Anthropology 1020E Lecture Notes - Lecture 20: Nogat, Evidentiality, Tantrum

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MARCH 15 2016 LECTURE
PRAGMATICS
Semantics
oConcerned with words as they are defined in a system of signs, approximating to
a “dictionary definition” (Kramsch Ch. 2)
The definition of signs in relation to each other
Pragmatics
oConcerned with words in use (Kramsch Ch. 3)
oThe focus is on context of
Location in time and space
Situation, topic, or event
The relation between speaker and audience
oWe will be concerned with
The ways in which language is used to get things done
We will pay special attention to the referential use of language
How certain features of language use affect relations between speakers
oLinguistic anthropology talks context very seriously
Language in Reference
1. It is possible to refer to something in language that is true independently of the
speaker’s position:
“Rain drops form in clouds”
“Santa Claus eats cookies
There is no “here/there” or “now/then” in either statement
oWe will not be concerned with such statements here
2. Performatives are statements that directly change the reality they refer to
They are part of that reality
“I christen this ship the Titanic”
“The court finds you guilty of public mischief”
“I now pronounce you partner and partner”
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MARCH 15 2016 LECTURE
“You’re under arrest”
Saying the things make it really
Making the statement is what makes it real
oThey have real world outcomes and consequences
3. Deixis refers to statements that can only be understood by taking the speaker or
a position into account
Personal pronouns, spatial position words
Look at the cat over there
It hit me
Come here
He’s doing it now
Position, time and the person have to be taken into account
4. Narratives (stories) often involve multiple shifts of position (both perspective and
location in time-space) in the course of a tale
The relationship between the speaker and the addressee have to be
taken into account
John began, saying, “long ago in a place not far from here, a
hornbill and a cassowary were traveling together. ‘I wish I had
beautiful tail-feathers like you,’ said the cassowary…”
oThis is a multilevel kind of communication
Paying attention to context in doing things with words
oThe examples:
The influence of talk on Kwaio ancestral spirits
“Stalking with stories” among the Western Apache
They are a form of Navajo which means they are related to the
Athabasca in Meek
“Remembering/reminding talk” in Telefolmin
Other forms of talk
Reference and deixis in Telefol stories (narrative genres)
Kwaio
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