Cultural Anthropology Chapter 5- Language

Only human beings have a _______
symbolic language
1) Language
the system of arbitrary vocal symbols we use to encode our experience of the world.
There are around ______ and ______ languages
3,000-10,000
Human language is a __________ __________
biocultural phenomenon
Language is a primary interest to anthropologists for three reasons:
– Communicate in the field
– Object of study in its own right
– What it reveals about cultures
First, let’s look at ____________. Anthropologists do their fieldwork among people whose language is ______ than theirs.
communication
different
Second, let’s look at the _________in its own right. Anthropologists can transcribe or______a speech and thus lift it out of its cultural context to be analyzed on its own.
object of study
tape record
2) Linguistics
the scientific study of language
Third, let’s look at what it _________. All people use language to ______ their experience, to ____ their understanding of the world and of themselves, and to ____ one another interactively.
reveals about culture
encode
structure
engage
Language with a capital L was viewed as an ________ belonging to the human species as a whole, not to be confused with the specific languages of concrete groups of people.
abstract property
It remains useful, however, to distinguish _____ from speech and ________.
We usually think of spoken language (______) when we use the term language, but English can be communicated in writing Morse code, or __________ to name just three nonspoken media.
language
communication
speech
American Sign Language
Human communication
the transfer of information from one person to another (can be verbal or not)
Native speakers of a language share not just vocabulary and grammar but also a number of ______ about how to speak that may not be shared by speakers of a different language. (EX: Students learning new language, word for word translation does not work)(EX: English, “I am full”. French. “I am pregnant”)
assumptions
Studying a second language is ____ a matter of learning new labels for old objects, than it is of learning how to identify___objects that go with new labels.
less
new
Language, like the rest of culture, is a product of ______to come to terms with _____.
They generally have larger _______ for the aspects of life that is most important to them.
(EX: The Aymara who live in the Andes of South America, have hundreds of words for the many varieties of potatoes they grow)(EX: Contrast Americans with words for computers)
human attempts
experience
vocabularies
However, despite the differences in vocabulary and grammar, all languages studied by linguistics prove to be _____. There is no such thing as a ______ human language.
equally complex
primitive
Traditionally, languages are associated with concrete groups of people called _______
speech communities
Speech communities
concrete groups of people
Consequently there is a tension in language between ______ and _______. There are many ways to communicate our experiences, and there is no absolute standard for favoring one way over another. Some things that are easy to say in one language are ____ to say in another. (EX: English we use a, an , the before nouns, but that rule isn’t found in all languages)
diversity and commonality
hard
Likewise, the verb ____, called the ____ by linguists, is not found in all languages.
to be
copula
1966: Charles Hockett listed ___different design features of human language that set it apart from other forms of ____ communication.
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animal
3) Design Features
Those characteristics of language that, when taken together, differentiate it from other known animal communication systems.
Six of these design features seem helpful in defining what makes human language distinctive: _____, _____, ____, _____, _____, ____
openness, displacement, arbitrariness, duality of patterning, semanticity, and prevarication
_____, probably most important feature, emphasizes that human language is _____. Also defined as “the ability to understand the same thing from different points of view”
– The importance of openness for human verbal communication is striking when we compare for example, ____ human language to the ___communication systems (or call systems) of monkeys and apes.
This point is stressed in the work of _____ anthropologists who point out that modern human beings still possess a set of six calls: laughing, sobbing, screaming with fright, crying with pain, groaning and sighing.
Openness
creative
Spoken
vocal
biological
Openness
the ability to understand the same thing from different points of view
Calls, together with gestures and the changes in speech rhythm, volume, and tonality that linguists call ______, all appear to have coevolved alongside ______
speech prosody
symbolic language
The call systems of nonhuman primates are said to be _____ when compared to open human languages. These closed call systems also lack ______ (our human ability to talk about absent or nonexistent objects and past or future events as easily as we discuss our immediate situations)
closed
displacement
Displacement
our human ability to talk about absent or nonexistent objects and past or future events as easily as we discuss our immediate situations
Closed call systems also lack _______ (the absence of any obligatory link between sound and meaning in language)(EX: Boy in English in other languages means many)

– One aspect of linguistic creativity is the ____, creative production of new links between sounds and meanings. Thus, arbitrariness is the ____of openness.

– Arbitrariness is evident in the design feature of language that is called ______(human language is patterned on two different levels: sound and meaning).

arbitrariness
free
flip side
duality of patterning
Arbitrariness
the absence of any obligatory link between sound and meaning in language
(EX: Boy in English in other languages means many)
Duality of patterning
human language is patterned on two different levels: sound and meaning
– The first level is a small set of meaningless sounds that characterize any particular language are not random but systematically patterned (______)

– The second level is where grammar puts the sound units together according to an entirely different set of rules: The resulting sound clusters are the smallest meaning bearing units of the language, called (______)

phonemes
morphemes
Phonemes
small set of meaningless sounds that characterize any particular language are not random but systematically patterned
Morphemes
grammar puts the sound units together according to an entirely different set of rules: The resulting sound clusters are the smallest meaning bearing units of the language
Semanticity
(the association of linguistic signals with aspects of the social, cultural, and physical world of a speech community) (EX: Use of the words ape and monkey if you are specialized in that knowledge VS general)
The most striking consequence of linguistic openness is _______ (to make statements or ask questions that violate convention)(linguistic messages can be false and they can be meaningless)(EX: Colorless green ideas sleep furiously)
prevarication
Prevarication
(to make statements or ask questions that violate convention)(linguistic messages can be false and they can be meaningless)(EX: Colorless green ideas sleep furiously)
4) Linguistic competence
a term coined by linguist Noam Chomsky to refer to the mastery of adult grammar
5) Communicative competence
a term coined by anthropological linguist Dell Hymes to refer to the mastery of adult rules for socially and culturally appropriate speech.
Anthropologists are powerfully aware of the______of context on what people choose to say. (EX: Americans with “you” and French with “you” as tu or vous)
influence
______ of different languages often describe the same situations in different ways.
Grammars
6) Linguistic relativity principle (Sapir-Whorf hypothesis)
a position, associated with Edward Sapir and Benjamin Whorf, that asserts that language has the power to shape the way people see the world.
The so-called strong version of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis is also known as ________(a totalizing of view of language that reduces patterns of thought and culture to the patterns of the grammar of the language we speak)(EX: Words male and female indicate they are different)
linguistic determination
Linguistic determination
a totalizing of view of language that reduces patterns of thought and culture to the patterns of the grammar of the language we speak)(EX: Words male and female indicate they are different)
Problems with linguistic determinism
– Languages that only have ___pronouns for males and females
– If language determined ____, we wouldn’t be able to translate or learn another
– Every language provides its native speakers with _____ ways of describing the world
– One language is the _____ rather than the rule (monolinguals)
1/3rd
thought
alternative
exception
7) Grammar
a set of rules that aim to describe fully the patterns of linguistic usage observed by members of a particular speech community
8) Phonology
the study of the sounds of language
Linguistic study involves a search for patterns in the way speakers use language. The most widely acknowledged components of language are ______, ______, _______, ________, ________
phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, and pragmatics.
Phones
The actual sounds that come out of our mouths
Phoneme
Each class of functionally equivalent sounds
Allophones
Variant phones within each class
Part of a phonologist’s job is to ____ ____possible arrangements of speech organs and ____ individual languages. American English only uses ___ sounds.
map out
examine
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9) Morphology
In linguistics, the study of the minimal units of meaning in a language (The study of how words are put together)
What is a ____? English speakers tend to think of words as ________of sentences and of sentences as ______ ____ _____. (EX: Words are not all alike because some cannot be broken down into smaller pieces: EX: Book, boo is a word, but k is not)

To make sense of the structure of languages, linguists needed a concept that could refer to ______and not be ______ into words. This led to the development of _____ (“the minimal units of meaning in a language”)

word
building blocks
strings of words
both words
broken down
morphemes
10) Syntax
the study of sentence structure
1950’s Noam _____ showed that sentence structures had properties that could ____ be explained by the rules of morphemes alone.
Chomsky
not
Structural ambiguity
smoking grass means trouble (weed or fire). We can explain this if we focus on the overall structure of the sentence in which the word is found, not the structure of the word itself
11) Semantics
The study of meaning
Semantics was _____ for years because meaning is an ______ term
avoided
ambiguous
Synonymy
(same meaning: old and aged)
Homophony
(same sound, different meaning) (would, wood)
Antonym
(opposite meaning) (tall and short)
They also defined words in terms of ______ (what they referred to in the “real world”.)
This means that meaning must be constructed in the face _____.
denotation
ambiguity
Denotation
what they referred to in the “real world
Connotations
(additional meanings that derive from the typical contexts in which they are used in everyday speech)
12) Pragmatics
the study of language in the context of use
Michael Silverstein was one of the first to argue “that the referential meaning of certain expressions in language cannot be determined unless we go_____the boundaries of a sentence and place the expressions in a wider context of use.
Two kinds of context must be considered: ____ and ___
beyond
linguistic and nonlinguistic
Linguistic context
(the other words, expressions, and sentences that surround the expression whose meaning we are trying to determine) (EX: I really liked it)
Nonlinguistic context
(objects and activities that are present in the situation of speech at the same time we are speaking) (EX: Who is that standing by the door?)
By forcing analysts to go beyond syntax and semantics, pragmatics directs out attention to_______.
discourse
13) Discourse
a stretch of speech longer than a sentence united by a common theme
14) Ethnopragmatics
a study of language use that relies on ethnography to illuminate the ways in which speech is both constituted by and constitutive of social interaction
Such a study focuses on ____ (human activity in which the rules of grammar, cultural values, and physical action are all conjoined)
Phonemes, morphemes, syntax and semantics are viewed as ______
practice
linguistic resources
practice
human activity in which the rules of grammar, cultural values, and physical action are all conjoined
Mutually engaged people shape ______that involve spoken language but also include values and shared habitual knowledge that may never be put into words.
communicative practices
Discourse genre
Each set of linguistic habits is called a
Linguistic knowledge is characterized by _____
Hetroglossia
Hetroglossia
the normal condition of linguistic knowledge in any society with internal divisions
One of the most obvious ways that context influences speech is when speakers ____ their words for a particular audience (EX: Advertisement)
tailor
15) Pidgin
language with no native speakers that develops in a single generation between members of communities that possess distinct native languages.
The study of pidgin is the study of the _____ _____of new meaning, the production of a new whole (pidgin language) that is different from and reducible to neither of the languages that gave birth to it.
radical negotiation
The shape of a pidgin reflects the ____ in which is arises- generally one of ______or commercial domination.
context
colonial conquest
Pidgins are traditionally defined as reduced languages that have no native speakers. When speakers of a pidgin language pass that language on to a new generation, linguists refer to the language as ____.
creole
Moreover, ______can take place at any time after a pidgin forms, creoles can exist without having been preceded by pidgins, pidgins remain pidgins for long periods and undergo linguistic change without acquiring native speakers, and pidgin and creole varieties of the same language can _____ in the same society.
creolization
coexist
Creolization
when pidgin speakers find themselves in new social contexts requiring a new language for all the practical activities of everyday life.
Pidgins and creoles are very _____, but often viewed as _____ and inferior languages. (EX: African Americans)

_______(making value judgements about other people’s speech in a context of dominance and subordination.)

complex
defective
Linguistic inequality
Linguistic inequality
making value judgements about other people’s speech in a context of dominance and subordination
What are the controversies surrounding the language habits of African Americans?
– Case of African children with a supposed “______” as opposed to Eastern Americans (Found that it was not defective, and they used sophisticated language)

– ____ to them represented both the oppression of slavery and the resistance to that oppression

linguistic deprivation
AAE
16) Language ideology
a marker of struggles between social groups with different interests, revealed in what people say and how they say it (ways of representing the intersection between social forms and forms of talk)
The key element of African American language ideology is the importance of ______. (EX: with slavery when speaking to whites).

They also developed a _____ based on indirectness that could only be fully enacted before an audience that included both people who had been socialized within the African American setting and outsiders who had not. (EX: when asking why, they answered where)

indirectness
counterlanguage
What are the controversies surrounding the habits of women and men?

Gender-based differences in linguistic habits are not ______.

When studied, the speech between genders was ____. (Ritual speech (elaborate metaphors in poetic form), and some varieties of it are so demanding that the men and women were sometimes paid for performing)
EX: Men were to talk to spirits in this, while women were to cause emotion and never paid.

universal
different
17) Language revitalization
attempts by linguists and activists to preserve or revive languages with few native speakers that appear to be on the verge of extinction.
The threats to these languages range widely as well. They include the spread of ____ languages like English and the marginalization of one ____ in favor of a neighboring dialect. They also include support for a “national” sign language…
“world”
dialect
How are language and truth connected?

Metaphor in Azande Central Africa is called ___ in which can be used to disguise a speech that might be taken wrong.
Sanza adds greatly to the difficulties of anthropological ____.

Human language is an ____and as long as human history continues, new forms will be created and old forms will continue to be put to new use.

sanza
inquiry
open system