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ANTH 240

by: Hallie Notetaker
Hallie Notetaker
Minnesota State University, Mankato
GPA 3.66

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About this Document

Week 2 notes on Linguistic Anthropology and its methods
Language and Culture
Dr. Chelsea Mead
Class Notes
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This 5 page Class Notes was uploaded by Hallie Notetaker on Thursday September 15, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Anth 240 at Minnesota State University - Mankato taught by Dr. Chelsea Mead in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 14 views. For similar materials see Language and Culture in Anthropology at Minnesota State University - Mankato.

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Date Created: 09/15/16
Linguistic Anthropology and Methods  Anthropology   What is Anthropology? o Study of all people, at all times, in all places  o What it means to be human   Holistic  o All the parts of the human puzzle  Holism: Four Fields Tradition   Physical/Biological Anthropology  o Human origins, variation and evolution   Archaeology  o Analysis of ancient cultures   Cultural anthropology  o Cultural traditions, human behavior, belief systems   Linguistic Anthropology  o Study of language and language use in cultural and social contexts  Why Study Languages?  Language is present in a wide variety of human contexts, possibly all  Keys to understanding human behavior   Can’t solve every problem but can help us better understand ourselves and others  o Linguistic sensitization  Anthropological Field   Why is it necessary to have a grounding in all four fields?   Comparative nature  o Gathering and comparing information from different cultures, times, places, etc.  o Expands our understanding of possibilities  o Full range of what it means to be human  Challenges and Concepts   Ethnocentrism  o Refusing to recognize other cultures on their own terms  o Believing one’s culture is better or more right than others   Frames of reference  o Ways we interpret and understand the world   Culture  o Full range of learned behavior patterns   Cultural relativism  o Difference exist among culture systems  o They make as much sense as any other and are just as valid  History of Linguistic Anthropology   Indigenous peoples labeled others on how they spoke   Greek historians wrote about dialects of different populations   Linguistic anthropology was a latecomer to the field  o Largely came out of North America and investigations into Indigenous languages  Hobby Anthropologists and Founders of the Fields   Thomas Jefferson  o Collected vocabularies of Indigenous peoples   Racist scientific exploration to explain human diversity in the world   Indigenous peoples were considered “savage,” “primitive,” and unevolved  Concentrated Study of Languages   Bureau of (American) Ethnology of the Smithsonian Institution (1879) o John Wesley Powell published classification of American Indian languages  (1891) o Franz Boaz edited the Handbook of American Indian Languages (4 volumes)  (1911)  Not until WWII, that linguistic anthropology became strongly established as an academic field  Basic Principles of Linguistic Anthropology   Language is multifunctional   It is never neutral   Socially embedded practices   Linguistic practices and social contexts create each other  Key Terms   Multi­functionality  o We “do” things with words and language  o Jakobson’s Model (six functions)  Expressive – speakers feelings or opinions   Conative – command towards receiver or question  Referential – making observations from third context   Poetic – calls attention to sounds/patterns; play on words; rhyme,  alliteration, repetitions, parallelism  Phatic – maintains social/physical connection   Metalinguistic – language about language; asking questions about  language  Language Ideologies   Attitudes, opinions, beliefs, theories about language   Serves specific interests of specific group   Multiple – different groups and sub­groups   Awareness is not given, unconscious   Mediate between speech acts and social structures  Practice Theory   Language, culture, and society are pre­existing but also shaped and produced by human  words and actions   Structures (social and linguistic) produce and are produced by people   Habitus – how we are predisposed to act because of our socialization  o When we act in these predisposed manners, we reproduce what socialized us to  others  Semiotics   Semiotics – the study of signs   Semiosis – meaning making through signs   De Saussure – sign is the link between a concept and a sound pattern  Pierce’s Approach   Signs  o What stands for something else   Ex: word “water”  Objects  o What a sign stands for   Ex: actual water   Interpretants  o What a sign creates by standing for an object   Ex: soothing experience of swimming or thirst quenching  Indexicality   Features that point to their meaning, or context of the speech sounds   Words have immense power to connect speech sounds to concepts, culture, events,  properties, emotions, etc.   Part of Pragmatics – the study of language use in social contexts   Adding an s on the end of pens, indexes a presence of multiple pens   Change in pitch, speeds, etc. indexes moods such as sarcasm, excitement, etc.   Accents can index assumed levels of education class, ethnicity and other associations  Linguistic Anthropology   What kinds of research questions do linguistic anthropologists formulate? o Base level: How language reflects and/or shapes some aspect of social life  o Language in real life settings  Data   Quantitative  o Data that can be counted  o Quantities   Qualitative  o Not counting, in­depth analysis of behavior  o Cultural norms, social practices, commonalities  Research Methods   Participant observation  o Widely used  o Spend months or years residing in a particular community or communities  o Often returning  o Become fluent in the local language  o Extremely familiar with social norms, cultural meanings, and language practices  o Informant/Consultant   Speaker from whom the research collects linguistic information  o Field notes   Date, time, location   Context   Observations, quotes, connections to your research questions   Interviews  o Structured – list of questions in order, delivered the same for each interview  o Semi­structured – list of general areas but no strict wording or order  o Open­ended – information conversations  o Not transparent   Meanings emerge in specific social interactions  o Interviewer in a co­participant   We shape the interaction as well  o Culturally appropriateness   Have to learn how to ask  o Impact   What happens with people’s words   Surveys and Questionnaires  o Research instrument  o Questions to collect information or opinions   Naturally Occurring Conversations  o Record conversations  o “Natural” question if people know they are being recorded   Every context is “natural” formulate context into your analysis   Easier when people get comfortable being recorded   Remove the researcher  o Downsides   Transcribing   Six hours for one hour of tape   Recorded words can lose their social context   Amount of data can be enormous   Never a perfect transcription   We make choices on how to record the data   Decision impact analysis and presentation of information   Some use all of these types in a research project  Experimental Methods   Language learning, etc.  Written Texts   Literacy practices – how people produce, consume, use written texts   Historical documents to grocery signs, etc.  Matched Guise Test   Record individuals reading a passage or speaking (two people each doing two readings in different dialects/accents = four audio tracks)   Play the tracks for another individual who doesn’t realize it’s only two people   Have individual rank the tracks and their perceptions   Can reveal unconscious language ideologies  Interpretation of Data   All data involves interpretation   Searching for patterns in order to find answers to the research questions   Conversation analysis  o Patterns in everyday conversations (ex: turn taking) o Shifts in footing, positioning, relationships  o Usually used along with other methods  Ethical Issues   Unequal power between researcher and people being studied o More resources o Career out of people’s lives and experiences  o Obligations, betrayal, confidentiality, authority   IRB – Institutional Review Board   Informed consent 


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