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Related to Ethnolinguistics: descriptive linguistics



the school of linguistics that studies the relationship between a language and the culture of those who speak it, or between the language and psychology of a particular ethnic group.

Ethnolinguistics emerged in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in the USA in connection with extensive ethnographic research that was being carried out on Indian tribes of North and Central America. Initially, ethnolinguistics sought to obtain data from the history of the social relations of primitive peoples by studying corresponding linguistic phenomena; this approach was taken by such scholars as L. H. Morgan, F. Boas, A. L. Kroeber, E. Sapir, and B. Malinowski. One of the objects of study of ethnolinguistics was kinship terms, which were subjected to new methods of linguistic analysis, such as componential analysis.

In the mid-20th century, linguists began studying other areas of the lexicon, as well as levels of language. It was established that a close relationship exists between linguistic phenomena, such as methods of structuring meaning, and nonlinguistic cultural phenomena; this fact was incorporated in the Sapirian and Whorfian hypothesis of linguistic relativity. Ethnolinguistics has given rise at various times to racist interpretations of language that have not gained acceptance by scholars.


Shpet, G. G. Vvedenie v etnicheskuiu psikhologiiu, fasc. 1. Moscow, 1927.
Sapir, E. lazyk. Moscow-Leningrad, 1934. (Translated from English.)
Hymes, D. H. “Directions in (Ethno-) Linguistic Theory.” American Anthropologist, 1964, vol. 66, no. 3, part 2. Pages 6–56.


References in periodicals archive ?
The small population known today in Brunei as "Dusun," together with related groups generally known as "Bisaya" in southwestern Sabah, on Labuan Island, and in the Limbang district of Sarawak appear to be all that remains of what, in the sixteenth century, was a major ethnolinguistic group present at the time in small, largely autonomous riverine settlements surrounding Brunei Bay.
However, most ethnolinguistic studies in Canada concentrate on the maintenance of the official, Aboriginal, and Metis languages (Hewson 2000; Johnson 2006; Freeden 1991; Douaud 1982).
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8) "Expressive culture" has always attracted interdisciplinary attention, and while it has received the most focused attention from scholars in fields called folkloristics, folklife studies, or, in Europe, Volkskunde, folk literature research, and European Ethnology (which naturally expands beyond expressive forms but includes them prominently in its scope), the present essay takes the liberty of ignoring disciplinary boundaries and acknowledges instead that the theoretical basis from which students of expressive culture draw are located in disciplines such as anthropology, literary studies and the philosophy of language and art, as well as specializations such as ethnolinguistics, semiotics, and in this essay's case, especially ethnomusicology.
The word `ethnopoetics' suggested itself, almost too easily, on the basis of such earlier terms as ethnohistory, ethnomusicology, ethnolinguistics, ethnopharmacology, and so on" (xi).
With the inclusion of the last remark, a typical specimen of racist ethnolinguistics, Bergan uses the discourse of social science against itself.
His work is firmly grounded in the dominant concerns of American cultural anthropology of the time, and is particularly influenced by his supervisors at Yale, Harold Conklin and Floyd Lounsbury, two leading exponents of ethnolinguistics and ethnosemantics at the time.
Key words : Bouchard, Komi, Russia, minority languages, sociolinguistics and ethnolinguistics, Francophones et Western Canada.