Nepali students talk with Forest Foragers - Raute women
Traditional singer (Gaine) at center
discusses his performance.
Photo: J. Fortier
Washoe, a chimpanzee, eventually acquired vocabulary of over 100 ASL signs
Dr. Roger Fouts teaching Lucy
ASL; Photo: Time Mag.
Chantek, an orangutan, has learned more than 150 ASL words
There are no known instances where chimps or gorillas in the wild have developed a comparable system of signs on their own
Language is effective for learning; enables humans to adapt rapidly to new stimuli
Tower of Babel; courtesy
Gustave Doré's Illustrated Bible
The Khoekhoe language at
Khoisan language speakers
Irvin Poleahla (Hopi) films
at Mesa Verde National Park, Colo.
Ethnosemantics – study of how speakers of particular languages use sets of terms to organize, or categorize, their experiences and perceptions
The ways people divide up the world – the contrasts they perceive as meaningful or significant – reflect their experiences
e.g. Rice (Eng.) : Arroz (Span.) : chamal, bhat (‘uncooked rice’ ‘cooked rice’ Nep.; also aluwa 'freshly husked rice')
Sociolinguists focus on features that vary systematically with social position and situation
Scene from film “Himalaya”
Men and women have differences in phonology, grammar, and vocabulary, as well as in the body stances and movements that accompany speech
*In non-English langs, sometimes diff vocab &
Americans tend to be less formal than other nationalities, although they include honorifics
British have a more developed set of honorifics
Japanese language has several honorifics
Kin terms can be associated with gradations in rank and familiarity
Researcher Q: “Excuse me, where are the women's shoes?” from
The social stratification of English in New York City By William Labov
Tok Pigin spoken
in New Guinea
Annie Scott weaves a sweetgrass basket Saturday afternoon at the Gullah Flea Market on Hilton Head Island.
Photo: J. Dyer
William Labov writes B.E.V. is “relatively uniform dialect spoken by the majority of black youth in most parts of the U.S. today . . . ”
Protolanguage – original language from which daughter languages descend
Subgroups – languages within a taxonomy of related languages that are most closely related
The Indo-European languages. Traceable to a protolanguage, Proto-Indo-European (PIE),
*PIE spoken more than 6,000 years ago.
*PIE split into separate languages
*Identify relations using cognates
IPA=International phonetic alphabet