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ANT253 DANESI language society and culture Test 2 notes

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Marcel Danesi

Language, Society and Culture Marcel Danesi Test #2 chapters 5, 8, 10 Chapter 5: Language and Social Phenomena there are many words for promiscuous female (ex. slut, whore etc) but few for promiscuous male - out society tends to see female sexual behaviour as less appropriate than similar male behaviour we use different way of speaking to superior people such as boss (ex. Mrs. Mr etc) - Honorifics-> signal differences in class and in types of relations among speakers - age differences, group-based identities LANGUAGEAND GENDER in many societies, there are different words for females and males ex) in Japan, the word for stomach is hara for men and onaka for women ex2) in Koasati, the word for lifting is lawawhol for men and lakawhos for women, which implies that the lifting ability between men and women are different ex3) language spoken on the Island of Carib in the West Indies have gender-coded words: rain-> kunobu for men, kuyu for women gender-coded variation also matters in differentiation in grammar or style as well ex) in Koasati-> 'he is saying' is kas for men and ka for women gender-coded differences exist in English as well - Kramer: speech ofAmerican women was characterized by a softer tone, fewer profanities and a profusion of tag questions (ex. Don't you think?, Isn't it?) - experiment with asking college students whether the unknown speaker of the cartoons was male or female, students were able to distinguish the sex through the ways of speaking in the cartoons - women were found to use tag questions more often than men in some societies, grammatical gender often mirrors perceptions of biological gender roles - ex) 'general human being' refers to man -> the male person - ex) Old English-> wer (adult male) and wif (adult female) -> waepman (adult male person) and wifman (adult female person) - with time, wifman -> wife changes made to English to correct this ex) chairperson instead of chairman, first-year student instead of freshman, humanity instead of mankind however, this biases still exist ex) waiter/waitress, bachelor/bachelorette MARKEDNESS THEORY Markedness theory: the differences in social roles are often marked by differences in vocabulary and grammatical structure - goal: to distinguish the role played by linguistic structures within the language 1. a boy 2. an egg - 1 is unmarked form and 2 is marked one because 1 is most typical representative (non-specific) of a class and 2 is conditioned or exceptional member when markedness features occur in the area of grammatical gender, social repercussions tend to ensue - in Italian, masculine plural form of nouns referring to people-> unmarked one, any person female plural form-> marked, only females ex) gli studenti: all students, males or females / le studentesse: female students gender assignment is unpredictable and arbitrary ex) no link between grammatical gender of a word like Italian casa (faminine) and its referent (house) in societies where the masculine gender is the unmarked form, it is the men who tend to be in charge of social processes and vice versa *grammatical structure mirrors social structure can we potentially change social structure by changing linguistic structure? Yes - adding -ess to job designations ex) waitress - Francophone feminists want to separate male and female terms by adding -e ex) advocate (lawyer) - Mr. Ms. Mrs. Language is adaptive to social changes in ways that would seem to defy the opinions of academic and social critics LANGUAGEAND STYLE Labov-> made tapes on conversations among people in NYC - highest occurrence of the pronunciation of /r/ in young people aged 8~19 - people aspiring to move from lower class to higher one attached great prestige to the way (or style) in which the /r/ was pronounced style: way in which something is said or expressed workers identified with the prestige of their employers and customers and that this identification was mirrored in language pronunciation and use Fischer-> children often alternated between 2 pronunciations of the present participle verb suffix -ing: /ing/ vs. /-in/ - the choice was related to the gender, social class, personality and mood of the speaker - therefore, mood and atmosphere play a significant role in speech Best-> experiment with college students to describe different comedians with words - he was able to determine which comedians were most similar in style to one another ex) Don Rickles and John Bellushi -> insulting Sammy Davis Jr., Flip Wilson and Bill Cosby -> Black, talented choice of descriptive adjective in the original study was likely influenced in part by type and length of sentence used by the comedians as part of their style ex) those comedians labelled as quick had an average sentence length of 5.8, those labelled talented an average length of 10.5, those the way in which words are put together, the lengths of sentences, mode of sentence construction-> convey a certain 'feel' to the humour that people seem to interpret in specific ways Kim-> experiment whether linguistic style of professors correlated with the ratings - the wordier the professor, the lower his evaluations - also, sentence length and style are features connected with job, lifestyle and other social variables active sentences: used to emphasize the speaker as the actor in relation with goal passive sentences: used to de-emphasize the speaker and highlight goal as the 'object' of interest NAMING PEOPLE names-> falls under the branch of linguistics called onomastics Toponym->place names ex) JohnAppleby (because John lives near apple trees..;;) inAboriginal names reflect the culture of a particular tribe Hebrew names-> religious/biblical ex) Joseph meaning 'the lord shall add' or David 'beloved' Greek and Latin-> concrete social situations and abstract qualities ex) George meaning 'farmer' or Virginia meaning 'maidenly' Teutonic names usually consist 2 elements ex) William-> Wille (will, resolution) and helm (helmet) English names-> use morphemes from other languages to construct names ex) Hebrew word dan meaning judge -> Daniel name-giving can also be tied with the time of birth, birth order or parents' emotional reaction to the birth itself ex) Esi (sunday), Wekesa ('harvest time'), Dada ('curly hair'), Felicity ('happy reaction') later, surnames were given to distinguish and group people into different families Chinese first known people to use more than one name - 3 names: first name is family name, second generation name, third given name Romans first used only one name but changed to 3 names - 1) praenomen- givth name 2) nomen- gens or clan 3) cognomen- family name - sometimes added 4 name-> agnomen in early Italy, people were called by the surname, which showed higher hierarchy sometimes nicknames became the surnames ex) Reid, Reed, Read -> early spelling of red, referring to a man with red hair ancient Egyptians believed that the names were the living parts of an individual - they believed that if an individual lost their name, the deceased would have to undergo a second death - to avoid this, they wrote their names on walls, tombs, and papyri in Middle East culture, the name told the person's characteristics ex) digits of number were added to produce a 'personality number' number derived by substituting the letters in a person's name with digits totalled 95, this number is split to 9 and 5 and added; 14, this number was split 1 and 4 and added; 5 - the number 5 represented the person's personality ex) number 1 means forceful and ambitious, number 2 means quiet and shy etc in Hebrew, ancient art of gematria, which showed that letters of name could be interpreted as digits and rearranged to form a number that contained secret messages encoded in it in Roman, there is a believing that nomen est omen; name is an omen ex) Cecil Fielder; a fielder in baseball William Wordsworth; poet Mickey Bass; musician names link people to culture and tradition things with names have personality, those without names do not e
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