Language and Linguistics

Linguistic Anthropology

Linguistic Anthropology

Linguistic Anthropology


The linguistic anthropology or linguistics anthropological studies human languages.Anthropology discipline that deals with the study of the diversity of languages ​​spoken by human societies and how the lexicon and linguistic uses are related to the basic cultural characteristics of these societies. Whatever its name, this discipline has had an important impact on the studies of visual perception (especially color ) and bioregional democracy , both studies take into account the distinction that different languages ​​make of the perception of the environment .

Conventional Linguistic Anthropology

Conventional linguistic anthropology also has implications in sociology and in the self-organization of human communities . For example, a study of the Penan people reveals that they have six different words to say the first person of the nominative plural we. This may imply a greater understanding of cooperation, consensus and consensual decision making, than in the Hispanic culture . Anthropological linguistics studies this distinction and relates it to ways of life and adaptations to the senses.

Just as he studies the distinction made in languages ​​in relation to the colors of the rainbow , observing the tendency to increase the diversity of terms, as shown by the fact that there are distinctions of bodies in this environment that must be made. Leading to localized knowledge and perhaps localized ethics, whose final evidence is the different terms used to refer to “we.”

Claude Levi-Strauss , a famous French anthropologist in the twentieth century developed a theory known as ” structural anthropology .” Specifically, he used the structural linguistics that Saussure began to develop and those who followed him. At that time in the field of anthropology, the family was the main focus unit of attention. An independent unit consisting of a father, mother, and their children. The other members of a family like grandparents, uncles, and cousins ​​were secondary units. But Levi-Strauss rationalized that, according to the structuralism developed by the Prague Language Circle and his idea of ​​the value of linguistics, the members of a family only define their identities according to how they relate to the other members of the extended family. Therefore, instead of analyzing the units as if they were primary or secondary, he analyzed the relationships between all members of a family.

The linguistic anthropology or linguistics anthropological studies human languages. Since language is a broad constitutive part of culture, anthropologists consider it as a separate discipline. Linguists are interested in language development. Likewise, they deal with differences in living languages, how they are linked or differ, and in certain processes that explain migration and the dissemination of information. They also wonder about the ways in which language opposes or reflects other aspects of culture.

Within the social sciences, disciplines such as linguistics and anthropology have maintained a relationship that has taken the form of a complex articulation process influenced over time by the different historical, social and theoretical conditions prevailing. Linguistics, like the ethnology , the archeology , the social anthropology , the physical anthropology and history, is one of the disciplines that make up the field of anthropology from some perspectives. Linguistics studies language to find its main characteristics and thus be able to describe, explain or predict linguistic phenomena. Depending on its objectives, it studies the cognitive structures of human linguistic competence or the function and relationship of language with social and cultural factors.
The relationship between linguistics and anthropology has responded to different interests. During the 19th century and the first half of the 20th, anthropology and comparative linguistics were trying to trace the genetic relationships and historical development of linguistic languages ​​and families. Subsequently, the relationship between the two disciplines took another perspective for the proposal from structuralism. Linguistic models were adopted as models of cultural and social behavior in an attempt to interpret and analyze sociocultural systems, within the currents of anthropology. The structural tendency could be proposed by the influence of linguistics, both theoretically and methodologically. However, by excluding material conditions and historical development, it was questioned that culture and social organization could be analyzed in the same way as a linguistic code,
Despite these different points of view, productive approaches can be reached by recognizing that culture and society are the product of both objective or material conditions and of conceptual or symbolic constructions. In this way, the interaction between these two dimensions allows us to approach sociocultural systems as a material reality as well as a conceptual construction. Languages ​​imply or express theories of the world and, therefore, are ideal objects of study for social scientists. Language, as a conceptual tool, provides the most complex system of classification of experiences, so that each theory, be it anthropological, linguistic or the union of both, contributes to our understanding of culture as a complex phenomenon, since «language is what makes possible the universe of patterns of understanding and behavior that we call culture. It is also part of the culture, since it is transmitted from one generation to another through learning and imitation, as well as other aspects of the culture ».

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