Re: Linguistic issues and anthropology

Ruby Rohrlich (rohrlich@GWIS2.CIRC.GWU.EDU)
Sun, 11 Feb 1996 17:57:59 -0500

Your statement could not have been better phrased. Of course, that is
why linguistics is one of the four fields of anthropology. What's
amazing is the number of anthropologists on this list who seem to have
had no training in linguistics, or if they have had, didn't internalize
it and apply it to everyday communication, and to the significance of the
fact that as culture changes, so does language. The resistance to
accepting changes in language that accord with culture changes is what's
incredible in anthropologists. Ruby Rohrlich

On Sun, 11 Feb 1996, Ronald Kephart wrote:

> In message <> "Mr. E" writes:
> > The anthropological point to this ... how does "contemporary linguistic
> > issues" relate to anthropology directly? While it is obvious to me that we
> > should be sensative and conduct ourselves in such a matter in our day-to-day
> > interactions with our peers in civilized society; I do not clearly see where
> > anthropology directly relates to this. Why it's an anthropologists
> > responsibility to do so outside of being a human in itself. Any ideas?
> Linguistics issues, contemporary and otherwise, relate to anthropology because
> language is (to paraphrase Derek Bickerton: see his recent Language and Human
> Behavior) the secondary representational system which allows humans to possess
> culture (as opposed to chimp proto-culture). As such, language gives us
> representations which can we can manipulate internally ("thinking") and which we
> can also share with others ("communication"). Those representations include the
> labels we use for ourselves and others. To ignore linguistic issues is to
> ignore the thing that most defines us as Homo sapiens sapiens; in my opinion,
> anthropology cannot afford to do that and still call itself "the science of
> humankind."
> Ronald Kephart
> Department of Language & Literature
> University of North Florida
> Jacksonville, FL 32224
> ph: 904-646-2580
> e-mail: