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Communication lectures on: Language: Using Patterned Sound n Non-Verbal Communication: Using the Body n The Meaning of Objects: Using Style n Manipulating Space: Using our Surroundings n
Language and Society Language n Distinguished from a call system by the use of arbitrary symbols n Arbitrary symbols are culturally agreed-upon meanings for sounds that are not like thing they describe n Non-human chimps cannot speak but can communicate (as does Koko, with American Sign Language)
Language Origins n n Have long been debated Due to language’s characteristics (it is performative and ephemeral, like dance) and the difficulty of connecting language with durable physical characteristics (except for the hyoid bone) a definitive answer is unlikely
n What is clear is that the activities of our human ancestors, at least since H. erectus times, would have required some sort of sophisticated communication system to indicate abstract concepts such as time, distance, longing, intent, etc
Language History n n n (of the more recent sort) is considerably easier. Termed historical linguistics, the relationships between languages can be discerned through comparison. Glottochronology studies the rate of linguistic change to derive approximate dates for when languages split from one another (e. g. , Latin into French, Spanish, Italian)
Latin pater mater frater soror manus casa aqua English German French father mother brother sister hand house water Vater Mutter Bruder Schwest er Hand Haus Wasser père mère frère soeur main maison eau
Language Change n n occurs all the time slang, regional dialects, borrowing from other languages an example of English language change is Chaucer’s fourteenth century English Canterbury Tales
The Canterbury Tales 1347 -1400 Whan that Aprill, with his shoures soote The droghte of March hath perced to the roote And bathed every veyne in swich licour, Of which vertu engendred is the flour; Whan Zephirus eek with his sweete breeth Inspired hath in every holt and heeth The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne Hath in the Ram his halfe cours yronne, And smale foweles maken melodye, That slepen al the nyght with open eye So priketh hem Nature in hir corages Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages
Slang: can you date these? n n n n n “I’m down with that. ” “Cool. ” “Twenty-three skidoo. ” “Awesome. ” “Bad. ” “Whatever. ” “Dig? ” “Groovy. ” “Sweet. ” “Hidey-ho!”
The Most Highly Conserved Words in All Languages are: n I/me, you, two, who, language, name, eye, heart, tooth, no/not, fingernail/toenail, louse/nit, water, tear(drop), death, hand, night, blood, horn (animal), full, sun, ear, salt.
An Example of Conservation and Loss n n n ouche (Fr) from olca (Celtic) from oc* (Indo-European) “terre de bonne qualite” --a good parcel of land near a dwelling for overflow gardening and keeping small or sick animals read about ouches on the class website in the article “From Garden to Globe” under Handouts]
Transmitting Identity across Generations n n transmitted in large part by language people let their language stand for much else in their culture language, dialect, accent, and speech are always political and have power think about the importance of: speaker’s language choice among potentially usable languages the power of an accent to telegraph to the listener the speaker’s class, gender, ethnicity, etc
Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis n n n is that language predisposes people to see the world in a certain way and guides their thinking and behavior For example, ‘sustainable’ in English characterizes a renewable resource like well-managed agricultural land or wind power First used by scholarly, then business community But sustentable from Fr. sustenter (‘support’) is not understood. Instead durable, (‘hardy’, lasting) or l’entretien du paysage (land management) is used Used by agricultural community
Faux Amis n n n A foreign word that looks deceptively like a word in one’s own language preservatif, je suis pleine examples Note gesture in photos
Code Switching an example at the dialectical level n n the smooth movement a person makes from one dialect to another in different circumstances includes grammar and syntax, word choice, tone, volume, gendered speech differences, etc roof (“rooof” “ruf”), tomato, orange NC dialectical differences: Kerrville (“Cur-ville”) but Carr Mill and Kerr Drugs and Kerr Lake; Carolinian pronounced Caroleenian
Male/Female Communication n Studies show that, in general, women ask questions, keep the conversation going with verbal and non -verbal responses, and protest using silence men interrupt more, challenge more, more direct declarations of fact and opinion
Phoneme n n A minimally distinct sound in the context of a particular spoken language For example, in American English /p/ and /b/ are distinct phonemes because pat and bat are distinct; however, the two different sounds of /t/ in tick and stick are not distinct in English, even though they are distinct in other languages such as Thai.
Morpheme n n n The smallest contrastive unit of grammar. A minimally distinctive unit of meaning in the context of a particular language. For example, cats consists of two morphemes: cat and -s, the plural suffix. The -s is called a bound form while cat is a free (or stand alone) form. dogs also has the -s but it is pronounced /z/.
Phonetics and Phonology n n Phonetics is the study of the production, transmission, and reception of speech sounds Phonology is the study of rules (grammar)
Signals n n Signal = a gesture with (culturally) self-evident meaning. Silent nonverbal communication by signals or signs Examples: "He signaled his disapproval with a dismissive hand gesture"; "The diner signaled the waiter to bring the bill"
Symbols n Symbol = stands for something else. Nixon’s V and Bush’s ‘hook em’ are interesting non-verbal (but not crosscultural!) examples, but all language is symbolic