Language and Communication

Language and Communication
 Communication
 transfer of information
 Direct communication: directly from one person to person.
 body language (kinesics): gestures and facial expressions.
 Universal vs. cultural
 paralanguage: voice effects that accompany language and convey
 spoken language: pass on culture
 Indirect communication: signs and symbols.
 Primates and Communication
 use symbolic language
 referent is not present
 meaning is arbitrary
 Non-human primate languages are closed
 words cannot be combined to form new meanings
 What about chimps, gorillas, and orangutans?
 Origin of Human Language
 By Anatomically Modern Humans
 allowed more efficient way of learning and communication.
 Language, art, and belief system.
 Human Language
 language is universal.
 all people in all societies have language which is equally complex.
 50 sounds in all languages, most have 5 vowels, all organized in
similar way.
 it is an open system: has an infinite variety of meanings.
 Children’s Acquisition of Language
 at birth can learn all the sounds of all the world’s languages and
learn any system of grammar.
 learn at same age and go through same stages.
 Language and Culture Connection
 Ethnolinguistics:
 studies the relationship between language and culture.
 Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis:
 there is an explicit link between the grammar of a language and the
culture of the people who speak it.
 Vocabulary, grammar
 linguistic relativity: language shapes the way members of a
society think and behave.
 Ways that culture influences language
 many words for important objects in a culture. Example: Nuer
and cattle
 formal vs. informal situations
 Formal language, less slang
 Forms of address: use title, 2nd person pronoun
 women rapport talk, men report talk- USA
 Gendered speech: distinct male and female syntax.
 Examples: Carib, Lakota
Taboo Words: avoid use of certain words.
 Example: Yanomamo