ANT206 Chapter 2 Notes

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Sarah Hillewaert

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Asem Harun ANT206 Chapter 2 – The Research Process in Linguistic Anthropology What Kinds of Research Questions do Linguistic Anthropologists Formulate? - Often researchers focuses on how does language reflects and/or shapes some aspect of social life - Linguistic anthropologists incorporate insights from their fieldwork into their research questions so that they more accurately reflect the way that the research subjects themselves talk/think about a certain topic. (A research question can thus be a work of progress) - Three examples of a linguistic research questions: 1. What do the arguments, storytelling episodes, and gossip of African American girls and boys tell us about the gendered nature of conversations and the ability of children to create rich, complex social worlds? 2. How does the use of ‘Mock Spanish’ (such as “hasta la vista, baby) by native English speakers both directly and indirectly index the speakers’ attitudes about Spanish speakers? 3. What are the causes and implications of the almost complete eradication of a form of Irish Sign Language that used solely by women? What Kinds of Data do Linguistic Anthropologists collect, and with what Methods? - Linguistic anthropologists have a mixture of research methods. One may video tape hours of conversations whereas one might require sorting through all of a government’s language policy documents over a period of decades, and one may do nothing more than use Google search. - Both quantitative and qualitative data is present. 1. Quantitative data can be counted (is numerical, the researcher is investigating the quantities of something). May conduct a survey and see how many feel strongly about a particular subject. 2. Qualitative data doesn’t involve counting. Researches are more interested in looking in-depth at some aspect of human behaviour without quantifying it in any way. (Ex. Researchers who live in a brand new community, observing and participating in their lifestyle, thereby learning/absorbing as many of the details of cultural norms/social practices as possible. - Many research approaches within these two methods are the following: 1. Participant observation (spending months/years within another culture) 2. Interviews 3. Surveys and Questionnaires 4. Naturally occurring conversations (recording hours of ‘natural’ everyday conversations) Asem Harun ANT206 5. Experimental methods (conducting various experiments on subjects) 6. Matched guise tests (recording subjects as they read short passages in two or more languages. Ex. If four people recorded, eight readings of same passage may be produced) 7. Written texts (examining historical documents, personal letters newspaper, email etc.) How do Linguistic Anthropologists Analyze their Data? - Many employ research assistant to help collected data, whether conducting a survey, distributing written questionnaires, or translating/transcribing interviews/conversations. - Interpretation process of data analyzing is very important of anthropologists. This process requires const
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