Last week, after years of urging, the Census Bureau released this statement: In response to concerns expressed by data user groups, the Census Bureau decided to eliminate the term “linguistic isolation” for data products issued starting in 2011. We have changed the terminology to one that we feel is more descriptive and less stigmatizing. The phrase that will appear in all new products will be “Households in which no one 14 and over speaks English only or speaks a language other than English at home and Speaks English ‘Very Well.’” Why is this an important victory? Here’s the background.
This is the first of columns listing links in the news connected to language. These links do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Society for Linguistic Anthropology but are connected to topics that members might be interested in. Reaction pieces and comments welcome. From the New York Times: “Phonetic Clues Hint Language Is Africa-Born” by Nicholas Wade. Fascinating article on where language originally originated. Quentin Atkinson, mathematician from Auckland, New Zealand, hypothesizes number of phonemes in click languages reflects closeness to the origins of language in Africa. “How Language Heals” by Abraham Verghese, book review of One Hundred Names
Recently some scholars in language acquisition and education have posted links on Facebook to the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood (henceforth CCFC), which is asking the US Federal Trade Commission to stop the company Your Baby Can Read (YBCR) from advertising its products. According to CCFC, YBCR sells a system that promises to teach babies to read by watching DVD videos and using flash cards. I should say that all I know about YBCR, apart from what is alleged in the CCFC complaint, is what I’ve seen in their television commercials; I’ve never used or evaluated their products. CCFC
Journal of Linguistic Anthropology – Volume 21, Issue 1 – June 2011 – Wiley Online Library. Currently in Free Access Articles Textual Iconicity and the Primitivist Cosmos: Chronotopes of Desire in Travel Writing about Korowai of West Papua (pages 1–21) Rupert Stasch Commodity Registers (pages 22–53) Asif Agha What Goes Around . . . : Some Shtick from “Tricky Dick” and the Circulation of U.S. Presidential Image (pages 54–77) Michael Silverstein The Historical Certainty of the Interpretively Uncertain: Non-Referentiality and Georgian Modernity (pages 78–98) Lauren Ninoshvili Culture and Interdiscursivity in Korean Fricative Voice Gestures (pages 99–123) Nicholas Harkness Major and Minor Chronotopes in a Specialized Counting System (pages 124–141) Donald
The SLA is calling for applications for registration waivers for participants in next year’s Annual Meetings in Montreal. The SLA will have one waiver to allocate and can compete for additional waivers if they become available. The AAA’s registration waiver program provides registration and membership fee waivers for qualified scholars. Qualifying scholars are: 1) individuals, regardless of academic degree, who bring a perspective to Meetings valued by the nominating Section; and 2) individuals asked to participate in a proposed event or Invited Session sponsored by your Section. Qualifying scholars may be employed outside the United States or Canada as practicing
Dear Linguistic Anthropologists, It’s that time of year again: The Society for Linguistic Anthropology (SLA) invites your submissions for the American Anthropological Association’s 2011 Annual Meeting, which will be held this year in Montreal, Quebec, November 16-20. This year’s theme is: “Traces, Tidemarks, and Legacies”. As this year’s SLA Section Program Editor, I am writing to encourage you to submit invited sessions, volunteered sessions, and volunteered papers and posters. We are also including the call for submissions for graduate student papers for the SLA’s Annual Student Essay Prize; please take a look at that call if you are a graduate
Forty Years After: Tidemarks, Legacies and Futures of Research on Language Contact This year marks forty years since the publication of Pidginization and Creolization of Languages. Edited by Dell Hymes, the volume has been foundational for research on language contact and creolization. Furthermore, in foreshadowing our intellectual engagements with the shifting realities of today, many of its insights and implications have entered into intellectual traffic with other fields and disciplines. The field of research charted by Hymes and DeCamp in their introductory remarks in the volume was as much concerned with questions of population flows, the linguistic and communicative continuities
January 5, 2011 David S. Johnson, Division Chief Housing and Household Economic Statistics U.S. Census Bureau 4600 Silver Hill Road Washington, DC 20233 Dear Mr. Johnson, Thank you for your Dec 22, 2010 response to our May 27, 2010 letter concerning the Census Bureau’s use of the term “linguistically isolated.” Speaking on behalf of the Association and its Task Group on Language and Social Justice, I am very encouraged to learn that you have been considering alternatives to this inaccurate classification, and hope that the elimination of this term will be implemented in next year’s data cycle. Thanks to your
As Mark Allen Peterson wrote in his post on “Developing Expertise,” we have been having a discussion about the importance of bringing anthropological knowledge to the social web. For this reason I called upon people who follow me on Twitter (@kerim) to bring their anthropological expertise to the new question-and-answer forum, Quora. While there are a lot of questions which could easily be answered by using Google or Wikipedia, there are a lot of good questions as well; questions which it would be good for anthropologists to answer. But after using the website for a while, trying to help out
SECOND CALL FOR PAPERS *Please give widest distribution* Please note that the abstract submission deadline for this conference has been extended to January 31, 2011. THE 17TH ANNUAL CONFERENCE ON LANGUAGE, INTERACTION, AND SOCIAL ORGANIZATION University of California, Santa Barbara May 12-14, 2011 Presented by: The Language, Interaction, and Social Organization (LISO) Graduate Student Organization at UCSB ~ & ~ The Center for Language, Interaction and Culture (CLIC) Graduate Student Association at UCLA PLENARY SPEAKERS Virginia Teas Gill Illinois State University Sociology Alexandra Jaffe California State University, Long Beach Linguistics Julia Menard-Warwick University of California, Davis Linguistics Jennifer Roth-Gordon University
The Chinese language phrase book I picked up in my first week in the city of Kunming, capital of Yunnan Province, People’s Republic of China, asserts in a blurb on the back cover that travelers to China experience “instant illiteracy” and certainly this was a significant aspect of my first extended stay in that country. I have never before visited a place where I not only did not speak the language but also could not even sound out and guess at the meaning of signs, menus, ads in hotel rooms and the like. I was painfully aware of my dependence
By Mark Allen Peterson (MiamiU) Journalist Alix Spiegel’s feature story “When Did We Become Mentally Modern?” on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered in August 2010 raised a wide-ranging discussion on the Linganth listserv about the expertise of linguistic anthropologists. While a well-intentioned effort, its descriptions of language and semiotics were… simplistic—to be generous. The story claimed human language was “entirely composed of these arbitrary symbols”—even when many of the examples used were non-arbitrary indexes. Spiegel did interview an anthropologist—Dr. Allison S. Brooks of George Washington University, a respected paleoanthropologist who often contributes to debates on when homo sapiens originated.