September 10, 2012
Language and Card Play – A Message’s Raw Material
a) Language: The raw material we use to create talk cards to share ideas and ultimately
i. A system of symbols
ii. Used to map reality
iii. The combine to form a message
iv. Example: Use of the word “Crusade” to describe our response to terrorism.
v. Language Card Game: The Ethnic Proof Game
1) How do you “prove” you belong to an ethnic group of some kind? What’s
on an Ethnic Card?
2. Language Features
a) Characteristics of symbols for the Hip Hop Ethnic Card:
i. Semantics => A system of meaning: dog, dawg, dogg – friend, buddy
ii. Syntax => How symbols interact: Punctuating and ordering sentence strings.
1) Example: Why you gotta do me like that? – Why are you/they treating me
iii. Pragmatics => The job we want symbols to do: To diss, disrespect.
iv. Lexicon => Dictionary of words you might us in a certain situation – (culturally
determined): Dimepiece or attractive woman.
v. Phonology => The sound system of how the mouth produces sound: Examples of
vi. Morphology => The rules of how words go together: Dawg is to dawgs as baller is
to _____ (Ballin’, or acting like a boss)
b) For example, consider these words on a billboard: STOP CLUBBING BABY SEALS!
i. Semantically: Each word carries a unique meaning, but the context is needed for
interpretation. ii. Syntactically: It is punctuated as a directive sentence.
iii. Pragmatically: It is a plea to save the seals.
iv. Lexicon: Culturally identifiable as a standard English Phrase
v. Morphology: Sees words as connected and allows for the interpretation as a
STOP CLUBBING, BABY SEALS => chunking changes pragmatic idea
c) Pragmatics = Job the Talk Cards (e.g., Hot Guy Card and a Culture Card) are meant to
i. Task: Purpose/goal of the message – Pick up
ii. Relational Style:
1) Personal distance: liking – be friendly
2) Social distance: formality/informality – very informal
3) Role distance: power – high power or low power
d) Linguistic Strategy:
i. Linguistic form: question, assertion, topic shift
ii. Linguistic rules: permissible topics and styles
e) Examples: Pick up videos – Fresh Prince of Bel Air
3. Language Functions
a) Decoding or Interpreting Cards:
i. Develop categories from experience
1) What cards does the other usually play?
2) What card do I typically play in return?
3) What topics and styles does the other usually present?
4) What games does the other usually play?
ii. Apply categories to new sit