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Michelle Garcias ANT 312 Final Essay In what ways has this course affected your understanding of language and culture? What did you learn? This course, this semester, taught me much more than I expected to learn. When I enrolled and began this course I thought I
  Michelle GarciasANT 312Final EssayIn what ways has this course affected your understanding of language and culture? What did you learn?This course this se!ester taught !e !uch !ore than I e #ected to learn$ When Ienrolled and %egan this course I thought I &new what to e #ect$ I had ta&en an Anthro#ology course %efore %ut it didn't focus on the study of language$ This course is not what I was e #ecting %ut I !ean that in a #ositi(e way$ I learned so!e lessons in this course that will ne(er !a&e !e loo& at other languages and !y own language in the sa!e way again$ Words I thought were slang are not the way we ha(e con(ersations is #art of a syste! and we tend to assu!e too !uch %ased on far too little$ This is what I learned to understand$In the first unit we learned a%out the sounds and structures of words and how theyare for!ed$ Although learning a%out the #hoeni!ic chart and !or#hology were interesting there was a ter! I ca!e across that #articularly interests !e) #ort!anteau$*ort!anteau is a #rocess in which !or#henes %lend into one another to for! a new word$ The word #ort!anteau loo&s and sounds li&e a %lended word itself which is why I re!e!%ered it$ When we were gi(en e a!#les of these &ind of %lended words Iwas sur#rised to reali+e that I thought were slang words were not$ Words such as s!og %log s#or& and s&ort were %lended words$ ,!og fro! s!o&e and fog %log fro! we% and log s#or& fro! for& and s#oon and s&ort fro! s&irt and shorts$ I was using these words in con(ersation thin&ing they were slang %ut now I &now where  they co!e fro! and are not slang at all %ut new words that are for!ed when !or#henes %lend together$ I also found it interesting that when learning a%out the  #hoene!ic chart we could literally feel the sounds we were !a&ing in our throat$ -owe(er I was confused %y how co!#le the sy!%ols were and how difficult it was to write words #honetically when !y #ronunciation could differ fro! so!eone else$Another lesson I learned was that the way we con(ersate is #art of a co!#le syste! called the discourse syste!$ The discourse syste! which is an as#ect of culture that tells us how to use and inter#ret our language really sur#rised !e$ It  %rought to !y attention how I s#ea& to others and the !anner in which I do de#ends on who I a! s#ea&ing to and what I a! s#ea&ing of$ .The discourse syste! focuses on and e!#hasi+es understanding on how authority and #ower and distri%uted and negotiated in (er%al e changes/ 0ttenhei!er 11 I also noticed that as a nati(e English s#ea&er the way we a##ear to non4English s#ea&ers is fran&ly odd$ The Atha%as&an s#ea&ers s#ea& 5uite differently fro! us$ English s#ea&ers s#ea& with  #rosody which !eans we %ring attention to stress or tone in our s#eech$ Atha%as&an s#ea&ers are !or#hene %ased to add i!#ortance$ ne i!#ortant detail a%out the discourse syste! that I find intriguing is that the discourse syste!s are closely tied to a #ersons #ersonality and culture and to change ones syste! would %e a slow and serious #rocess$The !ost interesting and !ost en6oya%le acti(ity in this course is when we had the assign!ents a%out linguistic #rofiling and discri!ination$ I was really e cited a%out the inter(iews$ I at first was worried that I couldn't find anyone %ut when in dou%t I go to !y fa!ily$ It 6ust so ha##ens that they were e actly who I was loo&ing for$ 7oth of !y #arents e #erience linguistic #rofiling which is #redeter!ining who a  #erson is %ased solely on how they sound when s#ea&ing$ As I was conducting !y  inter(iews I tried to i!agine what it was li&e$ I actually was saddened after hearing what !y #arents ha(e %een through$ Another inter(iewee was !y !other4in4law whoe(en though %eing a 8aucasian wo!an has e #erienced linguistic #rofiling$ Ty#icallywhen we thin& of linguistic #rofiling and discri!ination we tend to thin& of !inorities %ut anyone can fall (icti! to this$ 7ased on where a #erson grew u# they can #ic& u# accents or irregularities in their s#eech such as !y !other4in4law's strong southern 0Te as accent$ 9ersus so!eone with a 7ritish English accent so!ething (iewed !ore as %eing .distinguished/ she is loo&ed down u#on as %eing unintelligent si!#ly for the way she s#ea&s$ I learned how horri%le it is to do that to so!eone and I wouldn't e(er want to do that only to reali+e that I ha(e$ That is another lesson I learned throughout this acti(ity$ I didn't discri!inate against anyone  %ut I did #rofle the!$ We did learn that African A!ericans ha(e their own language and it uses #hrases such as .I %e:/ or .it %e:/ e cluding the word .would/$ I used to thin& that #eo#le who s#o&e that way were uneducated or at least not as those who .s#o&e correctly$/ After learning that !y #re(ious notion was co!#letely incorrect I felt %ad %ut with this new &nowledge I could change the way I thin& and acti(ely a(oid doing it again$ These lessons are only a few that I ha(e learned this se!ester a!ong !any others$ I honestly didn't thin& I'd en6oy this class as !uch as I ha(e$ Also I didn't thin& I'd e(er loo& at language including !y own the way I do now$ This course not only taught !e a%out language %ut !yself as well and how I should correct so!e as#ects of !y thin&ing when it concerns language$ I feel fortunate to ha(e had an instructor who had such a #assion as well as %eing credi%le 0she was e(en 5uoted in our te t%oo&s; I really en6oyed and learned a lot in this course and I would certainly reco!!end it to !y fellow #eers$
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