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Linguistic Anthropology

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Linguistic anthropology. Linguistic anthropology is the interdisciplinary study of how language influences social life.

Linguistic anthropology

It is a branch of anthropology that originated from the endeavor to document endangered languages, and has grown over the past 100 years to encompass almost any aspect of language structure and use.[1] Linguistic anthropology explores how language shapes communication, forms social identity and group membership, organizes large-scale cultural beliefs and ideologies, and develops a common cultural representation of natural and social worlds.[2] Historical development[edit] World Oral Literature Project. World Oral Literature Project logo.

World Oral Literature Project

Areas of interest. Identity. Socialization. Ideologies. Ideology. Social space. Ethnolinguistics. Ethnolinguistics (sometimes called cultural linguistics)[1] is a field of linguistics which studies the relationship between language and culture, and the way different ethnic groups perceive the world.


It is the combination between ethnology and linguistics. The former refers to the way of life of an entire community, i.e., all the characteristics which distinguish one community from the other. Those characteristics make the cultural aspects of a community or a society. Ethnolinguists study the way perception and conceptualization influences language, and show how this is linked to different cultures and societies. An example is the way spatial orientation is expressed in various cultures.[2][3] In many societies, words for the cardinal directions east and west are derived from terms for sunrise/sunset. See also[edit] References[edit] Jump up ^ Ferraro, Gary (2006). External links[edit] Further reading[edit] Evolutionary psychology of language. Evolutionary psychology of language is the study of the evolutionary history of language as a psychological faculty within the discipline of evolutionary psychology.

Evolutionary psychology of language

There are many competing theories of how language evolved. It stems from the belief that language development could result from an adaptation, an exaptation, or a by-product. Linguistic insecurity. Description[edit] Standard and prestige forms[edit] Prestige forms may also demonstrate linguistic insecurity.

Linguistic insecurity

Again, in the UK, Received Pronunciation (RP), a prestige accent, has been affected by other varieties of speech. Though the standard form historically aimed towards RP, it is not a perfect imitation. The result is that RP speakers now demonstrate changes in phonetic realization in the direction of the standard.[8] Despite these shifts, a person using an RP accent would tend to give the impression that he or she is well-educated and part of a higher socioeconomic class. Identity (social science) In psychology, sociology, and anthropology, identity is a person's conception and expression of their own (self-identity) and others' individuality or group affiliations (such as national identity and cultural identity).

Identity (social science)

One may define identity as the distinctive characteristic belonging to any given individual, or shared by all members of a particular social category or group. Identity may be distinguished from identification; identity is a label, whereas identification refers to the classifying act itself. Identity is thus best construed as being both relational and contextual, while the act of identification is best viewed as inherently processual.[1] However, the formation of one's identity occurs through one's identifications with significant others (primarily with parents and other individuals during one’s biographical experiences, and also with "groups" as they are perceived).

Historical developement. Anthropological linguistics. Anthropological linguistics is the study of the relations between language and culture and the relations between human biology, cognition and language.

Anthropological linguistics

This strongly overlaps the field of linguistic anthropology, which is the branch of anthropology that studies humans through the languages that they use. Whatever one calls it, this field has had a major impact in the studies of such areas as visual perception (especially colour) and bioregional democracy, both of which are concerned with distinctions that are made in languages about perceptions of the surroundings. Conventional linguistic anthropology also has implications for sociology and self-organization of peoples. Study of the Penan people, for instance, reveals that their language employs six different and distinct words whose best English translation is "we"[citation needed].

Related fields[edit] Linguistic Anthropology. Anthropological issues studied via linguistic methods and data. Language contact. Multilingualism has likely been common throughout much of human history, and today most people in the world are multilingual.[1] In tribal hunter-gatherer societies, multilingualism was common, as tribes must communicate with neighboring peoples and there is often intermarriage[citation needed].

Language contact

In present-day areas such as Sub-Saharan Africa, where there is much variation in language over short distances, it is usual for anyone who has dealings outside their own town or village to know two or more languages. When speakers of different languages interact closely, it is typical for their languages to influence each other. Languages normally develop by gradually accumulating dialectal differences until two dialects cease to be mutually intelligible[citation needed], somewhat analogous to the species barrier in biology. Language contact occurs in a variety of phenomena, including language convergence, borrowing, and relexification. Miyako Inoue (linguistic anthropologist) Miyako Inoue (born 1962) is an Associate Professor in the Department of Cultural and Social Anthropology at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California.

Miyako Inoue (linguistic anthropologist)

She received her PHD from Washington University in St. Louis in 1996. She is a prominent linguistic anthropologist who combines a concerted focus on social theory with a rigorous analysis of language in social life. Semiotic anthropology. The phrase "semiotic anthropology" was first used by Milton Singer (1978).

Semiotic anthropology

Singer's work brought together the semiotics of Charles Sanders Peirce and Roman Jakobson with theoretical streams that had long been flowing in and around the University of Chicago, where Singer taught. [further explanation needed] In the late 1970s, Michael Silverstein -- a young student of Jakobson's at Harvard University -- joined Singer in Chicago's Department of Anthropology. Since that time, anthropological work inspired by Peirce's semiotic have proliferated, in part as students of Singer and Silverstein have spread out across the country, developing semiotic-anthropological agendas of their own.

Sociocultural linguistics. Sociocultural linguistics is a term used to encompass a broad range of theories and methods for the study of language in its sociocultural context. Its growing use is a response to the increasingly narrow association of the term sociolinguistics with specific types of research involving the quantitative analysis of linguistic features and their correlation to sociological variables. The term as it is currently used not only clarifies this distinction, but highlights an awareness of the necessity for interdisciplinary approaches to language, culture and society. Sociolinguistics. The social aspects of language were in the modern sense first studied by Indian and Japanese linguists in the 1930s, and also by Louis Gauchat in Switzerland in the early 1900s, but none received much attention in the West until much later.

The study of the social motivation of language change, on the other hand, has its foundation in the wave model of the late 19th century. Sociology of language.