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linguistics- first and third lecs

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University of Toronto St. George
Christopher Watts

Language Culture Prejudice N Nature vs nurture N - What is culture? comes through ^ N -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 N -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 N We have a more developed culture is a valid characteristic of human beings N Adaptation N Prejudice: racism, ethnocentrism we thing our culture is better and were smarter than animals N The origins of anthropology and imperialism Anthropology grew in a conflict (imperialism) N Anthropology can be a tool against ethnocentrism N ooo]]ZKZ] ZKlZ]}l}}Z Z]]ZZ]Ko^} o_ Tuesday 1230-130 Language and culture: nurture vs nature - Naturenurture J 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 }ZL[Z}}}2L] KlZ}ZLZ 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 - 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 J 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 oZ]K[Z 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 J 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 J how diff languages speak of love Spanish J 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 wealthdowry - 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 J 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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