Chapter 6 Language in Action

Chapter 6 Language in Action
Language in Action
• Beyond language to speech
– Language in context…
– Ethnography of Communication…
– Communicating across cultures….
Language in Context
• Context = cultural and social situation
• How does context affect language?
– Malinowski (1884-1942)
• Translation requires knowledge of context
• Context can shift meanings
– Recognizing indirection:
• Asking for a ride
• Saying yes, saying no.
Communicative Competence
• Ability to speak a language “well”
– Ability to use your language “correctly”
– In a variety of social situations
• Compare with Linguistic Competence
– Ability to produce (and recognize) grammatically
correct expressions
• Chomsky’s “ideal speaker”
– Not distracted by environment.
Some Environmental
• When ‘bad’ means ‘good’
• When two positives make a negative
• Greetings and address terms
– Ty and vy, du and Sie
– ‘Hello’ / ‘Hi’ / ‘Sup!’
• How do you learn these “rules?”
– Ethnography of Speaking….
Speech Communities
Linguistic Communities
• A speech community is
– A group of people who share
• One or more varieties of language
• And the rules for using them in interaction
• A linguistic community is
– A group of people who share
• A single language variety
• And who identify with that language variety
• A community of practice is ???.
Rules in Speech/Linguistic
• Are a part of the community’s culture
• Are different in different communities
• Can be learned/studied in the field.
Ethnography of Speaking
Developed in 1960s by Dell Hymes
• Focus on language in total cultural context
– How people use language in real situations
– Communicative competence…
– Symbolic Capital
– S-P-E-A-K-I-N-G…
– Speech communities…
• The importance of fieldwork
– What are the rules for speaking?
– For not speaking?
– How do children learn the rules?
Ethnography of SPEAKING
• Setting/Situation/Scene
– Where?
• Participants
– Who are the speakers?
– Who can speak?
– Who should speak?
• Ends:
– What are the goals?
• Bargaining
• Asking for (and giving) directions
• Report-talk vs rapport-talk.
Ethnography of SPEAKING
• Act Sequence
– Exactly what gets said?
• Speech Acts
– Promises, commands, apologies
• Speech Events
– Exchanging greetings, telling jokes, giving speeches
 Status and type or order of greetings
• Speech Situations
– Classrooms, conferences, parties, ceremonies
• Key
– Tone of voice, manner of delivery
• Mourning, joking, irony, teasing.
Ethnography of SPEAKING
• Instrumentalities
– Languages & dialects
• Mutual intelligibility
• Politics and attitudes: languages and their speakers
– Ideas about “Standard” and “Non-standard”
 Cousin Joe and the performance of identity through dialect
 ‘warsh’ ‘fouath flouah’ ‘pahking the cah’
 “‫"אַ שפראַ ך איז אַ דיאַ לעקט מיט אַ ן אַ רמײ און ֿפלאָ ט‬
 “A language is a dialect with an army and navy.”
Ethnography of SPEAKING
– Registers
• Situation-specific
– Prestigious, formal, scientific, academic, colloquial
• Politics and attitudes about registers and their use
– Speech levels in Java
– Implicit speech levels in the U.S.
 Def vs splendid.
Ethnography of SPEAKING
• Norms
– Expectations
• Speaking vs silence
• Directness vs indirectness
• Lying vs politeness
• Taking turns and interrupting
• Taboos and avoidances
• Genres
– Kinds of speech acts or events
• Lectures, Poetry Readings, Joking, Gossip.
Language Across Cultures
• Different communities = different rules
• Easy for misunderstandings to occur
• Rich Points
– Moments of misunderstanding
• Corn pudding
• Interviewing for a job
• Asking for a ride
– Signal differences in rules
• Ways to say ‘no’
• Ways to take turns
• Indirectness.
Cross Cultural Repairs
• Michael Agar’s ‘MAR’
– Recognize/acknowledge ‘Mistake’ in using rules
• Can also think of ‘Mistake’ as ‘Miscue’
– 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