Ottenheimer Chapter 6 Language in Action

Download 153.39 Kb.
Size153.39 Kb.
  1   2

Ottenheimer Chapter 6

Language in Action


  • Using language

  • Learning a language includes learning how to use words and sentences in social situations.

  • Examples of indirection

  • As an illustration of sociolinguistic analysis, she talks about the Native American who used indirection to ask for a ride.

  • Another example of indirection was the passing the salt request by the Japanese student

  • Author inferred that in Kansas indirection was also practiced (yup).

  • On Comoro Island to express admiration for something is a way to ask for it.

  • Indirection can be used to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’. “I have to wash my hair.”

  • The dessert example of the Czech student who expected to be asked more than once is another culturally different way of showing politeness.

  • Similarly, ‘Ukrainian no” versus “Canadian no”.

  • In each of these examples, communication was complicated by cultural styles of communication, as well as gender and status.

  • The idea that situations affect the meanings of words is an important one in linguistic anthropology.

  • Bronislaw Malinowski is the European equivalent of America’s Franz Boas.

  • He conducted research in the Trobriand Islands, PNG, around WWI.

  • Among other important contributions was his emphasis on doing fieldwork.

  • He discussed the context in which language is used; the cultural and social situations.

  • How does context affect language?

  • Context can shift meanings, so he described the contexts when he wrote.

Competence with Languages 1

  • Linguistic competence: Ideal speakers and listeners

  • The term, linguistic competence, was defined by Noam Chomsky.

  • Linguistic competence is the speaker/s underlying ability to produce (and recognize) grammatically correct expressions.

  • Chomsky’s “ideal speaker”:

  1. Lives in a homogeneous community.

  2. Knows the language perfectly.

  3. Is not distracted by environment when speaking or judging.

  • So linguistic competence is all about grammatical correctness.

  • Real situations are defined by distractions.

  • Remember Malinowski and his discussion of the social context being important to meaning (Chomsky ignores this!)

  • Some environmental “distractions”.

  1. When ‘bad’ means ‘good’.

  2. When two positives make a negative.

  3. Greetings and address terms.

  • In English, many forms of address and reference are ambiguous.

  • ‘Hello’ / ‘Hi’ / ‘Sup!’.

  • Communicative competence: Real people using real language

  • Communicative competence is a term coined by Dell Hymes to describe real people using real language.

  • Ability to speak a language “well” as a going past linguistic competence.

  • Ability to use your language “correctly” such as when to use the grammar and vocabulary, even accent, in a specific social situation.

  • In a variety of social situations (Say Pierre, SD incorrectly and will know you are not a native).

Competence with Languages 2

  • Communicative competence and symbolic capital: Language and power

  • Related to the idea of communicative competence is the idea of symbolic capital.

  • French sociologist, Pierre Bourdieu, says that communicative competence can be thought of as a kind of currency that you can accumulate.
  1   2

The database is protected by copyright © 2023
send message

    Main page