Chaper 32 – Speech Codes Theory

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Ethnography of Communication
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Dell Hymes (1962): How is it that culture and language are intertwined -If we look very closely at the way people talk, we will understand something about the way they live. ex: Gerry Philipsen “Teamsterville”
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Definition of Speech Code
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a historically transmitted, socially constructed system of terms and meanings, premises and rules, pertaining to communicative conduct
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Definition and examples of premises
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Definition: a generalized statement of belief or value ex: the more connections a man has, the more he is a man.
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Definition and examples of rules
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Definition: prescription (what you should do) or proscription (what you should not do), for how to act, under specified circumstances, which has some degree of force in a particular social group. ex: Men should respond physically to misbehavior of children because they are in an asymmetrical relationship. (Philipsen became seen as a saint to the children b/c he was “above” hitting children
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6 Propositions of Speech Codes Theory: Proposition 1
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Wherever there is a distinctive culture, there is to be found a distinctive speech code.
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6 Propositions of Speech Codes Theory: Proposition 2
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In any given speech community, multiple speech codes are deployed Speech community: a group sharing the rules for the use and interpretation of at least one linguistic variety. example: many diff ways of using english as a language (Coutu speaks diff when shes in Boston vs when shes in Seattle)
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6 Propositions of Speech Codes Theory: Proposition 3
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A speech code involves a culturally distinct psychology, sociology and rhetoric psychology: who are people? What is the nature of individuals? sociology: What is society? Rhetoric: How are people and society linked through communication?
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6 Propositions of Speech Codes Theory: Proposition 4
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The significance of speaking depends on the speech codes used by speakers and listeners to create and interpret their communication
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6 Propositions of Speech Codes Theory: Proposition 5
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The terms, premises and the rules of a speech code are inextricably woven into speaking itself. A. social drama B. Totemizing ritual
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6 Propositions of Speech Codes Theory: Proposition 6
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The artful use of a shared speech code is a sufficient condition for predicting, explaining, and controlling the form of discourse about the intelligibility, prudence, and morality of communicative conduct *speech codes guide how we talk about talk
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Social Drama
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a public confrontation in which one party invokes a moral rule to challenge the conduct of another party ex: Gerberding makes racist comment at public university event
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Totemizing rituals
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a careful performance of a structured sequence of actions that pays homage to a sacred object ex: “communication ritual” 1. initiation 2. acknowledgement 3. negotiation – selves 4. reaffirmation (of who you are in relation to each other) *sacred object: self, ex: wedding, graduation
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Criticisms of Speech Codes Theory (according to Griffin)
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-Some ppl don’t like Philipsen’s desire to make generalizations about cultures -this theory does not prioritize power and dynamics, he should analyze them -his goal was to look at a few small communities and try and find generalizations -he will take power and dynamics into consideration IF they become apparent
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Speech Codes Thoery
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-Gerry Philipsen -Interpretive -Socio-cultural tradition

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