The ethnography of communication

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The ethnography of communication

  1. 1. Sociolinguistics Sara PachecoSource:Saville-Troike,M. (1996) in S.L. McKay and N. Hornberger (Eds.) (1996) Chapter 11: Theethnography of communication.
  2. 2. The ethnography of communication Basic terms, concepts and issues  Patterns and functions of communication  Speech community  Language and culture  Communicative competence  Linguistic knowledge  Interaction skills  Cultural knowledge Doing the ethnography of communication  Units of analysis  The act of analysis Findings and applications to language learning and teaching
  3. 3. Basic terms, concepts and issues Patterns and functions of communication o The relationship of language form and use to and functions Anthropology Linguistics Rules for appropriate language use in specific contexts Descriptive Prescriptive Expectations An ethnography of communication approach typically, tough not exclusively, looks for strategies and conventions governing larger units of communication and involves more holistic interpretation. |EthnometodologySocietal level Societal level Language Categories of talk function Regular patterns Attitudes about languages Creating and reinforcing and and their speakers boundaries which unify member s constraints The use of rules to affect of one speech community while social and cultural outcomes excluding outsiders from intragroup communication
  4. 4. Basic terms, concepts and issues Speech community Being a member of a speech community has been defined as sharing the same language (Lyons, 1970), sharing rules of speaking and interpretation of speech performance (Hymes, 1972), and sharing sociocultural understandings and presuppositions with regard to speech (Sherzer, 1975).Not homogeneous  communicative repertoire Codes (different languages or significantly languages varieties)Speaker’s choice Styles (varieties associated with sociocultural dimensions: age, sex…) Registers (varieties associated with settings or scenes)Some bilinguals L2 learners differs Native speakers learnchange not only code from FL learners at some point abut rules of speaking, when acquiring rules schooled variety ofnon-verbal behaviors of communication as their language andand other strategies they are in a process learn when to use it.for interaction of acculturation. Speaking the same language is sufficient for some degree of participation but perhaps not for full membership.
  5. 5. Basic terms, concepts and issues  Language and culture Development of general theories of communication Description and analysis of communication within specific speech communities. The grammar of a language Vocabulary index of Many words do not mean may reveal the way time and the way the speakers the same thing as their space are organized, convey categorize experience translation equivalents in beliefs about animacy and the other languages. relative power of beings, and imply a great deal of other information by conventionalPart of the potential application of the ethnography of presupposition.communication to language teaching comes inunderstanding the nature and content of the language-culture relationship in both the specific contexts ofcommunication in which students are likely to want orneed to participate and their contexts of learning — and indetermining what aspects of culture need to be, can be,and should be taught.
  6. 6. Basic terms, concepts and issues Communicative competence How to say it appropriately inLanguage code + What to say + any given situation Linguistic knowledgeThe ability to discriminate between variants which carry social meaning by serving asmarkers of social categories and those which are socially insignificant and the knowledgeof what the social meaning of a variant is in a particular situation. (Foreign talk)Interaction skillsSocial conventions which regulate the use of language and other communicative devicesin particular settings. Language as it occurs in its social context  an emergent anddynamic process.Cultural knowledgeTotal set of knowledge and skills which speakers bring into a situation. No topicis universally forbidden; linguistic taboos relate integrally to culture. Shared knowledgeexplains shared presuppositions and judgments of truth value undergirdings oflanguage structures and contextually appropriate usage and Interpretation
  7. 7. Doing the ethnography of communication Observing No anticipation  Naturalistics settings Asking questions Participating in group activities Testing validity against intuition Cross-cultural knowledge and comparison Unit of analysis  The communicative situationThe context within which communication occurs. (a church service, a trial, a class inschool…). A single situation maintains a consistent general configuration of activities andthe same overall ecology, although there may be great diversity in the kinds of interaction.  The communicative eventAn unified set of components: beginning with the same general purpose, the same generaltopic, and the same participants, generally using the same language variety, maintainingthe same tone or key, and using the same rules for interaction, in the same setting.  The communicative actIt is generally coterminous with a single interactional function, such as a referentialstatement, a request, or a command, and may be either verbal or nonverbal.
  8. 8. Doing the ethnography of communication The act of analysis Description  static   dynamic  process Analyzing communication does ultimately require inferences to be made about the intentions and effects of interactions, although such inferences should be grounded wherever possible in an understanding of the perceptions of those who are participants in an event. A final characterization that can be made of most ethnographic research in classrooms is that it is open to new questions that may arise in the course of data collection and analysis and that it attempts to account for the full range of communicative phenomena which occur in the social context of interaction.
  9. 9. Findings and applications to language learningand teaching For Hymes, research and The methods of the ethnography ofapplication involve a two-way sharing communication can be profitably appliedof knowledge - the investigator by teachers in observing and analyzingcontributing scientific modes of the situation in their own classroom andinquiry and participants providing in heightening their awareness of theirthe requisite knowledge and own interaction patterns with studentsperspective of the particularcommunity contexts. Knowledge of the ways in which communicative structures andHeath goes beyond description to strategies differ across cultures willsuggest ways in which educators can help teachers better understand themake use of knowledge from the reasons for students deviations fromethnographies of communication to standard and native language norms.build bridges between communities Understanding why students mightand schools and develop ways to make certain choices in language useaccommodate group differences in can lead to more tolerant andlanguage and culture. appreciative attitudes toward students full range of communicative resources.

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