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Related to Ethnolinguistics: descriptive linguistics
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



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.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
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).
From their perspectives in archaeology, archaeolinguistics, ethnolinguistics, and bioanthropology they explore such topics as migration in fluid social landscapes, movement and the unsettling of the Pueblos, using cognitive semantics to relate Mesa Verde archaeology to modern Pueblo languages, loanword histories and the demography of migration, migration in anthropological genetics, and evolutionary models of migration in human prehistory and their anthropological significance.
The author highlights, on the way, the various disciplines involved (anthropology, history, literature and ethnolinguistics) and some of the leading figures who have promoted the study of oral literature since the 1930s: Griaule, Paulme, Calame-Griaule, Derive, Seydou and Gorog-Karady.
It also contributes to current interdisciplinary debates on the notions of "alterity," "community," and "national identity." Further, Michlic is astute in explaining the role of "ethnolinguistics," that is, of the way noxious language uses create and implement hostile social attitudes.
This type of semantics has much in common with the "ethnolinguistics" associated with the names of Edward Sapir and Benjamin Whorf.
Winkelmann brings together ethnolinguistics and Bakhtin's dialogism to analyze the religious language of battered women living in a shelter in the Upper South.
"From History to Myth: A Hopi Example." Studies in Southwestern Ethnolinguistics. The Hague: Mouton, 1967.
(Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1980), 1-24; Paul Kroskrity, "Ethnolinguistics and American Indian Education: Native American Languages and Cultures as a Means of Teaching," in American Indian Policy and Cultural Values: Conflict and Accommodation, ed.