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Anthropology 1020E: Linguistics.docx

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Western University
Anthropology 1020E
Andrew Walsh

Introducing Linguistic Anthropology HISTORY OF ANTHROPOLOGY anthropology: holistic study of humankind by living in the culture compares the present to the past looks at things from many different approaches studies groups, not individuals interrelation of cultures holistic: emphasizing connections among different facets of humankind so it can be understood in cultural, social, and biological contexts “whole is greater than the sum of its parts” description and theory describes facts of a culture uses theories to generalize over cultures seeks to understand variation and change considers from a native’s point of view knowledge based on data available; not looking for truths or proofs argue for one explanation based on available info critical thinking: no personal judgements strong fieldwork component culture: innovations which are a by-product of hominids’ adaptation to nature and man-made conditions Boas: made 4 subfields of anthropology biological/physical cultural archaeological linguistic How do anthropologists work? Collect data Make systematic observations observe same thing (reliability) Ask questions people from culture self Participate in activities (both sociocultural and linguistic anthropology) spend time in culture learn how to be a member of their society Do analysis: in a lab, computer software look for patterns think/read/look at data Draw conclusions Make comparisons: to different societies, genders, same culture over time, vs. other anthropologists, etc. Write, report, educate, advocate: long-term perspective LINGUISTIC ANTHROPOLOGY linguistic anthropology: the study of human language studying language is the key to understanding human behavior Myths about Languages unwritten languages are primitive no human beings today are primitive in the sense of being less evolved than others there is no one superior language languages with “little grammar” are uncivilized degree of grammatical complexity does not indicate how effective a language is small vocabulary indicates an underdeveloped culture Sapir: content of language is related to culture role of speech varies between cultures Facts about Languages literacy of a speaker contributes to success of a language people who can read & write are have more knowledge and therefore more political and economic power language prejudice occurs when people judge a person’s worth based on their speech result: irrational attitude of superiority toward others Anthropology, Linguistics, and Linguistic Anthropology linguistics: scientific study of language analytical study differences between linguists and linguistic anthropologists: linguists study language structure linguistic anthropologists study speech use relations between language and society & culture linguists don’t need anthropological training SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS primarily practiced by North Americans developed from interest in Native Americans linguistic anthropologists concerned with use within a culture and rules for its social use linguists concerned with linguistic structure and development of language Chapter 2 - Methods of Linguistic Anthropology concerned with the consequences of the process that led to language RESEARCH PROCESS research questions eg. How does language reflect or influence some aspect of social life? the way we speak influences how we react and engage with others we shape the world around us as the world around us shapes us collect and analyze data quantitative and qualitative recording speech Linguistic Anthropology vs. Other Areas of Study linguistic vs. sociocultural linguists use language to study culture eg. how do parents and children speak differently? sociocultural: study individuals among a group, groups among a society, traditional learned behavior, relation to values of members of a group— linkages with language eg. what is the structure of family relationships? linguistic anthropologists vs. linguists linguists study structure of language, ie. grammar and sounds language acquisition brain function universal similarities can be studied without studying people linguistic anthropologists look at the use of language variations in language to mark status concerned with speaker and circumstance of sentences interested in changes over time and relations between language and user linguists ask if it’s grammatical eg. she bread grew up → she never grew up. linguistic anthropologists ask why and what does it mean? eg. she never grew up → literal or metaphorical? Fieldwork research on culture & languages mostly conducted in field anthropologists live in societies several months at a time, several times participant observation: immersion of field workers for extended periods for day-to-day research knowledge of language is invaluable to gain informed understanding of culture necessary to learn culture as well informant/consultant: native speaker whom researcher observes should be active in culture older generation, some younger relatively unaffected by other languages/cultures same gender as researcher language spoken at “normal speed” for minimal distortion corpus: collection of language data available to researcher several days with no new sounds/grammatical forms noted = adequate corpus culture shock: common response to unfamiliar new surroundings symptoms: disorientation, anxiety SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS linguistic anthropologists view language in its cultural framework, concerned only with rules for its social se analysis of structure linguists emphasize structure and history of a language data mostly obtained during fieldwork Phonology phonology: study of phonetics and phonemics and sound changes that occur over time in language(s) each language represents a particular variety of the general language code each language has distinctive structural characteristics DESCRIBING SOUNDS Voiced vs. Voiceless depends on vibration of the vocal chords consonants vs. vowels restriction of air flow vowels are voiced consonants can be voiced or voiceless voiced sounds: explicit sounds eg. buzz voiceless sounds: quieter sounds eg. ship tension of vocal chords determines frequency (pitch) force of outgoing air determines volume Phones and Phonemes phonetics: representation of nature of speech sounds by symbols of the phonetic alphabet describes sounds in a systematic, technical way International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) phonology: the study and description of a sound system in a language phone: smallest perceptible discrete segment of speech phoneme: smallest contrastive sound unit eg. bat, rat, mat allomorph: varieties of the same phoneme Etics and Emics etic: study behavior from outside a particular system units available in advance cross-cultural, can be applied to several cultures at a time emic: study from within a particular system analyzing a particular system culture-specific, applied to one culture at a time SUMMARY two main classes of speech sounds: vowels and consonants each language has a characteristic phonemic system sounds that are assignable to two or more distinct phonemes in one language may be allophones of a single phoneme in another phonetic and phonemic analytical approaches extended to nonlinguistic aspects of culture etic vs. emic Chapter 4 - Structure of Words and Sentences discourse: principal analytical unit of communicative behavior can be short or long in duration eg. greeting or protracted argument can be oral or written syntax: internal structure of sentences and interrelationships between various sentence elements eg. The young man carries the lady. vs. The lady carries the young man. Chomsky’s method of analyzing language— Generative-Transformational Grammar: an analytical approach that uses formal rules to generate grammatical sentences in a language transformational-generative approach: analyze from sentence to descriptive constituents descriptive approach: collect phonetic data and determine phonemes WORDS Morphology study of word structure and how a word is made morpheme: smallest meaningful unit of grammar free morpheme: meaning exists alone eg. love bound morpheme: no meaning by itself eg. -ly, -ing Constructing Words - affixation: use prefixes and suffixes to change words suffix: follows a stem eg. happily prefix: preceds a stem eg. unhappy can change in word class (noun → verb) or meaning can indicate grammatical relationship eg. I go, she goes SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS morphology is the study and description of word formation based on morphemes, the smallest meaningful part of language free vs. bound sentences are the largest structural units of a language syntax is the study of the structure of sentences in transformational-generative grammar, syntax refers to word structure and sentence structure founded by Chomsky Chapter 5 - Nonverbal Communication nonverbal communication: transmission of signals accomplished by means other than spoken or written words body gestures, facial expressions, spacing, touch, smell, etc. types: independent of culture and spoken language not learned eg. smile, frown gestures/vocalizations culturally/linguistically varied learned through interactions and “quotable” (can be demonstrated) eg. wink, wave semiotics: study of properties of signs/symbols and their functions in communication social semiotics: interpretation of cultural codes Paralinguistics paralanguage: characteristics of vocal communication excludable from linguistic analysis gestures often aid speaker, not necessarily for communication with others eg. gesturing while on the phone voice qualifiers: tone and pacing of speech eg. volume, pitch, speed voice characteristics: voice through which one talks eg. laughing, crying, yelling voice segregates: extralinguistic sounds eg. uh-huh, tsk tsk, snorts can be used for lie detection microexpressions verbal & nonverbal communication don’t match Kinesics kinesics/body language: visual gestures body movements, posture, facial expression occur together kineme: smallest discriminable unit of body motion facial expressions: pleasure, happiness, sadness, pain eye contact: avoidance, love body posture: interest, concern, boredom, depression hand gestures: hand-shaking it is possible to tell what language a speaker is using through only body gestures Sign Languages sign language: a form of communication displayed by bodily gestures primary: communication exclusively sign language alternate: used for occasional substitutes of speech manual alphabet: signing of the 26 letters and ampersand sign language proper: particular signs stand for different concepts cheremes: combined to form meaningful signs analogous to phonemes full languages with same features of oral language arbitrary signs; do not necessarily match what they mean SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS information, emotions, and feelings can be transmitted nonverbally nonverbal systems are based either on spoken or written language or independent of it vocal communication enhanced by paralinguistic features body language includes facial expressions, hand gestures, bod motions sign systems nearly as efficient and expressive as spoken languages Chapter 6 - Development/Evolution of a Language human speech is the result of a cumulative evolutionary process that shaped communicative behavior HUMAN LANGUAGE communication vs. language design features of language: vocal-auditory channel duality of patterning (phonemes) productivity displacement (talk about times other than present) reflexiveness (talk about language) spoken language always precedes written WHY LANGUAGE? developed along with our evolution as a species Evolution of Language human characteristics related to evolution of language: 2-3 million years ago: bipedalism use of tools increased brain size preference for vocal-auditory channel (vs. sign language) 50-70k years ago: invention of symbols (duality of patterning) productivity (talk about anything) syntax (sentence structure) monogenesis: theory that one language spread and became many allows for further development of language to take place in separate groups of homonids within an area language took place in a narrow thread of continuity from population to population essential to the development of knowledge, technology, society and survival Development of Language many animals’ language is innate, ours is learned body language works with spoken language topics of discussion can be written invent new words language is essential to individual development Benefits of Language social learning gives us an advantage solves crisis of visual theft (stealing others’ ideas by watching) piece of social technology for enhancing benefits of cooperation adaptation to different climates gives us lots of info visual theft led to human turning point did not retreat to small family groups, instead led to a system of sharing ideas accumulated knowledge led to greater development of ideas COMMUNICATION communication is universal; important to survival Channels 1940s model of communication: sender/source, message, channel, receiver/effect channels: acoustic, optical, tactile (ie. braille), olfactory (ie. perfume, pheromones) acoustic most common communication promotes advantageous individual and group relationships Communication to Language homonids probably used signals only when provoking stimuli present eg. sudden danger, discovery of food, emotional state prelanguage: communication system preceding language suggests evolutionary leap from one stage to next rather than countless incremental stages imperceptible to evolving homonids - protolanguage: reconstructed ancestral form of a language branch or language family Design Features of Language properties that characterize speech proposed by Hockett there are many but these are the most important: displacement: humans can talk about the past, present, or future duality of patterning: level of meaningless sounds combined to become level of meaningful parts in a language limited number of sounds make vast meanings reflexiveness: ability to talk about talking, reflect on language productivity: can say things never said before as well as understand novel sentences CASE STUDIES Nim Chimpsky and Washoe— two chimpanzees who used ASL to communicate nothing close to human grammar, no syntax Genie— girl who was extremely malnourished, isolated from society acquired fair amount of language yet nothing close to normal humans enforced critical period: limited time to acquire language SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS communication occurs among animals of all species speech is one of many ways for humans to communicate and the most efficient most striking design features that distinguish human speech from other animals: productivity, displacement, reflexiveness adaptations that made speech possible coincided with initial stages of homonization 2-3 million years ago reliance on vocal-auditory channel likely due to increasing employment of hands prelanguage in late Homo Erectus starting of duality of patterning Chapter 7 - Acquiring Language MAIN POINTS Humans are the only species to acquire language. All healthy/normal humans acquire at least one language effortlessly. There are more multilingual speakers than monolingual speakers in the world today. MULTILINGUALISM the ability to communicate in more than one language active: understand and speak passive: understand, not necessarily able to speak code-switching: interchanging phrases and words of multiple languages code-mixing: modified to fit alternate languages eg. les hot dogs diglossia: using two distinct varieties for two different sets of functions common, colloquial language = low status formally used language = high status Social Aspects of Multilingualism Hymes: human societies are divisible not by language by by over-lapping rules of communicative units many places where 2+ languages dominates anthropologically speaking, diversity > assimilation THEORIES innatist theory: some aspects of language must be present at birth language acquisition device: we are born with the ability to learn language built-in “core grammar”, learn which to apply as we age helps overcome poverty of stimulus: ability to speak any language in a short time critical age hypothesis: language acquired with ease before puberty and lateralization Chomsky’s theory behaviourist psychology theory: stimulus-response-reward human environment provides language stimuli, repeats it in an acceptable manner, is rewarded = learning Skinner’s theory sociocultural theory: language is necessary to become a member of the society exchanges between children and caretakers must relate to behavior patterns expected of adults LANGUAGE IN THE BRAIN Wernicke’s area: written & spoken word, understanding language Wernicke’s aphasia: inability to understand written and spoken language Broca’s area: grammar area, expressing language Broca’s aphasia: omission of function words, faulty word order Wernicke’s area generates basic sentences → Broca’s area encodes it → areas in cortex articulate it speaking and writing = front of brain listening and reading = back of brain SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS an accepted theory of language acquisition is that people are born with an abstract language model preprogrammed into their brains the brain controls speech, writing, and reading different parts of the brain contribute to different aspects of language processing injuries to these areas result in corresponding language and speech impairments - monolingualism only common in North America, multilingualism Chapter 8 - Language Through Time synchronic linguistics: approach considering a language in a slice of time rather than studying its historical antecedents diachronic linguistics: approach considering changes that occurred to a language over time How Languages Are Classified approximately 6900+ languages recorded great variation in distribution of language classify according to patterns & common ancestors word order: changing order of words changes meaning of sentence eg. John loves Jane vs Jane loves John Language Family: genetic classification; all languages descended from single ancestor - “mothers” and “daughters” eg. Indo-European → Latin → Romance (Spanish, French, Portuguese, Italian...) eg. Indo-European > Germanic (German, English, German, Dutch...) language isolates: languages seemingly unrelated to any other Typological: classification based on structural similarities (linguistic classification) according to sound system, word order, semantics, morphological characteristics, etc. most common classification assigns languages to one of four types: isolating: tend not to combine morphemes except to form compounds eg. Chinese or Vietnames inflecting: suffixes, prefixes and other markers indicate grammatical relationships eg. Latin agglutinative: each component of grammatical meaning is expressed by a separate piece of morphemic structure eg. Turkish polysynthetic: combination of agglutinative and inflectional features Reconstruction of Language Families look for potential cognates- they indicate a common ancestor look for sound changes that happen consistently in the same environment Internal and External Changes internal processes: occur within a language invention semantic shift eg. hamburg-er → ham-burger variations that spread through population eg. dude external processes: occur outside of a language borrowing words eg. moccasins semantic domains borrowing groups of words from another language eg. lieutenant, conquest assimilation: influence of a sound on a neighboring sound so that the two become similar or the same eg. ten bucks = tembucks dissimilation: identical or similar sounds of a word changed or omitted eg. February = Febyuary metathesis: transposition of sounds or larger units eg. bridd = bird Adding New Vocabulary loanwords: lexical (vocabulary of a particular language) borrowings eg. Japanese „birru‟ = “beer” from Dutch coin new words by combining existing eg. brunch = breakfast + lunch adjust to novelties by extending meaning of existing words to include them eg. human body parts “corresponding” to vehicle Processes of Sound Change weakening: voiced → voiceless at the end of words or syllables eg. pronunciation of wait voiceless → voiced between two vowels eg. ata → ada stops → fricatives (p, t, k → f, th, h) deletion: removing utters/sounds eg. mountain → mou-n Grimm’s Law of Consonant Shifts p t k → f th x(h) b d g → p t k bh dh gh → b d g How and Why Sound Changes Occur sound changes affect frequently used words which then extends to other words over time lexical diffusion: view concerning how changes spread through the words of a language pioneered by Labov sound changes are not random nor do they operate without exception (rules out neogrammarian hypothesis) sound changes occur to maintain a definite pattern of organization analogy: regular forms tend to influence less regular forms eg. auditoriums rather than auditoria - easily articulated sounds require those that require greater effort - eg. clothes = close hypercorrection: imitation of sounds, grammar and words overdone eg. between you and I (incorrect) rather than between you and me (correct) cognate: a word related by another eg. chemicals and chemistry Reconstructing Protolanguages changes related to other changes within a population linguistic variation: by social difference by region by context often have distinct phonology linguistic changes often systematic & regular occurs over time spreads to all speakers one change provokes another eg. The Great Vowel Shift main assumptions: recurring similarities between words from different languages indicate that they have a common ancestral language sound changes are regular under like-circumstances Reconstruction of Ancestral Homelands - based on assumption that one can use cognates to reveal original location of parent population from descendant languages holistic approach of anthropology combines various data to answer: linguistic archaeological biological cultural Trying to Date the Past glottochronology: method of establishing and determining linguistic relationships on the basis of a quantitative study of lexical items and time depth glottochronological dating based on assumption that words are replaced at a constant rate over long periods of time Time Perspective in Culture assignment of languages to a language family implies existence of a common ancestral language the more differentiated the descendant languages are, the longer it took them to develop these differences time depth has important consequences for culture history SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS living languages change slowly but constantly sound changes are regular reconstructing words helps determine ancestral homeland and prehistoric cultures genetic classification related by virtue assigned to one language family linguistic typology examines common features or attributes in languages Chapter 9 - Languages in Variation and Languages in Contact Idiolects vocal tract: determines one’s voice quality (timbre) idiolect: an individual’s speech variety eg. the way family members communicate with each other vs. with employers
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