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Anthropology Review.docx

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University of Toronto St. George
Andrea Muehlebach

Anthropology Review Linguistic Anthropology: The role of language in human social life Winking: - winking is a communicative act - In other cases winking is combined with talk - Winking is uniquely human (no other animal winks) Intention: - All animals blink without communicative intention - Only humans wink with communicative intention - A wink is addressed to someone Wink vs. Blink: - Geertz claims that there is a very big difference between a wink and a blink What does this have to do with language? - On way to try and understand what language is: compare it to other modes of communication Design Features: 1. Interchangeability: User can both transmit and receive messages 2. Semanticity: All languages convey some meaning 3. Arbitrariness: There is no inherent connection between sounds (or words) and there meanings or physical referents. 4. Discreteness: Larger, complex messages can be broken down into discrete parts 5. Productivity: Speakers can create and infinite number of novel utterances that others can understand 6. Traditional Transmission: The learning of language occurs in social groups 7. Duality of Patterning: Meaningful words are made up of meaningless parts - A wink is a symbol and has a meaning - It’s a part of culture - Human winking is voluntary and intentional - Sarah Palin wink, people assumed something bigger than what it was intended for - A wink is a form of intentional communication Referential vs. Non-Referential: - One aspect of semanticity = reference - Reference with pointing - Reference requires joint attention - Reference with words - E.x ``pass the salt`` - ``Joint attentional model`` of reference - or ``shared intentionality model`` of human communication (pass the salt pictures) - the something that they are communicating about is what they are jointly attending to - Not all words refer – so you can have verbal communication without reference too Non-Referential Communication – perception of an object without known points of reference Referential Communication – communicative acts, generally spoken, in which some kind of information is exchanged between 2 speakers. - Animals other than humans communicate but do not refer - Humans communicate in ways that display their relation to one another - From an early age human children are communicating referentially - They show things to others thereby creating the joint attenional frame required for reference Animals: Intentional – No Referential – No Humans: Intentional – Yes Referential – Yes What distinguishes human communication from that of the other great apes? - Humans are apes - - Language? - No other ape has language but scientists try to show that chimps, bonobos and gorillas are capable of learning human language - E.x Washoe - Chomsky defines language as the capacity to generate infinite number of expression from a finite set of elements - Apes can’t speak or point but they can combine signs that they’ve learnt - They are capable of intentional and flexible sign use - Capable to atte
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