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Category Archives: Linguistic Anthropology

Linguistic Anthropology and TV’s ‘Friends’

My students will be amused by a study in the journal American Speech where a linguistic anthropology student at the University of Toronto watched all episodes of the first eight seasons of Friends to try and understand the speech patterns of the characters on the show. Then, conclusions were drawn about the impact of the […]

More About Samuels’s Country Music Ethnography

Daniel Oppenheimer has written a useful and interesting article on David Samuels’s recent ethnography Putting a Song on Top of It: Expression and Identity on the San Carlos Apache Reservation for the Valley Advocate, a news and arts weekly published in Easthampton, MA. The article is extensive, reviewing the book and, perhaps of greater interest […]

Fish Names comments on a fascinating database of fish names called FishBase. FishBase includes numerous search engines and research tools related to the classification of fish and it catalogues fish on a global scale. The FishBase managers provide a useful description of the value of this resource to studies in linguistics, linguistic anthropology, and ethnotaxonomy. I […]

Labels for Years? A Question for Linguists?

When I was a teenager (waaaaay back in the 1980s) I occasionally wondered how society was going to refer to the years after 2000. I saw several possibilities including things like ‘twenty-0-six’ (a parallel construction with, say, nineteen-0-six) or even ‘two thousand and six.’ (I have never heard anyone use ‘twenty hundred’ to refer to […]

More Country Music Ethnography (And It’s On the Web …)

I finally got my hands on a copy of Aaron A. Fox’s Real Country: Music and Language in Working Class Culture (or here) – man, it is a fantastic ethnography! As I work my way through it, what has struck me is the incredible number of transcripts and quotations from informants – this is a […]

Alaska Endangered Languages

Elizabeth Kolbert writes a terrific article the current (June 6, 2005) issue of the New Yorker entitled ‘Last Words: Can a dying language be saved?’ It is the story of the Eyak language spoken in Alaska, the demise of its use, and the history of linguist Michael Krauss’s work documenting it. Unlike many articles on […]

Audience and Blogging

As I try and find my blogging voice, I realize that I struggle with the idea of audience. Much of my research methodology and orientation in anthropology is drawn from the Ethnography of Speaking and because of that I think I am (over) analyzing blogging as a conversation and thinking (too much) about the receivers, […]

Country Music in Native America

I am currently reading Putting a Song on Top of It: Expression and Identity on the San Carlos Apache Reservation (Arizona, 2004) by David Samuels, and thoroughly enjoying it. It is terrific ethnography … part linguistic anthropology and part ethnomusicology … describing the role of popular music and bands (mainly old country music) for Apache […]

Boilerplate Legal Disclaimers

For the linguistic and legal anthropologists among us, Rob Hyndman notes a series of neat and amusing posts about the ‘generic’ texts and disclaimers lawyers add to their emails and other correspondence. Here’s a quote from the original post from Ernie the Attorney, a self-proclaimer collector of boilerplate language: Boilerplate language is intended to bore […]

Connecting Evolution with Cultural and Linguistic Diversity

For my students who are also interested in biological anthropology, check out this story from MSNBC. Titled Human Evolution at the Crossroads, science editor Alan Boyle retreats from descriptions of past human evolution to speculate on where human evolution might be going in the future. There’s discussion of super humans (read: Barry Bonds) and human-machine […]