Language and Communication Language Language Humans’ primary means of communication Transmitted through learning Symbolic Humans can communicate beyond the present Anthropologists study language in its social/cultural context Language Statistics 6912 – number of languages spoken today 516 – number of almost extinct languages Mandarin Chinese – most speakers Papua New Guinea – country with the most languages spoken (820) English – language with the most words (250, 000) Properties of language Multimedia Discrete Arbitrary Productive Displacement Note: the most difficult language to learn is related to your native language. What Is Language? How Is Language Related to Culture? Without our capacity for complex language, human culture as we know it could not exist. Age, gender, and economic status, may influence how people use language. Language and Learning Humans can communicate past and future Language is related to culture and learning Language and children How Do Languages Change? Languages are constantly transforming— new words are adopted or coined, others are dropped, and some shift in meaning. Linguisitcs Study of human language Historical linguistics Structural linguistics Historical linguistics uses linguistics to look at people. In order to do historical, you must first know structural Linguists and Fieldwork For linguists studying language in the field, laptops and recording devices are indispensable tools. Here Tiffany Kershner of Kansas State University works with native Sukwa speakers in northern Malawi, Africa. Descriptive Linguistics The branch of linguistics that involves unraveling a language by recording, describing, and analyzing all of its features. Historical Linguistics Look at three things Language changes over time Migration Diffusion Glottochronology Look at languages when dialects split © 2008 McGraw-Hill Higher Education. All right reserved. Glottochronology Numic Expansion © 2008 McGraw-Hill Higher Education. All right reserved. Structural linguistics Phonology and Morphology All languages have units of sound (phonemes) and units of meaning (morphemes) English has 46 phonemes Morphology The study of the patterns or rules of word formation in a language In linguistics, morphemes are the smallest units of sound that carry a meaning. Cat Phonology The study of language sounds. Phonetic alphabet © 2008 McGraw-Hill Higher Education. All right reserved. Syntax and Grammar Syntax In linguistics, the rules or principles of phrase and sentence making. Grammar The entire formal structure of a language consisting of all observations about the morphemes and syntax. The Indo-European languages English and the Indo-European Language Family Linguistic Nationalism The attempt by ethnic minorities, and even countries to proclaim independence by purging their languages of foreign terms. Digital Divide 80% of today’s Internet users are native speakers of just ten of the world’s 6,500 languages. Sociolinguistics Sociolinguistics – relationships between social and linguistic variation Linguistic diversity Nation states Gender speech contrasts Stratification and symbolic domination Black English Vernacular (BEV) All people style shift – vary their speech in different social contexts (Diglossia) Gendered Speech Makers of the film Dances with Wolves hired a language coach to teach Lakota to the actors who did not know how to speak it. The lessons did not include the “gendered speech” aspect of Lakota. When Lakota speakers saw the finished film, they were amused to hear the actors who portrayed Lakota warriors speaking like women. Dialects Varying forms of a language that reflect particular regions or social classes and that are similar enough to be mutually intelligible. Code switching - The process of changing from one language or dialect to another. Ethnolinguistics The study of the relation between language and culture. Linguistic relativity Language, thought, and culture Language, culture, and thought are interrelated Changes in culture produce changes in language and thought Cultural contrasts and changes affect lexical distinctions (e.g., peach vs. salmon) within semantic domains (e.g., color terminology) Semantics – a language’s meaning system Lexical contrasts that people perceive as meaningful or significant reflect their experiences Noam Chomsky Universal grammar All languages have a common structural basis All humans have similar linguistic abilities and thought processes Linguistic Determinism The idea that language to some extent shapes the way in which we view and think about the world around us. Sometimes called the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis after its originators Edward Sapir and his student Benjamin Lee Whorf. Linguistic Determinism and the Aymara Indians Aymara Indians living in the highlands of Bolivia and Peru in South America depend on the potato as their major source of food. Their language has over 200 words for this vegetable, reflecting the many varieties they grow and the different ways they preserve and prepare it. Sapir-Whorf hypothesis Language controls culture Language shapes—but does not restrict—thought However, cultural changes can produce changes in thought and language (contrary to Sapir-Whorf) Focal vocabulary Lexicon (vocabulary) influences perception Vocabulary is the area of language that changes most readily Nonverbal communication Kinesics – study of communication through body movements, stances, gestures, and facial expressions Gestures, facial expressions, and body stances are shaped by culture Learned Gestures The “Hook ‘em, horns”salute flashed by U.S. President Bush and his family during his 2005 inauguration shocked many Europeans who interpreted it as a salute to Satan. Other Types of Language Paralanguage Tonal Language Origin of Language: One Theory Early hominids, began using gestures to communicate intentions within a social setting. When Homo erectus moved out of the tropics, they needed to plan and communicate to survive seasons of cold temperatures. By the time archaic Homo sapiens appeared, finely controlled movements of the mouth and throat had given rise to spoken language. Biology and Human Speech Gesture-Call System Inherited from our primate ancestors. Gesture component consists of body motions used to convey messages. Call component consists of extralinguistic noises involving various voice qualities and vocalizations. Call systems Sign Language Apes and Sign Language Several species of apes have been taught to use American Sign Language. Some chimpanzees have acquired signing vocabularies surpassing 400 words, and a lowland gorilla named Koko has a working vocabulary of more than 1,000 words. Language and Symbols Tee Yee Neen Ho Ga Row, Mohawk chief of the Iroquois Confederacy, holding a wampum belt of hemp string and shell beads. Wampum designs were used to symbolize a variety of important messages or agreements, including treaties with other nations. (By Dutch painter Johannes Verelst in 1710. National Archives of Canada collections.) Writing System A set of visible or tactile signs used to represent units of language in a systematic way. An alphabet is a series of symbols representing the sounds of a language arranged in a traditional order.
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