Anthroproj2final - Thomas Krenning Linguistics in House and...

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Thomas Krenning Linguistics in “House” and “Weeds” Language and culture are intimately tied in ways that create individual and collective paradigms that can be difficult to break. The best way to be able to understand these paradigms and therefore escape them is to learn the tools that dismantle a communication process into distinguishable parts that can be analyzed. These tools are essentially classifications for specific types of communication. Language itself is an overall system of communication that uses sounds and gestures to create meaning. The same individual can use language in different ways depending on the situation. When a person does change the way they use language, that is called code-switching. Code- switching also includes changing of paralanguage kinesics, which is the body language of the individual. The pragmatics of a social interaction also can change with code- switching. Pragmatics are the type of discourse between individuals or groups, such as formality or informality and politeness or impoliteness. Language also can shed light on an individual’s cultural background and social roles in a situation. In the television programs, House and “Weeds,” there are many similarities and differences in language that can be interpreted to infer about a character’s background and social role. Through analyzing language in this way, one can learn to see outside of the cultural norm and break free of the paradigms of one’s own language. “Weeds” is a show about Nancy Botwin, a recently widowed pot dealer for the suburb of Agrestic. Nancy and her 2 sons, Silas and Shane, try to cope with this throughout the show and Andy Botwin, Nancy’s Brother in Law, comes to live with them
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as well. The show also follows other characters, such as Celia Hodes, the head of the school board at the local private school where Nancy’s kids also attend. House is a television show based around Dr. Gregory House, a grumpy, self-entitled, diagnostic genius that has an addiction to Vicodin and only one friend, Dr. Wilson. House also has a team of fellows that assist him in his cases, they are Dr. Foreman, a black male. Cuddy is House’s boss, as well as the Dean of Medicine. House is the head of the Department of Diagnostic Medicine, his own private department, so his only boss is Cuddy. The show follows House as he comes across interesting medical cases and interacts with his co- workers. The general diversity of language used in “Weeds” was much larger than in House. Both shows used a majority of English Standard vernacular, but “Weeds” also had a substantial amount of African American Vernacular English or AAVE. Nancy’s weed dealer, Heylia, is an overweight, middle-aged, black woman, who runs quite a tight ship. Conrad Shephard is Heylia’s botanist and acquires the weed Heylia deals. Vaneeta is Heylia’s pregnant daughter that helps out with the business. All three of these characters speak in African American Vernacular English or AAVE. They all shorten and
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This note was uploaded on 04/18/2011 for the course SOCIOLOGY 120 taught by Professor Purcell during the Spring '11 term at Saint Louis.

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Anthroproj2final - Thomas Krenning Linguistics in House and...

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