Differences Between Language And Language Essay

841 Words Oct 1st, 2014 4 Pages
Sociolinguistic anthropologists aim to study the use of languages by different peoples and how such uses form thought and social relationships between individuals. Hence, language can often be associated with power. That is to say that the use of a language differently amongst different individuals can establish a social hierarchy in which certain words become associated with gestures which are indicative of social status. Sociolinguistic anthropologists can study the relationship between power and language by studying the links between culture and language, by studying the links between certain words and gestures and by the relationships between individuals and the manner in which they speak with one another. Sociolinguistic anthropologists also see a lack of speech as meaningful. A holistic approach therefore is beneficial to a sociolinguistic anthropologist as postulated by Holly Peters-Golden (Thinking Anthropologically: A Practical Guide for Students, 2010).

In a study conducted in 1998 by Janet Wall Hendricks of the Shuar people of the Amazon, it was found that cultural values of power were strongly associated with one’s ability to speak. As the Shuar called it, Kakáram, which is a measure of a man’s power encompasses not only his vitality (i.e. his ability to produce offspring), physical strength and courage, but also of his ability to speak well (Hendricks, 1998, p. 219). Hendricks after immersing herself in the culture of the Shuar found that this link was due to…

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