Introduction to linguistic anthropology

Introduction to linguistic anthropology
Quiz 1. Study guide for multiple choice portion
Scheduled for April 25
Ch. 1 Living Language
1. How does Ahearn describe the differences between a linguistic anthropology
approach to language compared with a common linguistics approach?
2. What is the purpose of the knitting analogy and what does it demonstrate?
3. What are the five components of language that must be mastered to know a
language and on which do linguists usually focus. On which do linguistic
anthropologists tend to focus?
4. Explain multifunctionality and Jakobson’s multifunctional model.
5. Explain language ideologies and Kroskrity’s four features.
Week 1 lectures and MSL readings
1. How can human language be compared with the communication systems of
other animals?
2. What is a possible definition of language?
3. While linguistic anthropology is concerned with looking at language through a
‘holistic’ lens, what are linguistic anthropologists most concerned with while
studying language?
4. What are Charles Hockett’s design features (and features added by others) and
what how do these features inform us about human language compared with
communication systems of other animals? For example, which features
distinguish humans from other animals?
5. Which design features are displayed by Koko the gorilla, Alex the parrot, and
Kanzi and Panbanisha the bonobos?
6. What is the significance of language to culture and vice versa
7. Explain William C. Stokoe’s main points about the significance of signing, sign
language, and linguistic evolution. What does he think is the reason that Western
scientists often forget about signing in their studies?
Video The Mind’s Big Bang
1. Consider what tool, art, and other technology tells us about the timing and
complexity of prehistoric to historic language and culture?
2. What are some of the biological/evolutionary connections with language
discussed in the film? For example, what did linguist Steven Pinker say about the
basic biological intelligence of earlier humans 60,000 to 40,000 years ago
compared with humans now?
3. What can we learn from deaf communities about language compulsion and
human communities?
4. What is theory of mind and why is it significant in language complexity and
Ch. 2 Living Language
1. How does Ahearn explain the process of formulating research questions in
linguistic anthropology? (pg. 32)
2. What is participant observation as a research method and how to linguistic
anthropologists use this method?
3. How and why do linguistic anthropologists use interviews?
4. How are surveys and questionnaires used in linguistic anthropology?
5. What is the importance of recording and observing naturally occurring
conversations in linguistic anthropology?
6. Are experiments conducted in linguistic anthropology? Examples?
7. How do linguistic anthropologists incorporate written texts into their research?
8. Explain matched guise tests.
9. What is a brief definition of conversation analysis (CA)?
10. Consider Erving Goffman’s observations that conversation involves a complex
participation framework and that the speaker’s part can be separated into three
different roles. What did he say they were?
11. How did Goffman differentiate hearer’s roles?
12. Why is it important to take speakers’ and hearers’ roles into consideration in
linguistic analysis?
Week 2 lectures and MSL readings
1. Explain some of the differences between the human brain and other animals that
might contribute to the kinds of intelligence that allow for complex language
2. What is the significance of the Wernicke’s speech area?
3. What is the significance of the Broca’s speech area?
4. What is the significance of a lowered larynx in humans?
5. What are a few other parts of the human anatomy make speech possible for
humans but difficult for other apes?
6. What are some of the possible theories for the exorbitant growth of the human
7. What is Robin Dunbar’s theory?
8. Explain the significance of group size, grooming and gossip in Dunbar’s theory?
TED video on Susan Blackmore on memes and temes
1. What is a meme and what do memes have to do with language?
2. What are the three replicators that Blackmore talked about?
3. Why are they dangerous?
4. Why are humans discussed as hosts carrying a parasite?
5. Why does Blackmore think that the species on other planets may not have lived
through some of these dangerous replicator phenomena?
6. What are temes?
7. When might humans want to start worrying about temes and why?
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