Ch 17: Language and Communication

About This Chapter

Watch online anthropology video lessons to learn about cuneiform, language dialects, historical linguistics and more. These video lessons are short and engaging and make learning easy!

Language and Communication - Chapter Summary and Learning Objectives

Use this chapter to get an introduction to linguistics, the field of study concerned with language forms and usage. We'll help you take a closer look at linguistic subfields focusing on the way we pronounce words and the meanings we attach to them. You can also discover why linguists study changes to language over time and find out how all this relates to the field of anthropology. Lessons included here are designed to teach you about the following:

  • Differences between descriptive, historical and sociolinguistics
  • The evolution of writing and the alphabet
  • The dispersal of languages and dialects

Video Objectives
Language and Language Regions: Definitions & Dialects Examine the geographical distribution of regional dialects.
Historical Linguistics and Anthropology Learn why anthropologists are concerned with the historical development of language.
The World's Major Languages: Development & Diffusion Follow the development and dispersion of the world's major languages.
The Invention of Writing Discover the regions in which writing emerged, and learn about some of the advantages it provided to ancient societies.
History of the Alphabet: From Cuneiform to Greek Writing Trace the evolution of cuneiform into symbolic phonemes and alphabetical characters.
The World's Major Written Languages: Letters & Symbols Distinguish between languages that use alphabets and languages that use symbols. Examine the geographical distribution of both types.
Understanding Sociolinguists: Social and Linguistic Variation Learn why sociolinguists study the relationship between society and language use.
What Are Descriptive Linguistics? - Purpose & Process Explore the field of linguistics concerned with the morphology and phonology of language.

7 Lessons in Chapter 17: Language and Communication
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
Language & Language Regions: Definitions & Dialects

1. Language & Language Regions: Definitions & Dialects

Do you know what lolly water is? How about gym boots? In this lesson, you'll consider how word choices, accent and pronunciation are all part of our use of language and how this varies by region.

The World's Major Languages: Development & Diffusion

2. The World's Major Languages: Development & Diffusion

Can you guess the most widely spoken languages in the world? This lesson will explore the evolution of languages and how linguists aim to understand them.

The Invention of Writing

3. The Invention of Writing

Writing, the original IT: This lecture covers the limitations and obstacles of aural transmission. It describes the invention of Cuneiform in the fertile crescent. Finally, it explains how writing enabled literate societies to dominate their pre-literate neighbors.

History of the Alphabet: From Cuneiform to Greek Writing

4. History of the Alphabet: From Cuneiform to Greek Writing

This lecture follows the development of writing, from the pictographs of proto-cuneiform to the symbolic phonemes of cuneiform and hieroglyphics. Then from the abjads of the Phoenecians, Minoans, Hebrews and Arabs to the complete alphabets of the Greeks. It explores the limitations and strengths of each development and draws modern parallels.

The World's Major Written Languages: Letters & Symbols

5. The World's Major Written Languages: Letters & Symbols

In this lesson, we explore how written language is expressed in different areas of the world. You'll see examples of other languages that operate with their own characteristics to document information important to that culture.

Understanding Sociolinguistics: Social and Linguistic Variation

6. Understanding Sociolinguistics: Social and Linguistic Variation

This lesson will seek to explain the study of sociolinguistics and the concept of ethnography. It will highlight the variations that region, class, relationship, and gender cause in language.

What Is Descriptive Linguistics? - Purpose & Process

7. What Is Descriptive Linguistics? - Purpose & Process

This lesson will seek to explain the field of descriptive linguistics. In doing so, it will highlight the terms phonology, morphology, and syntax while discussing examples from around the globe.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
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Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
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