ANTHRO33: Lecture 7 (10/13/16)
ANTHRO33: Lecture 7 (10/13/16) ANTHRO 33
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Viola You on Friday October 14, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to ANTHRO 33 at University of California - Los Angeles taught by E. A. Cartmill in Summer 2016. Since its upload, it has received 2 views. For similar materials see Culture and Communication in Anthropology at University of California - Los Angeles.
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Date Created: 10/14/16
Language, Thought, and Culture Do people speaking different languages speak different thoughts? Influence of language on thought ● Influence of language on thought more likely to be predispositional than determinative ● Language might predispose you to view the world in a certain way but it won't prevent you from challenging that view ● Linguistic Relativity vs Linguistic Determinism ○ LR: Relationship between language and thought ○ LD: Hard influence of language on thought Bas, Sapir, and Whorf ● Franz Boas (18581942) ○ GermanAmerican Anthropologist ○ Turn of 20th century ○ Queen Victoria at the end of her reign Victorian Era ○ Theodore Roosevelt was president ○ Some people argued that people in certain societies were incapable of abstract, scientific thought because their languages lacked structure and logic found in Western languages ■ Justifying racism ○ Boas argued that all languages and cultural [practices were equally complex and logical ○ Argued that language reflects cultural practices but doesn’t limit thought ● Edward Sapir (18841939) ○ American Anthropologist and Linguist ○ Language can strongly influence thought, but all languages are equal ○ “No matter what any speaker of it may desire to communicate...the language is prepared to do his work” ● Benjamin Lee Whorf (18971941) ○ American Linguist ○ Sum total of a language's categories produces an overall worldview in people who speak that language ○ “Linguistic relativity” ■ Nice fit with Einstein’s new theory of relativity ○ Sometimes described as “SapirWhorf Hypothesis” ■ They didn’t really write together ■ Wasn’t designed as a testable hypothesis ■ Misnomer… ○ Studied representations of time in Hopi (Native American language) ■ Compared to “Standard Average European” (SAE) ■ Argued that expressions of time in Hopi were less discrete and more cyclical, fit with concepts of time and cultural values Diversity and Universality ● Whorf (like Boas and Sapir) opposed views of cultural or linguistic superiority ● Diversity of features ● University of abilities Better understanding of SapirWhorf ● Language, thought, and culture all influence each other Looking for Whorfian effects ● Language in general ○ Animal communication, taught language studies, children with no access to language, prelinguistic children ● Are there things we can’t do without language in general? ○ Theory of mind ● Linguistic structures ○ Words? no evidence for this ○ Grammatical structures ● Language use Hard to study language in general ● Everybody learns a language or languages, not language in general 400 words for snow? ● Not having a word for something doesn’t mean you can’t grasp the concept ● Family of indigenous arctic languages have to root words for snow (on ground vs in air) ● Grammatically modify to indicate other uses/types ○ Like snowman or snowstorm Then what should you study? ● Grammatical structures ○ Habitual ○ Obligatory ○ Largely unconscious ● Pronouns ○ Formality ○ Gender ○ Proximity ○ Visibility How language divides up the world can influence the categories you perceive ● Containment (English) vs fit (Korean) ○ Direct translation is different between the two languages, but they ultimately mean the same thing