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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. [...]
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 [...]