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Language, Relativity & Culture

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1) How is language linked to gender and what are some examples of this?

2) How do you explain the theory of linguistic relativity?

3) What are some examples of a morpheme?

4) How was anthropological linguistics applied to language development among the Ute?

5) Would it be correct to claim language as a distinguishing feature of H. sapiens? Why or why not? What evidence exists for the uniqueness or non-uniqueness of human language?

6) What are some examples of how the analysis of vocabulary can tell us what is important in a culture?

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Language and Gender

Studying culture-specific and ethnicity specific language practices reveals, embodies and sustains attitudes to gender. For example, in Spanish, Italian and Portuguese languages, all of Latin-Roman origins follow very specific feminine and masculine versions of terms, patterns and sentence structures. There is a male-female equivalent to verbs, adjectives, nouns and pronouns which indicates that gender lines are very pronounced in said cultures. Speakers of said language use particular gender linguistics when speaking or writing, reflecting their gender and sexual affiliations. This also comes in handy for historical research especially in genealogy and family histories as documents, diaries and journals, particular texts that have no indication of author or writer are betrayed or rather revealed in the gender-linguistics displayed. In terms of languages who are not as gender-specific as the other 3, say English for example, the manner of writing - choice of words, choice of situations, manner of explanation and presentation of the narrative, overall story - they indicate as well the gender and perspective of the writer. Such was the case with George Eliot, author of 'The Mill on the Floss' & 'Silas Marner'. Her real name was Mary Ann Evans and was one of the most celebrated author of the Victorian Era. Many critiques and readers found her novels to have a depth of understanding that revealed a feminine view and when it was found out that George Eliot was only a pen name, Mary Ann Evans defended her choice in that male authors tend to be taken more seriously. An understanding of the social structure of society - whether it is patriarchal or matriarchal or whether the society leans towards gender equality can be revealed by an understanding of gender linguistics.

Linguistic relativity

The linguistic relativity is a theory or principle proposed by German scholars Franz Boas, Edward Sapir and Benjamin Whorf although later on it came to be known as the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis. It proposes that the manifold cultural concepts and ...

Solution Summary

The solution is a comprehensive 1,486-word essay that discusses questions and concepts in relation to language and gender, linguistic relativity, the use, examples and applications of a morpheme, anthropological linguistics and the Ute tribe, language and the Homo Sapiens and vocabulary in relation to culture and diversity (see original problem). This solution will be useful to students studying anthropology and linguistics. A word version is attached for easy printing. References are listed following the APA format.

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Culture, Language, Ethnocentrism, Values & Beliefs

1. List the 5 concepts you are using and give the sociological definition of each and then do the analysis. Please make sure all five terms are correctly defined and identified and described the social occasion. Some concepts you might use:

(A) Norms (Folkways, Mores) (B) Subcultures (C) Argot (D) Ethnocentrism (E) Cultural Relativity (F) Culture Shock (G) Values (H) Beliefs (I) Sanctions

Section 2: http://Amish.net/lifestyle.asp. (The Amish Lifestyle)

(1) Compare the Amish with " mainstream American culture" in terms of:

(a) Norms (b) Values (c) Beliefs (d) Symbols (e) Language

(2) Now think about social construction- What is social construction? Would you have a different sense of reality if you came from this heritage compared to "mainstream American"?. In what ways?

(3) Is one more right than the other? Why or why not?

(4) How does your answer portray either ethnocentrism or cultural relativity?

Section 3:

(1) Is culture an all powerful, inevitable force which makes puppets of people? Are we prisoners of our culture? How or how not?

(2) What functions, positive and negative does a culture perform for a society?

(3) If language is so important in keeping a culture together what are the implications of having more than one language?

(4) How has technology, especially communication technology, contributed to cultural diffusion and cultural retention? Give examples.

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