Anthro. Assignment 1.doc

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ANT 307
Elizabeth Keating

Monica Mancera-Li UT ID: Mjm4326 ANT 307 Keating MW 2- 3:30pm Anthropology 307 Assignment #1 A. Background Information i. Chinese Mandarin ii. Born in Hebei, China into traditional northern Chinese culture iii. 53 B. Data 1. Jokes i. *Joke #1* A young, eager teacher named Ms. Chen invited a zoologist to come to her classroom to teach a group of elementary aged kids about the importance of certain animals. Using a pig as an example, the zoologist tells the students that although they are a common animal, they are an important part of our everyday lives. He explains how their skin can be used to make shoes, the various parts of their body can be made into food to eat, and how their hair can be made to brushes. He then asks the kids, “Is there anyone who knows anything else a pig can be used for?” A young child barely lets him finish his sentence and exclaims, “I know! Ms. Chen has used the name of it to yell at people!” *Joke #2* Teacher: If you found out you had just one more day to live, where would you most definitely go? Student: Actually, I would spend my last day in school, and in this very classroom. Teacher: Oh! How touching! What a great example of a good student! So eager! Student: Because time in this class goes by so slowly, one day feels like a year! ii. Reason for humor 1. Informant found it hilarious that a kid no older than the elementary grade level knew that calling someone a pig can be an insult and told a visitor that in front of everyone. The informant said she almost felt embarrassed that the young student had exposed the young teacher of basically using bad words in front of her young audience enough for them to know that it can be used in an argument, and in front of a complete stranger. The informant felt shame for the teacher. 2. Informant explains that although this joke can appeal to any student in almost any culture, it is especially funny to her because in her time, or at least when she went to school, it is unheard of for kids to be sarcastic and disrespectful to the teacher in this way. If she would have heard this tale as a student back in the day, she would not find humor in it and almost be scared of the consequences that this particular student was facing. It is only funny to her now because she is accustomed to sarcasm and dry humor in modern times. iii. Example of who can tell the joke and who can’t Monica Mancera-Li UT ID: Mjm4326 ANT 307 Keating MW 2- 3:30pm 1. Joke #1 cannot be told from child to child, or repeated for a young child to hear, for it might influence them to blurt out such inappropriate language. Perhaps it may be told between 2 teachers or adults conversing on what to make sure their kids don’t do. 2. Joke #2 can be told by almost everyone to anyone, the message it carries is not inappropriate to the point where young children must be careful when repeating. 2. Metaphorical Expressions i. “… like a fox worshipping a chicken” ii. “Looking down at one with dog eyes” 3. “Culture Shock” Narrative i. When the informant moved to the United States to help her daughter run her restaurant business while she was recovering from giving birth to her granddaughter, she was so shocked after a middle aged grown man came in to eat with his elderly parents. They ordered, ate and interacted so dearly towards each other throughout the meal. When the informant went to bring their bill, she brought it on one check, and was so taken back when the son told her to split the check, because he was solely paying for his part. She could not believe that the son was not paying for his parent’s meal, especially because he was a grown man and his parents were obviously elderly. The informant learned that his was not a rare instance and still does not understand how children, obviously those that are able to support themselves and are adults, can make their parents pay for themselves or even for them after the parents having raised them their whole lives. 4. Gesture i. When eating at a restaurant, or attending a reception, or anywhere where you are being served drinks, one almost always shows their thankfulness by using your pointing finger of either hand and gently tapping it on the table with the other fingers extended. This happens most when seated and being served or having your tea refilled. Because many, many people drink tea in China, this is where this gesture is used most often, because tea cups are often needed to be refilled by servers or by other guests. C. Data Analysis i. For the jokes: 1. *Joke #1* In order to understand this joke, one must know that in this traditional Chinese culture, to call someone a “pig” is more than just a word to tease someone about being messy or eating like one. It is actually much worse; an offending word used to call people who have committed evil, perverted crimes, and used to defame people of all classes. To understand why the informant might even feel embarrassed after hearing the joke one must know that it is the most embarrassing thing to have a teacher use this type of language, and have it be exposed in such a public manner- Monica Mancera-Li UT ID: Mjm4326
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