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Lecture 1

ANT253H1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Marcel Danesi, Buddhist Meditation, Feral Child


Department
Anthropology
Course Code
ANT253H1
Professor
Marcel Danesi
Lecture
1

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Professor Marcel Danesi Jan. 10, 2017
ANT253 LECTURE 1
LANGUAGE
WHAT IS LANGUAGE?
- Lexicon
- Method of communication
- De-centre language (brings back images, movement of expressionism and anti-linguist
beliefs)
Ex. Buddhist meditation looks to feel inwards by eliminating language
- Philosophers look at it as a form of understanding
- Pānini was a mathematician who took poems and said that the way we understand them is
through the bits and pieces of words which, when connected together, create the whole
- Logos = Greek work for “word” and “thought”
- Concept each language is used to solve universal problems of knowledge and of social
organization
Each language develops words/terms that they need based on their situations
(such as first world countries’ languages having words like “FaceBook” and
“iPad”
Ex. colour system (each language has one)
- Language Attrition
language is dying
the biosphere is put at risk when speeches die
if language die, we are shrinking our world base (we are the lesser for it)
it is a pipe dream that everyone would learn English
- Language Families
The language you speak was part of a larger community of languages which
broke up from it and developed different characteristics
Ex. Latin roots of French, Italian, Spanish
There are “sister languages” understand the Diaspora
No culture without language
- All languages have a finite set of distinctive sounds used to make words or smaller units
(such as in- and ly above), ad infinitum; the sounds are called phonemes and the units
morphemes
- Languages might also have symbols (pictographs, alphabet characters, etc.) for
imprinting the words on surfaces or other physical media (known as writing) in order to
preserve messages
2. innovate and coin words referring to new objects, ideas, and events
3. putting words together in creating larger units/lending meaning (phrases, sentences, texts)
these form the basis of dialogue, literacy, creative writing, and other communicative and
expressive functions
4. languages make purposeful social interaction possible, providing vocal and written means for
carrying out rituals, interpersonal relations, and other social functions; context affects
language interpretation
5. languages are highly variable across time and space, splitting into variants known as dialects
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