What is Linguistic Anthropology? How and why Linguistic Anthropology emerges as an area of interest for anthropologist?
Linguistic anthropology is one of the four traditional branches of anthropology-- the other three being archaeological, biological (formerly physical), and sociocultural anthropology (or ethnology). Linguistic anthropology explores how language shapes communication, forms social identity and group membership, organizes large-scale cultural beliefs and ideologies, and develops a common cultural representation of natural and social worlds.
Definition of Linguistic anthropology:
Many anthropologists tried to define linguistic anthropology according their own conception on this field. For example according to Hymes (1963:277), ―linguistic anthropology is the study of speech and language within the context of anthropology‖ and according to Alessandro Duranti (1997), ―linguistic anthropology is the study of language as a cultural resource and speaking as a cultural practice.‖ According to Alessandro Duranti ―Linguistic anthropology is the comparative study of ways in which language reflects and influences social life. It explores the many ways in which language practices define patterns of communication, formulate categories of social identity and group membership, organize large-scale cultural beliefs and ideologies, and, in conjunction with other forms of meaning-making, equip people with common cultural representations of their natural and social worlds‖. Linguistic anthropology shares with anthropology in general a concern to understand power, inequality, and social change, particularly as these are constructed and represented through language and discourse. Linguistic anthropology as practiced today . . . is the understanding of the crucial role played by language (and other semiotic resources) in the constitution of society and its cultural representations. To pursue this goal, linguistic anthropologists have ventured into the study of...