ANTH 240 Anth 240
Minnesota State University, Mankato
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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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