Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Attitudes About the Use of Speech

            The use of speech in different cultures varies depending on gender, age, whether or not the speaker is in public, and others. According to the authors of our textbook “Language, Culture, and Society: An Introduction to Linguistic Anthropology”, Plato states in Athenian culture the people not only take delight in talking, but also talk a great deal. However Spartans were reserved and Cretans prefer to be concise in speech. The authors also mention the Araucanians in Chile where men are expected to talk often, but women are supposed to speak quietly in public and keep silent around their husbands. Some cultures use gender as the deciding factor of who can speak, while in other cultures it is expected that everyone hold back their words to form a response before they speak. For example the Western Apache will refrain from speaking when meeting strangers and the initial stages of courtship. If a stranger is quick to speak they are seen as wanting something. Even though the Apache are slow to respond in certain situations, public speaking is valued in all societies. Different cultures have different ideas about what it means to speak well in public, but as a general rule a natural speaker will see their native language as the most natural. The context of language use also plays a role in how different cultures view speech. Context is a process that grows and changes among the people having conservation. In the Apache culture parents would refrain from talking to their children for several days after the kids returned home from a boarding school. Although the children were not strangers, the parents felt they needed to see how the kids would adjust to being back and would not talk to their children. The most efficient means of communication for people is using their native language because they not only know all the words, but they know the cultural background that plays a role in the context in which they are in.

Adachi, N., Salzmann, Z., & Stanlaw, J. (2015). Language, Culture, and Society: An Introduction to Linguistic Anthropology. Boulder: Westview Press.

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoyed this section of the book; it covered many different cultures, which as an Anthropology major, I loved and it really delved into some sensitive topics: gender roles in society. Speech often determines the social rankings or statuses of several aspects of a culture based on whats expected of the people there. I did not know about the ancient greek gender perspectives or rituals in the vocal context and that was fun to read about!