Why Is Understanding Human Language Important?
Overview: An integral aspect of all modern human societies is the use of symbolic language. Language and culture are interrelated, and human symbolic language differs in critical ways from all other forms of animal communication. Languages are systems of arbitrary vocal sounds that allow one to record one’s experiences of the world and those of others. Linguistics is the scientific study of language. As you will see, linguistic anthropologists study language as it is used within social contexts, as well as the historical development of modern languages. You will explore different ways humans communicate and learn that no one way of communicating through language is better than another.
Points to Consider: Languages are clearly cultural products embedded in meanings and behavioral patterns that stretch beyond individual bodies, across space, and over time” (p. 276). If this is true, what are the broader implications of linguistic diffusion and linguistic death (the death of a language)? What is the relationship between globalization, trade, and language? How are language and power integrated? What is the relationship between politics, dialects, and language?
Answer any of the two questions below…
Discussion Questions 9: On Chapter 9 of Anthropology: What Does It Mean to Be Human?
Other than spoken languages, what ways do humans communicate?
Is texting as effective in your mind for human communication as face-to-fact contact? Explain.
Do you evaluate the intelligence of people based on how they speak, or if they have an accent different than your own?
Do you consider Black English Vernacular, also known as Ebonics, to be a valid way for people to communicate?
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