ETHNOGRAPHY Ines Tenter
ETHNOGRAPHY • Ethnography and its Topics • The Rise of Ethnography as a Science • Scope and Focus • Ethnography and its Significance • Communicative Functions • Summary
Ethnography includes the following topics: patterns and functions of communication nature and definitions of speech communities means of communicating components of communicative competence relationship of language to world view and social organisation linguistic and social universals and inequalities Ethnography and its Topics
For a long time ethnographers and linguists failed to account for an interrelationship of language and culture Scientist Dell Hymes called for an approach which would deal with aspects of communication which were both: anthropological andlinguistic 1962, with the publication of “The Ethnography of Speaking“ Hymes launched for a new disciplin: The Rise of Ethnography as a Science
Not much later the Ethnography of Communication has become an emergent discipline, addressing a largely new order of information in the structuring of communicative behaviour and its role in the conduct of social life. The Rise of Ethnography as a ScienceThe Ethnography of Communication(as the field has come to be known)
Scope and Focus • As with any other science, the Ethnography of Communication has two foci: • particularistic: is directed towards the description and understanding of communicative behaviour in specific cultural settings • generalizing: is directed towards the formulation of concepts and theories upon which to build a global metatheory of human communication
Scope and Focus • TOPIC QUESTION: (the subject matter of the Ethnography of Communication is best illustrated by one of ist most general questions) What does a speaker need to know to communicate appropriately within a particular speech community, and how does he or she learn? Such knowledge, together with whatever skills are needed to make use of it, is: Communicative Competence
Scope and Focus Language is best understood when the: • habits • customs • institutions • philosophy • (all the subject-matters embodied in the language) are best known. The student of a language should be a student of the people who speak the language!
Scope and Focus Middle of 20th century: “Observed behaviour is regarded as a manifestation of a deeper set of codes and rules, and the task of Ethnography is seen as the discovery and explication of the rules for contextually appropriate behaviour in a community or group.“ In other words: Culture is what the individual needs to know to be a functional member of the community.
Scope and Focus Doing Ethnography in other cultures involves first and foremost fieldwork: • observing • asking questions • participation in group activities • testing the validity of one`s perception against the intuitions of natives
Scope and Focus • Reveals that many of the communicative practices assumed to be “natural“ or “logical“ are in fact as culturally unique and conventional as the language code itself. Essential feature of all ethnographers: • A sense of cultural realtivism
Ethnography and its Significance For Antrophology: The Ethnography of Communication extends understandings of cultural systems to language, relating language to: • social organisation • role-relationship • values and beliefs • other shared patterns of knowledge and behaviour which are transmitted from generation to generation in the process of socialization/enculturation
Ethnography and its Significance For Psycholinguistics: • the Ethnography of Communication means that studies of language acquisition must not only recognize the innate capacity of children to learn to speak but must account for how particular ways of speaking are developed in particular societies in the process of social interaction • such cross-cultural research requires the openness and relativism of ethnographic methods
Ethnography and its Significance For Sociolinguistics: (Sociolinguistics generally involves the recording of naturalistic speech in various contexts) • the Ethnography of Communication helps to evaluate the social significance of the material recorded • ethnographic knowledge about social norms govering linguistic choices in the situation recorded helps to understand them
Ethnography and its Significance For Applied Linguistics: • the identification of what second language learners must know in order to communicate appropriately in various contexts • contrasting whole communicative systems in cross-cultural interaction and translation • recognizing and analyzing communicative missunderstandings • knowing possible sactions for various communicative shortcomings
Ethnography and its Significance For Theoretical Linguistics: • make a significant contribution to the study of universals in language forms and use • language-specific and comparative fields of description and analysis • its approaches and findings are essential for the formulation of a truely adequate theory of language and linguistic competence
Communicative Functions • the need to look at the larger socio-political contexts within which culturally situated communication takes place, as these contexts may determine features of communication in ways that are not evident from focus on communicative patterns alone
Communicative Functions Examples: Greetings in some languages; e.g.: Korean • the greeting may carry crucial information identifying the speakers` relationship Expressions of pain and stress: • In English speech communities people learn withdrawel or anger • In Japanese nervous laughter • In Navajo silence All seems to be culturally patterned!
Communicative Functions At societal level language serves many functions: e.g.: • creating/reinforcing boundaries • unifying its speakers as members of a single speech community • excluding outsiders from intragroup communication Certain linguistic features are often employed by poeple, consciously or unconsciously, to identify themselves and others, and thus serve to mark and maintain various social categories and divisions
Communicative Functions At the level of individuals and group interacting with one another, the functions of communication are directly related to the participants` purposes and needs: • expressive (conveying feelings or emotions) • directive (requesting or demanding) • referential (true or false propositional content) • poetic (aesthetic) • phatic (empathy and solidarity) • matalinguistic (reference to language itself) For ethnographers, the functional perspective has priority in description
Communicative Functions • While many of the functions of language are universal, the ways in which communication operates in any one sociesty to serve these functions is laguage specific. The same relative status of two speakers may be conveyed by: • their choice of pronominal forms in one language • by the distance they stand apart of their body position while speaking in another language • and between bilinguals, even by their choice of which language is used to addressing one another
Summary • How the science of the Ethnography of Communication developed • What certain topics it deals with • What its significance for other science is • That Communicative Functions are culturally patterned
The Analysis of Communicative Events Sümeyye Öztürk-Mutlu Grundstudium 2. Semester
The Analysis of Communicative Events • The ethnographers are interested in identifying recurrent events in community, recognizing their salient components, discovering the relationship among components and between the event and other aspects of society.
Types of Data • -Background Information: Including settlement history, sources of population, history of contact with other groups and notable events affecting language issue or ethnic relations. • -Material Artifacts: Including architecture, signs and such instruments of communication as telephones, radios, books, television sets and drums.
Types of Data • -Social Organization: Including a listing of community institutions, identities of leaders and office holders, the composition of the business and professional sectors, sources of power and influence, formal and informal organizations, ethnic and class relations, social stratification, and distribution and association patterns
Types of Data • -Legal Information: Law and court decisions like what constitutes ‘slander’, what ‘obscenity’ and what is the nature and value of ‘freedom of speech’, or how it is restricted. • -Artistic Data: Including literary sources (written or oral), song lyrics, drama and other genres of verbal performance and calligraphy.
Types of Data • -Common Knowledge • -Beliefs about Language Use: Including taboos and their consequences, beliefs about who or what is capable of speech, and who or what may be communicated with (e.g. God, animals, plant) • -Data on the Linguistic Code: Including study of existing dictionaries and grammars.
Survey of Data Collection Procedures • These procedures depend on the relationship of the ethnographer and the speech community, the type of data being collected and the particular situation in which fieldwork is being conducted
Survey of Data Collection Procedures • -Introspection: It is a means for data collection only about one’s own speech community but it is an important skill to develop for that purpose • -Participant-Observation: Collecting data in situations in which they themselves are taking part requires ethnographers to include data on their own behaviours in relation to others and an analysis of their role in the interaction as well as those of others.
Survey of Data Collection Procedures • -Observation: Collecting data which include observation of communicative behaviour with taping, photographing, videotaping and even note-taking. • -Interviewing: It may include collection of kinship, schedules, information on important religious and community events and elicitation of folktales, historical narratives, songs, exposition of ‘how to’ in relation to various aspects of technical knowledge and descriptions of encounters among members of the community in different contexts.
Survey of Data Collection Procedures • -Ethnosemantics: It is concerned primarily with discovering how experience is categorized by eliciting terms in the informants’ language at various levels of abstraction and analyzing their semantic organization, usually in the form of the componential analysis. • -Ethnomethodology and Interaction Analysis: It is concerned primarily with discovering the underlying processes which speakers of a language utilize to produce and interpret communicative experiences, including the unstated assumptions which are shared cultural knowledge and understanding.
Identification of Communicative Events • Analysis of a communicative event begins with a description of the components which are likely to be salient
Components of Communication • The genre or type of event • The topic or referential events • The purpose or function, both of the event in general and in items of the interaction goals of individual participants • The setting, including location, time of the day, season of year and physical aspects of the situation
Components of Communication • The key or emotional tone of the event • The participants, including their age, sex, ethnicity, social status or other relevant categories and their relationship to one another • The message form, including both vocal and nonvocal channels and the nature of the code which is used
Components of Communication • The message content or surface level denotive references; what is communicated about. • The act sequence or ordering of speech acts, including turn taking • The rules for interaction or what proprieties should be observed • The norms of interpretation, including the common knowledge, the relevant cultural presuppositions or shared understandings.
Japanese Marriage • Function and Purpose: To declare intention to marry, to establish or develop an appropriate role-relationship • Key: Serious • Participants: P1-Male; young, adult • P2-Female; young, adult • Their occupation and status is not relevant
Japanese Marriage • Message form: Verbal, spoken Japanese, silence • Nonverbal, kinesics, eye gaze • Message content and sequence: P1 holds P2’s hand (optional), looks at P2 and says ‘Please marry me’. P2 stands with head down, silence • Rules of Interaction: A man must propose to a woman at an emotional climax, there should be silence. The woman’s head should hang down and the direction of her eye gaze should be lower than the men’s.
Japanese Marriage • Norms of the Interpretation: The head of the household is to be man and therefore he has to take the initiative in the decision of marriage. • There is also a belief that as soon as an experience is expressed in words, the real essence disappears • Marriage is a climax in a girl’s life, its main goal • The response is what the young man expects and it confirms that this is indeed the girl he wants for is wife.
Attitudes toward Communicative Performance Svitlana Sabadash, 2. Semester, MA LN-Haupseminar
Questions: • → how culture-specific criteria for ‘speaking well’ function in the definition of making of social roles; • → how attitudes toward different languages and varieties of language reflect perception of people in different social categories; • → how such perceptions influence interaction within and across the boundaries of a speech community.
Language attitude studies: • those which explore general attitudes toward language and language skills (e.g. which languages or varieties are better than others, to what extent literacy is valued etc.) • those which explore stereotyped impression toward language, their speakers, and their functions. • those which focus on applied concerns (e.g. language choice and usage and language learning).
Attitudes toward language and language skills • → Attitudes toward language in general, its nature, and its functions, may be captured by some of the expressions a speech community has that include reference to language.
Attitudes toward language and language skills • → In many languages, for instance, the ‘heart’ of language is perceived to be the tongue: • English: she has a sharp tongue • a loose tongue • he speaks with two tongues • with a forked tongue • she spoke tongue in cheek • sharp tongue (English) → hot tongue (Dori) → a pointed tongue (Pashto) → hairs on his teeth (German)
Attitudes toward language and language skills • ‘good’ vs. ‘bad’ speech • this doesn’t depend on standardization of a language or a tradition of literacy, although primary valuation of oracy may accompany literacy. • A speech community defines on their own the standard of their speaking • ‘writer’ vs. ‘orator’ • Writing vs. speaking (US President election)
Attitudes toward languages and varieties • These include: • aesthetic/unaesthetic • Correct/incorrect • Cultivated/uncultivated • Developed/undeveloped • Effective/uneffective • Proper/improper • Religious/non-religious • Vigorous/non-vigorous
Attitudes toward languages and varieties • these dimensions refer to both formal and functional aspects of codes, and judgement apply to both multiple language and varieties of a single language.
Diglossia and dinomia • Diglossia – two or more language in a speech community are allocated to different social functions and contexts • Diglossia: (Fishman) both bilingualism and diglossia, diglossia without bilingualism, bilingualism without diglossia and neither bilingualism nor diglossia. • Donomia – ‘two systems of laws’ the coaxistens and complementary use within the same society of two cultural systems.