Linguistic Anthropology- Unit One

Absolute frame of spatial reference
Is not what is primarily used in the United States. An absolute frame of spacial reference includes directions such as north, south, east, and west while relative is in relation to you or the things around you (i.e. to the left of me, to the right of the door, etc.)

Arbitrariness in language
Language itself is arbitrary. We string sounds together in arbitrary ways to achieve meaning. For example a laugh is arbitrary. Laughing doesn’t resemble humor any more than the word “shovel”, but laughter and the meaning of it is set narrowly by inheritance.

Attachment theory
A deep emotional bond that connects one person to another across time and space. A biological pre-existing connection between caregiver and child that can be: 1. Secure (ideal) mom/dad comfort child and provide care and safety 2. Ambivalent (poor maternal care) 3. Avoidant and 4. Disorganized are both considered “bad.”

Color Categories
The theory that, depending on what language you speak, uh our view of color changes. In some cultures there is no distinguishing between yellow and orange in their language so differentiating between the two may be either harder or more arbitrary.

Cultural Relativism
Every culture is unique and one can only understand the norms of a culture from the inside.

Descriptive Lingusitics
Analysis that describes the actual usage of language users.

Duality in Language
The base unit, a phoneme is meaningless, but can be strung together to create larger parts of words like suffixes, prefixes, and word bases (morphemes). This dual structure is specifically characteristic of spoken and written language, but not of gesture-calls.

The gradual acquisition of the social norms or practices of one culture to another culture.

Hierarchy in Language
Phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, and pragmatics. Also that “cold” is the absence of “hot” and the usage of male as neutral in US as opposed to female.

Historical Linguistics
Study of the development of language over time.

Home-school Continuity
The theory that language and social norms learned at home may differ from the school environment. Because of this, kids who are raised in homes that emulate a school environment may be more likely to have the tools alreqdy needed to succeed.

Sign that is apparent to most people. It resembles the activity/ thing accurately.

A sign that represents an association (smoke indexes fire).

Language vs. Speech
Speech is what comes out of our mouths while language is how we understand, read, write, and comprehend words.

Language Acquisition
Dependent on culture. In the U.S. many parents use self-lowering (simplify words, ask questions with obvious answers) and child-raising (treating the child as more linguistically competent than he or she really is). According to Chomsky environment has little to do with language acquisition. Ochs & Schiefflin say language acquisition and the process of becoming a competent member of society are interrelated. They also claim children take an active role in constructing language. In other cultures, such as the Kaluli and Samoan cultures the babies aren’t talked down to or directly at. A major question regarding lang. acquisition is nature vs. Nurture. In US protoconversations are popular (conversations that are initiated with or responding with gesture).

Competency. Unconscious knowledge of a language.

Lexicon, Lexical Item
Lexicon is vocabulary; a lexical item is a single word “take” for example which has different morphemes including takes, taking, and took. Lexeme is a word.

Linguistic Determinism
Is the idea that language and its structures determine the way that people think and what they know.

Linguistic Relativism
Speakers of different languages inhabit different worlds: what we see as reality differs as a result of our languages. Closely related to the SW hypothesis

Metaphorical Concept
The theory that most things we say are metaphors for what the literal meaning is. Examples include “on the tip of my tongue, sweating like a ***** in church.” Also “argument is war” from this metaphor we can also associate the metaphors of “your claims are indefensible,” “his claims are right in target,” and the theory that one can wkn or lose an argument.

Modality, Multimodal
A type of communication (spoken, signed, etc.)

Is the smallest grammatical unit that adds meaning to a word or is a word. Examples include: ham, egg+s, any+where, etc.

Order in Language
(subject, verb, object) S-O-V; S-V-O, etc.

Writing or spelling system.

Performance. Putting, or not putting, grammatical and usage rules into action.

The study of sound in a language and being able to recognize and reproduce those sounds. Focused on primarily by linguists. Linguistic anthropologists use phonology as a base before experiencing language in a social context.

Smallest unit of sound that makes a difference in meaning (the initial sounds of pat and bat).

The study of language use and how meanings emerge in social contexts (sarcasm is taken into account with pragmatics).

Recursion in Language
Able to be repeatedly applied, as in recursive grammatical rules.

Relative Frame of Spatial Reference
What is primarily used in the United States. To the left of me, to the right of the La Crosse Center, etc. Contrasts from absolute frame of spatial reference. Egocentric vs. Geocentric.

Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis
Cultural relativism and the theory that every culture is unique. Also linguistic relativity and the theory that speakers of different languages inhabit different worlds. That means what we see as reality differs from culture to culture.

The study of interpreting the meaning of words, but not in social contexts (sarcasm would not be recognized with a semantic perspective).

The study of signs.

Icon, index, and symbol: a link between a concept (signified) and sound pattern (signifier). The word tree or a physical tree vs. Saying “tree.”

Our relationship to language changes based on life experiences/ moving geographical locations. Language is revisited and learned in the professional world for specific jobs (i.e. lawyer).

A branch of linguistics that investigates the relationship between linguistic and social factors.

A sign that refers to the object by nature of habit or convention. It represents an idea.

The study of the structure of sentences (phrases, clauses, etc.) combining subjects, verbs, clauses in a correct manner. This is a primaey focus of linguists, but linguistic anthropologists only use it as a base for digging into semantics and pragmatics.

Types of Writing Systems
A medium of communication that uses visual modality and has an orthography (system for writing and spelling). Early writing systems include the reusable and practical Cuneiform, oracle etched in bone in China (kept private), and the glyphs in stone in Mesoamerica meant to assert authority and inflict scare tactic on neighboring peoples (lasted a long time, through many leaders).

Universal Features of Language
Arbitrariness, duality (depends on context (hot & cold)), order (hotness, coldness, etc), recursion (ideas have infinite meanings), grammar.

Universal Grammatical Categories
UG: theory that there is a deep grammatical structure that all languages share. Categories include number, time, displacement, signaling of speech acts (tone), and reflexivity (talk about own speech).

Writing vs. Speech
Speech is practiced as a part of many languages, although writing is not necessarily a part of all languages. Some are exclusively spoken.