Anthro 33: Culture and Communication


Study Questions for Linguistic Anthropology: A Reader
Duranti, Alessandro,ed. Blackwell 2001.

Bailey, Communication of Respect

  1. Why is that good intentions are not sufficient for showing respect?
  2. What is the difference between what Bailey calls 'involvement politenss' and 'restraint politeness'?
  3. Describe the difference between socially minimal and socially expanded service encounters.
  4. What did Bailey learn from recording, transcribing, and analyzing Korean retailers and Korean customers?
  5. How do assessments (e.g. that's great!, I love it!, or I hate that!) and laughter reveal different interactional strategies?

Baquedano-López, Doctrina Narratives

  1. How is the story of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe in the Doctrina class connected with the students' experiences?
  2. How is the narrative constructed as regarding both the past and the present?
  3. What are some of the differences between the story of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe in the Doctrina class and in the Catechism class?
  4. Why does Baquedano-López argue that the telling of the story is used to build a particular type of identity? Which identity? How does the identity change from one context to the another?

Bauman, Verbal Art as Performance

  1. What is Bauman's definition of performance as a mode of spoken verbal communication?
  2. What does it mean to say that performance is constitutive of the domain of verbal art?
  3. What is the kabary?
  4. What is the relationship between keying and frame?
  5. What are some of the means listed by Bauman as ways of keying performance?
  6. Based on the examples given by Bauman of verbal art genres in different societies, can you think of domains of performance that you are familiar with?
  7. What does it mean to say that performance has an emergent quality?
  8. Why does Bauman say that performers are both admired and feared?

Duranti, Greetings

  1. What are the universal properties of greetings proposed by Duranti?
  2. Using those properties, how many kinds of greetings can you identify in your community?
  3. What are the four types of Samoan greetings identified by Duranti?

Goodwin and Goodwin, Emotion Withing Situated Activity

  1. What is the view of language that is presupposed and supported by the authors?
  2. What is their view of emotions and how do they support such view?
  3. How are assessments (e.g. appreciations) done by the man who only has four words?
  4. What did you learn about intonation from this article?

Gumperz, Speech Community

  1. What is Gumperz's definition of a speech community?
  2. What are the criteria you can use to decide the speech communities you belong to?
  3. Briefly illustrate the difference between diachronic to synchronic studies in linguistic variation.
  4. What is linguistic acculturation?
  5. What is a verbal repertoire?

Heath, What Bedtime Story Means

  1. Why does Heath criticize the literacy/orality dichotomy?
  2. Why is the literacy event a way of overcoming this dichotomy?
  3. What is Heath's working definition of culture?
  4. What is the Initiation-Reply-Evaluation sequence? Give Examples.
  5. What are the differences among the three communities observed by Heath?
  6. What is the connection between this article and Philips'?

Hill, Language, Race & White Public Sphere

  1. What are the two ways in which Puerto Ricans in New York City experience language and what do those ways reveal?
  2. What is "Mock Spanish" (and why did Hill decide not to use the term "Junk Spanish")? Give some examples. Can you extend the same analysis to other languages?
  3. How is the notion of indexicality related to the notion of Mock Spanish as "covert racist discourse"?
  4. How does the adoption of Spanish phrases by Whites compare to their use of AAE?

Hymes, Communicative Competence


Irvine, Formality

  1. Why is it important to be more precise about the meaning of formality and formalized language?
  2. What are the four aspects of formality identified by Irvine?
  3. Can you think of some events or social situations with which you are familiar and rank them with respect to their level of formality using Irvine's categories?
  4. What are the advantages of decomposing the concept of formality into separate aspects or properties?

Kroskrity, Arizona Tewa Language Ideology

  1. What does linguistic ideology (or language ideology) mean?
  2. Why were the Arizona Tewa said to be 'linguistically conservative'?
  3. Explain the following concepts with examples: regulation by convention, indigenous purism, and strict compartmentalization.
  4. What is the relationship between Arizona Tewas' ideology of language and their practice?

Mitchell-Kernan, Signifying and Marking: Two Afro-American Speech Acts

  1. What are some of the features of signifying discussed by Mitchell-Kernan?
  2. Explain the significance of "marking" to the African American speech community.
  3. How is signifying a form of "counterlanguage?"
  4. Where do we see examples of "indexicality" at work in "marking" and "signifying"?
  5. What is the relationship between Mitchell-Kernan's article and Bauman's?

Morgan, African American Speech Community

  1. What was the controversy over the court case involving Black English discussed by Morgan?
  2. Give some examples of what Labov calls "Black English Vernacular" (BEV) (and Morgan calls African American English (AAE).
  3. What are the 3 perspectives from which African American scholars looked at AAE?
  4. What is the stereotype of the AAE speaker criticized by Morgan?
  5. Why does Morgan argue that one needs to take into consideration the ideological implications of linguistic descriptions?

Ochs and Schieffelin, Three Developmental Stories

  1. Is it true that to help children learn to speak, mothers must talk to them as early as possible and in the most simplified way (use "Motherese")?
  2. Do people in all society believe that the child's first word is "mama" (or its local translation)?
  3. What are the two meanings of 'language socialization'?
  4. What is the "paradox of familiarity" discussed by Ochs and Schieffelin?
  5. What are the three "developmental stories" presented by Ochs and Schieffelin?
  6. What are some of the behaviors that characterize white middle class caregivers when they interact with infants?
  7. How do Kaluli mothers describe their babies? Do they talk to them? When? How? How do they hold the babies? What do these behavior suggest?
  8. How is speaking for the infant among the Kaluli evaluated by Ochs and Schieffelin?
  9. When do the Kaluli think language begins for a child?
  10. What are some examples in which Kaluli mothers teach the child what to say? What does èlèma mean?
  11. Do Kaluli have 'baby talk'? Do Samoans have 'baby talk'?
  12. What are some of the differences between the Kaluli social system and the Samoan system?
  13. If an utterance is unclear who is responsible in Samoa for clarifying its meaning?
  14. What kind of typology of socialization and caregiver speech patterns is proposed by Ochs and Schieffelin? (hint: be prepared to describe and discuss the two strategies: i) "adapt situation to the child" and ii) "adapt child to situation").
  15. In what sense does the study of language socialization merge two different traditions of research (linguistic and anthropological studies)?

Ochs and Taylor, Father Knows Best

  1. What is the "Father Knows Best" ideology and how is it reproduced through the dinner narratives analyzed by Ochs and Taylor?
  2. What is their definition of "story"?
  3. Define the following narrative roles: protagonist, introducer, primary recipient, problematizer, problematizee.
  4. What are the implications for being a protagonist and which members of the family tend to be protagonist?
  5. What are the differences between men and women in the dynamics of narrating at dinner time?

Philips, Warm Spring Children in Community and Classrooms

  1. What are the different types of participant structures observed by Philips?
  2. How does Philips connect the different types of participant structures to students' earlier life experience and socialization?
  3. What are some of the differences in the role of speaking among Indian and non-Indian children?

Silverstein, Limits of Awareness


Spitulnik, Media Discourse

  1. Use Spitulnik article illustrate how mass media serves as "reservoir and reference point" for the circulation of    words phrases, and discours styles in popular culture.
  2. What is  the "social charged life" of certain linguistic styles?
  3. How does the notion of "heteroglossia" apply to the phenomena discussed by Spitulnik? (see hand-out, lecture notes)
  4. How does Spitulniks case study call into question the concept of a "speech community"?

Whorf, Habitual Thought

  1. What does Whorf mean by objectification? Give some examples.
  2. What does the example of "empty" illustrate?
  3. How does Whorf illustrate the difference between the concept of time in Hopi and in English?
  4. How does Whorf relate the concentration on preparation among the Hopi to their language structure?