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ANT100 Linguistics Lecture 4: February 9, 2012
Language, Culture, Freedom
Language separates us, but also unites us!
Conformity: How does language contribute to the fact that we
obey and conform?
Ex: Dogs obey their masters
Language, and signifying behaviour in general, limits what we can
say, think and do
Words of language are limiting- they make a continuum into units
Often below the level of our consciousness
Limiting innovation preserves the social order
and can be hegemonic - elicits conformity in people, makes
people give their willing consent
So how free are we?
Languages, dialects, languages, ideologies
Social Variation: accents, sociolects (social dialects), registers
(varieties of language that depend on formality)
Hegemony: Three Approaches:
1) Manufacturing consent
2) Conformity and resistance
3) Incorporation: when people are rebelling against a powerful,
the powerful can INCORPORATE a rebellion.
Our society can incorporate resistance to itself.
Language varieties: "Language, dialects, accents, registers" -
these are popular, not scientific terms
Nation, Language, Dialect- it has to do with politics
"Language: a dialect with an army"
"Languages:" Danish, Norwegian; Russian, Ukrainian; Malay,
Indonesian; Serbian, Crotian- language with a
These are so closely related you can understand one if you know
"Dialects": Cantonese, Fukinese, Mandarin, - dialects of Chinese-
they aren't "languages" because they are all used
in the same country.; Tagalog, Ilokano- no state
"Languages": Serbian, Croatian; Hindi, Urdu- languages with a
religion (and a script)
Language Ideology - ideology about what is a language, what is
not in a specific area
Why do foreign accents persist?
Objective reasons: Critical period for learning distant languages
11-14 years of age?
After age 14- you will have an accent, Is it good to have a foreign
What about AUDIBLE MINORITIES? :)
Natural ability of brain - to learn language
Subjective reasons: Foreign accent depends on both production
and reception of speech: how people speak and
how we hear them
There are social conventions in what the boundaries are between
people that speak like us, people that don't
speak like us
Accents index involuntary ethnic divisions in our community