ANT206 Chapter 1 Notes

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Sarah Hillewaert

Asem Harun ANT206 Chapter 1 – The Socially Charged Life of Language - Language is a set of socially embedded practices - In losing a language in Papua New Guinea, the Taiap speakers said the reason their language is becoming extinct is because their children are too big-headed to learn them. - Essence of language cannot be understood without reference to the particular social contexts in which it is used. - Language should be studied as a cultural practice rather than a mode of thinking. - In order to acquire a comprehensive understanding of language, it must be studied in real-life contexts. Grammar, according to linguistic anthropologists, is just one part of language’s “socially charged life So, What Do You Need to Know in Order to “Know” a Language? - Langue: the language system in the abstract and Parole: everyday speech - Chomsky and Saussure believe the abstract knowledge of a language system is of primary interest for the science of language rather than the parole. - So in the example of Knitting, instead of how exactly a person knits, some anthropologists may be interested in why people knit, the practices of knitting overtime, the gendered nature of knitting etc. - To know a language, one must know far more than an abstract set of grammatical rules - Five Basic Components of Language o Phonology: study of sound in language. One must be able to recognize and produce sounds that are meaningful in that language. (Sign language is gestures) o Morphology: study of the internal structure of words. One must be able to use suffixes, prefixes. (Creating plurals in words) o Syntax: study of structure of sentences, including the construction of phrases, clauses, and the other order of words. In order to know a language, one must be able to combine subjects, verbs and objects in a grammatically correct way. o Semantics: study of meaning in language, including analysis of the meanings of words and sentences. One must know how to construct and interpret meanings. o Pragmatics: study of language use, actual utterances, of how meanings emerge in actual social contexts. One must be able to use language in a socially and culturally appropriate way. Key Terms in Linguistic Anthropology - Multifunctionality o Expressive Asem Harun ANT206  Verbal note to self, mainly expresses speakers feelings/opinions  Ex. “Brr it’s cold” (Could also be conative) o Conative (Addressee)  Usually questions or commands  Ex. Excuse me? Close the windows please. o Referential (Context)  Oriented towards another person, thing, and place.  Canada has two official languages. Jane is hosting a party o Poetic (Message)  Focus on message for its own sake  Calling attention to the sound and structure of words  Ex. No shirts no shoes no service. Horrible Harry o Phatic (Contact)  Oriented towards the channel that carries it, social or physical  Focused on securing connection  Ex. Testing 123. Cat Talk. o Metalinguistic  Utterance focused upon the code or language  Includes comments about language use (Metapragmatics)  How do you spell Saussure? Do you
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