Anthropology Language and Dialects

Anthropology Language and Dialects - 1 Anthropology...

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1 Anthropology – Language Variation and Dialects (10/30) Questions: Do you think that dialects are substandard versions of a national or standard language? Language and speech are universal of our species, symbolic, characterizes us as a unique animal; have rules, systematic, consistent; arbitrary and based on shared conventions; languages share the basic function of conveying information; all languages serve their speakers equally well; unites us but also divides us American Standard English Considered by Americans to be the goal-standard for all English and all other languages Set selves up for ethnocentric judgments by setting up a standard and value Creation of hierarchy based on features and adjectives, clustered around norm, ideal Exceptionalist view of English is so ingrained that many Americans except people to speak their kind of English English is very widely spoken so leads people to think it is superior to other languages For many countries, multi-lingual capacity is the norm Language v. Speech Language and speech are not the exact same thing Language – structured, rule-based mode of systematic communication Speech – guided by rules, but is performed and enacted; language in use By focusing on speech opens another window on the variability of language because focusing on speech forces us to identify who is there, who is talking, how are they positioned in talking, how many people are talking – focuses us on the acts and the variations on those acts Speakers will use their language differently in different contexts Focusing on speech gives us the opportunity to focus on relationships and the other social factors such as identity, class, gender, etc. Slang – describes language used in less formal contexts, more intimate contexts; these
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Anthropology Language and Dialects - 1 Anthropology...

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