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You have a very naughty salad

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  1. You have a very naughty salad Questions? Tyler Schnoebelen tylers at stanford

  2. (Key to reading this deck now that it’s posted) • Most of the content is in the notes field. • Check out Appendix A for logistics and follow-up stuff that Lauren started the class off with • Appendix B has stuff we didn’t get to in class but is probably useful for reviewing

  3. Let’s get started with some non-gender categories

  4. Animals of New Guinea • Ralph Bulmer went and studied the Karam of New Guinea. They have a number of animal categories (think, “mammal”, “fish”, “bird”, “pet”, etc). • Kobity • Yakt • Kayn • Kaj

  5. Some yakts

  6. The kobity is a category of its own • It’s a strange beast • Lives wild in the forest • Walks on two legs (doesn’t fly) • It’s furry • Lays eggs • Has wings • Has a heavy skull • When hunted, its blood shouldn’t be shed

  7. So a kobity is a yakt (bird), right?

  8. The kobity is irritated now

  9. Go ahead, try to tell me it’s a bird • It’s just absurd • It can’t fly • It’s really heavy • It can kill children and dogs • It can’t be hunted with arrows • It’s our cross-cousin • “The more Bulmer probes, the more elements are brought in by his informants that prevent the kobity from being a yakt.” (Latour 200)

  10. From the prompt • “When pressed on their choices, my respondents actually pushed back, citing more detail and finding more features that support their gender assignment.” • Versus • “I asked WAY more than three people what gender my objects were, because I wasn't getting any answers beyond, "I don't know," "Male, I guess -- I don't know why," and, "I don't know... I really don't know.“”

  11. What to do instead • You can learn a lot from perturbations • “The number of points linked, the strength and length of the linkage, the nature of the obstacles” (201-202). • In other words, examining a web of connections that join things together. • By denying a claim or shaking an association, we can see how things are joined together, “what holds tightly and what gives way easily, what is negotiable and what is not.”

  12. (Feel free to perturb this system)

  13. How many genders are there?

  14. Gender ≠ grammatical gender

  15. Grammatical gender • Imagine there were some nice morphemes (little wordlets) for marking gender in English, so that we would say: • Frank manwent to the store • Manbig Frank is always mangoing to the store • Louise ladywent to the store • Ladybig Louise, she’s always ladygoing to the store • Thelady table is ladybig • Theman chair is manpetite

  16. From other languages • French • Une petite boîte est arrivée de Paris (‘A small box has come from Paris’) • Old English • Seo brade lind waes tilu and hire lufod (‘That broad shield was good and I loved it/her’) • Zulu • umfana omkhulu (‘large boy’) • isihlahla esikhulu (‘large tree’)

  17. Dyirbal groupings • Bayi: men, kangaroos, possums, bats, most snakes, most fishes, some birds, most insects, the moon, storms, rainbows, boomerangs, some spears, etc. • Balan: women, anything connected with water or fire, bandicoots, dogs, platypus, echidnae, some snakes, some fishes, most birds, fireflies, scorpions, crickets, the stars, shields, some spears, some trees, etc. • Balam: all edible fruit and the plants that bear them, tubers, ferns, honey, cigarettes, wine, cake. • Bala: parts of the body, meat, bees, wind, yam sticks, some spears, most trees, grass, mud, stones, noises, language, etc.

  18. How many genders?

  19. What’s the basis of the system?

  20. Well, gender ~ grammatical gender?

  21. ‘Penguin’ Dutch: Neuter Greek: Masculine Irish: Feminine

  22. ‘Wind’ Dutch: Masculine Greek: Masculine Irish: Feminine

  23. ‘Happiness’ Dutch: Neuter Greek: Feminine Irish: Feminine

  24. Right. Gender ≠ grammatical gender.

  25. ‘Hammer’ 12 out of 13 Indo-European languages have ‘hammer’ in the masculine Just chance? Not arbitrary?

  26. Why? • Hammers are active, mighty, associated with blacksmiths; all these things make them men • Alternatively, the answer written in to The Washington Post when it asked people to assign genders to English nouns • “male, because it hasn’t evolved much over the last 5,000 years, but it’s handy to have around”

  27. Er…gender=grammatical gender, then?

  28. How would you classify ‘pistol’/’gun’?

  29. The awful German language • (Can I get two volunteers?) • Gretchen: Wilhelm, where is the turnip? • Wilhelm: She has gone to the kitchen. • Gretchen: Where is the accomplished and beautiful English maiden? • Wilhelm: It has gone to the opera.

  30. Dude! Grammatical gender and gender—what’s the story?

  31. The other W(h)orf

  32. Where to look • Colors

  33. Where to look • Colors • Time • Spatial orientation • Grammatical gender

  34. Bugaboos in linguistic relativity • Are you only testing inside the language? • If you’re testing multiple languages, how do you know the translation is really the same? • Use bilinguals and keep the test language consistent? • If you’re judging thinking, can you rule out linguistic interference? • Have them count or something else while performing the task? • What strategies are participants going to use to answer your direct questions? • Can you be more covert?

  35. This is Patrick.

  36. Take-away • Since the test was in English, “The semantic representation of gender (once it has been established) is not language specific” (Boroditsky et al 2007: 69). • Why is this? • If ‘toaster’ is masculine, maybe you pull out ‘metallic’, ‘technological’; if it’s feminine, maybe you think ‘warmth’, ‘domesticity’, ‘nourishment’. • Here’s a place where the construction of gender is going on!

  37. Gimme some adjectives about bridges German: Beautiful Elegant Fragile Peaceful Pretty Slender Spanish Big Dangerous Long Strong Sturdy Towering Now English speakers take those adjectives and say “+1=fem, -1=masc” (not knowing where the adjectives came from)

  38. And there are real consequences

  39. Avert your eyes!

  40. The power of grammatical gender • Tuma:Ta/Tama:Ta ‘tomato’ (fem.) • khya:r ‘cucumber’ (masc.)