In this opinion article, Chad Nilep suggests that empathy, informed by cultural relativism is necessary to help gun control advocates and foes understand one another’s positions and to work toward solutions to the problems of mass shootings and gun violence in America.
If a dog wore pants, would word meaning help us decide what they should look like? Using prototype theory and native speaker judgements, we find no clear, shared definition of the word ‘pants’. The results point to gradient understanding of meaning.
The Society for Linguistic Anthropology invites submissions of graduate student papers for the 2016 Graduate Student Essay Prize.
Papers should be submitted by the deadline, Friday March 11, 2016.
A list of language-related panels and activities at the American Anthropological Association’s 114th Annual Meeting, November 18-22 at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver
The Fresh Air interview of David Thorpe and Susan Sankin makes me look forward to Thorpe’s film, “Do I Sound Gay?” But Sankin’s suggestions that women and young people’s speech is pathological leads me to re-read Robin Lakoff, Deborah Cameron, and Nelson Flores.
Word choice played an important role in Japan and South Korea’s agreement to support one another’s applications for UNESCO World Cultural Heritage listing. Japan’s Foreign Minister told reporters that ‘forced to work’ does not mean ‘coerced labor’. But that depends on what “mean” means.
Don’t forget to vote in AAA and SLA elections by 5:00 pm Eastern Time on May 31st.
A list of links shared by SLA members and correspondents, including bilingual education in Columbia, an oral history of segregation in Alaska, a Faroe Islands documentary, and more. Links do not reflect official opinion of the SLA, its officers or members.
The American Anthropological Association has passed a resolution condemning the use of Native American mascots unless appropriate consultation has taken place. The move comes in part through the efforts of the SLA Committee on Language and Social Justice, in conjunction with other AAA sections.
Annie Claus’s essay, “How a professional writer improved my academic writing” at Savage Minds is quite useful. She counsels academics to resist overly long sentences, to vary the structure of paragraphs, and to reflect on each element of the paper and what it contributes to communicating the message. I differ with Claus, however, in cautioning against a particular set of words. At the risk of being labeled a positivist, I’ve compared the frequency of “insipid grammatical markers” in American Anthropologist, the Corpus of Contemporary American English, and the work of Joan Didion. The results, to paraphrase an academic writing cliche, are a bit more complicated.
The Journal of Linguistic Anthropology is the primary publication of the Society for Linguistic Anthropology. This web site features a variety of information about the journal, and links to additional content from the American Anthropological Association and Wiley Online Library.
A report on Fox News intimates that a course using Jane Hill’s Everyday Language of White Racism is problematic. It is not clear from the report whether anyone at Fox News read the book.
The January 7th attacks in France caused great sadness, anger, and fear. They also occasioned outpourings of support, and analyses of what went wrong. Some responses assert that religiously inspired terrorism is “unique” to Islam. Hindu, Buddhist, and Christian violence show that this is incorrect. Understanding religious violence requires careful analysis, not easy assertions.
In the latest SLA column at Anthropology News Anna Babel discusses how being a near-native speaker of Spanish complicates her role as insider/outsider in Bolivia.
Congratulations to the winners of the 2014 Society for Linguistic Anthropology prizes.
See the full list of this year’s prize winners, plus past years’ winners on the SLA Prizes page.
The latest SLA column at Anthropology News is now available. Shunsuke Nozawa’s “Contact and Its Allure” explores phatic communion, isolation and social relations, the role of technology, and more in Japan’s “It’s me” fraud. Nozawa draws on his own field work, Japanese media coverage, and a range theory in anthropology to analyze how fraud is experienced and understood in contemporary Japan.
Japanese media use the label “Lehman shock” to refer to the 2008 financial crisis and subsequent shocks. The phrase “financial crisis” occurred frequently in 2008 but has dropped ever since. “Lehman shock” endures, even though Lehman Brothers was neither the first nor the largest institution to fall.
This year’s list of language-related panels and activities at the American Anthropological Association’s Annual Meeting, to be held December 3-7 in Washington, DC
Press coverage of Dan Jurafsky’s The Language of Food exposes readers to linguistic ideas ranging from etymology and vocabulary to pragmatics, the philosophy of language, computational linguistics, corpus studies, and linguistic anthropology. Here is a brief round-up of the stories.
Susan Blum and Kathleen Riley offer a critical evaluation of programs designed to close the “language gap” between disadvantaged and middle-class children at Anthropology News.