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Anthropology Exam 2 Notes.doc

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Lorne Tepperman

Anthropology Exam 2 Notes: Language, Culture, Prejudice • Two “moieties” of anthropology: o evolutionary (biological) and archaeological o “bones and stones” • social-cultural o Linguistic &semiotic Origins of Anthropology • Anthropology was largely the discipline for explaining the non-West (the general public and early anthropologists understood the non- West in terms of three kinds of difference: • linguistic (language) [linguistic ant.] • cultural [(social) cultural ant.] • physical / racial [physical (bio) ant.] • material [cultural ant. and archaeology] This is also how most western nations understood themselves Public Prejudices • Western biology (race), material culture (technology), language and culture were considered the most advanced, including by scientists (mostly not modern anthropologists but philosophers, philologers, and amateur archaeologists) “primitive” races, cultures, languages • hunter-gatherers “barbarians” • nomads “civilized” races, cultures, languages Ethnocentrism • Seeing everything from the perspective of one's own biasm and superiority • Anthropologists had an ambiguous relationship with imperialism and ethnocentrism • Modern anthropologists contributed to the building of western empires although there are some prejudices still Bronislaw Malinowski, 1884 -1942 • Each culture responds to its own niche equally well Franz Boas, 1858-1942 • Each culture is a complex of language , culture, and physical type, and none is inferior to any other • A higher culture is one that recognizes that we are all equally human Margaret Mead, 1901 – 1978 • Orderly, complex customs in non-Western societies • Different psychological types in different cultural groups, but no hierarchy Language, Culture, Prejudice Knowledge • Language, is one of the many systems of signifying “conveying sense” • Other means of communication are pictures (signs), body language (gestures, expressions) • These mediums of communication allow meaning to channel from the speaker (sender) and the receiver. • They can also create a sense of identity (language, dialects, male/female, young/old, etc. • Within all species, groups can come into conflict often over resources • For us, these groups may be adapted to their own niches (interests &activities) Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980) • “The medium is the message” • Former UofT professor who argued that regardless of a medium’s content, new channels of communication can change the way humans live and interact. • He coined the term “Global village” • When television came into popularity, it brought enlightenment on other cultures and created a new society. A new way of organizing people. (ex. Arab Springs –Twitter dilemma that started in 2010 where civil protesters have broken down rulers in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Syria, and Lybia. This movement’s success is connected to their effective us of social media - included public demonstrations, strikes, marches, rallies, etc.) Where does prejudice come from? • It does not come from difference but its context • Race: a “folk” notion, not a scientific notion • Human races are not distinct genetic pools • Humans do look different and human looks can correlate with the some other genetic traits, but it is not consistently true or enough to justify the notion of human races. • There is more variation other than skin color • The “One Drop Rule” where individuals who have a “drop” of “black” blood in them are considered “black” (eg. Obama). • Racial classification are made in context of relations of power within society • The black race and white race were invented at the time of the slavery in the Americas • “Whiteness” meant freedom, thus needed to be protected in order to escape slavery (Ku Klux Klan) Racial Prejudice th • Black, red, yellow, white are 19 century racial classifications • Many people don’t fit into these categories (obviously) • Arabs were historically considered “white” And then the term “brown” and “middle-eastern” appeared after the 1960s. • Races are constructed using language Cultural Relativism • States that there are no universal standards of progress or of morality • This can be exploited to deny progress to others • It can disarm efforts for universal rights Representation • This is the third function of signification • Semiotics: the study of signs and signification Signifying Reality: How Signs Construct the World SYMBOLS have arbitrary relation to signified (referent) • Signs: Distinctive characteristic of humans • ex. Language, Physical • Signification: Making sense, making signs • Linguistic and non-linguistic signs Nature of signs – Signifier and signified • Symbol, icon, index • Denotation and connotation • How signs construct reality • How we construct ourselves • Knowing - making sense • To make sense: to signify • Study of signs: semiotics • Study of language: linguistics • Linguistics The Forms of Language The Levels of Language 1. Texts (studied in discoursed analysis) ⁃ Sentences (Studied in syntax) 1. Words (studied in morphology) ⁃ Phonemes (studied in phonology) ⁃ Phones (studied in phonetics): a sound system of language Text ⁃ Any meaningful item or items perceived as a unit (1) ⁃ They are short or long, considered not related to any other language ⁃ A meaningful item or items understood as not forming part of a larger item (2) ⁃ The analysis decides whether or not it is a text ⁃ “to be or not to be”: a text [study Hamlet as a text, or study this single line as a text] ⁃ The text is the limit of your analysis ⁃ Linguistic and non-linguistic texts, [example of non-linguistic text- spatial EX what kind of people are sitting on the third level?] ⁃ Everything is a text in semiotics, everything gives you a message, we can read it Context ⁃ Texts only make sense in context ⁃ In language and other semiotic systems ⁃ The meaning and function of each item depends in the context- “with text” ⁃ Context: what is outside the actual text but is relevant to it ⁃ Consider all things in context Syntax ⁃ The structure of sentences and not of text ⁃ Linguists often use “grammar” to mean “syntax” ⁃ “Bad grammar” • “to constantly smile”- split infinitive • “I don’t hear nothin’”- double negative • This is what the non-linguists think of bad grammar ⁃ Linguists describe how people speak; they do not prescribe how to talk “correctly” • EX “I hear don’t nothin’”- doesn’t make sense in language ⁃ If a normal native speaker says it in normal circumstances, then it is grammatical ⁃ Sentences with “bad grammar” are typically grammatical in the linguists sense ⁃ The judgment of “badness” or “correctness” is a social issue • People who say “I don’t hear nothin’” on a regular basis are probably working or low class Morphology ⁃ Study of the structure of words ⁃ Morpheme: smallest unit of language that carries meaning • Con text • Sip ed • Care full y • Shoe s • Anti dis establish ment ari an ism • Morphemes are not the same as syllables • Morphology is concerned with spoken, not written language Morphemes are all meaningful Words are made of morphemes Right: stud [means to learn] ent [someone who does something], assist [assist] ant [someone who does something], im migr ant, Frisbee • Wrong: stu dent, ass is tant, immig rant, Fris bee • ANALYSIS HAS TO MAKE SENSE, MEANIGNFUL UNITS Morpheme and Allomorphs 1. Allomorph: Variant of a morpheme 2. Found in a specific position within a word 3. ex. Plural morpheme 4. Variants (allomorphs) 5. 1. Written -s or -es but pronounced “s”, “z” or “iz” 6. - Rods labs hogs rats tops cooks 7. - Note that the plural morpheme is always spelled s but all pronounced the same 8. - Describe the position of each variant (allomorph) Language Variation Language, Society, Freedom 2. Language, and signifying behaviour in general, limits what we can say, think, and do 3. Often below the level of our consciousness 4. Limiting innovation preserves the social order 5. and can be hegemonic 6. So how free are we? Language Varieties: Languages, Dialects, and accents ⁃ Popular, not scientific terms Nation, Language, Dialect ⁃ Language: a dialect with an army ⁃ Languages: Danish, Norwegian; Russian, Ukranian; Malay, Indonesian; Sebian, Croatian – Varieties with a state ⁃ Dialects: Cantonese, Fukinese, Mandarin, etc; Tagalog, Ilokano – varieties with no state ⁃ Languages: Serbian, Croatian; Hindu, Urdu – varieties ⁃ Language Ideology Accents ⁃ Why do foreign accents persist? ⁃ Objective reasons: Critical period for learning distant language → 11-14 yrs ⁃ Subjective reasons: Foreign accent depends on both production and reception of speech: how people speak and how we hear themselves Accent types and ethnic groups ⁃ East European ⁃ Indian ⁃ Accent “classifications” reflects relations across the world and within the community ⁃ Why do foreign language speakers get dubbed into accented English in American films? Social Dialects ⁃ “I don't see nothin' wrong with Beasts o' the Southern winnin' an Oscar” ⁃ Voluntary message: “I think that Beasts of the Southern Wild will win an Oscar” ⁃ Involuntary message: “I an a working class person” ⁃ Sociolects: variants that depend on social groupings ⁃ … may occur in the same loyalty ⁃ Standards and non-standard dialects ⁃ Not a matter of logic or “correctness” ⁃ but of: -social class ⁃ Standard dialect: defined by upper middle class usage Phonemes ⁃ Units of the sound system of language ⁃ They are not sounds but classes of sounds ⁃ Phonemes have variants ⁃ Positional variants: allophones Phoneme and Allophone ⁃ The phoneme /p/ has two allophones in most English dialects 0 Aspirated ph and unaspirated p= 1 a. ph occurs at the beginning of stressed syllables 2 - pat, pin, repeat (position 1) 3 b. p= occurs everywhere everywhere else (position 2) 4 - tap, spin, therapy Distribution ⁃ The aspirated ph is distributed to the context or position: “at the beginning of stressed syllables” ⁃ The unaspirated p is distributed to all other contexts or positions ⁃ These two sounds (ph and p=) are in complementary or mutually exclusive distribution Complementary Distribution and Allophones ⁃ ph and p= are in CD ⁃ Each is in a separate positional ⁃ They are 2 different allophones of the same phoneme ⁃ ex. Cab vs. Can [the “a” is nasal before “n” and “m” but not nasal everywhere else] ⁃ The nasal and the non=nasal “a” are allophones of the same phoneme æ French NOT in complementary distribution ⁃ Quan / kã / “when” ⁃ Cas / ka / “case” ⁃ The nasal ã and the non-nasal a are not allophones of the same phoneme ⁃ They are contrastive disribution Contrastive Distribution ⁃ When 2 sounds are in the same positional Minimal Pairs ⁃ Words that differ in only one sounds 0 Chart and cart /čary/ /kart/ 1 Lens lend /lenz/ /lend/ 2 Fizzle fiddle /fizl/ /fidl/ 3 Each pair above is a minimal pair Contrastive and Complementary distribution: Phonemes and Allophones ⁃ Sounds in contrastive distribution are different phonemes ⁃ Sounds in complementary distribution are allophones of the same phoneme Phonemes ⁃ Sounds that are in CD are phonemes ⁃ The meaning changes when you replace on word with the other ⁃ They can make minimal pairs “I never get into the other's way” - Allophone “I can be substituted for by another sound” - Phoneme “I am almost the same but not quite” - Allophone Language universals and differences ⁃ The languages of the world only have a limited number of sound units (“sounds”) ⁃ No language uses all of themselves ⁃ Each language distributes them differently into phonemes and allophones ⁃ ie. a sound that is an allophone of a phoneme in one language may be a separate phoneme in another ⁃ Mandarin Chinese tones ⁃ Mā mom ⁃ Mã horse ⁃ Má hemp ⁃ Mà scold Sociolinguistic Variation ⁃ Typically, all or almost all speakers use different sociolectal feature ⁃ … but social classes vary by how often they use which features Formality ⁃ All speakers (monolingual and multilingual) normally speak in a more standard or H way on more formal occassions ⁃ This includes “low” class speakers Email and formality ⁃ “Hey Ivan...” (email from student to prof) ⁃ Voluntary message: (the content of the email) ⁃ Involuntary Message: we are friends and equals ⁃ Expected registers 0 Depend on / Define situation (especially formality) 1 “Hey Ivan” - Informal register 2 “Dear Prof. Kalmer” - Formal register ⁃ May be used deliberately in an anti-hegemonic way Multilingualism ⁃ In multilingual communities, different situations may require different language / dialects ⁃ Diglossia: ⁃ Different varietie(s) used by the same speakers for different purposes ⁃ Prestige relations: High (H) Low (L) variety; Code Switching ⁃ Hungarian (L) / English (H) ⁃ el-drive-olt-unk a yorkdale-be (we drove to Yorkdale) ⁃ Typical: L grammer with much H vocabulary ⁃ Not typical: H grammar with much L vocabulary Language and Hegemony 9. The use of the following indexes hegemony 10. Registers 11. Code Switching Language, Culture, Freedom 1 Language sets limits on what we can do/think/say ⁃ The social construction of the Self 2. Linguistic constrains our thoughts ⁃ Hegemony: Idea that there are powerful/less powerful The Social Construction of the Self ⁃ Theory: our concept of having a self (our "I" [as it is experienced in our thoughts, feelings and actions] or "ego") is not entirely given by nature ⁃ Our belief that we are separate from our physical self, consciousness, and others ⁃ It is constructed by society, by signs, and especially language ⁃ Theory: like colours and races, there is a continuum that language and sign construct us as separate entities (No one can see where one colour ends and another one begins) ⁃ I am "me" and he is "he"- seems like common sense, the way we think we know this is through language, everyone has a separate mind ⁃ The self ("ego", "I") is such a constructed entity [comes from socialization, not nature] How the self develops according to Jacques Lacan (1901-1981) ⁃ He is a french psychoanalyst, interpreted Freud ⁃ He says that the self is linguistically constructed ⁃ The baby does not come into society with a sense of the individual self ⁃ Counter intuitive ideas: how can a baby cry when it is hungry but does not identify as a separate human being ⁃ The baby lives in the real (experiences the world as unbounded) ⁃ With language she learns the boundaries of things ⁃ This is known as the symbolic stage: the world experienced as consisting of bounded units [She can experience signs and language] ⁃ She learns "I" (identifies the self as a unit) Inner Conversation ⁃ Converse in head ⁃ Can refer to the self as "I" or "you" ⁃ "I am talking to another person who is also me" (I and you) ⁃ In inner conversation one party coaches the other ⁃ The "coach" is more influenced by society ⁃ Our self is a conversation, and it includes the representation of society (the superego) Linguistic Constrains on Thought ⁃ Language and other signifying systems constrain what we can imagine and communicate ⁃ The "Whorf hypothesis": language, culture and thought are tightly interrelated ⁃ However, "culture" often turns out to be a symptom of social conditions (society is in the background) The "Whorf Hypothesis" ⁃ How words can cause perceptions and vary ⁃ Language determines thought (The Strong Whorf hypothesis) ⁃ Language influences thought (The Weak Whorf hypothesis) ⁃ EX. Hopi: cyclical rather than linear time [part of the Aboriginal American language], as opposed to linear time [past and future, time moves forward] ⁃ There are no tense morphemes in Hopi because there is no past or future ⁃ They mark time as complete action or incomplete action ⁃ The Hopi mind does not think in a linear fashion (complete-incomplete-complete-…. etc., they think in cycles) ⁃ *WARNING: Do not exaggerate the influence of language on thought ⁃ EX J'aime le poulet: "I like chicken"; J'adore le poulet: "I love chicken"; Je t'aime: "I love you". False conclusion: The French can't differentiate between liking a chicken and loving a person Cultural Meanings ⁃ However, language does relate to culture-specific habits of thinking ⁃ On example: vocabulary (lexicon, the words) ⁃ Example 1: Polynesian ⁃ mana- " an impersonal force of super natural origin, found in all objects, persons and animals and a source of power". This concept is of Polynesian origin, it is culture specific. English had to import it to give it a clearer definition ⁃ Example 2: English ⁃ hot, cold: Isn't someone who is hot also cool? Or does it refer to temperature ⁃ nice: Can you translate "nice" into different contexts with the same word all the time in another language. It is a very English word, culture-specific, used to describe many things ⁃ weird: same question as nice ⁃ Example 3: Love ⁃ "Do you love me" ⁃ What is the role of language in love? ⁃ If the world "love" didn't exist, then would the emotion exist? Would people feel the same? ⁃ Is it love if you don't say this? ⁃ Is it possible to be in love without a word for love? ⁃ Does the word "love" create love? The History of Love ⁃ The concept of love has been developing since not long before the time of Shakespeare: love as the precondition for marriage ⁃ EX Romeo and Juliet ⁃ This type of love did not always exist ⁃ Love then marriage is a new idea in Shakespeare's time ⁃ The small nuclear family is the new unit, it makes more sense to choose someone on an individual basis- makes more economic sense too- look for someone you are passionate about ⁃ This idea developed out of the capitalist economy, requiring small, mobile families ⁃ "I love you"- this statement is part of our experience of love ⁃ "I love you"- also means by which the socioeconomic system produces and reproduces itself ⁃ You are free to love or not to love- this may be caused by the social (or political or economic) context ⁃ EX Love marriage vs Arranged marriage ⁃ Does not mean that love is not real, even though it is social constructed by language Hegemony ⁃ Gramsci (1891-1937) ⁃ "spontaneous" consent given by the great masses of the population to the general direction imposed on social life by the dominant fundamental group; this consent is "historically" caused by the prestige… which the dominant group enjoys because of its position and function in the world of production ⁃ "spontaneous" as in without thought ⁃ Inequality and prestige has developed historically ⁃ View 1: Manufacturing Consent ⁃ Chomsky on the news media ⁃ Has the opinion the a lot of the public has ⁃ The media is to blame for the consent and spread of inequality ⁃ Filters on the production of the news in a free society ⁃ There are five filters present: EX "flak"- when students have unique ideas are given bad marks by their professors, they are weeded out and not rewarded for unique thoughts ⁃ It is not a deliberate conspiracy, but it works and functions as a system ⁃ Hegemony as a brainwashing process ⁃ View 2: Conformity and Resistance ⁃ Language and cultural products may have a hegemonic context, but the hegemonic context id always only partly expected ⁃
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