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Chapter 4

Chapter 4.docx

14 Pages
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Department
Anthropology
Course Code
AN101
Professor
Anne- Marie Colpron

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Chapter 4: Language 10/31/2011
Language
The system of arbitrary vocal symbols (or their equivalent) we use to encode our experience of
the world
Vocal symbols
The articulated sounds of speech can be transferred into visual speech symbolism (written words,
reading lips, sign language, smoke signals, etc.)
Language is so ingrained in our everyday life and seems so natural that we do not question it:
We forget it is learned and culturally acquired
Paradox of Language
Language universality:
Every population in the world has language
Language variation
Different populations have elaborated different languages
Language is specific to humans
Animals have a type of communication (instinctive cries) but not a language as a symbolic
system of communication learned in society
Involuntary sounds
Can sounds made under the stress of an emotion, like a scream of surprise or fear, be considered
as language?
NO!
This kind of reaction is instinctive and not symbolic
Language is a symbolic intentional way of communicating
Interjections:
Are interjections Ah! Oh! Part of Language?
Yes
Interjections have a conventional use:
We culturally learn how to use them
They vary in different languages, from society to society
Onomatopoeia
The formation of a word from a sound associated with what is named
For ex: animal cries
Are onomatopoeia part of language?
YES!
These sounds do not come naturally out of nature
They are cultural constructions, that is why we find cultural variation
Animal Cries
English French Spanish
Bird: cheep cheep cui cui pío pío
Dog: woof woof ouah ouah guau
Rooster: cock-a-doodle-doo cocorico kikiriki
Aspects of language
Specific to humans
Non-instinctive (learned)
Voluntary Aspect
System of symbols
Universal and variation
Languages variation
Language differ in:
Sounds
Lexicon (vocabulary)
Word structure
Grammatical categories
Discourse patterns
The culture of language
The paradox of language
Gave rise to two different approaches:
The universalist approach: Focuses on the universal aspects of languages.
The particularist approach: focuses on the variation aspects of languages

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Description
Chapter4Language10312011LanguageThe system of arbitrary vocal symbols or their equivalent we use to encode our experience of the world Vocal symbolsThe articulated sounds of speech can be transferred into visual speech symbolism written words reading lips sign language smoke signals etc Language is so ingrained in our everyday life and seems so natural that we do not question itWe forget it is learned and culturally acquiredParadox of LanguageLanguage universalityEvery population in the world has languageLanguage variationDifferent populations have elaborated different languages Language is specific to humansAnimals have a type of communication instinctive cries but not a language as a symbolic system of communication learned in society Involuntary soundsCan sounds made under the stress of an emotion like a scream of surprise or fear be considered as languageNOThis kind of reaction is instinctive and not symbolicLanguage is a symbolic intentional way of communicating InterjectionsAre interjections Ah Oh Part of LanguageYesInterjections have a conventional useWe culturally learn how to use themThey vary in different languages from society to society Onomatopoeia The formation of a word from a sound associated with what is namedFor ex animal criesAre onomatopoeia part of languageYESThese sounds do not come naturally out of natureThey are cultural constructions that is why we find cultural variationAnimal Cries English French SpanishBird cheep cheepcui cuipo poDogwoof woof ouah ouah guauRooster cockadoodledoococorico kikiriki
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