how we react to it on
basis of our genetic inheritance not by society but by genetic biological influence
x -Nurture is something we[ve invented eg criminals commit a crime is it their fault? (nature) or is
it society[s influence over them ? Comes from the life of human beings an not from the rest of
nature. It can be challenged and he will challenge it. It has something to do with humans being
dependant on out nurture side and makes us different from animals
x We have a more developed culture is a valid characteristic of human beings
x Adaptation
x Prejudice: racism, ethnocentrism we thing our culture is better and were smarter than animals
x The origins of anthropology and imperialism Anthropology grew in a conflict (imperialism)
x Anthropology can be a tool against ethnocentrism
x µoµoo]À]uÁZ]Zul]}lÇ}}ÁZÀµ]]]uo^}µµoµ_
Tuesday 1230-130
Language and culture: nurture vs nature
- Nature/nurture t is it a false contrast? Can you really contrast them?
- All humans have language and all humans have culture...his argument having a language
and cult is part of nature it }v[ZÀ}}(}µPv]ulµ}ÁZvÁÇ
that culture is not nature and when we say nurture is completely diff from nature because
the way we have that depends on us being human beings.
- His point is you cannot teach a chimp to have language you can call it language but it[s not
human language
- Language and culture are programmed into humans by nature
- Nature and nurture are not so distinct
Universals and particulars
- Language and culture and human universals
- Linguists who know one language because they study language as a universal but specific
cultures are human particulars
- Universals of language and culture are innate (transmitted via genes (through sex))
- Particulars (languages, cultures) are learned ( transmitted via society (largely through talk)
Adaptive Value of social transmission
- Evolution is an effort for a species to not become another species, a new species would only
develop when a certain species cannot adapt anymore in adaptation
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- Homosapiens can survive as us because when new challenges arrive because we have
culture were good at finding ways to survive these challenges
- Social transmission is learning and is much more flexible that genetic transmission eg when
mom tells you to eat spinach.
- Major changes can occur within a generation or two t young people see what happened
forty years ago it[s like an opposite world
- Major changes can occur without a change of species
- The genetic pools we have are the same and our bodies have evolved (people are taller
these days than before) eg ways people eat
- Our biological lives do depend on how we deal with the environment eg we can eat
whatever we want all day and most of us can afford it
- Researcher in Britain- has been able to expand the lives of flies and worms they have
oÌZ]u[ however but she raised them environment they could eat whatever or forage
for it
- The social conditions in which we live the affluence it has can result in an expansion of our
life spans
Differentiation with species t side effect to ^
- Eg if we walked outside naked today vs back in the stone age we are now dependant
clothing and now we have to adapt to stuff like pollution that we ourselves have created
- Social transmission has side effect of differentiation
- Specific languages and cultures develop to cope with specific environmental niches(areas )
- This differentiation becomes imp in way we interact
- Were not oblivious to difference in language and looks we say were not racist but its how
we perceive the world
- Words: snow iphone love t how diff languages speak of love Spanish t love and warmth is
the same word
- Cultures : potlatch(traditional custom where aboriginal demonstrate wealth by giving it
away but govt took away because destructive) brides wealth/dowry
- Culture (with language) change the niche itself economic reasons for changing cultures
- All cultures very adaptable and allow us to remain homosapiens regardless of change
Cyborgs and Replicants
- Still homo sapiens t will homo sapiens actually disappear
Difference conflict and prejudice
- Within all species groups can come into conflict over resources and most in the world are
over resources eg poor trying to cross borders at risk of lives
- In homo sapiens these groups may be culturally adapted to different niches
- And or have different cultures and languages
- And this maybe accompanies by prejudices about the other
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- Prejudice stems from competition over resources not always true but historically true
Origins of anthropology
- In the 19th century when the north euro countries took over the rest of the world
- When modern anthropology developed in a specific niche
- Zv]ZÁ^ZÁ_~v}Zv}P}PZ]o
- in this niche in the nineteenth century that[s where anthropology began
The west and the rest of the world
- more than ever was known in the west about the non-west than ever in the history of
- part of it was just knowledge
- the excitement in England when someone went to Africa and sent back a report = going to
the moon today or news of mars
- the west was becoming dominant all over the world the colonial empires built
- how to deal with people in the colonies when English people went
- the age of imperialism (late 1800s to mid 1900s)
- brit govt needed money to run these colonies
Anthropology and the non-west
- anthropology was largely the discipline to explain the non-west
- the general public and early anthropologists understood the non-west in terms of three
kinds of difference :
- a. Linguistic (language)
- b. cultural tcustoms and beliefs
- c. Physical/racial
- this is also how most western nations understood themselves
language and prejudice
- all languages have the same general form (eg words sentences, nouns, verbs)
- there[s nothing scientific to distinguish one language from another every language has
nouns and verbs
- but we[re ranked on an evolutionary scale from primitive to advanced
- primitive speak primitive and advanced speak advanced is a completely false analysis
- the indo-European languages were considered to be the u}^Àv^
- Indo European- Urdu Hindi Persian because most advanced as they had expanded all over
the world so this proof developed that they were the most adaptive(schlegle)
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