SectionIILectures

SectionIILectures - 1 Wednesday Plastic Words Semantic...

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1 Wednesday, February 17, 2010 Plastic Words Semantic doesn’t have a lot of subject matter. -He is a critical theorist Thesis: he is noticed, he travels all over the world, he is a scholar, and critical theorist- examines communication, policies, institutional structures and looks at power dynamics. Some people have more power than others. And just sometimes look at what oppressive forces are and kind of expose them so people can be aware of them. He observed that ordinary language is changing in a disturbing way. That something has happened to language that has never happened ever before, in the history of mankind. In his point of view, it is problematic. Book : Plastic Words: The Tyranny of a Modular Language , by Uwe Poerksen. Translated from German into English by Jutta Mason and David Cayley This book is about how ordinary language is changing in a unique and disturbing way. This book critiques what the author refers to as the colonization of language . (when a force takes over another force- when an elite few control the masses a.k.a taking over of something. It is operating like colonization- when Europeans came over to the US and encounter the Native Americans, teaching them English- example of Colonization). Bottom up language is language that has been created within a specific context or locale by the people who actually experience that which the language refers to. (from the ground up, we live in a sensory (concrete) and symbolic (abstract) world, originates from the experience of living in that place.) (Koala bear- we name what we exist) Top-down language is “given” to a culture and is created from some other place or realm that is separate from and possibly alien to the culture’s everyday and historical vernacular. (come from one source or another, US is a big exporter of words, (you are learning about a concept from somewhere else). What’s make a culture, a culture? What’s different culture to culture- different rituals, shared set of beliefs, norms- common ways of being, holidays, traditions, clothing, music, transportation, architecture, to meet different people, Vernacular- ordinary everyday talk. Within in our ordinary talk, a large % of what we say in language comes from bottom-up and also top-down. Top-down language is starting to be a bottom-up language. Ex. European- they are coming elsewhere and taking it over. Language is changing in that same way. 1
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2 Distribution of languages Pyramid #1 5103 languages are spoken in the world (Barbara Grimes). Those languages are distributed as follows: Asia = 30% (more culturally diverse) Africa = 30% (more culturally diverse) Pacific region = 20% (powerful) American continent = 16% (powerful) Europe = 1% (there are only 67 different languages spoken in Europe) (powerful) Pyramid #2 45% of the population speak five languages —Chinese, English, Spanish, Russian, and Hindi 60% of the population speak twelve languages—the above, plus German, Japanese, Arabic, Bengali, Portuguese, French, and Italian 95% of the population speak 100 languages.
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