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ANTB21H3 (3)
Chapter 10

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Jessica Taylor

Chapter 10: Language, Race and Ethnicity - American Anthropological Association maintained that most white Americans believe in an inaccurate “folk theory” of race - “Race” is a basic category of human biological variation, combined with a belief that each human being can be assigned to a race or sometimes a mixture of races - Race is clearly an important social category that influences people‟s trajectories and identities - Race is more salient in the U.S. - For instance in Nepal caste, ethnicity and religion have been most salient forms of social differentiation for Nepalis. - Anthropologists have studied how certain Nepali ethnic groups have come into being o Formation of single Tharu identity o Tharu do not have single shared language or set of cultural practices o The Nepali state however grouped all Tharus together in its key classification of all casts and ethnic groups o A common ethnic identity does not have to be predicated on a shared culture - Ethnic groups are thus not fixed phenomena but are constantly being created and recreated anew - Bonnie Urciuoli studied Puerto Ricans in New York City contrasting ethnicization with racialization in context of class and gender identities in U.S. - RACIAL discourses frame group origin in NATURAL terms - ETHNIC discourses frame group origin in CULTURAL terms - RACIALIZED people are considered out of place, dirty, dangerous, unwilling or unable to participate constructively in the nation state - ETHNICIZED people are considered safe, ordered and a contribution to the naion state offered by striving immigrants making their way up the ladder of class mobility - LANGUAGE DIFFERENCES are often RACIALIZED Rule Governed Nature of African American English - African American English (AAE) sound like incorrect or sloppy Standard American English (SAE) - SAE speakers think AAE is English with two added factors: special SLANG terms and lots of GRAMMATICAL MISTAKES - AAE is actually rule governed and has its own phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics and pragmatics - Not all African Americans speak AAE - Regional differences and different language ideologies within AAE - AAE is a language variant and is LEARNED in particular social settings - Many African Americans code switch between SAE and AAE - Such code switching can help subtle alliances or identities or can index unequal power relations among speakers Invariant or habitual “be” - Most stigmatized and misinterpreted features of AAE is the use of “be” - Using it does not mean failure to conjugate the verb “to be” - Instead the invariant “be” does important grammatical work in sentences because it indicates habitual behaviour or a usual state of being - Ex. “She is happy” = perpetual state of happiness, “She be happy” = indicated momentary feeling of happiness - The invariant “be” is the only one of a whole class of auxiliaries that enable AAE speaker to choose among a much wider array of moods and aspects in their verb forms than are available to SAE speakers - Mane African Americans recognize that SAE is the prestige dialect solely because its speakers are the group with the most prestige socially, politically and economically in the U.S. Copula deletion - In other words the OMISSION of form of “to be.” - In AAE it is perfectly normal to say “She happy” instead of “She is happy.” - This is not a random or haphazard omission - Copula deletion follows rigorous rules, even though they operate largely below the level of awareness in the minds of AAE speakers - Languages like Russian Hebrew, Arabic and Swahili also feature copula deletion in some or all of the tenses of the verb “to be.” Double Negatives - Double or Triple negatives are another grammatical form that can be found in AAE - Also common in: Working class Londoners who speak Cockney, works of Chaucer and Shakespeare, popular culture like in the sone “I Can‟t Get No Satisfaction” by Rolling Stones th - Multiple negatives fell out of favour when grammarians in the 18 century were prescribing English for „polite‟ and „cultivated‟ members of society - Some people argue that using two negatives is “illogical” because two negatives make a positive according to formal logic or mathematical principles - Preference of one dialect over another is one based on social, political or economic factors - It cannot be based on linguistic factors because all dialects are equally logical and grammatical The Reduction of Final Consonants - AAE pronunciation are considered haphazard, sloppy or unsuccessful attempts to achieve the SAE pronunciation - There is a specific rule which determines when final consonant reduction is permissible in AAE o “STOP CONSONANTS” include letters p,t,k,b,d and g o Some consonants are voiceless and therefore no vibration of vocal cords o “VOICED CONSONANTS” involve vibration of vocal cords such as b,d and g. As well as j,v or z to name a few - PHONOLOGICAL RULE: A stop co
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