Linguistics - The use of Linguistics in Anthropology...

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The use of Linguistics in Anthropology Studying present-day cultures with no written language, knowledge about their language will give insight in their world view. ( Sapir-Worf ) But no evidence that languages with different numbers of time tenses perceive time differently, or that those with subject genders for groups of objects, or those that are “long” vs. “round” perceive the world differently. But having different vocabulary facilitates discussion of some different topics. For example: English has only two words for freezing precipitation: sleet and snow . Inuit languages have many more – up to 20-30 distinct words! HUMAN LANGUAGE: Requires specialized BRAIN and VOCAL TRACT -Very rapid and complex form of communication - Can communicate ABSTRACT or HYPOTHETICAL information (no animals do this) -Characteristics: - - Phonemes (sounds) - Syntax (word order and other grammatical rules) - Morphology (Sound-change and other grammatical rules) Sapir (linguist): Language makes us human Language and culture cannot be separated Language defines our reality (disputed by others) Language ad communication Sometime, in the last few hundred thousand years, our ancestors passed an important threshold from simple communication to full blown language with grammar and syntax. This may have allowed for the development of socially enforced norms that produce complex cultural variation. If so, the proclivities to using language, unmotivated imitation, and development of enforced social norms have created a unique complex that has led to the appearance of human uniqueness in the biological world. I.Communication is the use of specifically designed signals by actors in order to modify the behavior of reactors. II. A)Mind reading – living organisms need to be good students of each others behavior so that they can predict what other individuals are going to do (in order to use that information for their own benefit). B)Most animals give off signals that correlate with actions about to take place (posture indicating attack, or hesitation indicating fear). When it is advantageous to be mind read we get ritualization, the exaggeration of the clues that can be read. – ritualization leads to the production of signals which are produced in order to be read. Note that we expect signalers to manipulate the behavior of the reactor to the signalers advantage.
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B) Calls– baboons, chimps and other primates have relatively complex communications based on CALL SYSTEMS.– a repertoire of specific sounds, such as hoots, panting sounds, grunts, yelps, etc., Each of which is a specific response to a particular situation. Chimps signal the discovery of a tree full of ripe fruit with a hooting/drumming; Call to register their presence upon approaching a group, a pant-hoot call; danger is expressed as a high yelp. EXAMPLE OF CALL SYSTEMS: In the 1970s scientists showed that Vervet monkeys had vocal
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This note was uploaded on 03/24/2010 for the course ANTHRO 101 taught by Professor Osbjorn during the Fall '09 term at New Mexico.

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Linguistics - The use of Linguistics in Anthropology...

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