Anthro 2245 - Readings for January 17, 2014

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Anthropology 2245F/G
Tania Granadillo

READINGS JANUARY 17, 2014 CHAPTER 2 – NATURE OF THE LINGUISTIC SIGN: Ferdinand de Saussure -Ferdinand de Saussure th • Linguist from turn of the 20 century • Credited for seeing that language can be looked at diachronically (historically) and synchronically (at any given moment in time) • Words are a linguistic sign • Invented semiotics: general science of signs that can be used to analyze film, literature, clothing, food and all human behaviour -Sign, Signified, Signifier • Sign unites not a thing and a name, rather, a concept and a sound-image (psychological response to the sound), sound-image becomes apparent when we can talk to ourselves sin our minds without moving our lips • Linguistic sign: concept\\sound-image: two elements intimately united • Signified refers to the concept & Signifier refers to the sound-image -Principle One: The Arbitrary Nature of the Sign • Bond between signified and signifier is arbitrary, and sign means the whole that results from the association between the two, thus, the linguistic sign is arbitrary • Every means of expression used in society is based on collective behaviour • Linguistics master pattern for all branches of semiology, with language as only one particular system • Symbol: word used to designate the linguistic sign (signifier) – Principle One denies this because symbols are never totally arbitrary (cant always interchange symbols and have same meaning, justice = scales) • Arbitrary: meaning that the term is unmotivated where it has no natural connection to the signified (concept) -Objections to Principle One • 1. Onomatopoeia: words like glug-glug, chosen somewhat approximately for imitations of certain sounds, subject to phonetic evolution, lose part of original character • 2. Interjections: reactionary sounds like ouch, no fixed bond between their signified and their signifier -Principle Two: The Linear Nature of the Signifier • Signifier, being auditory gets its characteristics through its ability to represent a period and that the span can be measured in a single dimension > it’s a line • Auditory signifiers have at the time of their command only the dimension of time CHAPTER 3 – THE ORIGIN OF SPEECH: Charles Hockett -Charles Hockett • Linguist and anthropologist • The Design Features: the logical components of a communicative system, they put human language on a continuum with the communicative systems of various species • Identifies 13 aspects of human language • Emphasizes features: discreteness, displacement, productivity, traditional transmission and duality of patterning • Goal: set human language apart from other forms of communication • Philology: study of the origin of language • 2 empirical plans even though proven negative th • Turn of the 20 century Europeans thought there to be a possibility of an early version of humans and thus an earlier stage in the evolution of language (no place found to have said primitive language) -The Comparative Method • allows for examination of related languages and to construct in detail a portrayal of the common ancestor, sheds no light on origin of language • English, Dutch, German and Scandinavian languages divergent descendants of singular earlier language (ancestor: Proto-Germanic language) • Using to compare communicative systems of hominoids, gibbons and great apes = must be basic features of design that can be present or absent in any communicative system -13 Design Features • Justification that all of the worlds languages share all 13 • 1. Vocal-Auditory Channel – primates, leaves body free for other activities • 2. Rapid Fading & 3. Broadcast Transmissi
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