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Numbers and Language Divergence

by: Vanessa Notetaker

Numbers and Language Divergence APY204

Marketplace > University of Miami > anthropology, evolution, sphr > APY204 > Numbers and Language Divergence
Vanessa Notetaker

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#s, cognition, and divergence of languages
Linguistic Anthropology
Dr. Everett
Class Notes
everett, caleb, apy204
25 ?




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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Vanessa Notetaker on Thursday March 31, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to APY204 at University of Miami taught by Dr. Everett in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 25 views. For similar materials see Linguistic Anthropology in anthropology, evolution, sphr at University of Miami.

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Date Created: 03/31/16
Numbers and the Making of Us  #s are crucial to our survival  Genetically predisposed to differentiate between 1, 2, 3, and 4… then it gets harder  After we were linguistic, #s invented o Everything now in our lives is contingent on #s  Key realization o Both hands correspond o Constantly aware of our hands (byproduct of bipedalism)  Hands always in front of us  Base of 10… bias of 5 (fingers)  Trace back to people counting with finger (there’s exceptions)  Many words in many langs based on 5  If #s are an invention, how did they arise? o Invention of # word allows us to discriminate btw (forex) 5, 6 ,7… o Invented in a couple of times… sometimes that knowledge is lost  Ecological factors affect language  Base # systems (most common) o Base-5 quinary o Base-10 decimal o Base-20 vigesimal o Ex: Maya: Based on anatomy ***Mesopotamia: base-60 # system from 5x12 (the lines on our fingers)  We make sense of the world with our bodies  Fleeting concept  must have a word to be remembered  Agricultural revolution o Experience as humans changed radically o 10,000 years ago o Systematically farming effectively  Acquire a lot of food  Store food = calories  Enables people to live in one area= less land = transfer of ideas  Not everyone has to be hunter-gatherer = new ways of life  Religion: monotheistic religions clearly developed in regions with agriculture  Concerned with general wellbeing in larger societies  Everett’s theory: Religion came into being bc in large society you had to monitor behavior to encourage morality, cooperation, caring for others o If you can’t tell from 6 or 7, you can’t do agriculture  You need #s for agric.  Cave paintings o Long before AR o Hands o Argentina, Europe, Indonesia, etc.… o Weapons, burials (w/ flowers), etc.… o Caves were like theatres, spiritual realm o Ppl came back to them for a long time (5000 yrs.) o Entertainment o Associated with spirituality o Cognitive tests o Had words  Can constantly invent new ideas  We are not the end point o Part of a process  Inventing new words for new concepts (wexting)  Combo of other words to make new word  Basic processes used to introduce new word into language o 1.- compounds  2 related concepts, 1 new concept you want to label = combo of existing words  Ex: bagpack, breakfast o 2.- blending  Like with “twext”  Fusing two+ words together  Ex: bromance, fugly, smog (smoke+fog) o 3.- acronyms  Ex: RADAR, laser, scuba (self-contained underwater breathing apparatus) o 4.- clipping  Clip off part of word and use it in a new word  Ex: gasoline  gas Clipped used more often o 5.- proper names  Ex: google, bounty  Depends on region  Brand name or company or w/e used as word for actual thing o 6.- borrowing  Borrow words from other languages  English: Norman conquest (Fr took over GBwhy Eng. borrowed many words from French which are mostly Latin derived words)  Place names, toponyms  Tapioca, jaguar, etc. o 7.- folk etymology  Cold slaw vs coleslaw… sometimes thought of as a compound  Changes word to get anew word  Sometimes because things are misheard  New words are create depending on social need  Languages are always changing  Changes in pronunciation of actual words (ex: old English pronunciation vs today)  Proto-langs o Original doesn’t exist...  Descendants do exist o Look for really basic words  Swadesh list … 100-200 basic words  List most common words and least expected to be borrowed from other langs  Ex: cloud  Snaskrit - naibhas, Greek - nephos, old church Slav- nebo  So proto Indo-euro word was nebos  Languages change at pretty constant rate o We can see how long ago languages were related (equation)  Lexicostatics o approach to comparative linguistics that involves quantitative comparison of lexical cognates.  Polynesian expansion o Malagasy, Hawaii, islands, etc.… o Common source o Migration patterns


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