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What is Culture
 The simplest way to think about culture is
 to think about the distinction between
 nature and nurture…culture represents
 the created or constructed part of who we
Culture is…
 Culture = learned behavior
 Culture = constructed
 Culture = not organic
 Culture = communication
    By Definition…
 Culture involves the following:
   1. Symbols – anything that
      represents something else
   2. Language – written or spoken
      symbols organized in a system
   3. Values – shared beliefs (right
      vs wrong)
   4. Norms – acceptable behavior
      (mores, folkways, taboos)
   5. Technology – tools and how
      we use them
Material Culture
 Material Culture: all the physical objects, resources and spaces
  people use to differentiate one culture from any other.
Material Culture
 Material Culture: all the physical objects, resources and spaces
  people use to differentiate one culture from any other.
Material Culture
 Material Culture: all the physical objects, resources and spaces
  people use to differentiate one culture from any other.
  Non-material Culture
 All the nonphysical components of culture: beliefs,
 values, rules, norms, morals, language, organizations
 that define a group‘s ways of thinking
  Is our culture natural?
 “Culture Shock” – disorientation
 people experience when they come
 into contact with a fundamentally
 different culture and can no longer
 rely on their taken for granted
 assumptions of life
Are we “normal”?
   Ethnocentrism vs. Cultural Relativism
 Ethnocentrism: The tendency to
  view one's own culture as best and to
  judge the behavior and beliefs of
  people in other societies by one's
  own standards.

 Cultural relativism: The idea that
  one should try to evaluate and
  understand another culture/society
  on its own terms and relative to its
  own values and beliefs.
  In 1997…

 Annette Sorensen, 30 an actress from Copenhagen,
  Denmark, and Exavier Wardlaw, 49, a movie production
  assistant from Brooklyn, NY, were arrested for leaving
  their 14-month old daughter outside a Manhattan
  restaurant on a chilly day while they ate inside the
  restaurant. They left the child in her baby carriage on
  the sidewalk. Many passersby called 911 to alert the
  police. New York authorities took the child away from
  her parents and temporarily placed her in foster care.

 Is this an appropriate response to Sorensen‘s actions?
In the ensuing article in the NY Times,
  one Danish commentator observed that leaving a baby outside of a
   restaurant is a very common practice in Denmark. The
   commentator wrote, ―Often, Danish parents…leave their babies
   outside. For one thing, Danish baby carriages are enormous.
   Babies ride high above the world on horse-carriage sized wheels.
   It‘s hard to get such a carriage into a café…Besides, Danish cafes
   are very smoky places.‖ The commentator continued, ―in
   Denmark, people have an almost religious conviction that fresh air,
   preferably cold air, is good for children. All Danish babies nap
   outside, even in freezing weather—tucked warmly under their
   plump goose-down comforters…In Denmark all children own a
   sort of polar survival suit that they wear from October to April and
   they go out every day, even in winter.‖
How many of you…
 have a dog?

 Does your family treat the dog like a member of the family?
  What role does it play in the dynamic of your family?
Bosintang in Korea

               Sources of protein have historically been
                 scarce in Korea, but dog has been a
               consistently been the most cost-efficient,
                      readily available source of
                 meat…currently a lot of controversy!
Has anyone…
 Recently gone to a funeral?

 Describe the events leading up to and including the funeral.
Tibetan Sky-Burial, Jhator

                    Buddhist monks dissect the body
                    of the deceased, place it on the
                    mountain top for the vultures to
                    eat. Afterward, they crush the
                    bones with mallets, mix the dust
                    with barley flour and yak milk and
                    feed it to the crows
You’re getting ready…
 To enter adulthood.

 In our culture, what rituals or events mark the shift from
  childhood/adolescence to adulthood?
Becoming a Warrior , Satere-Mawe Tribe

                 Must wear “gloves” filled with bullet
                 ants for 30 minutes – 25 times in a
Lip Plates
Mursi & Suri Tribes in Ethiopia

                Lip plate indicates the number of cattle
                paid as the bride price… “gauging” begins
                6-12 months before marriage (15-18)
    Masai Tribe of Kenya
  In Kenya, Maasai warriors
regularly consume cow’s blood
  mixed with its milk, but also
 drink it directly from the vein
      after a bloodletting.
The Price of Beauty
Ugandan Marriage Rituals

 In American culture, what does the ―ideal‖ woman
 look like - in other words, what is the definition
 of feminine beauty in our culture?
Reflection Paper
 Due, Thursday, March 3rd
 30 Points
 Please be analytical rather than anecdotal…
   What did the simulation infer about the ways
   we interact with people who are different from
   us…stereotyping, assumptions, ethnocentrism,
 We are going to communicate
 strictly by nonverbal means
 You must not talk or vocalize in any way.
 Line up according to birth date. For example, January 3
  before January 18, then March 7, May 12, etc. The year of
  birth is not important. There should not be any verbal
   What means of non verbal communication did you use?
   What made you uncomfortable?
   What gestures did you use?
What are the primary means of
communication in our culture?
 Nonverbal Communication
   Gestures
   Eye contact & facial expressions
   Proxemics
   Haptic Communication
 Language
 Values
 Norms
Please read…
 The non-verbal communication hand out. When you come
  across italic text, please stop and actively reflect on the
  questions posed by jotting down your thoughts.
 In your groups, make a list of as many gestures that
  are commonly used in the US.
   Identify the meaning behind the gesture
 Waving (hello, goodbye, in dismissal, or       Raising an eyebrow
    to get attention)                            Averting eyes when speaking or spoken to
   Cuckoo sign (circling finger at temple)      Rolling eyes
   Emphatic fist in the air with locked         Smiling (warmly or sarcastically)
    elbow                                        Shaking hands
   High five                                    Crossing fingers (for luck or to indicate an
   Fist Bump                                    Pointing to something with a forefinger (to
   Shrugging shoulders ("I don't know," or       indicate or accuse)
    "I don't care.")                             Folding arms across the chest (indicating cold or
   Shaking head "no"
                                                 Winking (to be flirtatious or to indicate a private
   Nodding head "yes"                            joke)
   Making an OK sign with thumb and             Social (as opposed to romantic) kissing
      Take A Look…
    At what some common gestures actually mean around the
 Middle East:
   Use only the right hand for greetings and giving/receiving things -
    left hand is the ―toileting‖ hand.
   Showing the bottom of the shoe or sandal is very inconsiderate.
    Avoid crossing the legs at the knee while seated.
   Tapping or rubbing the two index fingers side by side is a crude
    gesture asking someone to have sex with you.
 Mongolia and parts of China:
   the pinky finger up alone with the rest of the of the fingers folded
    down is the equivalent of our ―thumbs down‖
 Latin America:
   Gently pulling the lower eyelid down can indicate sarcasm or a
   Slapping the bottom of one elbow with the open palm of the other
    hand means someone is cheap.
      Gestures or Subtle Cues
 When you get in line, far do you stand behind the person in
  front of you?
   US 1.5 - 4 feet, Russia 1-2 inches
 When you speak to someone how much eye contact do you
  make? What does eye contact symbolize in our culture?
   US eye contact = reliability and honesty
   Latin America = threatening and aggressive
    Gestures or Subtle Cues
 How often do you smile at people
  you don‘t know?
   US = friendly, warm, inviting
   Far East = cover up for
    embarrassment, fury or confusion
   Germany = reserved for family
   France = you must be dumb!
                        Smirk                 Sweet Smile

Cocky Smile

                                  Shy Smile

Deviant Smile
                Seductive Smile
    Can you spot the fake smile?

      REAL                                 FAKE
     Everyone get with a partner…
 Everyone stand up!
 I need you to stand toe-to-to facing one
 For the next two minutes I would like
  you to carry on a conversation face to
 Communicating through ―personal space‖
 Concentric circles where the closer areas are reserved
  for more trusted people.
    Intimate: touching to 10 inches; close friends &
    Casual-personal: 18 inches to 4 feet: Informal
     conversation w/friends.
    Social-consultative: 4-12 feet: formal transactions.
Proxemics throughout the world
 USA - 18 inches between 2 speakers
 Western Europe - 14-16 inches (US 24
  inches = most comfortable)
 Korea & China - 36 inches
 Middle Eastern cultures - 8-12 inches;
  wider distances are looked down upon.
Blog Posting
 By Friday, try to break the rules of proxemic
  Example: Stand too close to someone when
   you are talking to them
  Example: When standing in line, move close to
   the person in front of you
 Post on the blog what you did and the
 reactions of the people around you. Don‘t
 assault anyone!
      Haptic Communication
 Communication through touch
  Can be sexual or plutonic…where are safe zones?
  One of the most important senses (somatosensory) for
   human development
  What are some ways we communicate through touch?
Touch around the world…
 Who touches? Middle Easterners, Latin
  Americans, Mediterranean cultures
 Who doesn‘t touch? Japan, Americans, Canadians,
  UK, Australia
Touch around the world…
 Saudi Arabia - There is a decent amount of
  touching between members of the same gender
  during conversations. It is common for two men
  to walk hand in hand in public
 Mongolia - It's common to see people riding in
  each other’s laps on the bus, standing right next
  to one another (touching) in public
 Thailand - touching someone’s head is
  considered extremely rude
 Speech vs. Language…what’s the
    Speech = articulation, voice, fluency
    Language = meaning
       Polysemics, conjugation, pragmatics,
        syntax & grammar
 Language is always changing and is
 reflective of society’s changes:
   Bromance, frenemy, wardrobe malfunction,
    defriend, flashmob, green-collar, locavore,
    staycation, vlog, soul patch, muggle,
    snowmageddon, butt-dial, facepalm
Text Language
 143            AYS
 10X            BRB
 1DR            BTW
 2MI            CTN
 2MOR           HMU
 2NTE           TTYL
 AITR           SMH
Text Language
 143 (I love you)      AYS (Are you serious)
 10X (Thanks)          BRB (Be right back)
 1DR (I wonder)        BTW (By the way)
 2MI (Too much         CTN (Can‘t talk now)
  information)          HMU (Hit me up)
 2MOR (Tomorrow)       TTYL (Talk to you later)
 2NTE (Tonight)        SMH (Shaking my head)
 AITR (Adult in the
 Language provides a shared past,
  shared future, and shared/opposed
   Pittsburghese
    Regionalisms in United States English
 What is a generic term for a sweetened carbonated beverage?
    Soda, pop, Coke, tonic
 What is a drink made with milk and ice cream?
    Milkshake, frappe, Cabinet (RI), egg cream (NY, CT, NJ)
 What is a long sandwich that contains cold cuts, lettuce, and so on?
    Hero, submarine, grinder, hoagie, po‘boy
 What is a rubber-soled shoes worn in gym class, for athletic activities,
   Sneaker vs. tennis shoe
 What do you call the thing you put groceries in at the supermarket?
   Buggy, carriage (New England), cart
   Regionalisms in the US: California
 vowels of hock and hawk, cot and caught, are
  pronounced the same—so awesome rhymes
  with possum
 vowels all have a tendency to move forward
  in the mouth, so that the vowel in dude or
  spoon (as in gag me with a…) sounds a little
  like the word you
 boat and loan often sound like bewt and lewn
 the vowel in but and cut is also moving
  forward so that these words sound more like
  bet and ket.
Regionalisms in the US: Cajun
 Talk extremely fast, their vowels are clipped, and
  French terms abound in their speech
 Diphthongs turn to monophthongs, so a word like
  high turns into ha, just as the word tape turns into
 Words that typically have the first syllable stressed
  often find the second syllable stressed
 ―Making groceries‖ ―zink‖ (instead of sink)
      Regionalisms in the US: New
 The 'r' sound is dropped whenever possible. 'Pahk the cah at Hahvahd
    yahd' (Park the car at Harvard yard)
   In words like 'park', 'calf' and 'car', the tongue is raised while making
    the 'a' sound, which broadens and emphasizes the sound considerably.
    'Calf' becomes 'caaaf'. 'Car' is 'caaah'.
   Words ending in '-er' or '-ar' sound like '-ah' at the end ('disappear'
    becomes 'disappeah', 'after' becomes 'afta').
   At the end of a word, the suffix '-ure' tends to get replaced with a '-sha'
    sound so that 'capture' becomes 'capsha' and nature becomes 'nate-sha'.
   Especially common in Maine and other parts of New England is the
    habit of putting an '-er' sound at the end of words that end in 'a'. For
    example, 'I have an idear, let's get in the cah and drive to Canader and
    then fly to Havanner, Cuber!'
Lost in Translation…Engrish
Lost in Translation…Engrish
Lost in Translation…Engrish
Lost in Translation…Engrish
Lost in Translation…Engrish
Lost in Translation…Engrish
Lost in Translation…Engrish
Why is language important?
 The Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis:
   Language not only allows us to communicate, but also
   shapes the way we look at the world
     E.g. in the Hopi language, there is no word to differentiate
      between past, present or future…
     E.g. in Inuit, there are hundreds of words for snow
     E.g. if we didn‘t have words to differentiate the jocks from
      the preps from the nerds, we wouldn‘t have those categories
How do we develop language?
 Nativism - we‗re born with the
 ability to develop language

 Interactionism - social acquisition
 by being around adults (social)
 The Linguist – What
 happens when languages
 are on the brink of
    Two sociolinguists travel
     around the world
     attempting to document
     languages before they die
  The Linguists
 What did you think
  about the film?
 Anything you found
  interesting or worth
Language is Hard…

 Let‘s test out the limits of our language…2 volunteers
  (one teacher and one learner)
 The basic units of sound in a language
   Use of different phonemes = new words (e.g, ―ch‖ is a
    different phoneme from ―th‖ as ―chug‖ is different from

     Chug!                              Thug!
Developing Language Game
    Goal of the Game…
 In your group you will work to create a brand new language
 Since we only have one period we‘ll make it simple:
   Each group has five (5) different phonemes
   Your goal is to ―name‖ your ―world‖ (shapes of various sizes)
Your “World”

               k h grobman -
  Goal of the Game…
 At the end of 20 minutes your goal will be the following:
   Two members of the group (the ―teachers‖) should be
    able to say a word or a string of words that you
    created, and two other members (the ―learners‖) of
    your group should be able to pick up that object that
    corresponds with the word.
     Essentially you will replicate the demonstration we started
      class with, but using your created language!
Your Phonemes
    Your group gets to use 5 phonemes. Each group has a
    unique set. Here’s a sample that does not match any
    actual group:

    ch     chair, beach, nature    affricate
    u      soon, through, boot     monophthong

    This means you get the sounds /ch/ and /u/. You do not
    get the sound /t/ even though a ‘t” is in bold. The words
    in the middle illustrate the use of the phoneme. The right
    column tells you the type of phoneme; it’s how your
    mouth, tongue, and vocal cords move. You can combine
    your phonemes in any way.
     Your Phonemes
ch     chair, beach, nature          affricate
u      soon, through, boot           monophthong

 You can make the following words out of the above phonemes:

Chu (ch-oo)
Uch (oo-ch)
Chuch (ch-oo-ch)
Uchu (oo-ch-oo)
  …And so on
Small = chu
Pink = uch
Square = chuch
Small, pink square = chu-uch-chuch
  Rules of the Game
 During the game, you can only speak with your
  groups‘ phonemes.
 You can take notes (with English) to help reduce the
  working memory demands of the game. But do not
  show anybody what you wrote.
   When we test you at the end you cannot
    use your notes!
   You can use English for the purpose of giving
    directions (e.g. ―put the chu-uch-chuch at the
 Ready. Set.
 Whole Object Constraint
  How did you know that when I said ―goobar‖ I meant
  Why didn‘t you think I meant wood, graphite, yellow?
  This is what we do when we learn language…we
   associate the entire object with the word!
 Language Explosion
   As we start learning language around the age of
    two, we start to learn words incredibly fast:
    about 10 to 20 new words a week!
     Mostly nouns
   Have you begun to experience a language
 Pragmatics
  "The spy sees the police officer with the
   Who has the gun? Why?
  "The spy sees the police officer with the
   Who has the binoculars? Why?
  Have you used any pragmatics so far while
  you were playing the game?
     k h grobman -
     k h grobman -
     k h grobman -
     k h grobman -
     k h grobman -
     k h grobman -
How did….
 you develop your language?
 what was hard or frustrating?

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