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Linguistic test 1
test 1
Undergraduate 4

Additional Anthropology Flashcards




Linguistic Relativity
linguistic relativity sapir and worf: refers to the notion that language of a speaker in some way influences that person’s thought patterns; suggests that language actually structures or constrains human thought.
Linguistic Universals
(flora examples, color examples)
linguistic universals suggest that there are properties common to all human languages; this theory has provided concepts and methods that have been used to explain variation in human culture analogously with variations in human language, e.g. with studies that revealed structure in the many ways that different cultures have for identifying and categorizing colors, other aspects of environment such as flora and fauna.
Pioneers of the field?
pioneers of the field: Franz Boas and his student Edward Sapir. Set up Boasian program for the systematic investigation of a wide range of human societies and settings preliminary to formulations of general theory of human nature and difference.
Boas urged description of the wide range of New World languages, proceeding from collection and the study of native language texts, to be followed only later by formulation of general theories of language and culture. It is through language and linguistic evidence that Boas and Sapir tried to reconstruct culture history
Goal of linguistic anthropology?
goal of linguistic anthropology: to provide methods and answers to such issues as how language and culture are related, and ways language may structure thought, the degree to which it does so, and how the structure of natural languages may be used as a model for describing other systems
what is Culture and how it relates to language?
Nominal definition of culture: the complex of knowledge, beliefs, morals, values, laws, and customs, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by humans as members of a society; is shared and learned knowledge
languages is such a shared and learned knowledge which is part of a society’s culture.

not all aspects of a culture are shared equally: specialized knowledge that can be a power base
language is also not shared equally; e.g. adults lack current teenage slang or the folklore of childhood, lay persons do not know jargons of various occupations, people from different geographic areas, different genders, different social and economic classes may be expected to differ somewhat in their use of the same language
the study of the systematic relations of language and social groups; relates language and varieties of a single language to communities of language users or speech communities
speech community?
a speech community consists of one or more distinct linguistic varieties associated with social grouping by class, gender, residence, occupation, age region and so on, making up multilingual and multidialectical communities
ethnography of speaking?
Ethnography of speaking: the study of the use of language in actual context (socio-cultural as well as linguistic environments in which communication events take place) according to such factors as politeness, gender, age, etc.
culture and its relation to sound pattern?
are they connected...?
culture usually has little direct connection with the sound pattern of a given language
sound pattern of a language is a vehicle for conveying information about something other than sound, it conveys meaning.

since culture consists of ideas, beliefs, and concepts, the content of culture is less likely to be conneted to the sound pattern of a language than to its semantic pattern (vocabulary and syntax—latter being the way of arranging morphemes into phrases and sentences)
dcertain aspects of social environment (kinship) and physical environment (flora, fauna, etc.) have obvious relations to certain domains of related vocabulary items.
domain examples>>
there are a number of domains (kinship, numerals, colors, flora, fauna, etc.) where the relation between language (vocabulary) and culture can be investigated methodically and in depth, even over time, as in historical linguistic studies.
Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis
What did Whorf concentrate on?
Lexicon and Grammatical Apparatus
Language is the basis of all thought. Each language is particular in terms of its grammatical and lexical categories (its semantic pattern). Native speakers are unconscious of the categories their language has, so habitual thought by a linguistically naïve native speaker will be cast in terms of the categories that his or her language has available.
One’s native language therefore determines how one perceives reality ore prescribes one’s world view
Whorf concentrated on linguistic relativism
-interested in both lexical and grammatical categories in actual language
-interested in comparing these to actual cultural patterns observable in a speech community

all the morphemes of the language and their conventional combinations, idioms and other larger than one word expressions
-GRAMMATICAL APPARATUS: syntax. Or morphosyntax-- word and sentence structure
-lexicon and grammatical apparatus constitute the semantic pattern of a given language.
Linguistic Reality
Soft view of linguistic relativism - reality can influence it but not necessarily determine it. the view that language may influence thought, (postulated by sapir) especially habitual thought, and that there is at least some association between behavior, experience, culture, thought, and language. [position held by Sapir]
Linguistic Determinism
hard view of linguistic relativism. It assumes that language has a causal priority in the association between language and culture. It claims that language shapes thought in a deterministic sense [position held by Whorf]
Linguistic Particularism
Every language has a specific structure based on that culture. Language can reach the same level of development through different paths.
Each language has a distinct pattern related to the environment and particular culture of the speakers.
Whorf hypothesis....
-to be able to test Whorf hypothesis one must clearly demonstrate a significant correlation between actual linguistic categories and some other discrete form of behavior that is culturally based.
-in order to test this hypothesis we must operationalize it according to the following:
Structural differences between two language systems are paralleled by nonlinguistic cognitive differences in the native speakers of those languages;
The structure of one’s native language influences the worldview one acquires as one learns that language
the semantic system of different languages vary without restraint.
Autonomous linguistics
Language is divorced from culture - study language apart from culture. (incorrect.)can't study anything without context and culture like non verbal cues.

is the position that that a natural language with the exception of its lexicon, is relatively self-contained and independent of culture of a society; takes its semantic theory directly from the classical lexical semantics of Aristotle.
this approach has been influential on those anthropologists who employ the concept of basic terms [which derives from the classical semantic tradition].
Basic terms—label essential items in a semantic domain [color or plant life]; are usually a single morpheme and are not a metaphor nor a loan word
Problems with the views and approaches of autonomous linguistics:
-makes following assumptions about the nature of lexical categories: lexical categories have clear boundaries and are defined by necessary binary features and all members of a category have equal status.
componential analysis
method of ethnoscience to measure the competency to break down a list of minimal essential properties to define a word as a method of distinguishing between the meanings of different words.

2nd powerpoint slide 18
defining terms and features in a domain.
within autonomous linguistics. (related to ethnoscience as well)
____ were interested in the indigenous systems of knowledge (like folk taxonomies) influenced by chomsky. uses generative grammar....
want to understand language so that they can then logically pick up how that individual would respond to that. emic insider view. trying to define linguistic terms and use that to look at culture.
Brown's study in botanical classification - flora and flauna.
-color universals
-berlin case study
-Q on study guide: interested in how people understand the world and categorize things
use generative grammars to determine the way in which language structures culture.
language and culture as a system of knowledge - they can use comp. analysis to define this system and predict appropriate behavior.
Trying to get to native like responses, using etic trying to get to the emic.

the work of Noam Chomsky during 50s and 60s formulated generative theories of language. Main ideas of his argument: Syntactic portion of a generative grammar is made up of components. A base component is comprised of rules of the sort that produce underlying deep structures (strings or complexes) upon which the rules of a transformational component can operate.
examples for color studies, and why people categorize things the way they do
pg 82
Lexical semantics?
long answer
Question f
Discuss the approach of autonomous linguistics, particularly their approach to studying basic terms and lexical categories. How did they deal with lexical semantics? Mention some of the problems with this approach. (nature of lexical categories, fuzziness, semantic feature analysis, componential analysis, context, denotative vs. connotative meaning, polysemy, synonyms, etc.)
Lexical semantics: ex: What's really a color?
Autonomous linguistics deals with it because they use componential analysis to define terms.....
long answer
Discuss the study of Carrol and Casagrande - navajo children example in powerpoint
What linguistic anthropological theory was this study trying to prove? Did this study really prove this theory? Why or why not?
trying to prove linguistic relativism.
The Navajo children used shapes with language.
It provides suppoprt for this theory, but it doesn't necessary prove it. It doesn't account for bilingual children.
long answer
Color studies have also stimulated the research of ethnoscientists. Why? Describe the universal sequence found to prevail for the life-form terms for plants in folk botanical classification suggested by Brown’s 1977 study? Discuss the universal sequence that was suggested by Brown’s 1979 study in predicting basic terms for animal life forms in folk classifications of fauna. Do you agree or disagree with these models of folk classification of flora and fauna? Why [use examples if you can]?
Brown is saying w/ the color studies you have certain cultures that are level 1 (separates between dark/light and warm/cool)
Type 2 is dark/white/red
Type 3 is yellow/grue

If you have tree....everyone has something for gurb (green leafy non wood herb)

For animals, birds/snake/fish, we have words this and so do other cultures.

But some generic terms don't exist because they need specific terms to survive (EX: spiders)
But some cultures don't have a species level, they use very generic terms like just tree.
Specific terms are usually compound terms.
basic term
BASIC TERM: is monomorphemic (consists of a single morpheme); is of high frequency usage; has a fairly specific reference
-Classification of biological species in most cultures tends to use generic terms that have a general meaning; a basic term that refers to species of the generic term; and even a variety of the basic species
-classification often takes a Three Level Model: generic, basic, specific terms
e.g. willow is a generic term (Salix in Latin); a weeping willow (Salix babylonica) is a basic term; supposing that someone named Thompson hybridized a special kind of weeping willow to create a variety, the Thompson variety of weeping willow (Salix babylonica var. Thompson), we would be dealing with specific term.

generic: plant, tree, dog, cat

basic term: can sometimes be at the generic or species level. Something you can interact with. Highest things with the most qualities.
High frequency usage.

specific: kitchen chair
can't be used in many contexts - is specific!
long answer
g. Describe what is meant by the generation of cultural grammars. What branch of linguistics influenced the studies done on cultural grammar generation. Why would ethnoscientists be interested in and be influenced by these studies? Using an example of kin terms, show how extended meanings can be derived by using transformations in cultural grammars.
h. Explain in detail –utilizing all concepts and their definitions—componential analysis in relation to generative grammars and their relation to arguments about the generation of cultural grammars.
long answer
a. What is the Whorf-Sapir hypothesis: How is this hypothesis related to the linguistic particularism approach? What is the “strong”(deterministic) and “soft” (influence relation) version of this hypothesis and what do we label these respectively? How is Whorf’s position it related to the work of Sapir and what distinguishes the two positions that contributed to the hypothesis?
Del Hymes speaking model
and cultural competence>
Setting (time, place, psychological setting)
2. Participants’ Status/Role (speaker, listener,
audience, social status, etc.)
3. Ends (desired or expected outcome of
4. Act sequence (how form and content are
5. Key (the mood or spirit of the conversation:
joke, serious, ironic, etc.)
6. Instrumentalities (the dialect of linguistic variety used by the speech community)
8. Norms (conventions or expectations about
volume, interruption, hesitation, and the like
9. Genres (different types and mediums of
performance: e.g. phone, written, face to face communication, speech, lecture, discussion, etc.

Note that all these factors contribute to the shaping of instances of language use, but the most important fact about context is that language and learning depends crucially on interaction: the participants work in situ to shape the resulting discourse or text.

cultural competence and hymes:
Various factors that influence the construction of cultural grammars prompted the concept of communicative competence (proposed by Del Hymes 1964).
Example of communicative competence: let’s suppose that we have a person unfamiliar with North American culture, but has good command of the sound pattern, syntax and vocabulary of the American English. Even though the person speaks the language well, there could still be many situations in which the specific type of vocabulary and style of speaking to be used would be unknown to such a speaker. Knowledge appropriate use is what communicative competence refers to; it is in a cultural context that we learn how to use words
cultural grammars
involves modeling culturally specific categories in terms of cultural meaning.
internalized knowledge of sets of systems.
Hopi - father to mean father's brother.
westerns may use the term for mothers brother to mean father's brother.
generative grammars
attempts to give a set of rules that will correctly predict which combination of words will form a grammatical sentences.
Lexical categories
entities (noun)
events (verb)
qualities (adjectives)
and states (adverbs, objectives) in the physical, social and identical environment of speakers.

-Lexical categories: refer to entities (nouns), events (verbs), qualities (adjectives) and states (adverbs, adjectives) in the physical, social and ideational environment of speakers.
lexical categories have more to do with social and physical reality than with grammatical categories, since lexical categories directly code features of the real world.
- classical example of relations between lexical categories and culture: homeland studies and loan words from historical linguistics
-by making a model of what must have been present in a parent language (reconstructed), linguists are able to reconstruct earlier stages of a given culture
vantage point
refers to a specific point of view.
vantage point is broken up using saturation, brightness, contrast.
in terms of relativism or in terms of color.
something might be a different color if yr inside the house or outside the house.
c. Discuss some of the critiques and revisions of the original color term studies by Berlin and Kay. Pay particular attention to MacLaury’s model of ‘vantage theory’ in the ‘new’ color studies. What are this theory’s assumptions? According to this theory what are the possible dimensions or coordinates by which most languages name color?
examples of these critiques is on the 2nd powerpoint, slides 29-33
critiques is on color range - for example - partitioning the color wheel as opposed to using the center....partitioning where colors begin and end compared to what a color is (color wheel)

what are the possible dimensions or coordinates?
slide 32-33 in powerpoint 2
Most languages name colors on the basis of these dimensions (hue, brightness, similarity and distinctiveness are not the only coordinates by which people compose color categories) but saturation may also influence the formation of color categories.

Connotative coordinates are also possible and may help explain the kind of results Conklin (1955) obtained from Hanunoo categories where the cool and warm categories connote dryness and wetness respectively.

color studies exemplify an active area of investigation that has relevance for the study of language universals which in its original formulation seemed to present a clean challenge to conventional relativistic formulations.

recent studies suggest that the explanation of color naming and categorization straddles extreme relativist and universalist positions.
Aside from color terms, other lexical domains amenable to empirical study are terms and categories of flora and fauna. These studies were stimulated by the color studies.
Diglossia is a concept that was introduced by study of complex speech communities when he described and compared several examples of linguistic situation which he termed diglossia.
As he used it this term refers to speech communities in which 2 or more varieties of the same language are used by some speakers under different conditions.
in such a community it is typical that there are significant numbers of bilinguals - indeed most of the population may be bilingual - and that these bilinguals feel that each language is appropriate in certain situations. It seems especially typical that one variety of language is associated with education and literacy.
Linguistic Universalism
theory that suggests that there are properties common to all human languages this theory has been used to determine variations in human cultures.

numerous styles in a speech community >>

Ethnography of speaking >>
>>mutually intelligible varieties of a language

>>Each linguistic variety used within a speech community has numerous styles: ways of using a given variety according to such factors as politeness (neutral, casual, rude, polite), gender (male, female), age (child, teenager, adult, old person), occupation, and so on.

>>: the study of the use of language in actual context (socio-cultural as well as linguistic environments in which communication events take place) according to such factors as politeness, gender, age, etc.
One of the clearest demonstrations of linguistic relativity with respect to grammatical categories is.....??

related to long answer q about this study....what theory were they trying to prove....did they?
While grammatical categories may code relationships that are sensitive to culture, NOT all cultures (and hence languages) will code these sorts of relationships the same way.
One of the clearest demonstrations of linguistic relativity with respect to grammatical categories is the 1958 study of Carroll and Casagrande of Navajo culture and language:
In Navajo, verbs of handling things take the size and shape of the object being handled into account. In the following Navajo commands, shape and size are obligatory grammatical categories of classification (all mean ‘hand it to me’):
san-leh refer to a string; san-tiih refer to a stick; san-itoos refer to a piece of paper of cloth;

In their test Carroll and Casagrande reasoned that children who spoke Navaho only would tend to group things by shape in tests designed to discriminate simple objects on the basis of color and shape, while Navajo children from the same reservation environment but whose native language was English would not. They found that children in the Navajo language only group tended to use shape as a category for grouping at an earlier age than the English speaking control group. [question: what about bilinguals???]

they were trying to prove linguistic relativity and they did support it (in that language does influence thought) but they
did not prove it persay, because what about bilinguals?
Whorf and universalism ?? his contribution?
Whorf’s contribution to the modern interest in cognitive science should not be overlooked. While Boas and Sapir pointed out the typologizing aspect of language, Whorf went further to posit a system with both over (named) categories and covert (linguistically uncoded) categories that underlie cognition as an integrated means of coding cognitive categories and analyzing experience.
He was trying to establish a science of human cognition that was sensitive to culture, one that examined systems of human categories.
Structurally, these systems would ultimately derive from universals or near universals – what all comparable human category sets (e.g. colors, numerals, kinterms, etc.) had in common. Whorf believed that the categories used by a given culture intersected with the languages used by that culture (whether in a deterministic sense or in the sense of ‘influence’) . Whorf’s cognitive interests remain a major concern of cognitive and linguistic anthropology
lexical fuzziness??
refers to this lack of clear boundaries in the literature of lexical semantics and is a criticism of the maxim that lexical categories have clear boundaries
-one way of defining distinctions among lexemes is through the use of semantic features which are definite, stateble attributes of a given term
Berlin and Kay color studies 1969
what did they find? about basic color terms?

what are basic color categories?
In general, languages may differ in how they treat the same objective domains (color or folk biology). Still there are universals to be found when large numbers of languages are sampled with respect to their basic terms for a given domain. Studies in color terms in particular were interested in “what limits common human biology sets on possible intercultural variations” (Kay, Berlin and Marrifield 1991:13).
Pre- 1960s cross-cultural studies of color terms suggested that: 1. Differences between color terms of different cultures supports Whorfian hypothesis; 2. Color terminologies were a near infinite variety and culturally determined (cf. Lenneberg & Roberts 1956).
Classical study of basic color terms published in 1969; conducted by Berlin and Kay.

this study found that basic color terms are added to any language according to a universal sequence
They found that if one knows how many basic color terms a given language has, one can predict the areas of the color spectrum to which they will refer.
Important: here the reference is to two kinds of entities – basic color terms and basic color categories
Basic Color Terms: are the color names of a language that in general are 1. A single lexeme; 2. Not a metaphor (e.g. plum); 3. Not a borrowed word (beige).

Basic Color Categories: are the ranges of color in the color spectrum that are named by particular basic color terms.
The study found that basic terms will have a primacy over non-basic ones which is reflected in the linguistic behavior of the speakers. Basic terms will be recalled earlier in a list than will non-basic ones; there will be a greater agreement on them; and people will recall them more often. All these factors combine to make basic terms psychologically more salient than non-basic ones
what did berlin and kay discover about basic color categories and what are these different stages?
In a simplified form, if a language has two basic color terms, it is a stage 1 system. Such systems consist of two categories – one naming the white-warm categories (the union of white, red and yellow) and the other naming the dark-cool categories (the union of black, blue, and green.
If a language has three basic color terms, they have a stage 2 system; they will be roughly translatable as black/dark, white/light and red, since they will label those categories on the color spectrum
If a language has four basic color terms it is a stage 3 system – the forth term will label either the category yellow or grue (green/blue).
MacLaury 1992 and vantage theory * in response to color studies of Kay and MacDaniel (lexical fuzziness)
While there is abundant evidence that persons from different languages and cultures categories colors differently, there is very little to suggest that they might actually perceive colors differently (unless colorblind)//re: linguistic relativism arguments
MacLaury 1992 proposed that: variability in color categorization might be better modeled to what he calls ‘vantage theory’ rather than by the fuzzy logical model representations of Kay and McDaniel 1978 study [fuzzy logic model example: the category grue is a fuzzy set since it has the qualities of both green and blue]
Vantage theory looks at the difference in color naming as much as similarities within and across cultures.
Vantages can be represented by coordinates. The theory assumes that different individuals may compose color categories by paying closer attention to some dimensions than others.
Brown 1979 and animal categories....all languages have basic terms for...?
Brown (1979) found the following scheme to predict basic terms for animal life forms

If a language has a basic term for mammal rodent, large mammal, sometimes any large animal), it also has a basic term for wug (bugs, worms, small reptiles, arachnids, snails, etc.). The sequence implies that all languages have basic terms for fish, bird, snake.
ethnoscience and comp. analaysis ??
hopi example
An example of Ethnoscience method is found in componential analysis in which the relationship of terms in a domain are defined by their shared features or components. The terms can be distinguished by a series of properties inherent to some of them and not to others—these properties are called semantic features. For example, if doing componential analysis of types of footwear, one could predict the appropriate footwear behavior in a culture
The notion of transformation was used in cultural grammars to derive extended meanings for a term from a more basic sense. Often the terms used for this type of study involved kin terms. For example, in Hopi two terms are used to name male adult kinsmen: taaha = mother’s brother and na’a = father. So what would the father’s brother be called?
cultural grammars.....laderman 1981
2 examples of context that are relevant for the construction of cultural grammars
1981- studied properties of foods among the Malays, a people whose culture attributes humoral properties of hot and cold to foods; foods may be classified into the categories of hot foods and cold foods.
she found that the same food might sometimes be classed hot and sometimes cold; differences among individuals were attributable to varying experience of the informants—differences in their learning about what foods were hot and what were cold.

>>There are at least two other kinds of context relevant for the construction of cultural grammars. One is social context. A person frequently expresses different opinions depending on the setting and participants involved in conversations. An individual may even hold different opinions and be unaware of changing opinions.
Internal or psychological context is also important. The current conditions of the informant are important; e.g. if interviewing about categories of disease—if informant has sick child he may unduly focus on more categories of childhood disease.
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