ERIC Number: ED405732
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1996-Mar-21
Languages on the Land: Toward an Anthropological Dialectology.
Hill, Jane H.
Theories of human migration have been invoked to account for the difference between large-scale spread of languages and linguistic elements, as opposed to small-scale local, residual distributions. The field of dialectology understands linguistic elements as distributed across human populations, with migration as only one possible mechanism of such distributions. Anthropological dialectology, grounded in the material circumstances of human populations, can offer an alternative to migration theories. The inherent variability of languages yields tokens that speakers can deploy to make claims on resources, and differentiate localist from distributed sociolinguistic stances toward this variability. People with secure primary claims on essential resources are more likely to favor localist stances, while people who lack adequate primary claims and draw instead on a diverse range of secondary or indirect claims are more likely to favor distributed stances. Distributed stances encourage the spread of sociolinguistic variables, while localist stances inhibit spread. The stances and their effects on distribution of language variation are illustrated by a study of two dialects of the Tohono O Odham (Papago) language. Contains 31 references. (Author)
Descriptors: American Indian Languages, Anthropology, Comparative Analysis, Diachronic Linguistics, Language Research, Language Variation, Linguistic Theory, Migration Patterns, Papago, Regional Dialects, Sociolinguistics, Tohono O Odham People, Uncommonly Taught Languages
Department of Anthropology, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405.
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Indiana Univ., Bloomington. Dept. of Anthropology.
Note: Text of a lecture in the David Skomp Distinguished Lectures in Anthropology series.