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Study Guide for Linguistic Anthropology

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Anthropology 1020E
Karen Pennesi

Study Guide for Linguistic Anthropology Chapter 1: Introducing Linguistic Anthropology (have a full understanding on the points that are in this chapter) (know the difference between the types of data and the data collection method)  Anthropology – the holistic study of humankind  Linguistic anthropology – how people use language, where it came from, social variations, how language has changed over time, relations between speech use and society/culture  Linguistics – scientific study of language, more focused on grammar, the study of language structure, sounds, the rules languages follow  Holistic – focuses on the system as a whole rather than its parts  Franz Boas – held the first academic position in anthropology in the US, wrote publications on Native American art, music, and language; he shaped anthropology and he has had a direct influence on anthropology even after his death  Edward Sapir – language is related to culture Chapter 2: Methods of Linguistic Anthropology  Fieldwork – exposure of anthropologists to the societies they wish to study  Participant observation – the immersion of anthropological field-worker in a community for an extended period to observe the people in the society o Helpful to be able to communicate with the people in their own language o Translators might distort what is being interpreted and are not perfectly reliable  Informant – the native speaker that the researcher collects linguistic or cultural information from  Consultant – an intellectual contribution made to linguistic/anthropological studies by the people who are working with the anthropologists or linguists o The collaboration of the members of the society and outsiders  Culture – socially acquired, shared ways of doing things and understanding the world  Methods used in linguistics vs. linguistic anthropology – LA requires immersion into the culture and interaction with people, linguistics can be based solely of data that has been collected o Ways of collecting data  Participant observation  Interviews  Surveys  Naturally occurring talk  Experiments (not very often)  Analysis of written text – graffiti (what are people saying, what it means), emails, something that has been transcribed, etc.  Research assistants – used for transcribing, help in interviews, a translator (typically dot use because anthropologists like to learn the language of the people) or local person who knows the language Chapter 3: Language is Sound  Phonology – the study of phonetics and phonemics of a language and the sound changes that take place over time (sounds) o We often have distinct phonology – accents  Phonetics – phonetic description of a particular language is an attempt to account for all the audible and perceivable differences among the sounds of that language o Where are the lips and how do they move (is the mouth round, flat, etc.)  Phoneme – a sound unit o They are sounds that make a difference when you change the sound in the word. (Meaningful = speakers notice the difference (bat, sat, mat, the b, p, m) (cup, cap, cop – all three different sounds that mean different words) o Every language has its own set of phonemes  “Etic” vs. “Emic” – (pg. 49) derived from phonetics and phonemics, coined by Kenneth Pike in a work in which he attempted to relate the study of language to the structure human behaviour o According to Pike there are several differences between the etic and emic approaches to language and culture – social scientists who study behaviour follow the etic approach because the units they use are available in advance. What goes on from the speakers point of view, do they realize they’re using it. Culture specific – can only be applied to one language at a time o Emic approach comes from within – units must come from analysis. It is potentially cross-cultural and comparative in that they can sometimes be applied to more than one language or culture. Etic is a prerequisite for discovering an emic system. Things we don’t realize we’re doing when we’re speaking – we know the sound p but we don’t know that we have three different p sounds  Voiced sound – vocal cords are drawn together and made to vibrate as air tries to pass through them (ex. When saying the word “buzz”)  Voiceless sounds – vocal cords are spread apart but tensed (the beginning and end of the word “ship”) o When we are not speaking, vocal cords are spread apart and relaxed o Tension of the vocal cords determines the frequency and vibration and therefore pitch o Force of the outgoing air regulates loudness of sound  Vowels – in the production of vowels, air that escapes through the mouth and nose is typically unimpeded. Vowels are classified according to the part of the tongue that is raised, configuration of the lip, and the extent to which the tongue approaches the palate above it. Also includes the muscular effort and movement that goes into producing a vowel sound. Vowels are commonly associated with accent because of the stress placed on the word o Tense vowels = tension in the tongue muscles is prominent (ex. Beat or boot) o Lax vowels = lacking or scarcely noticeable (ex. Bit or book) o Diphthong – a change in vowel quality in the same syllable  Consonants – in the production of consonants, places of articulation range all the way from the glottis to the lips  International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA, do not memorize the chart but know what it is used for and why it was developed) – most common speech sounds and their modifications are represented by phonetics in the IPA o Various symbols and diacritics can be used to represent many sounds occurring in the world’s languages Chapter 4: Structure of Words and Sentences  Morphology – the study of word structure, including classification and interrelationships among morphemes (grammar)  Morpheme – small meaningful segments that get arranged into words, phrases, and sentences, they contain no smaller meaningful parts, smallest contrastive unit of grammar  Discourse – putting words together, the principle analytical unit of communicative behaviour in linguistic anthropology. Discourse can be short or long, oral or written, planned or unplanned, etc. A great deal of culture is emitted through discourse, and discourse is said to make up for a great deal of any culture  Prefix – attached to a morpheme before the stem  Suffix – attached to a morpheme after the stem (different than pluralizing)  Syntax – study of sentences, the internal structure of sentences and the interrelationship between various sentence elements (being able to say sentences that you have never heard before, having a strong understanding of the vocabulary and grammar concepts of a language, language competence, largely unconscious)  Noam Chomsky – (pg. 67) linguistics changed from the earlier descriptive approach due to Chomsky, he had a theoretical perspective called transformational-generative grammar. He was concerned with questions surrounding language like how we already know so much about our native language without any formal learning. Chapter 5: Nonverbal Communication  Nonverbal communication – transmission of signals that are not spoken or written down (includes body gestures, facial expressions, touch, smell, etc.)  Paralanguage/paralinguistic features– characteristics of vocal communication that are considered optional and are therefore excludable from linguistic analysis. Most common paralinguistic features are: o Voice qualifiers – one of voice and pacing of speech, variations in volume or intensity o Voice characterizers – other things that accompany speech (ex. Laughing, crying, groaning, whimpering, etc.) o Vocal segregates – sounds hat are not words or recognized in the phonemic system (ex. Uh-huh, tsk-tsk, any other kind of grunt or snort) o Concrete examples of paralinguistic behaviour: talking with a loud, crisp, voice that is highly articulated is expected at formal events in front of an audience; in contrast, slurred and relaxed speech at a low volume can be heard from those who are tired or sleepy. o In English, extreme pitch is associated with surprise of happiness, and high pitch and fast tempo can be associated with fear or anger o Gestures and expressions are more for the speaker and less for the listener (like when talking on the phone and you still make these gestures even though no one can see you) o Paralanguage – modifications of the way you say things to show emotion  Volume  Pitch  Speed  Tone of voice  Voice quality  Kinesics – the study of body language (basic principle is that no by movement or facial expression lacks meaning). Facial expressions and posture can be used to signal a wide range of emotions, eye contact can be significant, and hand gestures can signal many things as well (all culture-specific)  Sign language – as old as speech, people who are not able to communicate orally will use their hands to make gestures so that they can be understood. Sign language has the same design features of oral language (hand shapes that mean nothing until you put them together) Chapter 6: The Development and Evolution of Language  Channels of communication – the means of sending messages clearly is not limited to sound or visible signs (although they are the most frequently used by humans) o Most common is the acoustic channel o Optical channel is anything related to vision – writing, gestures, pictures, o Tactile channel – anything you touch (ex. Braille) o Olfactory channel – something that is communicated by the sense of smell (not eating garlic before going to meet people or making your room smell nice) (also used by bugs in the form of pheromones)  Communication vs. language – language is oral but communication can be anything to communicate a point (gestures, facial expressions, hand actions)  The stages of human evolution in relation to language development – Language developed along with our evolution as a species o Unknown when humans started using a spoken language like we do today. No physical evidence of the evolution of language o Human characteristics related to the evolution of language (2-3 million years ago): i. Bipedalism (walking on 2 legs) ii. Use of tools – in order to create the tools that have been found, some sort of speech must have been established before then iii. Increased brain size (large in comparison to total body mass) iv. Preference for vocal auditory channel b. 50, 000-70, 00 years ago i. Invention of symbols ii. Productivity iii. Duality of patterning iv. Syntax (sentence structure) – when you combine things in certain ways they mean something different c. Human beings are genetically imprinted to use language, we can transport information 10x faster than any other animal with another form of communication, language spread through migration, physical changes in the body and brain are the reason for the development of language, the need for language and the advantage you would have over other species d. Human capacity for social learning – learning from each other – gave us an advantage over other species; “language evolved to solve the crisis of visual theft” (watching someone catch a fish then learning how they did it and catching it before them the next time); language is a piece of social technology for enhancing the benefits of cooperation  Protolanguage – reconstructed parent languages, lots of languages were derived from one language (ex. Proto-Indo-European)  Design features of language – (pg. 101) proposed by Charles Hockett, they are the properties that characterize human speech, a radical shift in thinking in linguistics, Hockett found 16 things that he felt characterized human language – human languages possess all of these design features whereas the communication systems of other animals only possess some o Vocal-auditory channel – speaking and hearing, a preference, we can communicate without using our voice, but the spoken language dominates o Duality of patterning – ability to have a finite number of meaningless sounds that you can put together to create something meaningful. Meaningless parts or sounds (vowels and consonants have no meaning by themselves until you put them together) o Productivity – finding new things to say (creating new sentences), the language isn’t always the same o Displacement – not limited to only the immediate situation (animals talk about food, what is happening currently), humans can talk about the past, the future, imagination, things that do not exist, planning ahead. o Reflexiveness – talking about our own language, studying it, talking about people’s use of language  Nim –  Washoe – the chimp they tried to teach sign language  Charles Hockett – came up with the “design features” of language  Visual theft – the idea is that if you know how to do something, someone else can just watch what you’re doing and steal your idea. When you have language, you can talk about things without having to show somebody and you can communicate other things besides just showing and watching Chapter 7: Acquiring Languages  Bilingualism – the ability to speak two languages  Multilingualism – competence in more than one language o Active or passive – active is the ability to speak fluently and have conversations, passive is when you understand it and can be spoken to in another language but you respond in another language  Relationship between language, ethnicity, nationality  Theories of language acquisition o Behaviorist – (B.F. Skinner) stimulus-response-reward formula, human environment provides language stimuli that the child repeats and if they do a good job they are rewarded. Language is acquired through different types of learning. o Innatist – argues that there are some aspects of language already present at birth (this theory is supported by Noam Chomsky) o Sociocultural – the acquisition of language comes from the need to become a competent member of society, learning how to use language appropriately in society  Language acquisition device – children are all born with the capacity for language development. It is argued that language tendencies are genetically built in, that any child has the ability to learn their first language quickly no matter how complex it is. o Critical age – the idea that language is acquired easily during the stages of brain maturation (before puberty) and becomes more difficult after that  Code-mixing – incorporating just one word from another language into the sentence  Code-switching – the mixing of words, phrases, or sentences within the same speech event (starting a sentence in English and ending it in Spanish) o Indicates competence, shows you know both languages, how to use them, when it is appropriate  Diglossia – the use of two distinct varieties of a language for two different functions (one is a formal variety and the other is a colloquial) o Of the two varieties, the colloquial is typically learned first and is used for conversation, everyday interaction, etc. Formal is typically used in government, legal, and literary situations, it is also taught in schools  Dell Hymes – (pg. 130) according to Hymes, the world of human societies is divisible according to communicative units. These units overlap and the association between a particular code and cultural features but be considered on a case-by-case basis Chapter 8: Language Through Time  Synchronic – the idea that a language has been sliced through time, ignoring any previous history  Diachronic – the study of the historical changes in language, paying attention to the changes that have been made over time  Language family – all languages that are related having descended from a single ancestral language  Linguistic classification by types – isolating, inflecting, agglutinative, and polysynthetic  Genetic classification by language family – language families and language isolates (languages that are not related to another language) o Phylum in linguistic classification – a group that encompasses all those languages judged a more remote relationship than do languages assigned to a family o Can be classified according to structural features or word order  Cognate – a word related to another by descent from the same ancestral language  Lexical diffusion – the modern view about how sound changes operate (how sounds spread or diffuse through words of a language)  Assimilation – the influence of a sound on the neighbouring sound so that the two become similar or the same (ex. Rapid native English speakers will pronounce “ten bucks” as “tembucks”, and will not pronounce the s as clearly in “his son” as they would in “his daughter”)  Dissimilation – one of two identical or very similar neighbouring sounds of a word is changed or omitted because the speaker may find the repetition of the same movement difficult in rapid speech (ex. Pronouncing “February” as “Febyuary”)  Loanwords, borrowing – languages change throughout time and that is mostly due to external language changes, the most common type of external language change is borrowing (ex. The letter b in the word debt was apparently borrowed from Latin to add prestige). Languages can borrow word from other languages, especially when new concepts are introduced to a culture  Hypercorrection – when individuals imitate the sounds, grammar, and words of people of who have higher social status, the imitations can be overdone and hypercorrection occurs.  Process of reconstruction of languages – recurring similarities between words from different languages or dialects indicate that they are related and must descend from one ancestral language, and sound changes are regular under like circumstances Chapter 9: Languages in Variation and Languages in Contact  Idiolect – an individual’s speech variety most speakers make use of many idiolects depending on who they are talking to, the circumstances for communication  Dialect – refers to a form of language or speech used by members of a regional, ethnic, or social group. They are mutually intelligible among the whole language. In a certain language, several dialects can be found.  Style – the distinctive manner in which people express themselves in a particular situation. Speech styles can be compared to dress styles.  Standard – the version of the dialect in the language that carries social prestige, used on formal occasions  Language contact – throughout history, travel, trade, war, intermarriage, and other causes have forced languages to come into contact throughout history. This can mean languages die, new languages develop, or languages mix o Ex. How English takes words from other cultures like ukulele, wok, algebra, etc. and other languages take words from English.  Pidgin – a common way that individuals or groups interact across language boundaries. A pidgin usually originates when people from two different languages must find a way to communicate for a certain purpose (ex. Trade). Pidgins have a limited vocabulary and reduced grammatical structures. They tend to come about suddenly and only when the need arises.  Creole – the product of creolization, when a pidgin expands with other language functions and has become the first language of a speech community, they have less prestige than standard European languages  Lingua franca – a language that people who have different first languages agree to communicate in  Indo-European -  Approximate number of world languages – around 6900, includes creoles but excludes pidgins, also includes languages from history that have disappeared without a trace. Hard to measure the number of languages the world because some regions of the world have not been discovered and some languages are on the verge of extinction with only a handful of people left who speak them  Regions with lots of linguistic variation - Chapter 10: Ethnography of Communication – an analytical approach, when you want to study an event – collect data, talk to people, try to produce a detailed understanding of what is going on in the speech event, the context is important (who speaks, who doesn’t speak) what is the purpose of the whole event, what kind of speech are they using, etc.  Communicative competence – the knowledge of what is and what is not appropriate to say in specific cultural context  Performance – A performance you put on based on who you’re with, which identity you put on.  Richard Bauman: A display of verbal skills (and communicative competence) for an audience that evaluates the performers – when people are paying attention to the way you are saying things  Variations in performance o Individual competence, style (seeing the same play multiple times but different actors portray the characters differently) o Deliberate transformations (people who can change the performance based on the audience) o Multiple interpretations (people who see the same things can interpret them differently)  Ethnography of communication – the nature and function of communicative behaviour in the context of culture, offers a link between language and social relations o “Knowing” a language means knowing how to use it appropriately o We can study communicative interactions systematically o Context is always important o Identifies patterns, structures, variations  Speech situation – the context of which speaking takes place  Speech community – a group of people who share the same rules for speaking and interpreting speech a
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