In the news
Recent news events highlight relationships between fact and story telling. Ethan Zuckerman’s recent ruminations on activism and journalism provide a summary and synthesis of one set of ideas, and a piece Michael Wilson contributed to the New York Times’ City Room at about the same time provides another.
Barbara Johnstone (2011) “Making Pittsburghese” and Timothy Messer-Kruse (2012) “The ‘undue weight’ of truth on Wikipedia” present very different views of scholar’s experiences with Wikipedia. Johnstone’s evaluation is mostly positive, while Messer-Kruse’s is quite negative.
LANGUAGE AND CULTURE The Verbal Artistry of Julius Malema From the Anthro News Blog Language and Culture Column. Guest Columnist Steven P. Black Steven P. Black, Department of Anthropology, Rutgers University In November of 2011, political youth leader Julius Malema was suspended from the ruling party of South Africa, the African National Congress (ANC). The […]
A Fork in the Chinese Road: Educating Tibetans in Tibetan? Susan D. Blum December 23, 2011 Earlier this month a Tibetan monk set himself on fire. It was the twelfth incidence of Tibetan self-immolation by a monk or nun since March, according to unverified but plausible reports. These acts of desperation continue a long line […]
H. Samy Alim writing in the NY Times about “What if We Occupied Language?” http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/12/21/what-if-we-occupied-language/ When I flew out from the San Francisco airport last October, we crossed above the ports that Occupy Oakland helped shut down, and arrived in Germany to be met by traffic caused by Occupy Berlin protestors. But the movement has […]
The Linguistic Society of America’s Committee on Endangered Languages and their Preservation is carrying out a letter-writing campaign to urge President Obama to sign an executive order. According to the LSA-CELP, “U.S. government agencies would be directed to ensure that their policies, procedures, and functions support community-based language revitalization. It would compel governmental agencies to follow through on the promises of the Native American Languages Act and the Esther Martinez Native American Languages Preservation Act.”
This piece does not reflect the official opinion of the Society for Linguistic Anthropology, its officers or its individual members. One of the most important functions of this blog is to inform people of current work being done within linguistic anthropology. As part of this, all linguistic anthropologists are invited to discuss current publications including […]
This post does not reflect the official opinions of the SLA, its officers or individual members. I thought this call for papers was interesting as it directly connects to the discussion we have been having in Language Links on computational models, cheers, Leila International Workshop on Computational Models of Narrative May 20-22, 2012, Istanbul, Turkey […]
This post does not reflect the official opinions of the Society for Linguistic Anthropology, the SLA Blog or individual members of the SLA. From: Aaron Bady, Oakland, CA: http://zunguzungu.wordpress.com/ Do you notice how none of the “don’t read” stuff in that article are actually quotes from Moretti? For example, here’s Moretti: “[W]hy set quantitative evidence in […]
These comments do not necessarily reflect the official opinions of the Society of Linguistic Anthropology, its officers or individual members. In the June 24, 2011 edition of the New York Times, Kathryn Schulz reviews Franco Moretti’s work on “distant reading,” the analysis of literary texts such as Hamlet or Victorian novels. Reacting to a paper […]
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 […]
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” […]
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 […]
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 […]
Stephen Chrisomalis, Wayne State University
Recently, there has been a “Puzzle Moment” in the science section of the New York Times, with an eclectic mix of articles combining scientific pursuits with cognitive and linguistic play of various sorts. One that caught my eye is ‘Math Puzzles’ Oldest Ancestors Took Form on Egyptian Papyrus’ by Pam Belluck, which is an account of the well-known Rhind Mathematical Papyrus. The RMP is an Egyptian mathematical text dating to around 1650 BCE, and is one of the most complete and systematic known accounts of ancient Egyptian mathematics.
New York Times reviews the latest research on baby babbling:
and an article on children’s use of irony. Tape recording of naturally occurring speech, but not laboratory experiments, reveal even quite young children can understand irony.
P. Kerim Friedman, NDHU Paul Chambers, a 27-year old accountant in training from South Yorkshire got fined £1,000 for posting the following text to Twitter last January after learning that Robin Hood airport was closed because of the snow: Crap! Robin Hood airport is closed. You’ve got a week and a bit to get your […]
Steven Black, UCSD
This morning (Sept. 20, 2010) while drinking my coffee I did a perfunctory survey of the news on Africa, only to be jolted out of my pre-coffee stupor by an article on cnn.com with the title, “Group: Use of ‘Sub-Saharan Africa’ Disparaging.” This immediately concerned me. While I prefer to describe ‘southern Africa’ generally or ‘South Africa’ specifically, I myself have unquestioningly used the term ‘sub-Saharan’ in past work in order to indicate the boundary of Arabic-dominant cultural practices. Some academics prefer the (inevitably more bulky) phrase, “Africa south of the Sahara,” but I wonder if this shift in terminology is really enough for the phrase to point to a different set of indexical meanings.
Kathryn Woolard, SLA President In response to my original posting on this website, I received the following email message a few days ago from the author of the NYT article, Guy Deutscher, who was concerned that he inadvertently offended linguistic anthropologists. Because Dr. Deutscher asked me to share his message with anyone who might have […]
P. Kerim Friedman, NDHU In her now classic 1989 paper on language and political economy, Judith Irvine talked about situations where language doesn’t merely index political and economic relations in the way that accent is linked to class in Shaw’s “Pygmalion,” but where speech acts are themselves a form of political and economic economic activity. […]