Where have all the numbers gone? (Or 1 + 99 = 53 + 47)

December 5, 2012 No Comments Chad Nilep Discourse, In the news , , ,

In 2011 the American Dialect Society listed ‘the 99%’ among its Words of the Year. In 2012 ‘47%’ became the new politically-charged number. These numbers are connected in a way that might not be obvious.

Mitt Romney was recorded declaring, “There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what.” Because they pay no income tax, Romney suggested, 47% of Americans are dependent on government. This resembles a charge made in 2011 by conservative activists at the53.tumblr, which in turn was a response to the Occupy Wall Street-affiliated wearethe99percent.tumblr.

AAA Handouts

November 5, 2012 No Comments Diego Arispe-Bazán (SLA Web Assistant) AAA, Digital media, SLA

Via Jocelyn Ahlers Hello – Thanks to the hard work of the SLA’s web team, we are able to offer what we hope will be a useful service to all presenters at the AAA who are planning to bring handouts and who would like an additional way to distribute those handouts to conference attendees.  The SLA website will host a page with links to pdfs of the handouts of all presenters who are interested, so that conference attendees can download those handouts onto smart devices before or during the conference. If you would like your handout to be included, please

SLA Presidential Panel

The inaugural SLA presidential panel entitled: Frontiers in Methodology in Linguistic Anthropology has been organized for Thursday evening from 7:30-9pm in Union Square 22. Charles Goodwin, Marjorie H. Goodwin, Brendan O’Connor, Susan Philips and Deborah Tannen will be discussing how current theoretical interests within our subdiscipline have influenced how we do fieldwork. We encourage all the membership to come together to discuss and debate the current state of methodologies in our discipline(s).

Why preschool hasn’t saved the world

Radio programs have recently celebrated a “new understanding” of the importance of preschool for success later in life. Related knowledge has been part of academic discussion for decades, but has had relatively little effect on how education is organized. To contribute to public understanding, I summarize Shirley Brice Heath’s “What no bedtime story means” (1982).

Student Essay Contest Winners (2012)

October 25, 2012 No Comments Diego Arispe-Bazán (SLA Web Assistant) Announcements, Graduate Paper Contest, Prizes, Undergraduate Paper Contest

Undergraduate prize winner: Kamala Russell from the University of Chicago, with a paper entitled, Form and function: Character Viewpoint Gestures in Dialogic Narrative.
Graduate prize winner: Jennifer Guzman (UCLA), The Epistemics of Symptom Experience and Symptom Accounts in Mapuche Healing and Pediatric Primary Care in Southern Chile.

AAA Ethics Grant

October 7, 2012 No Comments Chad Nilep AAA, Announcements ,

Applications for AAA Committee on Ethics small grants for ethics curricular materials are due 2 November 2012. A grant of between $200 and $1,000 is available.

Ladies, Gentlemen, and English usage

September 5, 2012 2 Comments Chad Nilep Humor , , ,

Recently I have been re-reading James Thurber’s “Ladies’ and Gentlemen’s Guide to English Usage”, a parody of Henry Watson Fowler’s Dictionary of Modern English Usage. The parody is built around a central conceit: that a language usage guide is equivalent to lifestyle or relationship advice. This is not merely a conceit around which to build a parody; it is also a fair assessment of what usage guides are used for.

Variation in inflectional morphology

August 27, 2012 1 Comment Chad Nilep Grammar, Words , , ,

“Variable or non-standard realizations of inflectional morphology in English” sounds rather dry and academic, but the placement of suffixes within compound words or phrases can sound surprising and even amusing. Arnold Zwicky and Mark Liberman recently noted unusual verb conjugation. Non-standard pronouns can be equally interesting.

AAA Workshops for Graduate Student SLA and AES Memebrs

August 18, 2012 No Comments Lindsay Bell Uncategorized , ,

Dear Graduate Students, This year, the American Ethnological Society (AES) is sponsoring three faculty-students workshops to provide an intimate environment for discussing issues important to AES graduate students. The Society for Linguistic Anthropology (SLA) has co-sponsored one of these workshops and I invite you to consider participating in what promises to be an excellent conversation. These workshops include: Workshop 1: Unbinding and Rebinding Theories in STS, Social Analysis, and Anthropology Faculty Facilitators: Sherine Hamdy (Brown U) and Stefan Helmreich (MIT) Workshop 2: Publishing in American Ethnologist Faculty Facilitators: Angelique Haugerud (Rutgers U), Catherine Besteman (Colby), and other members of the

Syrian Jewish Mexicans and the Language of Everyday Orientalism

July 2, 2012 4 Comments Evelyn Dean-Olmsted Guest post , , , , ,

Ethnic distinctions are drawn among specific Jewish sub-communities in Mexico City. Ashkenazi, Sefaradi, and non-Jews tend to evaluate Syrian Jews negatively. This negative evaluation (implicit or explicit) constitutes a sort of “everyday language of Orientalism” parallel to Jane Hill’s everyday language of racism.

The birth of a shibboleth

June 14, 2012 No Comments Chad Nilep Folk Linguistics , ,

Record fans insist that the plural of ‘vinyl’ to mean “a vinyl record” is the zero-plural ‘vinyl’. This irregular form serves as a shibboleth for audiophiles. Since the form was regular (‘vinyls’) during the 1960s, I conjecture that the irregular form must have arisen relatively recently.