Dating Linguistics A2 Coursework

Pages: 5 (1951 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 5  ·  Level: College Freshman  ·  Topic: Anthropology

Dating/Linguistics

Give an example of a set of Focal vocabulary (find actual words) that the Inuit use and how they use it. Explain why this usage is important to the Inuit daily lifestyle. Give an example.

An individual's vocabulary is based on the words that are defined by their culture; that is, sets of words commonly used are determined by the amount of exposure to them. Focal vocabulary are specific words that can vary from culture to culture and their usage is determined by an individual's experience. The Inuit have such focal vocabulary that are familiar to them, but may not be familiar to a society outside of theirs. There are various terms for the word snow, making it an essential example of the focal vocabulary that exists among the Inuit, or Eskimos. Tlapa means powder snow, while kayi means drifting snow. Tlaslo is snow that falls slowly, while tlapinti is snow that falls rapidly (James).

The usage of these words is important to the Inuit lifestyle because their survival is dependent on the varying snow styles. They need to be able to distinguish the different types of snow because it is within their culture to experience snow as a survival mechanism. Although snow may just be snow to people who only see it a couple times in a year, but to the Inuit who revolve their lives around snow, distinguishing factors need to be determined. For example, the Inuit are accustomed to conducting their daily activities despite any snowfall, however, being able to have focal vocabulary allows them to determine just how severe or not a snowfall may be through the use of just one word.

2. Define Kinesics and describe three expressions and meanings of Kinesic communication among one specific culture of your choice.

Kinesics is the use of body language or facial expression as a means to communicate effectively with other individuals. It is a way of speaking without any words or non-verbally. This could encompass eye movement and contact, hand motions, body movements, and facial expressions. Specific cultures focus on particular kinesics more than others do. For example, Latin cultures have a different emphasis from Anglo-Saxon cultures in terms of communication. This culture is a lot more comfortable with touching other individuals when attempting to have a friendlier and more open conversation with an individual (PCC). The touching itself is a form of kinesics as it symbolizes comfort with the other party. Another kinesics expression in Latin culture lies in the proximity of conversations. Since Latin cultures are more comfortable with physical contact than other cultures, the distance at which they stand next to each other during an interaction, is considerably closer than that of the Anglo-Saxon culture (PCC). A third expression of kinesics in Latin culture is staring. Although Anglo-Saxon culture emphasizes the disrespect that staring at other individuals entails, Latin cultures stress staring at other people is a way of showing acknowledgment toward them (PCC). If staring is not done, then it is considered a disregard for the other person's presence.

3. Explain how a linguistic anthropologist would apply the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis to the study of the Hopi language. Give a specific example.

A linguistic anthropologist may apply the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis to the study of the Hopi language by associating this concept to their understanding of time. The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis emphasizes that language is what determines thought and that the way that individuals learn how to speak to each other and what words to use in doing so is heavily dependent on the culture that they were brought up in (Parr-Davies). The idea that people think differently because their language determines their ability to think a particular way also encompasses the idea behind the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis.

According to the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, the Hopi language does not view time the way that the English language does. In English there is importance placed on time as a way of determining what can be done when. Relying on dates is something that allows American cultures to function. However, the Hopi language has words for past, present, and future. The Hopi speak about their events in terms of how far away they are from completing them; time is solely based on action, and not on a structured illusion of the passage of time. For example, if they need to plan an event, members of the Hopi culture know the "time" because of how far along they are in their preparation process, and not necessarily because someone stated that the event would be at 6:00PM (Parr-Davies).

4. Describe two Dating methods used in an archaeological excavation ("dig"). How and when are these two dating methods helpful in "telling the story" of a specific real life archeological site? (add source)

There are various types of dating methods available to archeologists who need to find a date of origination when acquiring an unknown artifact during an excavation. The first type of dating is relative dating. This allows the archeologist to determine the age of the artifact by comparing it to others (Lamoureux). This will not produce an actual exact date, but it can give an idea of what time period the artifact was collected from and whether it is in any way related to those found from other cultures. A second method of dating is absolute dating. This is a more precise way of finding the exact date of an artifact. These methods however, were not made possible until after the 20th century (Lamoureux). Both methods can be used to both give a chronological time span as well as the possible occupation that the artifact came from. It allows for the story of these tools, and eventually their people, to be told.

Methods of relative dating include stratigraphy which determines the age of an artifact according to how deep in the Earth it was found (Lamoureux). The deeper the artifact, the more time that has passed since it was first put there. Artifacts found on higher levels of the ground indicate a more recent story. Another widely used method in relative dating is through chronological markers. These determine the specific era or time period that the artifact was a part of (Lamoureux). Any markings found on the artifact can be due to what was occurring during that specific time and as a result tells a story about how it was and by whom it was used. These methods are most helpful when the actual time period for the area that is being excavated is already known or when determining the exact date of an artifact is not necessary. This method however allows for the story of an artifact to be told.

Absolute dating is used to find exact dates for artifacts that are excavated. Electromagnetic dating techniques rely on the Earth's magnetism to determine the amount of iron particles found in these artifacts (Lamoureux). According to the amount of iron found, it can be related back to the time period when the Earth contained that same number of iron levels, therefore allowing for an exact dating of the artifact. Chemical dating also use the natural processes of the Earth to determine how much these processes have affected the item itself, which allows for precise dating (Lamoureux). Absolute dating is more supportive of determining time than it is of telling the story of how and why specific artifacts were used.

5. Give a specific example of the domestication of a plant and how did this influence a specific ancient culture?

A specific example of the domestication of a plant is the orange. Domesticating a plant requires the plant to have been around for centuries growing in the wild and then for it to have been used by humans in order to benefit their survival. This is evident with the orange plant. For centuries, the orange has been used as a way feed populations of humans. This orange plant was first domesticated in China more than 4,000 years ago. It helped with the survival of the Chinese people and is demonstrated in their many cultural dishes. The plant was then brought over to the New World after 1492 when Christopher Columbus first arrived (Citrus). It then became a plant that was widely domesticated for use by the new settlers coming to North, Central, and South America.

It influenced a specific culture because it created a sustainable method from which to survive off of nutritionally. It was a food substance that provided both sustenance in terms of both solids and liquids, satisfying both hunger and thirst. It also created a convenient way for these foods to be carried around without too much effort. Temperature was also a huge factor in how the orange influenced cultures. Those residing in warmer climates were able to more successfully domesticate and produce large amounts of this plant. Ancient cultures were changed in the sense that this fruit was introduced and transcended through centuries as being essential. Once Columbus brought these fruits to be further domesticated in the New… [END OF PREVIEW]

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