Language and Culture - Vanderbilt University

Language and Culture - Vanderbilt University

Language and Culture Osher Class, Spring, 2016 1 Topics for the Class

Brief History of Linguistics Brief History of Cultural Studies Aspects of Language Properties of Language Language competence vs Language performance Linguistic components of Language Non-linguistic components of

Language Body language and animal language

Language vs dialect Number of languages today Status of languages today What is Culture? Aspects of Culture Where is Culture? Numbers of Cultures today Past cultures and their influence Cultural competence vs cultural performance

Languages with no Culture Translation Can language influence culture? 2 Definitions Language The words, their pronunciation, and the methods of combining them used and understood by a community A systematic means of communicating ideas or feelings by the use of conventionalized signs, sounds, gestures,

or marks having understood meanings (non-verbal) 3 Definitions (cont) Culture Acquaintance with and taste in fine arts, humanities, and broad aspects of science The integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief, and behavior that depends upon the capacity for learning and transmitting knowledge to succeeding generations The customary beliefs, social forms and material traits

of a racial, religious, or social group The set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution or organization 4 Definitions (cont) -- Communication A process by which information is exchanged thru a common system of symbols, signs, or behavior Information transmitted or conveyed A verbal or written message

5 C U LT U R E Communication Language Linguistic Components Sounds

Words Syntax Non-linguistic components Kinesics Gestures Proxemics Semantics 6 A Brief History of Linguistics

Sumarians Hindu Greeks

Romans Arabs Hebrews Europe in the Middle Ages European explorers 7 8 History of Linguistics (cont) Grammars of known languages (19th century) 20th century

Ferdinand de Saussure father of modern linguistics Noam Chomsky created generative grammar of universal rules 9 A Brief History of Cultural Studies Franz Boas father of American anthropology Creation of Centre for Cultural Studies (1964) Richard Dawkins proposed the term meme Can be a word or concept STOP or Can be a sound, picture, movie, a speech, etc. 10

Aspects of Language (Bollinger) Language is: Human Behavior Sound Hierarchic Embedded in gesture Both arbitrary and non-arbitrary Vertical and horizontal Language changes to outwit change

Languages are similarly structured Language is heard as well as spoken 11 Properties of Language (Bolton) Language is productive/creative Language is arbitrary Language has duality Language is discrete 12 How we know and use Language

Ferdinand de Saussure Langue + parole = language Noam Chomsky Competence + performance = language 13 Linguistic Components of Language Phonology (sounds) - /map/ /cap/ Morphology (words) map-s Syntax (grammar) The map is big.

Semantics (meanings) John wears a cap. There is a salary cap. 14 Why we need the IPA Cough Enough

Dough Through Thought Plough Hiccough Hough Lough Thorough A rough-coated, dough-faced, thoughtful ploughman strode through the streets of Scarborough; after falling into a slough, he coughed and hiccoughed. 15 Three levels of meaning Lexical the dictionary meaning

Structural or grammatical meaning Socio-cultural meaning 16 Non-Linguistic Components of Language Body Language Kinesics Gestures Proxemics 17

18 Dialects of the U. S. 19 20 21 Dialects of Spain

22 Dialects of England 23 Number of World Languages Population of the world - 7,106,865,254 Number of Living Languages 7,102 95% of the worlds people speak fewer than 100 of the worlds different languages

By 2050, many linguists predict that half of the worlds languages will disappear An entire way of thinking is lost each time a language becomes extinct 24 Definition of Culture Acquaintance with and taste in fine arts, humanities, and broad aspects of science The integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief, and behavior that depends upon the capacity for learning and transmitting knowledge to succeeding

generations The customary beliefs, social forms and material traits of a racial, religious, or social group The set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution or organization 25 Guernica by P. Picasso 26

Aspects of Culture

It is learned Language is the medium of transmission It is applicable to all people It is active and dynamic It changes over time It is multilayered It is malleable/adaptive It is always considered within a context It is thick, thin, or compartmentalized It structures our perceptions 27

Where is Culture? Food/health

Personal hygiene Transportation Personal space Moral code Modesty Meals Social gatherings Birthdays/holidays

Clothing Family Time Religion Humor

Attractions/revulsions Entertainment Gender roles Etc. 28 Examples of 21 Century Language st Texting OMG IMHO

BAY BTW CUL OTOH PAW BRB 29 Examples (cont.) Totesing (short for totally) Totes tradge (tragic) Totes emosh (emotional)

Bluebs Subconch Aphrodeez Imposh Fosh 30 Cultural Competence vs Cultural Performance Knowing about the gathering of cultural information Knowing how acquiring cultural behaviors

Knowing why discovering cultural explanations Knowing oneself developing self-awareness 31 32 Dialects of the U. S. 33 Cultures of Europe

34 Cultures of the U. S. 35 Past Cultures and their Influence

Celts whiskey, bog, shindig Anglo-Saxon be, strong, water, the, you Latin & Greek bishop, angel, demon Vikings get, hit, leg, low, root, want, wrong Normans/French many New World hurricane, hammock Spanish rodeo, avocado, algebra, arroyo 36

Origins of English Words 37 Created Languages

The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings J.R.R. Tolkien Lapine Watership Down Newspeak 1984 by George Orwell Atlantean Atlantis: The Lost Empire Ku The Interpreter Klingon, Vulcan Star Trek Navi - Avatar Valyrian The Game of Thrones 38

Esperanto Alphabet 26 letters: a b c d e f g h i j k l mnoprstuvz Sample structures: Good morning Bonan matenon Good evening Bonan vesperon What is your name? Kio estas via nomo? Thank you Dankon Excuse me Pardonu min 39 Basic Principles of Language

Language consists of a systematically organized set of oral/aural symbols. Writing only imperfectly represents language Associations between symbols and referents are essentially arbitrary. The segmentation of experience by speech symbols is essentially arbitrary. No two languages exhibit identical systems of organizing symbols into meaningful expressions 40

Grammar Differences La leche es buena. El hermano de David es guapo. Milk is good. Davids brother is handsome. Correspondence

Differences 41 What is involved 42

Language Influences Culture Use of geographical location to express all locations and lapse of time Perceptions, e.g., color affected by mother tongue Gender-system languages where animate and inanimate things must have gender 43 Recap Language and culture are inexorably intertwined

The combination allows us to communicate and be understood We are linguistically and culturally competent L & C can and do influence each other (more research needed) Languages and Cultures are unique 44

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