Blog Archives

Patterns of linguistic variation among Glaswegian adolescent males

This article presents the results of an ethnographically informed sociolinguistic investigation of Glaswegian Vernacular and examines the intersection between language and identity using data collected from a group of working-class adolescent males, over the course of three years, from a high school in the south side of Glasgow, Scotland, called Banister Academy. Through the fine-grained acoustic analysis of the phonetic variable cat (equivalent to the trap/bath/palm set, Johnston 1997), coupled with ethnographic observations, this article shows how patterns of variation are related to Community of Practice membership, how the members of the Communities of Practice in Banister Academy use linguistic and social resources to differentiate themselves from one another, and how certain patterns of variation acquire social meaning within the peer-group. This article contributes to the under-researched area of adolescent male language use and offers one of the first ethnographically supported accounts of linguistic variation in Glasgow.

from the Journal of Sociolinguistics

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Making sense of one other for another: Ethnography as translation

The tension between “etic” and “emic,” between outsider and insider descriptions of language and culture, has been a leitmotif of anthropology since its beginning. This article revisits Goodenough’s original discussion of emic and etic as a bridge into translation studies, emphasizing recent anthropological and sociological contributions. Translation illuminates the relationship between local specifics and human universals in just the way that emic and etic were meant to do based on the original model of phonetics and phonemics. Still missing, though, is a theory of the universal etic space that makes a connection across emics possible. Discussions of recent complexity-based work with multiagent systems serves as a thought experiment to see if an etic framework that generalizes intentionality might be possible. The conclusion calls for use of the etic concept to develop an anthropological theory of what it means to be human.

from Language & Communication

Discourses of Dementia: A Call for an Ethnographic, Action Research Approach to Care in Linguistically and Culturally Diverse Environments

The methods of ethnography and action research have much to offer to the field of speech-language pathology, particularly as our clinical populations are becoming increasingly diverse. We suggest that practicing speech-language pathologists and students, as well as researchers, will benefit from strategies that use the methods of participatory action research and ethnography as guiding principles to their work. Ethnography seeks to discover meaningful structures in a culture from the perspective of those whose culture it is. Action research, which shares a methodological basis with ethnography, is undertaken with the aim of improving the functioning of the social institution, practice, or structure investigated for the benefit of those most closely involved with that institution or practice. By way of illustration, we use data collected during fieldwork in Louisiana, involving persons with dementia from linguistically and culturally diverse backgrounds.

from Seminars in Speech and Language