Wednesday, March 28, 2018


il y a une jeune fille que je connais vient d'avoir vingt et un
vient de sortir à colorado
Je viens de sortir du service
et je cherche à voyager
un jour bientôt, elle va bientôt avec moi

ses parents ne peuvent pas me supporter parce que j'aime voyager
son père dit que je vais la laisser pleurer
si je demande qu'elle me suivrait sur la route la plus difficile
un jour bientôt, elle va bientôt avec moi

quand je viens appeler ils n'ont pas un bon mot à dire
devinez parce qu'ils étaient tout aussi jeunes dans leurs jours les plus fous.

soufflez-vous vieux bleu du nord, soufflez mon amour pour moi
elle est dans un bus Greyhound de Californie
elle aime l'autoroute étoilée autant qu'elle m'aime
un jour bientôt, elle va bientôt avec moi

Monday, March 26, 2018

FRENCH 112.1005-- Grève Aérienne et Ferroviaire en France -- AIR FRANCE & SNCF WALKOUT


(  Mack-SS0100)--  Following various details on the strike(s) in France: background, expected dates of walkouts, who's who..

Statut de Cheminot--The status guarantees a job for life, the average gross salary for a cheminot was € 3,090 (month)  in 2014, which is slightly higher than the average pre-tax salary in France: € 2,912 in 2013.  Family members are able to travel for free or at a reduced price, SNCF employees have 28 days of paid vacation, one more day than the average. Under the current system train drivers can retire as early as at 52 – a decade before the normal pension age.


Bulletins de Voyage-Alertes:

Staff will now strike on Tuesday April 3rd and Saturday April 7th. That's on top of the action already planned for March 30th (Good Friday), which looks like causing a major Easter headache for some travellers.  Unions representing pilots, cabin crew and ground staff have called the strikes to demand a 6 percent pay rise across the board to make up a loss of their spending power in recent years due to stagnating wages. Management is offering a basic increase of 1 percent to be paid in two installments and a range of incentives, which trade unions have dismissed as "small change".
The unions representing Air France staff have said they will toughen up the pace of the strike action in the face of the airline management which they say has "offered no concrete response" to the demands already expressed during the strikes of February 22nd and March 23rd.
The Société nationale des chemins de fer français (SNCF, "National society of French railways" or "French National Railway Corporation") is France's national state-owned railway company. It operates the country's national rail traffic (including Monaco), including the TGV, France's high-speed rail network. Its functions include operation of railway services for passengers and freight, and maintenance and signalling of rail infrastructure.
The SNCF employs more than 180,000 people in 120 countries around the globe. The railway network consists of about 32,000 km (20,000 mi) of route, of which 1,800 km (1,100 mi) are high-speed lines and 14,500 km (9,000 mi) electrified. About 14,000 trains are operated daily.

Calendrier de Grève Aérien et Ferroviaire en France:

Another calendar:

rester en sécurité...

Sunday, March 25, 2018


Spring 2018 Anth/Eng 281:Midterm Review Guide : a quasi-essay approach to passing a test--Do the results form a gestalt of understanding? Is the whole greater than the parts" In the end, does the examinee have a full, clear Gricean grasp of the material presented in the course? 
Week One: Introduction definitions, long answer

Q. Why is language “never neutral”; why can we call language “a social action?”
A. "neutral"--not helping or supporting either side in a conflict. See: Service Canada gender-neutral language replacing "mother" "father" with "parent" and eliminating Mr. and Mrs. (and possibly Mssr. and Madame)

Q. What do we mean by communicative competence?
A. language user's grammatical knowledge of syntax, morphology, phonology and the like, as well as social knowledge about how and when to use utterances appropriately.

Q. What does it mean to say that language is multifunctional? What are its 6 functions? 

A. (Jakobson) Referential ("The earth is flat and has been warped into a geosphere by gravitation."), Poetic ("I think, therefore I am"), Emotive ("Hell No, We Won't Go..!!"), Conative, Phatic ("Cheers"), Metalingual ("To be, or not to be.") 

Referential--It is a mistaken belief that the earth is round.
Poetic--There's no success in failure,
Emotive--Hell no, we won't go..!!
Conative-- Be true to your school.
Phatic-- Goodnight Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are.
Metalingual--To be or not to be, that is the question.

creppm--conative referential emotive phatic poetic metalingual
conative --be true to your school
referential--the earth is flat
emotive--hell no we wont go
phatic--goodnight mrs calabash
poetic  there's no success in failure
metalingual to be or not to be

Q.What is a language ideology? What are language ideologies “about”?  

A. A classic example is the 1997 controversy over Ebonics and the Oakland School Board. On one side of the spectrum were those who argued that recognition of "Merican" or Black English would help the ghetto kids learn "proper" King's English faster, possibly by code-switching and mixing.

Q. What is indexicality in regard to language?

A.  It is relative to the observer: a first responder might see smoke and conclude fire.  To a US Marine, "smoke" might indicate, by its color, the status of an LZ where the helicopter was about to land.  If the Marine interpreted smoke meant fire instead of whether an LZ was secure or not, he might set the helicopter down into an ambush.There is no universal codified system that establishes what smoke means, in other words, indexicality is contextual.  

Week Two: Multimodality; Origin and Evolution of Language
 definitions, Short answer; long answer re: NSL

Q. What is multimodality? Be able to define and provide an example of this, examples of paralinguistic features

A. writing, visual, audio, gestural, and spatial patterns: body language, a disillusioned stare into space, tone of voice,

Q. What is a continuity vs. discontinuity theory in regard to the origin of language?

A. Continuity  describes the process of language development throughout mankind's existence, from early cave painting interpretations, assignment of words to objects, development of syntax, conjugation and grammar.
Discontinuity  is a rather bold interpretation of the development of language based on a significant mutation, possibly genetic, that caused the sudden appearance of speaking man. It is not so far fetched in context of the Biblical story of the tower of Babel where just the opposite occurred, which may or may not have also been related to a genetic aberration.

Q. What are social information theories of language (there are 3!)?


Q. What did the Oldowan tool experiments reveal about potential connections between the co-evolution of language and technology?

A. In these experiments, and there was more than one, various groups were given assignments to create stone tools by knapping. Each group was handicapped by various means, such as straight observation, the use of gesturing, and the inclusion of spoken language. Any conclusion can be drawn form these types of experiments and each may be incorrect. The participants had prior knowledge of processes involved; not necessarily technological, but knowledge of language and gestures, making results contingent on the ethnographic backgrounds of the participants. Only the Stone Age creators of the tools knew the process and it cannot be recreated in a modern environment. This is almost consistent with an analogy to Chomsky's "sudden appearance of language" theory.

Q. How is the hyoid bone important evidence for language origins? How about FOXPZ?
A. The hyoid is a speech intensive bone unattached to any other but moved in conjunction with local muscular activity. It is uncertain if the Neanderthals had such an apparatus, but it might be referred to contextually as a "wishbone". Curiously, aside from it's direct connection to language, it may also be a referential system for position and navigation. The gene FOXPZ plays a part in the evolution of speech and language but it is an extremely complicated field of genetics that bases results on large epochs of human evolution.

Q. What are pidgin languages? Creoles? Why might these types of languages help us understand how language arose in humans?

A.  Pidgin: grammatically simplified means of communication that develops between two or more groups that do not have a language in common: typically.  Creole: a stable natural language developed from a mixture of different languages at a fairly sudden point in time: One might suggest that ebonics is a form of creole although the debate is often times intense as to whether it is a bonafide language, possibly more of a non-standard dialect. Its value to the evolution of language depends on how  it developed, both regionally and spatially.

Q. Why is the appearance and development of Nicaraguan Sign Language so important to our understanding of human language?

Normally, a population is gifted with the sense of hearing, this is not the case for the deaf children in the western Managua region who were initially outcasts from an already overburdened primary educational system under the newly formed communist government. Teachers first made attempts to communicate using gestures such as drawing out letters of the alphabet but were unsuccessful in communicating. Pidgin and creole type systems proved inadequate and eventually the kids formed their own gestures, which were passed on to newer generations. Linguists have been at odds since its development as to whether it is a bonafide language, whether it can even be understood and could it be deciphered into codified, iconic symbols.
The estimated deaf population in Nicaragua, at 600,000, far exceeds the estimates in surrounding countries. There is only one deaf association in the country: Asociación Nacional de Sordos de Nicaragua (ANSNIC). ANSNIC is focused on providing a place for deaf people to meet, support each other, and develop the community. In addition to ANSNIC, deaf people meet at religious services and with at least six known deaf ministries meeting in the capital city of Managua. Since its emergence in the late 1970s with increased deaf interaction in deaf schools, the government has recognized Nicaraguan Sign Language (ISN) as the first language of the deaf community, approved the use of ISN in deaf classrooms in 1993, and helped publish the first ISN dictionary in 1997. In 1997, ANSNIC estimated that there were 3,000 ISN users in Nicaragua with most others having little access to a developed sign language. ISN continues to gain prestige and acceptance in the general Nicaraguan community and the number of ISN users grows as ANSNIC pursues unification of the deaf people throughout Nicaragua.

Week 3: Speech Acts and Conversation definitions, Short answer

Q. What are speech acts and events, according to Austin? (6 kinds !)
"I promise to order and greet a warning to invite and congratulate"
inviting and

A. action-representative-commusive, directive, declarative, expusive, verdactive, performative    locution, illocution, perlocution

He introduces the concept of illocutionary acts, and carefully distinguishes them from locutionary acts and perlocutionary acts. Locutionary acts include phonetic acts, phatic acts, and rhetic acts. Phonetic acts are acts of pronouncing sounds, phatic acts are acts of uttering words or sentences in accordance with the phonological and syntactic rules of the language to which they belong, and rhetic acts are acts of uttering a sentence with sense and more or less definite reference.  One can exercise judgment (Verdictive), exert influence or exercise power (Exercitive), assume obligation or declare intention (Commissive), adopt attitude, or express feeling (Behabitive), and clarify reasons, argument, or communication (Expositive).

“I now pronounce you man and wife.” The sentence, according to Austin and Searle, has three functions: locutionary, illocutionary, and perlocutionary. The locutionary function is saying the actual words, the illocutionary does something (it legally recognizes the couple's relationship), and the perlocutionary expresses the psychological consequences of what is said (in this case, a higher level of commitment and intimacy).

"A locutionary act has to do with the simple act of a speaker saying something, i.e. the act of producing a meaningful linguistic expression. It consists of three sub-acts. they are (i) a phonic act of producing an utterance-inscription, (ii) a phatic act of composing a particular linguistic expression in a particular language, and (iii) a rhetic act (deixis) of contextualizing the utterance-inscription.

"What we've got here is a failure to communicate."
(Prison warden addressing Luke in Cool Hand Luke, 1967)

First of all, "The Captain" was addressing the entire group, the "we" didn't just mean The Captain and Luke, or at least it could be taken in two different ways. Not only that, the author of this article didn't even transcribe it correctly:
What we've got here is...failure to communicate." 
There is no "a" in it.

Representatives     "fourscore and 7 years ago"
Commissives,     I’ll pick you up at 8
Directives       I dare you
Expressives     sorry to hear about

Declarations --"you're fired"
Verdictives—  guilty.. 
Q. What is Grice’s cooperative principle and the 4 maxims? What are its 4 parts?

A. quantity: where one is informative as possible;
quality: truthful;
relation: relevant;
manner: clear, brief, orderly.

Q. Why might we violate the cooperative principle?

A.  In a breakdown of communication as in avoidance to be truthful; such as not being truthful in order to avoid lying. One might argue if asked, "Do you like the Anthropology class?" and answer,  "It is very challenging."

Q. What are adjacency pairs? What can they tell us about conversation?

A. This is a reciprocity agreement between two people when engaged in discourse. It is based upon an assumption that both will respond accordingly as the dialogue develops. There are a given number of maxims here that insure the discourse will reach an end desirable to both, or more, involved. That is not always the case; a breakdown of communication might result, the Grice four components may not be strictly observed and there may be subconscious, hidden motives to direct the outcome. An adjacency pair only guarantees that the conversation will continue, not the outcome expected.

Q. What is conversational repair, and why is significant who performs the repair? (What does that reveal about norms and social structure?)

A. Normally, for a dialogue to continue and be to some degree successful, necessary nuances need be introduced to keep the reasoning on track. That does not mean they are going to be welcome and, for that matter, even accepted. Nobody likes to be corrected unless the mistake is so blatantly obvious that the person who made it goes beyond initial embarrassment to accept fault out of ignorance or simple unconscious error. The one making the correction, if it isn't the person who made the error, will be careful to use a great deal of tact and, of course, etiquette, when making the correction.

Week 4: Language Acquisition and Socialization long answer
Be familiar with major aspects of the language acquisition process; e.g. general stages

Q. Why might certain grammatical features occur in different orders in speakers of different first languages?

A.  A syntax requirement is many times necessary to make a sentence grammatically correct, especially when it comes to which particular verb to use. Components such as gender and number are essential for correct structure. In many cases, in some languages articles are omitted while they are necessary in others. Another component in a language is the use of idiomatic expressions that have no direct translation into another.  A speaker may thus have to alter his presentation in order to clarify meaning with respect to the above parameters.

Q. What are some major ways in which Kaluli and other non-English language socialization processes differ from those of Standard American English?


Q. What is self-lowering/child-raising in regard to language socialization?

A.   Ahearn, Chapter 3.

Q. Why is the idea of the “language gap” problematic?

A. Fifty years of research has revealed the sad truth that the children of lower-income, less-educated parents typically enter school with poorer language skills than their more privileged counterparts. By some measures, 5-year-old children of lower socioeconomic status score more than two years behind on standardized language development tests by the time they enter school.

Week 5: Multilingualism defiitions, Short answer

Q. Approximately how much of the world’s population is multilingual?

A. Depending on where the researcher draws data, the consensus shows about 50 percent.

Q. What are the three most commonly spoken languages in the US?

A. English, Spanish, Chinese.

Q.  What is the third most commonly spoken language in Nevada?
A. Possibly Tagalog, possibly Chinese, depending on which web based stat page. Just about every one of them are in disagreement and reflects the breakdown of a Grice interpretation where quality and quantity collide.

Q. What is code-mixing vs. code-switching?

A. "Code-mixing" --  Interchanging the two languages throughout the utterance, unconscious behavior as when someone is upset.
"Code-switching"--an individuals use of two or more language varieties in the same speech event or exchange, speaker alternates between two or more languages, or language varieties, in the context of a single conversation, conscious behavior, possibly more to rationalize to the speaker what he/she is saying.

Q. What are some of the reasons bilinguals might
engage in these practices (e.g. what are the social meanings of mixing/switching?)

A. It is all too easy to attach a "social meaning" to a straightforward process to be understood, especially in the workplace. A worker who is language impaired has to trust his co-worker to describe in the most advantageous and adequate manner the solution to a problem, such as how to repair a switch on an electric oven, without getting electrocuted by a 220 volt charge when he plugs the oven back into the wall. 

Q. Where do some of the negative views of bilingualism stem from, and what are they?

A. First of all, the negative views are in the mind of the beholder and represent the tendency to judge someone's opinion based on one's own ethnographic background. There is absolutely no quantitative basis of fact to show that certain groups, whether so-called "racial"  or economic divisions, create a stereotype of attitudes toward a bilingual person; or someone who doesn't even speak the given predominant language of the population. It is ignorance in reverse and unacceptable to assume there is a negative view of those who are bilingual.

Q. What are some positive effects/consequences of bilingualism — both social ones and cognitive ones?

A. From a strictly cranial point of view, the brain processes information in mysterious ways. The social benefit consequence pales in comparison to how it affects cognition. There are some who might propose that two languages in the head can only lead to confusion, possibly for some.  Neuropsychological studies vary in degree and complexity and the control experiments usually yield what the scientist seeks, meaning they are meaningless. Is multilingualism advantageous or disadvantageous to the individual? The development of a second language may create a breakdown in the cognitive processes of the first language; it may force a decision making process between an idiomatic interpretation of an event and its reciprocal, the simple explanation. It may best explain the phenomena of code-mixing and code-switching that may not be available to the monolinguist, creating a more intelligible train of thought.

Week 6: Language, Thought, and Culture long answer choice, definitions

Q. What is linguistic specialization? Examples?

A.  In order to best understand specialization, it pays to examine its opposite. The use of the word "relativity" found new meaning in the last century as Albert Einstein used it to describe some revolutionary concepts in space-time, the "continuum". The word automatically became a paradigm for just about every field in science and became a "frame-of-reference" to create meaning out of chaos. Translated to linguistics, it meant that one could take a particular word and transform it from its general meaning into a specific one, through everyday use by the population. The word loses meaning and becomes iconic to a particular symbol.

Q. What is linguistic relativity/the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis? What is hard vs. soft linguistic determinism/relativity?

A.  Benjamin Whorf attempted to make a particular language specific to a population that used it, the result being a cognitive interpretation of the universe completely ethnographically different from another population. Comparative analysis of Mendelian genetic population evolution  to linguistic differences might reinforce the Whorf theory on a superficial basis but may not explain the innate cognitive worldview of the culture. It's a quantum leap to assume that a language creates a different worldview without considering evolution as a primary component. Between a scientific notion of special and general relativity and a free will argument of hard and soft determinism, linguistics attempts to rationalize a culture's cognitive understanding of its particular universe.

The strong version of the hypothesis states that all human thoughts and actions are bound by the restraints of language, and is generally less accepted than the weaker version, which says that language only somewhat shapes our thinking and behavior.

Q. Why are the color studies NOT really good evidence for the S-W hypothesis/linguistic relativity?
A.  First of all, color is a visual experience and to coin a phrase,
"in the eye of the beholder." It is no wonder that one culture might describe hue-saturation-luminance  in one set of terms completely different than another. The remarkable difference is that one culture exists near the Arctic Circle and the other near the equator and naturally they would each have a noticeable difference in the visual experience. An Eskimo might be able to break down every color in the Aurora Borealis, the Northern Lights,  and the Haitian wouldn't have a clue what he was talking about, but be able to accurately describe every color in a coral reef. There is also a significant difference in what an artist might do to create a particular paint as opposed to what a house painter might do, both arriving at the exact same color through completely different means.

Q. In what domains does good evidence for linguistic relativity seem to be found?

A.  relativistic effects in spatial orientation, temporal perception, number recognition, color discrimination, object/substance categorization, gender construal, as well as other facets of cognition.

Q. What is a terministic screen? Why do we use them?

Q. What are some examples of how people have tried to “expose” what is behind a “screen” and create more equitable or fair language?


Q. How might the use of terministic screens be
actively harmful?


Week 7: Phonetics definitions, phonetics questions

Be able to read the IPA chart, and understand what we mean by voiced and voiceless
consonants (what is happening in the larynx) ?

Q. What do we mean by place of articulation? Manner of articulation? Know the basic regions of the vocal tract (see sagittal/head cross-section diagram , you will not need to label, but know, e.g. what ‘pharygeal’ or ‘velar’ refer to)


Q. What are the 3 features of articulation for vowels?

Know how to describe a sound (e.g. [b] is a voiced bilabial plosive/ stop) and locate things on your IPA chart.
Be able to describe why foreign accents occur, by discussing how speakers ‘substitute’sounds

Long Answer Questions  

Choose one topic of 1 and 2:

1. Language, Thought and Linguistic Relativity: (notes + textbook chapter)

Q. Define linguistic relativity (the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis), and describe how is this NOT the same as “specialization.”

Q. Why did studies of color NOT prove the S-W hypothesis/ linguistic relativity to be true?

Q. Describe the ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ versions of the theory — why is ‘soft’ more likely
than ‘hard’ in terms of the evidence we have so far?


Q. Describe, in detail, at least 2 different experiments which suggest the ‘soft’  version of the theory is likely.

2. Language Ideologies and Indexicality:

Q. What does it mean that language is indexical?
A.  It is relative to the observer: a first responder might see smoke and conclude fire.  To a US Marine, "smoke" might indicate, by its color, the status of an LZ where his helicopter was about to land.  If the Marine interpreted smoke meant fire instead of whether an LZ was secure or not, he might set the helicopter down into an ambush.There is no universal codified system that establishes what smoke means, in other words, indexicality is contextual.  
     Linguistic anthropology attempts to construct a system to analyze the use of language into a systematic discipline but may find itself caught in unintelligible loops. Deluded into thinking it is opening doors of perception, the study often finds it opens doors of deception. For some reason, there is a gap in understanding in the use of words such as "I", "here" and "now," which seem plain enough in any context. Combined into a sentence, "I am here now." is about as straightforward as one can get in a bona fide description of language use, without reading into it a plethora of hidden meaning. The cause of the paralogism can readily be traced to the investigator's preoccupation with overanalysis, when in fact, oversimplicity may well be the solution. 

Q. Why is indexicality important for understanding how language might be a form of social action?

Q. What is a language ideology — what four things might a language ideology concern?

Q. Provide a clearly described example of a language ideology, and connect this back to how ideologies are really about more than language!

Choose one topic of 3 and 4:

3. Language Socialization Cross-culturally (notes + Aheam Chapter Four)

Q. Briefly describe some major characteristics of American English child language socialization — what is the babytalk or caregiver register?

Q. How do these patterns of socialization among American English speakers
differ from that of Kaluli children? List at least two major differences

Q. Again, thinking of English vs. Kaluli socialization, explain the difference between dyadic vs. triadic socialization, and what child-raising vs. self-lowering practices look like.

Q. What are some ways in which children, rather than adults, guide language
socialization? (e.g. why is it not always ‘top-down’) Provide two examples


4.) Language Acquisition and NSL:
Q. What factors brought about the appearance and development of Nicaraguan Sign Language?

Q. What can this case study tell us about the human capacity for language in general?
(e.g. discuss the “language acquisition device” and Universal Grammar)
Q. What factors or conditions are essential for children as individuals as they are acquiring language?
A.  Theories on  language acquisition by children completely overlook a child's imagination. Here we see a conceptualization process that begins slowly as the child discovers stems, roots and morphemes. The process accelerates exponentially because only a child's imagination can move at the light speed required to learn a language, almost as if it had happened overnight. Thus, the notion of the built in software, or language acquisition device.

Q. Define pidgin and creole, and discuss why these kinds of languages are important in relation to NSL.

ANTHROPOLOGY 281--Language Evolution--Acquisition--MACRO & MICRO CONSIDERATIONS


(The Proscenium)--  Two completely different sides of the spectrum of linguistics might serve to enlighten development in both: language evolution and language acquisition.

Language Evolution is the length of time it takes for a language to develop from inception to fluency in a culture. This can be broken down into two categories: a proto-language, such as one never spoken before anywhere at any time; and an imported one, from another culture, another country.

Language Acquisition is the length of time it takes the individual to learn the language and utilize it to its primary capacity. This is related to a young child that has the capacity to hear words, repeat them, use them in a grammatical sense and ultimately be proficient in the language. There are many theories as to how this happens but none dramatically and accurately give a concrete example, depending on abstract concepts such as build in software in the brain or a trial and error use of words and sentences.

     There is no one solid accepted theory as to how language, any language, came from and how it was formed. Many theorize it was spontaneous, as life itself might have been; others use the slow, snail pace of evolution;e discovery of letters, formation of words, application of the words to act as symbols to identify objects, the development of sentences, so on and so forth.

Saturday, March 24, 2018



     (The Garage)-- There are no caveman drawings from the Neanderthals and Cro-magnons that depict their cosmological interpretation of the formation of the universe. From the very earliest times, where civilization first crept on to the scene, there was still only a very feeble understanding as to the roots of origin, for not just the universe but its inhabitants as well. Philosophers such as Aristotle (Greece, 384-323 BC)  and Ptolemy  (Egypt, 323-283 BC) spent a greater part of their lives studying falling objects and mapping the positions of the stars, as well as  those that "wandered." It was no wonder that amid all of this which included any number of more observers and philosophers, that early on, the notion that the earth was flat preoccupied the best of them.

     Columbus in 1492, not known for his friendliness to the natives in the lands he discovered, was at least able to start man thinking that the earth was not flat, but had some rudimentary form of curvature. Kepler (Germany, 1531-1630)  laboriously mapped planetary positions and developed some basic functions from them. His contemporary, Tycho Brahe (Denmark, 1546-1601)  was yet another astute observer and chronographer of stellar and planetary motion. Galileo, on or about 1590, dropped objects of variable weights from the leaning tower of Pisa to determine that all objects fall at a constant acceleration. The word "gravitas" was attributed to this phenomenon and later on, in England, Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1747) used the word gravity as an iconic symbol to describe the movement of falling objects, more so in the context of force than motion. Gravity had come under the category of "language specialization."

     In the 19th century, Albert Einstein (Germany, USA, 1879-1955) developed his theories of relativity which redefined gravity in context of mass, space-time and its curvature due to mass. Once again, the word "gravity" had suffered another linguistic transformation; from motion, to force, to [product of mass. That's where the problem originates and that's where Gricean maxims and Burkean terministic screens play an important role in objectifying reality.



Does "Ebony" + "Phonics" =  Language?

(The Lot)-- Recently, a question on the mid term turned an eye toward the subject of Ebonics, which is covered later on in the semester in Ahearn text. Origin of the term "ebonics" is attributed to a professor at  Washington University, St. Louis, but at least one newspaper article (The Pittsburgh Courier, 12 April 1952)  references the word "ebonic" as used by Nat D Williams in 1952:  "according to some ebonic folks.."

Location for Nat D Williams is Memphis, he was a DJ  at WDIA.

     Wikipedia attributes origin of the word "ebonics" to Robert Lee Williams in 1973. Dr. Williams unabashedly takes credit for "coinage" of the word in a newspaper commentary.

     In this same interview-commentary, Dr. Williams elaborates on the 1997 Oakland School Board's plan to allow teachers to integrate Ebonics into the classroom, utilizing "code-switching" to translate the African American English (AAE) vocabulary into Standard American English (SAE).

Reaction to the plan brought about two radically conflicting language ideologies. Syl Jones in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune ( 03 Jan 1997) addresses the issue as to whether those who speak the "language", "dialect", "accent" or whatever, of Ebonics are not socially and genetically inferior but are victims of the culture in which they were brought up. Therefore, it becomes necessary for the school board to adapt to the home-playground dialogue and attempt to translate it into the given language that will assure the kid's place in a bona fide profession.
   The other side of the ideology spectrum is presented by Gregory Kane in a reprinted article from the Baltimore Sun, also in the Star-Tribune. From a Gricean quantitative-qualitative standpoint, he cites that of the 50,000 students in the school district, just over half are black; and they collectively hold a grade point average of 1.8. He argues the reason black students lag far behind whites, Hispanics and Asians is, according to the school board, a linguistic one. The curriculum was not "African-centered enough."

     Then there were those who took both sides, Like Rev. Jesse Jackson,  supporting intent of the school board but not endorsing Ebonics.

  All of the above represents a case of "special relativity" in linguistics, we will now examine the "general relativity" of linguistics.  Returning to the Father of Ebonics, Dr. RL Williams of St. Louis, a radically different approach to understanding the core problem was not whether kids would do better code-switching their street lingo into something they can use as a dental assistant, but whether IQ tests administered in school were ethnically biased. Were they written for Anglo-Saxon squares or for inner-city culturally challenged youth? The result was the Black Intelligence Test of Cultural Homogeneity (BITCH).

      Dr. Williams argues that the standard intelligence quotient test is discriminatory because it "dehumanizes black children and penalizes them." He insists the tests measure acquired or learned behavior and this is a rather remarkable discovery in its own right, which seems to be foreshadowed by the development of the new IQ test. 

     Almost as if we were discussing Pavlov's conditioned response experiments with dogs and not school aged kids trying to integrate themselves, not ethnically, into a culture, but by virtue of intelligence. Up until the mid term exam, focus in Anthropology 281 has been primarily on several basic premises of Linguistic Anthropology. First, the Sapir-Whorf theory of relativity; second, Paul Grice and his four maxims; third, code-switching and code-mixing; fourth, Duranti's greetings analysis and adjacency-pairs, just to mention a few.

     For the first, does language affect thought and is it relative to the culture? Do the arrows point both ways between the three components, and which influences the other two the greater? Just about the time we come up with answers to these questions, other linguists will say no, language is universal, it has common roots and evolutionary checkpoints along the cultural path. Now we find ourselves comparing Dr. Williams' assertions that IQ, intelligence, is acquired-learned behavior. Combine that with the universalists theory that language is inherent, we arrive at Pavlov's conditioned response, the salivating dog. Extend that further and we have innate response as described in adjacency-pair analysis, an automatic built mechanism that requires only certain conditioned, universal,  reactions to given stimuli, just as the dogs salivate when they smell food.

     There is a great deal of emphasis on language as something that is "acquired" or "learned" in direct contradiction to experiments with, at least dogs, that certain responses are built in, already inherent in the creature. This has led contemporary linguists to adopt the posture that language may be innate, at least the ability to acquire it, utilizing a convenient device stamped into the brain somewhere. Going against the grain of relative linguists, the generalized grammar process allows the individual to respond accordingly to the cultural surroundings. In the case of inner-city children, the result is ebonics, or spanglish, or whatever other form of dialect, accent, language, offshoot of some tribal import from the early days of slavery and conquest.
    The question now is, what is beyond that? Where do we go next to determine if language is determinate, will we find a ready-made cranial device for code-switching that will translate, overnight, a dialect into the proper ideological format so that someone can succeed? Maybe the dogs have the answer, at least they did for Pavlov.

KEYWORDS: ebonics, black vernacular, code-switching, linguistic relativity, language, dialect, accent,

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

ENG 102-1105--Niger Ambush, What Congress Isn't Telling--TRUTH OR DARE

ENG 102-1105
Prof M Judd
University of Nevada, Reno
Spring 2018  15M18
James Langelle

A Deadly Game of Truth or Dare

    On February 19th of this year, the New York Times published “An Endless War,” its findings on the ambush in Niger that resulted in the deaths of four American servicemen last October. The lengthy article includes not just whatever details of the actual firefight have been made available  to the public thus far, but select biographies of some of those who were killed. What is also found in the text are quotations by members of Congress as well as the current and previous presidents of the United States.
    There is an unwritten rule that is often times applied when someone, or a group of someones have their backs against the wall; that rule is, to close ranks. It simply means that everyone watches out for everyone else and Washington politicians are no different, even though on the surface there appears to be constant squabbling and bickering between members of opposite political parties.  A second rule for the political elite is to deny knowledge of information and if necessary, avoid lying by not telling the truth.
    As case in point is Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) who serves on the Armed Services Committee. When interviewed a short time after the ambush on NBC’s “Meet the Press,”  Senator Graham had this to say,
    “I didn’t know there was 1,000 troops in Niger,”
The anchorman on NBC, at least according to the evidence available in the Times article, makes no mention of any follow-up inquiry to the senator, but does mention that there are only 800 American soldiers in Niger.
   “This is an endless war without boundaries, no limitation on time or geography,” Mr. Graham continued, adding, “We don’t know exactly where we’re at in the world militarily and what we’re doing.”    
    Forgive me for drawing a conclusion without any evidence to back it up that the senator, who is on the Armed Services Committee, doesn’t know where our soldiers are deployed. It does support the theory of not telling the truth to avoid lying, since the senator conveniently gets the number wrong. It is also worth noting that Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), also claimed no knowledge of the Niger deployment, an example of the ranks closing.
    Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) characterized the development in Niger by saying,
    “What we have today is basically unlimited war — war anywhere, anytime, any place on the globe,”

There appears to be very little anybody is willing to do about it. Although Senator Paul makes a sweeping criticism of America’s far-flung military exploits, nowhere in the article does he suggest any legislative action to curtail the ambitions of the Oval Office. In fact, as the Times points out, it wasn’t the post-911 legislation used by former President Obama to commit troops to Niger, but the War Powers Resolution of 1973, a 45 year old piece of legislation from the last century to justify troop deployment into global hotspots. The initial deployment was for just 40 soldiers to assist the French in Operation Serval, to drive militants out of Mali in 2013.
    Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK), in keeping with the cautious guarding of each others’ backs in Congress, offered very little in the form of direct action to halt the indiscriminate sending of soldiers to their deaths in faraway places,
    “If we’re going to have people who are in harm’s way and we know we are putting them in a dangerous situation, there ought to be a more thorough discussion of it.”
    For now it seems that escalation to fight a shadowy enemy someplace that doesn’t even show up on Google Earth is the truth or dare of the current administration, with very little, if any authorization from Congress, and even less willingness to question that authority.


ANTHROPOLOGY 281-1005 Mid Term Exam Notes #002-- NSL, POTO AND CABENGO,

ANTH 281--1005//Dr. J Ferguson//University of Nevada, Reno, Spring 2018

Signs of the Times and Invented Language--

     Nicaragua, according to some reports, is the second poorest country in Central America behind Haiti. The education system is far below minimum standards set forth by various institutions monitoring the development of regional learning. Many students drop out of school because it's "boring" and they can't make any money, opting for menial low paying jobs in order to support their families and "buy new clothes."

     If the overall educational system in Nicaragua, where kids drop out before the eighth grade, is in such a shambles, why is there such great emphasis on illustrating the particular merit of Nicaraguan Sign Language (NSL)? Affecting only an extremely small segment of the population, hearing impaired kids, where hundreds of thousands more have little or no interest in education, what significance does NSL play? Very little.

     A close friend of mine, Donaldo Gomez, built a hotel on the Pacific Coast in a small beach village an hour's drive from the capital of Managua. He paid his workers eight dollars an hour, when they complained, he replied,

"What are you complaining about, I'm paying you eight dollars a day."

     Such is the nature of education and the economy in Nicaragua with sign language having little or no bearing on the future of the communist dictatorship, just a passing interest to be used as a proletarian classroom YouTube example for linguistic anthropology studies and a long answer question on a mid term exam.

While on the subject of invented language, the following proves to be a far more interesting case, Poto and Cabengo:

(Decoded from Detroit Free Press, (22 May 1981) unedited--

Twins' unique language talks about their isolation

By DIANE HAITHMAN ;roe Press Stott Writer Poto and Cabengo's real names are Virginia and Grace Kennedy. They were six years old at the time film director Jean-Pierre Gorin captured a brief por-tion of their lives on film. This Friday's Detroit Film Theatre presentation is Gordin's peculiar and lo-vely documentary about how Ginny and Grade, believed to be slightly retarded since birth. and their lower middle-in-come San Diego family become short-lived celebrities when the girls' teachers discover that they have invented a secret language all their own. Our first view of Grace and Ginny, the mischievous twins, is as two children playing with clay, normal except for the fact that they are babbling rapidly in a logical-sounding gibberish. We are told the girls have spoken nothing but this peculiar tongue for years. Yet they seem quite happy.

THE SPEECH EXPERTS approach the phenomenon cautiously — one states that the girls, a product of one German and one American parent who each speak a different ungrammatical brand of Eng-lish, could simply be suffering from this defective verbal environment. Or the girls could simply be retarded, as their odd, hyperactive manner suggests. Once the newspapers get hold of the story, however, the girls become freaks, chattering, as one newspaper puts it, in Martian. The headlines, which slowly grow smaller and smaller as the press loses interest In the story, are inter-spersed throughout the film.

POTO AND CABENGO Detroit Film Theatre U.SA, 1919 A documentary film directed and narrated by lan•Pierre Gain. Camera work by Les Blank, SOund by Maureen Gosling. editing, tilt and animation by Greg Durbin. Running tiny I hour 7 min 7 and 110 o m Detroit Institute of Arts Auditorium. 5200 Woodward PARENTS GUIDE: no ouottohable torrent

Thus "Poto and Cabengo" is not really a story about media hype. As soon as it is discovered that the girls have actually distorted English and German words, rather than inventing their own lan-guage, the story Is dropped. A film com-pany which planned to make a movie on the girls cancels out. GORIN'S APPROACH says more about the desperation of this isolated, bigoted family where each member speaks a language outside the American mainstream of speech and whose only hope for financial security is to cash in on the problems of these two children. Gorin does not make the same judg-mental statements about the girls de-prived background as do the speech therapists — he simply gapes at it. The camera lingers on the fake wood panel-ing, the huge old television set that domi-nates the living room, the used Cadillac in their small garage. Gorin feels especially for the girls' alienation, since he, too, is separated from the typical American by his French accent. Gorin, very much a part of the film as Its narrator, sees the girls as 1980s Katzenjammer Kids, possessing both the confusion and wisdom that comes of approaching American language and cul-ture from the outside.

 A follow-up from Wikipedia on the twins' status:

A follow-up in 2007 revealed that Virginia works on an assembly line in a supervised job training center, while Grace mops floors at a fast-food restaurant.[3]

Tuesday, March 13, 2018


ANTH 281-1005//Dr J Ferguson//University of Nevada, Reno//Spring 2018  15M18
     Categorically speaking, the analysis of language, in a limited and antiseptic environment such as an experiment involving observer and subject, will almost always yield results expected, from inductive or deductive calculations, by the observer. It is the inherent nature of "ethnocentrism," a word originally used by Ludwig Gumplowicz in the 19th century to justify racial and class discord as a cause for war in order for a culture to progress.
     Juxtaposing the above on to the field of anthropological linguistics, it is no wonder that results are speaking, not necessarily in tongues, but in categories. Categories of syntax, grammar, phonemes, morphemes and the like. When it wasn't enough to break down language into its components, the tendency then existed to do what every other field of scientific endeavor did in the last century, make it relative. Thus, the Edward Sapir-Benjamin Whorf theory. But like every other attempt to connect process (thought) with procedure (speaking), there would also be refutation. But in order to first do this, what little evidence exists to define a culture in terms of its language, there needed to be yet another division, hence, the "soft" and "hard" interpretations of Roger Brown,  where that dialectic could just as easily be replaced by ching and chung. 
     There seems to be little emphasis on rather obvious components of the thinking-speaking-real world chain missing here; not so much in a strict Pavlovian take on the process, but from a Darwininian  vis-a-vis BF Skinner approach.  Without going into the details of the operant reaction experiments, it will suffice to say that conditioned response, behavior reinforcement and the environment play significant roles in whether there is any kind of influence on the process chain that constitutes a linguistic theory, whether relative of universal. To what degree conclusions can be drawn from over-simplistic experiments involving color terminology or spatial representations in various cultures might explain why the theories do not hold up to criticism.
     To leave it on a metaphorical note, "the proof is in the pudding."

Monday, March 12, 2018

ENG-ANTH 281-1005--"An Endless War"--NY Times (02/17/18)--REVERSE OUTLINE, QUALLAM-3D


Following is the Reverse outline from the NY Times article--
University of Nevada, Reno
Spring 2018  13M18
James Langelle

"An Endless War,"  NYT (02/19/18)--Reverse Outline

1.) Introduction to the ambush on October 04, 2017 just below the Mali border in Niger that claimed the lives of 4 American soldiers.
2.) Outcome of the firefight, comparison to "Blackhawk Down" (1993, Somalia), and reaction back home of President Trump's remarks.
3.) A hastily arranged plan that led to the soldiers being caught out in the open just a few hundred yards south of Tongo Tongo village.
4.) Logistics and weapons inventory.
5.)  The debate in Congress on the so-called "war on terror."
6.) The Pentagon report is in progress, and currently over 1000 pages long. Sen. Graham remark, ignorance over troop count in Niger.
7.)  The rest of the senators with the "I know nothing " line aka Sgt. Schultz, "Hogan's Heroes."
8.) Sgt. Wright background notes.
9.) Sgt. Wright background notes.
10.) War authorization measure.
11.)  Rep B Lee (D-CA)- 9/11 AUMF vote.
12.) AUMF repeal attempt by Rep. Lee killed in House, w/ref to runup to ambush time frame.
13.)  Obama uses 1973 War Powers Act to justify Niger troop deployment.
14.) Post-ambush debate in Congress with focus on 2001 AUMF.
15.) Sgt. Black bio
16.) Sgt. Black bio, continued.
17.) Sgt. Black bio, continued.
18.)  Sgt. Black bio, continued.
19.)  Background on US involvement in Africa, 1998, Tanzania and Kenya bombings and emergence of Osama bin Laden.
20.) French intervention in Mali, 2013.
21.) Obama steps in with a plan for West Africa.
22.) President Trump and the current escalation of terror attacks by African militants.
23.) Niger escalation and the risk posed by American forces in the bush.
24.) The obfuscation from command over the role of the patrol in the bush.
25.) "Naylor Road", code name for the cattle-herder turned radical as the objective of the patrol; relation to American aid worker kidnapping. Alert sounded by electronic signal from the cattle-herder's electronic device.
26.) Heli-assault mission "Obsidian Nomad" formulated using a variety of counterterror components. Command decisions may have muddled the execution of the mission.
27.) Ground component, the ill-fated patrol, was already in place.
28.) Weapons inventory of the patrol OD-Alpha 3212; patrol leaves Quallam base at 0600, Oct. 03. Following routine mission, patrol is diverted to assist the heli-assault team.
29.) Heli-assault mission scrubbed, leaving Alpha-3212 open in the field with no air cover. The team was ordered to recon the cattle-herder's last known location.
30.) Patrol recons extremely dangerous neighborhood, where dozens of attacks had already been recorded.
31.) Air-support stands down, the team beds down and continues early on the morning of Oct. 04., eventually arriving at Tongo Tongo.
32.)  A-3212 stops for water in the village, and appear to be delayed for rather suspect reasons.
33.) 1130 hours, 500 yards south of the village, the firefight erupts with the unit taking small arms fire from a treeline to the north. There is a comm breakdown which prevent air-support from the French in Mali.
34.) Air support does arrive and med-evacs are lifted out of an LZ, (possibly the location of the red smoke in the video.) There is a very big intel gap here over whether those killed in the ambush were deserted by the others.
35.)  Trump remark on Sgt. Johnson, "knew what he signed up for."
36.) Sgt. (La David) Johnson bio.
37.) Body-camera recordings reviewed.
38.) More body-camera review.

#28)--"patrol leaves Quallam base at 0600"

Below 3D sims of "Quallam base"--

Yet another reminder of the "war on terror"..