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Transcript
Ottenheimer Chapter 6
Language in Action
Overview
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Using language
•
Learning a language includes learning how to use words and sentences in social situations.
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Examples of indirection
•
As an illustration of sociolinguistic analysis, she talks about the Native American who used indirection to ask for a
ride.
•
Another example of indirection was the passing the salt request by the Japanese student
•
Author inferred that in Kansas indirection was also practiced (yup).
•
On Comoro Island to express admiration for something is a way to ask for it.
•
Indirection can be used to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’. “I have to wash my hair.”
•
The dessert example of the Czech student who expected to be asked more than once is another culturally different
way of showing politeness.
•
Similarly, ‘Ukrainian no” versus “Canadian no”.
•
In each of these examples, communication was complicated by cultural styles of communication, as well as gender and
status.
•
The idea that situations affect the meanings of words is an important one in linguistic anthropology.
•
Bronislaw Malinowski is the European equivalent of America’ s Franz Boas.
•
He conducted research in the Trobriand Islands, PNG, around WWI.
•
Among other important contributions was his emphasis on doing fieldwork.
•
He discussed the context in which language is used; the cultural and social situations.
•
How does context affect language?
•
Translation requires knowledge of context, not just the words of a language.
•
Context can shift meanings, so he described the contexts when he wrote.
Competence with Languages 1
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Linguistic competence: Ideal speakers and listeners
•
The term, linguistic competence, was defined by Noam Chomsky.
•
Linguistic competence is the speaker/s underlying ability to produce (and recognize) grammatically correct expressions.
•
Chomsky’s “ideal speaker”:
1. Lives in a homogeneous community.
2. Knows the language perfectly.
3. Is not distracted by environment when speaking or judging.
•
So linguistic competence is all about grammatical correctness.
•
Real situations are defined by distractions.
•
Remember Malinowski and his discussion of the social context being important to meaning (Chomsky ignores this!)
•
Some environmental “distractions”.
1. When ‘bad’ means ‘good’.
2. When two positives make a negative.
3. Greetings and address terms.
•
In English, many forms of address and reference are ambiguous.
•
‘Hello’ / ‘Hi’ / ‘Sup!’.
•
Communicative competence: Real people using real language
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Communicative competence is a term coined by Dell Hymes to describe real people using real language.
•
Ability to speak a language “well” as a going past linguistic competence.
•
Ability to use your language “correctly” such as when to use the grammar and vocabulary, even accent, in a specific
social situation.
•
In a variety of social situations (Say Pierre, SD incorrectly and will know you are not a native).
Competence with Languages 2
•
Communicative competence and symbolic capital: Language and power
•
Related to the idea of communicative competence is the idea of symbolic capital.
•
French sociologist, Pierre Bourdieu, says that communicative competence can be thought of as a kind of currency that you
can accumulate.
•
Buys you position and power in social and cultural contexts.
•
You earn this capital by demonstrating you can manipulate speaking, word choice, accent, spelling and writing in the
appropriate contexts.
•
I learned not to say ain’t in school.
•
Why is the T-shirt so funny?
•
Linguistic communities and speech communities
•
•
•
Communicative competence and symbolic capital do not operate in a social vacuum.
Both are linked to the fact that language in used in specific groups and situations by specific groups of people.
To describe these kinds of groups and situations linguists use the terms linguistic community and speech community
•
A group of people who share a single language variety and focus their identity around that language is called a linguistic
community
•
A group of people who share one or more varieties of language and the rules for using any or all those varieties in
everyday conversation is called a speech community.
•
Might code-switch between languages or dialects.
•
Remember that in many settings that multilingualism is the norm.
Competence with Languages 3
•
Linguistic communities and speech communities (continued)
•
Example the relationship between English and Spanish use in Texas.
•
Chicanos overestimate knowledge of English; Anglos minimize knowledge of Spanish and are passive.
•
Necessity of Chicano to learn English, but not the reverse.
•
Three-generation passage from Spanish to English dominance: Grandparents resist moving to English; parents as uneasy
translators, and third generation use English.
•
Community of practice
•
Related to the idea of a speech community is the concept of a community of practice.
•
A community of practice is a group of individuals who interact regularly, developing unique ways of doing things
together.
•
Examples of communities of practice could include choir groups, sailing clubs, study groups.
•
For me, one community of practice are my colleagues in anthropology.
Ethnography of Speaking 1
•
Ethnography of communication
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Also called the ethnography of speaking.
•
Developed in 1960s by Dell Hymes, this methodology is a way of describing and analyzing the ways people use language in
real situations.
•
By doing fieldwork, linguistic anthropologists learn the basics of communicative competence in a new speech community.
•
Doing an ethnography of communication
•
The importance of fieldwork:
1. What are the rules for speaking?
2. For not speaking?
3. How do children learn the rules?
•
Immersion into the culture is the best way to understand how people think about and use language.
•
SPEAKING: An acronym to guide research
•
S-P-E-A-K-I-N-G is the acronym developed by Hymes to discuss the basic areas of research needed to understand language
in speech communities
•
The acronym stands for seven basic arenas of research: Setting, participants, ends, act sequences, keys, instrumentalities,
norms, and genre.
•
Setting/Situation/Scene refers to the place in which the conversati0on is taking place in the broadest sense & the overall
psychological feeling of the place.
•
There will be specific and unwritten ideas about what is ‘normal’ conversation.
•
Lecture expectations: 1) Professor will lecture or engage students in a discussion; 2) students will not interrupt the
professor or fellow students; 3) professor will be prepared. Difference: Americans ask questions during class (American)
and Japanese after class.
Ethnography of Speaking 2
•
SPEAKING: An acronym to guide research (continued)
•
Setting/Situation/Scene can also affect the specific kinds of responses people are likely to make.
•
“How are you?” will solicit a different answer in the doctor’s office than in other locations.
•
“Whew, it’s hot!” may be a comment on the weather (when there is not control) or a request for turning on the air
conditioner.
•
Participants refers to who can or should be involve in various speech events or conversations and what is expected of the
various individuals.
•
In North America, children when present are expected not to contribute to the conversations of adults. [Children should
be seen and not heard.]
•
Adults, in this same community, are expected to be very careful what they say in front of children, so that the children
will not repeat what they heard! [Little pitchers have big ears.]
•
In some cultures, non-humans can be considered conversational partners.
116_Ottenheimer_Chapter 06 Page2
•
•
•
•
Ghosts and spirits can speak through individuals.
Deities can also speak through individuals.
Famous example of 2 female lecturers, one European American and other Asian.
•
The same dress, hair and such were worn and each women lectured to one of two separate groups.
•
The listeners of the Asian woman reported she had an accent and that they comprehended less.
Gender stereotypes are still popular among Westerners.
•
The idea that men and women speak in different speech styles.
•
Men speak less and more directly, women speak more and indirectly
•
Most recent research shows it is the perceptions of them speaking differently because of expectations, not that they
actually speak differently.
Ethnography of Speaking 3
•
SPEAKING: An acronym to guide research (continued)
•
Ends refers to the reasons for which the speech event is taking place, or the goals that people have in speaking in a particular
situation.
•
Bargaining may be appropriate in some social situations, but not in others.
•
The example of bargain in Mexico
•
Never bargain in the Solomon Islands!
•
Asking for (and giving) directions
•
Author says that most New Yorkers will give directions whether they know them or not
•
Your goal is to get to Place A, theirs is not to sound ignorant.
•
Deborah Tannen suggests that there are 2 types of speech styles: report-talk and rapport-talk. These styles do not mesh
well.
•
Report-talk: Each person speaks in turn, using eye contact to signal each other to flip speaker.
•
Rapport-talk: People may insert words of encouragement and other examples for showing you are in tune.
•
Act sequence refers to the actual sequence of events.
•
What words are used, by whom, who begins, who continues, how are turns taken, what exactly gets said?
•
One example is what are called adjacency pairs:
•
The greeting and response exchanges that are expected
•
Good evening!  Good evening?
•
Hymes and others have suggested 3 concepts to help provide additional focus and specificity for analyzing language in
real situations.
Ethnography of Speaking 4
•
SPEAKING: An acronym to guide research (continued)
•
Hymes and others have suggested 3 concepts to help analyze language in real situations.
1. Speech Acts
•
Single uninterrupted utterance, usually by one individual.
•
Promises, commands, apologies.
2. Speech Events
•
One or more speech acts, defined and governed by the rules and conventions of the community.
•
Exchanging greetings, telling jokes, giving speeches; also status, type or order of greetings.
3. Speech Situations
•
The setting and circumstances in which people speak.
•
Classrooms, conferences, parties, ceremonies.
•
Key refers to the mood or spirit in which communication takes place.
•
Mourning
•
A funeral in the US is generally hushed and solemn, people speaking in quiet tones.
•
In some highland Ecuador cultures, loud wailing crying is respectful.
•
Whether the situation is formal or informal may change the tone of speech.
•
Informal: May use contractions (ain’t, goin’ fishing) , by condensed pronunciations (coulda, gonna, hafta), by
prepositional endings (Where you gonna be at?).
•
Formal tone generally requires more ‘careful’ speech.
•
Joking and teasing
•
This may be appropriate among some individuals or in some situations.
•
In the Comoro Islands teasing is among close friends OR used to test the newcomer.
Ethnography of Speaking 5
•
SPEAKING: An acronym to guide research (continued)
•
Instrumentalities refer to 1) the channels that are used (speaking, writing, signaling with flags, and so forth) as well as 2) the
varieties of languages speakers use (language, dialect, register).
116_Ottenheimer_Chapter 06 Page3
•
The standard way to determine the difference between a language and a dialect is to test for mutual intelligibility.
Dialects are mutually intelligibility means that the speakers are using dialects of a language.
Lack of mutual intelligibility means that the speakers are using different languages.
•
A register is a variety of a language that is appropriate to specific situations.
•
For instance, a language may have a formal register to be used in a speech versus an informal register for ordinary
conversation.
•
A scientific register to talk about laboratory work.
•
A joking register to teach each other.
•
Think about the case where one says, “I’m so gonna kill you now!”.
•
There is a certain register used by South Dakotans when uttering an “absolute opposite” joke. I get in trouble all
the time on the West Coast as this is not a common register here.
Norms refers to the expectations that speakers have about appropriateness of speech use.
•
Expectations
•
Speaking vs. silence.
•
Directness vs. indirectness.
•
Lying vs. politeness.
•
Taking turns and interrupting.
•
Taboos and avoidances.
Genres refers to different kinds of speech acts or events. For instance, Lectures, poetry readings, joking, gossip, storytelling.
•
•
•
•
Other Approaches
•
Conversation analysis
•
It was developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s for analyzing talk-in-action.
•
Its focus is the close study of actual conversational exchanges.
•
Concentrating on the act sequence part of Hyme’s model.
•
Use tape recordings between people who are conversing, which are then transcribed to study the act sequences.
•
When I was an undergraduate, I was encouraged to visit places such as restaurants where the booths had high partitions.
•
There, I was to record what I heard, both the words and the paralanguage. Of course, I was missing the nonverbal
communications aspect but the idea was to be covert. We do NOT do this today.
•
Discourse analysis
•
Is broader than CA and takes in all aspects of Hyme’s model.
•
Takes real language in real situations as its focus and emphasizes understanding how authority and power are distributed and
negotiated.
•
Includes looking at sounds, intonations, gestures, syntax, words, style meanings, speech acts, and so forth.
Intercultural Communication
•
When things go wrong
•
Remember different communities = different rules. Easy for misunderstandings to occur.
•
Michael Agar uses the phrase rich points.
•
Rich points are kinds of moments where things go wrong in a speech situation.
•
They depend on contrasts between two cultures.
•
Rich points signal differences in rules.
•
Develop communicative competence: Michael Agar’s ‘MAR’.
•
Recognize/acknowledge ‘Mistake’ in using rules.
•
Develop Awareness of different rules. Ethnography of Communication as a method.
•
Repair understanding of rules.
•
Finding appropriate ways to say ‘no’.
•
Learning to take turns without ‘interrupting’.
•
‘Hearing’ and responding to a request for a ride.
116_Ottenheimer_Chapter 06 Page4