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9 - Language, society, and history Towards a unified approach?

from Part II - Process and formation

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 October 2014

N. J. Enfield
Affiliation:
Max Planck Institute
Paul Kockelman
Affiliation:
Yale University, Connecticut
Jack Sidnell
Affiliation:
University of Toronto
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Summary

In this chapter, the author suggests that researchers working at the intersection of language, society, and history would benefit from an approach that more fully integrates the insights of both lines of inquiry. Linguistic anthropologists have approached the language-society-history nexus by analyzing how developments in media technology drive historical, social, and linguistic processes. Comparative historical linguistics has been a primary field in which language, culture, and history have been united analytically. Thus when joined to nuanced understandings of relationships between communities and linguistic patterns, comparative historical linguistic research can produce results harmonious with anthropological inquiry into language, society, and history. The field differentially integrates methods and theories from a diverse set of disciplines, including social history, historical linguistics, linguistic anthropology, and critical theory. Linguistic anthropologists have a range of tools available for producing holistic, nuanced understandings of the field shared by language, society, and history.
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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2014

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