4. language and communication


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4. language and communication

  1. 1. 15 Language andCommunicationAnthropology:The Exploration of Human Diversity12thEditionConrad Phillip Kottak
  2. 2. © 2008 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.2Language and Communication• What Is Language• Nonhuman Communication• Nonverbal Communication• The Structure of Language• Language, Thought, and Culture• Sociolinguistics• Historical Linguistics
  3. 3. © 2008 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.3What Is Language?• Transmitted through learning as part ofenculturation• Based on arbitrary, learnedassociations between words and thethings they represent• Primary means of communication(spoken or written)
  4. 4. © 2008 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.4What Is Language?– Conjure up elaborate images– Discuss the past and future– Share experiences with others– Benefit from their experiences• Anthropologists study language in itssocial and cultural context. One of themain characteristics is that thelanguage is changing.• Allows humans to:
  5. 5. © 2008 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.5Nonhuman Communication• Call Systems – limited number ofsounds that are produced in responseto specific stimuli. Animals have callsystems.–Automatic and cannot be combined(ex. When animals encounter food ordanger they can make only one call)
  6. 6. © 2008 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.6Human Communication• Men speak– At some point in human development,ancestors began to combine calls and tounderstand the combinations– Communication came to rely almost totallyon learning
  7. 7. © 2008 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.7The Origin of Language• Language did not appear suddenly but itdeveloped over hundreds of thousands ofyears from human ancestors’ call systems.• Language uniquely effective vehicle forlearning that enables humans to adaptmore rapidly to new stimuli than otheranimals.
  8. 8. © 2008 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.8• Language permitted to man kind toexchange information and to diffuse itwhich is impossible for animals.• It is the most effective way of learningbecause we can speak of the thingswhich we experienced and we cananticipate the response beforesomething happens.
  9. 9. © 2008 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.9Nonverbal Communication• People engage also in nonverbalcommunication such as our face expression,body gestures and moves• Kinesics – study of communication throughbody movements, stances, gestures, and facialexpressions• Linguists pay attention to what is said and how it is said– Body movements communicate social differences. InJapan different bows are used for different socialstatuses.
  10. 10. © 2008 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.10The Structure of Language– Phonology – study of speech sounds– Morphology – forms in which soundscombine to form words– Lexicon – dictionary containing all it’s thewords and their meanings– Syntax – arrangement and order of wordsin phrases and sentences• Scientific study of spoken languageinvolves several levels of organization
  11. 11. © 2008 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.11The Structure of Language– Phoneme – sound contrast that makes adifference, that differentiates meaning ex.pit and bit– Phonetics – study of human speechsounds– Phonemics – studies only the significantsound contrasts of given language ex. InEnglish R and L like Craw and Claw• Speech Sounds
  12. 12. © 2008 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.12Language, Thought, and Culture• The Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis – Rather thanspeaking universal linguistic structures differentlanguages produces different way of thinking.• Grammatical categories of different languages leadtheir speakers to think about things in particularways. (Ex in English the third person pronounce he,she, it distinguish gender.)• Noam Chomsky argues human brain containslimited set of rules for organizing language,so all languages have common structuralbasis. (Universal grammar)
  13. 13. © 2008 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.13Language, Thought, and Culture– Specialized sets of terms and distinctions that areparticularly important to certain groups (ex.Eskimos had many words for snow, African tribesfor cattle)– Vocabulary is area of language that changes mostrapidly. When needed new word appear (ex. Faxe-mail)– Language, culture, and thought are interrelated.With the change of one thing the others changealso• Focal Vocabulary
  14. 14. © 2008 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.14– Ethnosemantics – study of how speakersof particular languages use sets of terms toorganize, or categorize, their experiencesand perceptions– The ways people divide up the world – thecontrasts they perceive as meaningful orsignificant – reflect their experiences– (ex. Australian hunters use word black orwhite, European and Asians say black,grey, beige, white)Language, Thought, and Culture• Meaning
  15. 15. © 2008 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.15Sociolinguistics• Investigates relationships between socialand linguistic variation, or language in itssocial context– Sociolinguists focus on features thatvary systematically with social positionand situation. Every linguistic changedoesn’t happens in a vacuum ithappens in a society.
  16. 16. © 2008 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.16Linguistic Diversity• Diglossia – regular style shifts between“high” and “low” variants of the samelanguage– We rank certain speech patterns as betteror worse because we recognize they areused by groups that we also rank• Style Shifts – varying speech indifferent contexts
  17. 17. © 2008 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.17Gender Speech Contrasts– In North America and Great Britain,women’s speech tends to be more similarto standard dialect than men’s speech– In Japan women speak with artificially highvoice because this is considered as polite• Men and women have differences inphonology, grammar, and vocabulary,as well as in the body stances andmovements that accompany speech
  18. 18. © 2008 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.18Gender Speech Contrasts• Deborah Tannen found that womentypically use language and bodymovements to build rapport, socialconnections with others– Men tend to make reports, recitinginformation that serves to establish a placefor themselves in a hierarchy
  19. 19. © 2008 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.19Language and Status Position• Honorifics – terms used with people to“honor” them– Americans tend to be less formal than othernationalities, although they include honorifics– British have a more developed set of honorifics becauseof the status distinction on nobility (Mr., Mrs., Dr.Professor, Dean)– Japanese language has several honorifics (samma,san)– Family terms can be associated with gradations in rankand familiarity (ex. Father vs. dad)
  20. 20. © 2008 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.20Stratification• Our speech habits help determine our accessto employment and other material resources• Educated people use proper language andare considered to be the higher class. Whilelower class use street or uneducatedlanguage.• Use and evaluate speech in context ofextralinguistic forces – social, political,and economic.
  21. 21. © 2008 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.21Sociolinguistics• Linguistic forms take on the power ofthe groups they symbolize• Linguistic insecurity often felt by lower-class and minority speakers resultof symbolic domination• Bourdieu views linguistic practices assymbolic capital that properly trainedpeople may convert into economic andsocial capital.
  22. 22. © 2008 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.22Black English Vernacular (B.E.V.)– William Labov writes B.E.V. is “relativelyuniform dialect spoken by the majority ofblack youth in most parts of the U.S. todayMost linguists view B.E.V. as a dialect ofEnglish rather than a separate language
  23. 23. © 2008 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.23Black English Vernacular (B.E.V.)– B.E.V. speakers less likely to pronounce rthan Standard English (SE) speakers– B.E.V. speakers use copula deletion toeliminate the verb to be from their speech• Standard English is not superior interms of ability to communicate ideas,but it is the prestige dialect• B.E.V. a complex system of linguisticrules
  24. 24. © 2008 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.24Historical Linguistics• Historical linguists reconstruct manyfeatures of past languages by studyingcontemporary daughter languages• Long-term variation of speech bystudying protolanguages and daughterlanguages
  25. 25. © 2008 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.25Historical Linguistics• Daughter Languages – languages that descendfrom same parent language and that have beenchanging separately for hundreds or eventhousands of years• Protolanguage – original language from whichdaughter languages descend. Latin language isprotolanguage for French, Spanish and Italian.• Subgroups – languages within a taxonomy ofrelated languages that are most closely relatedlike dialects
  26. 26. © 2008 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.26Major language families• Indo-European languages 46% (Europe, Southwest toSouth Asia, North Asia, North America, South America,Oceania)• Sino-Tibetan languages 21% (East Asia)• Niger-Congo languages 6.4% (Sub-Saharan Africa)• Afro-Asiatic languages 6.0% (North Africa to Horn of Africa,Southwest Asia)• Austronesian languages 5.9% (Oceania, Madagascar,maritime Southeast Asia)
  27. 27. © 2008 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.27Major language families• Dravidian languages 3.7% (South Asia)• Altaic languages 2.3% (Central Asia,Northern Asia, Anatolia, Siberia)• Japonic languages 2.1% (Japan)• Austro-Asiatic languages 1.7% (mainlandSoutheast Asia)• Tai-Kadai languages 1.3% (SoutheastAsia)
  28. 28. © 2008 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.28PIE Family TreeThis is a family tree of the Indo-European languages.All can be traced back to a protolanguage, Proto-Indo-European (PIE), spoken more than 6,000 years ago.PIE split into dialects that eventually evolved intoseparate languages, which, in turn, evolved intolanguages such as Latin and proto-Germanic, whichare ancestral to dozens of modern daughter languages.
  29. 29. © 2008 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.29
  30. 30. © 2008 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.30• Languages are not at all uniformly distributed around theworld. Just as some places are more diverse than othersin terms of plant and animal species, the same goes forthe distribution of languages.• According to organization Ethnologue’s there is total of6,809 in the world. For instance, only 230 are spoken inEurope, while 2,197 are spoken in Asia.• One area of particularly high linguistic diversity is Papua-New Guinea, where there are an estimated 832languages spoken by a population of around 3.9 million.
  31. 31. © 2008 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.31Most spoken languages in the world1. Mandarin- family is Sino-Tibetan, script used is ChineseCharacters, spoken by 1151mil. In countries China, Malaysia,Taiwan2. Spanish- family Indo-European, script used is Latin, spokenby 329mil., Mexico, Central and South America, Spain3. English- family is Indo-European, script used is Latin,spoken by 328mil. in USA, UK, Australia, Canada, NewZealand4. Arabic - 221 million, script used is Arabic, spoken in MiddleEast and North Africa5. Hindi - 181 million, script used is Devanagari script, spoken inIndia, Nepal, Mauritius
  32. 32. © 2008 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.32