ANTH 120 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Language Ideology, Practice Theory, Semantic Change

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12 Jun 2018
Anth. 120 Week Two Lecture Notes
Linguistic Autobiography (due by 11:59 8/6)
An opportunity to reflect on:
Membership in different speech communities
Your linguistic repertoire and your linguistic heritage
Personal background and intersecting identities
Your relationship w/ written/spoken/performed genres
Language ideologies
1-2 pages written prose (double-spaced 1-inch margins, standard font, size
One visual page with photographs, diagrams, maps, drawings that
illustrate themes from your written autobiography (each image must have
a descriptive caption) (around 3 images)
Address some of:
Your linguistic heritage and how it has affected your sense of who you are
Your accent, what it says about you, who you are, how you feel about it
Language ideologies you hold or language ideologies that affect you
Experiences learning to read or write, what role it has in your life
Language as shaped by religious or spiritual life
All others are on canvas
Language Ideologies
May be widespread or controversial
The multiple language ideologies in a society
Almost always benefit a particular group
Awareness of our posession of these varies
Made up of social structures and ways of a society
Practice, structure, agency
The basic principle of practice theory is that structures, such as language,
afford and constrain our actions
For instance a spoon is good for eating soup but not salad, one genre of
writing allows for telling/doing one thing rather than another, etc.
Practice and agency are human action that both reflects and shapes existing
structure (social, linguistic, cultural)
Language expands and shifts as cultural ideas do
For instance how journalist questions used to be very deferential but
today are more adversarial or the shift in meaning for ‘Netflix and chill’ or
changes in terms used to describe racial/ethnic groups/minorities.
Meaning shift can head towards either amelioration or pejoration, in other
words for a more positive meaning or a more negative one
An example of this is the shifting of the meaning of the term ‘illegal
Language ideologies are never neutral
Language socialization
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