rate into distinct societies has given human language a geographical mosaic nies and their relationship to genetic trees; investigations of the rate Abstract | Human languages form a distinct and largely independent class of cultural replicators with retain fidelity through repeated bouts of transmission. The view that language facilitates human culture is not a new one: it is for this reason However, we will argue that the relationship works in the other direction as well—at least —Traditional (i.e. cultural) transmission: 'Human genes carry the capacity to acquire a 27th Annual Conf. of the Cognitive Science Society. You learn the culture once you start learning a language. that young children learn their language and culture from the society they were born in. Modern techniques for fast communication transmission across the globe.
Before the invention and diffusion of writing, translation was instantaneous and oral; persons professionally specializing in such work were called interpreters.
In predominantly or wholly literate communities, translation is thought of as the conversion of a written text in one language into a written text in another, though the modern emergence of the simultaneous translator or professional interpreter at international conferences keeps the oral side of translation very much alive. The main problems have been recognized since antiquity and were expressed by St. Semantically, these problems relate to the adjustment of the literal and the literary and to the conflicts that so often occur between an exact translation of each word, as far as this is possible, and the production of a whole sentence or even a whole text that conveys as much of the meaning of the original as can be managed.
These problems and conflicts arise because of factors already noticed in the use and functioning of language: Even between the languages of communities whose cultures are fairly closely allied, there is by no means a one-to-one relation of exact lexical equivalence between the items of their vocabularies.
In their lexical meanings, words acquire various overtones and associations that are not shared by the nearest corresponding words in other languages; this may vitiate a literal translation. In modern times translators of the Bible into the languages of peoples culturally remote from Europe are well aware of the difficulties of finding a lexical equivalent for lamb when the intended readers, even if they have seen sheep and lambs, have no tradition of blood sacrifice for expiation or long-hallowed associations of lambs with lovableness, innocence, and apparent helplessness.
The English word uncle has, for various reasons, a cozy and slightly comic set of associations. This is because poetry is, in the first instance, carefully contrived to express exactly what the poet wants to say. Second, to achieve this end, poets call forth all the resources of the language in which they are composing, matching the choice of words, the order of words, and grammatical constructions, as well as phonological features peculiar to the language in metreperhaps supplemented by rhymeassonanceand alliteration.
The available resources differ from language to language; English and German rely on stress-marked metres, but Latin and Greek used quantitative metres, contrasting long and short syllables, while French places approximately equal stress and length on each syllable. Translators must try to match the stylistic exploitation of the particular resources in the original language with comparable resources from their own.
Because lexical, grammatical, and metrical considerations are all interrelated and interwoven in poetry, a satisfactory literary translation is usually very far from a literal word-for-word rendering.
The more poets rely on language form, the more embedded their verses are in that particular language and the harder the texts are to translate adequately. This is especially true with lyrical poetry in several languages, with its wordplay, complex rhymes, and frequent assonances. Remarkable advances in automatic computer translation were made during the s—the result of progress in computational techniques and a fresh burst of research energy focused on the problem—while the spread of the Internet in subsequent decades transformed approaches to, and the ease of, all forms of translation.
Translation on the whole is, arguably, more art than science. The Italian epigram remains justified: Sometimes people want to restrict it. Confidential messages require for their efficacy that they be known to and understood by only the single person or the few persons to whom they are addressed.
Such are diplomatic exchanges, operational messages in wartime, and some transmissions of commercial information. Protection of written messages from interception has been practiced for many centuries.
Twentieth-century developments in telegraphy and telephonyand the emergence and growth of the Internet, made protection against unauthorized reception more urgent, whether of texts transmitted as speech or those sent as series of letters of the alphabet. Codes and ciphers cryptography are of much longer standing in the concealment of written messages, though their techniques are being constantly developed.
Such gains are, of course, countered by developments in the techniques of decipherment and decoding as distinct from getting hold of the key to the system in use. An important by-product of such techniques has been the reading and interpretation of inscriptions written in otherwise unknown languages or unknown writing systems for which no translation exists. Linear B inscribed tablet, c.
It has been pointed out above that the process of first-language acquisition as a medium of communication is largely achieved from random exposure. There is legitimate controversy, however, over the nature and extent of the positive contribution that the human brain brings, both cognitively and linguistically, to the activity of grammar construction—the activity by which children develop an indefinitely creative competence from the finite data that make up their actual experience of the language.
The importance of social interaction between children and their interlocutors is another significant factor. Creativity is what must be stressed as the product of first-language acquisition. By far the greater number of all the sentences people create during their lifetime are new; that is, they have not occurred before in their personal experience. But individuals find no difficulty at all in understanding at once almost everything they hear or otherwise receive or for the most part in producing sentences to suit the requirements of every situation.
This very ease of creativity in human linguistic competence makes it hard to realize its extent. It is simply part of what is expected in growing up. Different people may be singled out for praise in certain uses of their language, as good public speakers, authors, poets, tellers of tales, and solvers of puzzles, but not just as communicators.
Bilingualism The learning of a second and of any subsequently acquired language is quite a separate matter. Of course, many people never do master significantly more than their own first language. It is only in encountering a second language that one realizes how complex language is and how much effort must be devoted to subsequent acquisition.
It has been said that the principal obstacle to learning a language is knowing one already, and common experience suggests that the faculty of grammar construction exhibited in childhood is one that is gradually lost as childhood recedes. AdstockRF Whereas most people master their native language with unconscious ease, individuals vary in their ability to learn additional languages, just as they vary in other intellectual activities.
Situational motivationhowever, appears to be by far the strongest influence on the speed and apparent ease of this learning. The greatest difficulty is experienced by those who learn because they are told to or are expected to, without supporting reasons that they can justify. Given a motive other than external compulsion or expectation, the task is achieved much more easily this, of course, is an observation in no way confined to language learning.
In Welsh schools, for instance, it has been found that English children make slower progress in Welsh when their only apparent reason for learning Welsh is that there are Welsh classes. Welsh children, on the other hand, make rapid progress in English, the language of most further education, the newspapers, most television and radio, most of the better-paid jobs, and any job outside Welsh-speaking areas. Similar differences in motivation have accounted for the excellent standard of English, French, and German acquired by educated persons in the Scandinavian countries and in the Netherlands, small countries whose languages, being spoken by relatively few foreigners, are of little use in international communication.
This attainment may be compared with the much poorer showing in second-language acquisition among comparably educated persons in England and the United States, who have for long been able to rely on foreigners accommodating to their ignorance by speaking and understanding English. It is sometimes held that children brought up bilingually in places in which two languages are regularly in use are slower in schoolwork than comparable monolingual children, as a greater amount of mental effort has to be expended in the mastery of two languages.
This has by no means been proved, and indeed there is evidence to the contrary. The question of speed of general learning by bilinguals and monolinguals must be left open.
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It is quite a separate matter from the job of learning, by teaching at home or in school, to read and write in two languages; this undoubtedly is more of a labour than the acquisition of monolingual literacy. Two types of bilingualism have been distinguished, according to whether the two languages were acquired from the simultaneous experience of the use of both in the same circumstances and settings or from exposure to each language used in different settings an example of the latter is the experience of English children living in India during the period of British ascendancy there, learning English from their parents and an Indian language from their nurses and family servants.
However acquired, bilingualism leads to mutual interference between the two languages; extensive bilingualism within a community is sometimes held partly responsible for linguistic change. Interference may take place in pronunciation, in grammar, and in the meanings of words. Speaking, signing, and writing are learned skills, but there the resemblance ends. Children learn their first language at the start involuntarily and mostly unconsciously from random exposure, even if no attempts at teaching are made.
Literacy is deliberately taught and consciously and deliberately learned. There is ongoing debate on the best methods and techniques for teaching literacy in various social and linguistic settings. Literacy is learned by a person already possessed of the basic structure and vocabulary of his language. Such facts should be obvious, but the now-accepted standard of near-universal literacy in technologically advanced countries, along with the fact that in second-language learning one usually acquires speech and writing skills at the same time, tends to bring these parts of language learning under one head.
Literacy is manifestly a desirable attainment for all communities, though not necessarily in all languages. It must be borne in mind that there are many distinct languages spoken in the world today by fewer than 1, or or even 50 persons.
The capital investment in literacy, including teaching resources, teacher time and training, printing, publications, and so forth, is vast, and it can be economically and socially justified only when applied to languages used and likely to continue to be used by substantial numbers over a wide area.
Literacy is in no way necessary for the maintenance of linguistic structure or vocabulary, though it does enable people to add words from the common written stock in dictionaries to their personal vocabulary very easily. It is worth emphasizing that until relatively recently in human history all languages were spoken or signed by illiterate speakers and that there is no essential difference as regards pronunciation, structure, and complexity of vocabulary between spoken or signed languages that have writing systems used by all or nearly all their speakers and the languages of illiterate communities.
Literacy has many effects on the uses to which language may be put; storage, retrieval, and dissemination of information are greatly facilitatedand some uses of language, such as philosophical system building and the keeping of detailed historical records, would scarcely be possible in a community wholly without writing. In these respects the lexical content of a language is affected, for example, by the creation of sets of technical terms for philosophical writing and debate.
Because the permanence of writing overcomes the limitations of memory span imposed on speech or signing, sentences of greater length can easily occur in writing, especially in types of written language that are not normally read aloud and that do not directly represent what would be spoken. An examination of some kinds of oral literaturehowever, reveals the ability of the human brain to receive and interpret spoken sentences of considerable grammatical complexity.
In relation to pronunciationwriting does not prevent the historical changes that occur in all languages. Part of the apparent irrationality of English spellingsuch as is found also in some other orthographies, lies just in the fact that letter sequences have remained constant while the sounds represented by them have changed.
For example, the gh of light once stood for a consonant sound, as it still does in the word as pronounced in some Scots dialects, and the k of knave and knight likewise stood for an initial k sound compare the related German words Knabe and Knecht. A few relatively uncommon words, including some proper names, are reformed phonetically, specifically to bring their pronunciation more in line with their spelling. Spelling pronunciations, as these are called, are a product of general literacy.
In London the pronunciation of St. Aristotle expressed the relation thus: But it is not as simple as this would suggest. Alphabetic writing, in which, broadly, consonant and vowel sounds are indicated by letters in sequence, is the most widespread system in use today, and it is the means by which literacy will be disseminatedbut it is not the only system, nor is it the earliest.
Evolution of writing systems Writing appears to have been evolved from an extension of picture signs: Other words or word elements not readily represented pictorially could be assigned picture signs already standing for a word of the same or nearly the same pronunciation, perhaps with some additional mark to keep the two signs apart. This opens the way for what is called a character script, such as that of Chinesein which each word is graphically represented by a separate individual symbol or character or by a sequence of two or more such characters.
Writing systems of this sort have appeared independently in different parts of the world. Chinese character writing has for many centuries been stylized, but it still bears marks of the pictorial origin of some characters. Chinese characters and the characters of similar writing systems are sometimes called ideograms, as if they directly represented thoughts or ideas. This is not so. Chinese characters stand for Chinese words or, particularly as in modern Chinese, bits of words logograms ; they are the symbolization of a particular language, not a potentially universal representation of thought.
Character writing is laborious to learn and imposes a burden on the memory. Alternatives to it, in addition to alphabetic writing, include scripts that employ separate symbols for the syllable sequences of consonants and vowels in a language, with graphic devices to indicate consonants not followed by a vowel. The Devanagari script, in which classical Sanskrit and modern Hindi are written, is of this type, and the Mycenaean writing system, a form of Greek writing in use in the 2nd millennium bce and quite independent of the later Greek alphabet, was syllabic in structure.
Japanese employs a mixed system, broadly representing the roots of words by Chinese characters kanji and the inflectional endings by syllable signs kana.
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These syllable signs are an illustration of the way in which a syllabic script can develop from a character script: The Greek alphabet came from the Phoenician scripta syllabic-type writing system that indicated the consonant sounds. By a stroke of genius, a Greek community decided to employ certain consonantal signs to which no consonant sound corresponded in Greek as independent vowel signs, thus producing an alphabeta set of letters standing for consonants and vowels.
The Greek alphabet spread over the ancient Greek world, undergoing minor changes. From a Western version sprang the Latin Roman alphabet. Also derived from the Greek alphabet, the Cyrillic alphabet was devised in the 9th century ce by a Greek missionary, St. Cyril, for writing the Slavic languages. Spelling Alphabetic writing is not and cannot be an exact representation of the sequence of sounds or even of the sequence of distinctive sounds in the spoken forms of words and sentences.
Consonant and vowel mean different things when applied to letters and to sounds, though there is, of course, much overlap. The y at the beginning of yet stands for a consonant sound; at the end of jetty it stands for a vowel sound.
In thick and thin the sequence th represents a single sound, not a t sound followed by an h sound. In kite the e represents no sound directly but distinguishes the vowel between k and t from the vowel in kit. These disharmonies arise from a number of causes. Economy in the use of letters is one factor. In addition, spoken forms are always changing over the centuries, whereas writing, particularly since the invention of printingis very conservative.
At one time the e at the end of words such as kite did stand for a vowel sound. This sound was lost between the 14th and 16th century, a time when other changes in the pronunciation of such words also occurred.
The notorious ough spellings in English, standing for different sounds and sound sequences in rough, cough, dough, plough, ought, and other such words, have arisen from historical changes that have driven spelling and pronunciation farther apart.
This, of course, does not mean that spelling reforms are out of the question. In particular, this discussion will consider: The chapter will conclude with a summary and some observations about key issues in the field to be addressed.
Gender as a normative system By viewing gender as a set of ideas or ideologies about what is normal, attention is drawn to the fact that many of the beliefs we have about women and men — such as that women are naturally caring and men are naturally competitive — suit the interests of the most powerful members of society. The concept of patriarchy, for instance, whereby men have historically had authority, can be seen to be reflected in many of the everyday norms that are often taken for granted; men are less likely than women to give up their jobs in order to be primary caretaker to their children because women are seen to be inherently more caring and women are less likely than men to hold leadership positions because they are seen to be less psychologically suited to such a role.
Tied into this is the notion of heteronormativity: Heteronormative ideologies include beliefs about the gendered roles that individuals take up within a heterosexual relationship, such as those regarding the family, as well as those regarding dating and sex itself. By engaging in these activities, children are repeating what they see in broader society, and are reproducing and reinforcing fundamentally heteronormative discourses.
They are also performing a gender identity. Butler argues that we perform our gender, albeit often unconsciously, through acts that are mundane or everyday. We engage in these acts — such as putting on makeup or a dress — again and again, until we no longer view them as a performance; they seem to be natural. Scholars of language and gender have made much use of the concept of performativity, as will be discussed later, as it helps to explain the importance of language for reinforcing and projecting gendered identities.
Approaches to studying language and gender identities Although the prevalent position of sociolinguists and applied linguists who currently study language and gender is to take a constructionist approach, early research in the field was focused less on deconstructing and challenging heteronormative ideologies associated with the gender order and more with the feminist activist concern of highlighting social differences between the language used by women and men.
These approaches to language and gender are outlined in more detail below. Her work had the explicitly feminist aim of drawing attention to the ways that women were expected to use language.
Approaches based on dominance continued to argue that language perpetuated asymmetrical gender relations. In order to make generalisable claims, research taking these approaches relied on certain assumptions of homogeneity.
Cameron argues that much of the work from this time concerned itself with white, straight, middle-class, monolingual speakers, yet it was often taken as being representative of all women or all men. However, even at that time, work which suggested that not all women and men used language in such clear-cut, delineated ways was emerging. This demonstrated that language was not exclusively female or male, and was instead suggestive of how gender intersected with other identity inscriptions, such as social class and professional status, in spoken interaction.
In this sense, such work ran the risk of reproducing essentialist ideologies of gender. Such approaches are outlined below.
Postmodern approaches to language and gender Many studies since the s have aimed to challenge the concept of binary gender and view gender identity as performed. In doing so, they often draw on postmodern critiques of gender and of heteronormativity, which aim to deconstruct seemingly fixed ideological categories. From this perspective, gender is not only learnt according to the sex category a person falls into, but is also brought into being 8 through being performed; gender may, therefore, not always be attached in a normative or expected way to a person based on their sex.
Indexicality concerns the semiotic process that exists within interaction, whereby speakers connect particular linguistic features with representations of the social groups that are stereotyped as using them Irvine and Gal This means that a speaker may use language that carries a particular ideological meaning associated with their gender, in turn gendering their identity performance.
She found that language seen to have a facilitative or caring function in Samoa was indexical of femaleness; this was because women in that community were associated primarily with nurturing roles and motherhood. This is because the language itself did not directly index womanhood; rather, the language indexed caring, which in turn 9 was something associated with women in this community. The importance of the sociocultural context in which language is being interpreted is therefore emphasised by Ochs and is strengthened by her finding that the same language features do not necessarily index femaleness in cultures where women have less of a primary caregiver role.
Indexicality has an important role to play in bridging modern and postmodern studies of language and gender. Whereas early research highlighted the linguistic features that were stereotypically associated with women or men, including those that carried functions associated with dominance or powerlessness, a postmodern focus allows us to reinterpret those associations in terms of how speakers use language to index a wider range of cultural identities.
Importantly, these identities need not be restricted to the generic categories of male and female that were studied in the past; it is possible instead to consider particular kinds of gendered self, which may exist in specific settings, or be realised in unique ways. This is considered below. Ongoing issues In the preceding section, we saw how postmodern approaches to language and gender identity take a constructionist approach.
In this section, I outline three main issues that have emerged for the study of language and identity with regard to gender as a result of this understanding: Coatesfor example, found that the white British men in her study indexed their masculinity through talk about topics that are stereotypically male, such as sports, women or technology.
Similarly, Kiesling considered the hierarchical way in 11 which a group of fraternity men organised themselves, analysing their language styles as competitive and arguing that men were likely to draw on discourses of power in order to construct their masculinity.
Hegemonic masculinity, it is shown, is at least partly based on heterosexuality. Masculinity does not always manifest itself in this hegemonic, heteronormative way, however. As outlined earlier, however, an important aspect of postmodern approaches to language and gender includes challenging and deconstructing binary gender.
The men in his study used 12 language that was indexical of stereotypical white femininity, black masculinity and homosexuality, a combination of which was used to perform an entirely new, drag persona.
Gender identity can thus be multifaceted and achieved in myriad ways, with indexical meaning shifting and changing according to the sociocultural context. Nonetheless, the understanding of norms of gender afforded to us by this research is extremely useful when applying linguistics to real-life contexts such as the classroom. Preecefor example, identifies discursive strategies used by undergraduate students in a British university, showing that one way that young men from non- traditional backgrounds in higher education particularly ethnic minorities and those who are working-class save face in an environment in which they feel marginalised is to adopt a laddish persona that indexes an indifference to academic success.
In turn, this allows them to draw on ideologies associated with working-class masculinity, such as independence and toughness. For example, they deliberately wore unfashionable clothing, avoided slang terms and employed high-culture terminology such as Latin to demonstrate their intelligence.
This allowed them to index a version of girlhood that was salient for them and which disrupted ideals of teenage femininity. Similarly, studies of lesbian identity construction e.
Queen ; Morrish and Sauntson ; Jones have typically found that gay women often actively dissociate themselves from mainstream ideas of femininity in order to perform a non-heteronormative version of woman, showing again how issues of sexuality are intrinsically tied to questions of gender.
Much 14 emphasis in this area has been placed on examining the language of women in leadership or professional roles that have traditionally been seen as suited to men. In this sense, research into language and gender can reveal much about the ways in which women are prevented from being successful as leaders see also HolmesBaxter Her study of police officers in Pittsburgh, for example, shows that female police officers who altered their voice, language and clothing to index a cool, professional identity were taken more seriously than if they conformed to overtly feminised styles.
This work reveals broader ideologies of gender normativity and the ways in which these ideologies not only constrain but also shape the identities it is possible for women to perform. As Litosseliti and Sunderland This demonstrates the need for applied linguists doing language and identity studies to carefully consider the role that gender plays in educational, or other institutional, contexts. In classroom contexts, gender norms are likely to play a role in how different children learn or succeed in the classroom and in the identities that they inhabit or are ascribed even in contexts that do not appear to be gendered.
For applied linguists, an understanding of how gender roles are produced and drawn upon is important when trying to understand patterns of language use in real-world contexts. Trans identities A less explored area of language and gender research concerns trans identities. Perhaps unsurprisingly, given the cultural privilege and dominance of cisgender people, the vast majority of work that has taken place so far 16 into language and gender identity involves speakers who are cisgender, though this aspect of their identity would typically be implicitly presumed.
A limited body of work has emerged to combat this, however. One of the more established approaches to language and trans identities is the exploration of gendered grammar; Kulick considers how Brazilian transgender prostitutes use feminine gendered grammar to construct their own subjectivity as females, for instance, as does Livia in her analysis of the writings of a French trans woman. Using sociophonetics, he shows that trans men do not always use the entire pitch range generally associated with masculinity though many do ; this conflicts with the heteronormative expectation that a trans person would use language to allow them to pass as cisgender.
He argues that, once trans men begin to be perceived as men through more outwards styles and symbols, some feel less concerned about engaging fully in — and therefore indexing — heteronormative cis masculinity; some trans men may feel more comfortable including aspects of language in their speech that might be said to index femininity.
Instead, it reveals that the experiences and identities of an individual will lead to a specific form of identity construction. Again, gender is revealed to be a complex phenomenon. Such analyses have been enabled partly by the development of the community of practice CoP approach, introduced to sociolinguistics and applied linguistics by Eckert and McConnell-Ginet The CoP has been extensively drawn on by Eckert.
For example, in her ethnographic study of an American high school, Eckert uses the notion of CoP to examine the practices of two recognisable groups in the school: Eckert analysed their language use in relation to the social structures within the school, most specifically in terms of gender and class. The language practices of the Jocks were intrinsically tied to their social aspirations as middle-class kids, for example, as they used more standard forms of English to index an academically oriented persona.
The Burnouts, by contrast, used 18 non-standard forms that allowed them to index an affiliation with their local, working- class roots. Eckert found that there was a clear difference between each CoP in terms of gender; girls in the Jock group used more standard language than the boys, whilst Burnout girls used more non-standard language than Burnout boys. In both groups, then, the girls seemed to work harder than the boys at indexing their membership of the CoP; this reflects findings in variationist sociolinguistics that women may rely more on symbolic means of articulating their identities than men, who have historically been more able to gain power and prestige through such means as employment see Labov Through ethnographic fieldwork, Mendoza-Denton learnt that the girls valued skills associated with fighting and qualities associated with loyalty.
Because she understood these values from their perspective — a fundamental aim of ethnography — Mendoza-Denton was able to explain the various linguistic and stylistic practices that the girls engaged in; they wore eyeliner in a specific way to symbolise how tough they were and tended not to wear certain items of jewellery, such as earrings, in order to show that they were always ready to fight.
These girls identified with some aspects of heteronormative femininity but in specific ways; they adopted or reworked familiar practices such as wearing makeup depending on how they suited their needs, enabling them to index a locally salient identity as gang girls.
The CoP, then, has made an important contribution to the study of gender identity in sociolinguistics and applied linguistics because it enables us to move beyond pre-defined structures such 19 as those associated with binary gender and encourages us to consider those who do not fit squarely — or normatively — into an ideological category.
Research using the CoP also emphasises the importance of understanding the context in which an identity is produced in order to gain clear insight into the meaning of that identity; this is very important to applied linguists hoping to learn more about how and why, for example, learners of a target language are more or less successful.
In this sense, Norton sees language learning as not simply about learning a code, but as developing a new identity; successful learners will be able to imagine themselves benefiting from their use of a new language, such as by becoming a legitimate member of a new CoP. Through in-depth research such as this, then, applied linguists can better understand the impact that gender identity has on real- world problems that impact on migrants.
Critical discourse analysts are concerned with identifying, challenging and unpicking instantiations of discourse, with the aim of revealing how those with power and control over the production and distribution of texts push particular ideological discourses.
This approach also reveals much about the identities we recognise within society, since they are legitimised through their repeated representation. In this sense, the analysis of texts in language, gender and sexuality research tends to focus on not only the text itself, but the way it has been created, why, by whom, for whom, and what consequences its creation has had Baker Talbot reveals the patriarchal notions present in the text such as the idea that girls must make themselves look beautiful but also demonstrates that the media are active in reproducing gender ideologies.