Feliciano-Santos, Sherina, U. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - To aid research on 'Taíno Language and Cultural Revival: An Ethnographic Study of Language Ideologies in Emerging Language Varieties,' supervised by Dr. Barbra Allyn Meek
SHERINA FELICIANO-SANTOS, then a student at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, received a grant in May 2007 to aid research on 'Taino Language and Cultural Revival: An Ethnographic Study of Ideologies, Emerging Language Practices, and Relatedness,' supervised by Dr. Barbara A. Meek. This research considers what is at stake in claiming and establishing a contemporary Taíno identity in Puerto Rico. Considering that Taíno peoples conventionally have been presumed to be extinct -- according to widely circulating historical narratives of Puerto Rico and the Caribbean -- this study provides a grounded analysis of the face-to-face interactions involved in actively affirming and organizing around an extant Taíno heritage. Based on ethnographic fieldwork among four Taíno organizations, this research found that group recruitment and maintenance strategies were reflected in the emergence of distinctive Taíno linguistic practices. This study is concerned with how these emerging linguistic practices relate to the building of distinctive authorizing and legitimizing routines, the differentiation of Taíno groups and the production of relatedness among Taíno peoples. This analysis of the everyday social interactions involved in the recruitment and maintenance of Taíno groups in Puerto Rico shows how emergent practices of constructing relatedness may complicate social as well as sociolinguistic landscapes. This project, though focused on Taíno resurgence, applies to any context wherein people are redefining themselves by reconfiguring their relatedness to each other by institutionalizing or de-regimenting different modes of belonging.
Harris, Dr. John William Kendal, Rutgers U., New Brunswick, NJ; and Mbua, Dr. Emma N., National Museums of Kenya, Nairobi, Kenya - To aid collaborative research on 'International Collaborative Paleoanthropological Research Project (lcpr), Ileret, Kenya'
Knight, Dr. Vernon James, U. Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL - To aid preparation of the personal research materials of Dr. C. Earle Smith for archival deposit with the National Anthropological Archives, Suitland, Maryland
Minks, Amanda, Columbia U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'Expressive Practices and Identity Formation among Miskitu Children,' supervised by Dr. Aaron A. Fox
AMANDA MINKS, while a student at Columbia University, New York, New York, received funding in June 2002 to aid research on 'Expressive Practices and Identity Formation among Miskitu Children,' supervised by Dr. Aaron A. Fox. In the past thirty years, Miskitu Indians have migrated in increasing numbers from mainland Nicaragua to Com Island, off the Caribbean coast. This migration has transformed the social and political landscape of the island, which, since the nineteenth century, has been populated primarily by English-speaking Creole people. Also transformed are the expressive and socializing practices of Miskitu islanders. The aim of the research supported by Wenner-Gren was to document the repertoires of Miskitu children's expressive practices across a range of contexts, providing a lens on shifting processes of socialization among peers and across generations. The term expressive practices encompasses a range of interrelated communicative activities (musical, linguistic, and kinetic) approached from the perspectives of style, performance, and poetics. The imagination is key not only in terms of children's play activities, but also in terms of developing social imaginaries that construct ties among people across time and space. Children were observed in formal socializing contexts, such as the school and the church, as well as the informal contexts of home and outdoor play spaces. Audio recordings of children's interaction were transcribed in collaboration with Miskitu consultants, and interviews were conducted with adults dealing with topics such as migration histories, gender roles, socialization practices, religion, and labor. This research attempts to make connections between the large-scale political and economic forces that are radically changing Com Island's social structure, and the small-scale interactions in which children are socialized - and socialize one another - in a multilingual, culturally diverse environment.
Slotta, James, U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Dialect, Register, & the Big-Man: Social Organization of Sporadic Linguistic Innovations in Yupno, Papua New Guinea,' supervised by Dr. Michael Silverstein
JAMES SLOTTA, then a student at University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, was awarded a grant in May 2007 to aid research on 'Dialect, Register, & the Big-Man: Social Organization of Sporadic Linguistic Innovations in Yupno, Papua New Guinea,' supervised by Dr. Michael Silverstein. The research has resulted in the detailed documentation of five dialects of the previously undocumented Yopno language (Papua New Guinea). In addition to documenting the relatively stable features of the phonology and grammar, dozens of hours of recordings of natural speech were transcribed to provide access to the more variable and evanescent qualities of Yopno speech, as well as to provide an indication of the textual and social emplacement of Yopno language material in various Yopno communities. The research highlights the far-reaching ways that social, cultural, and textual factors structure Yopno grammar and phonology, as well as the diversity of Yopno dialects. All Yopno speakers have some familiarity with several of the many dialects of the language and use words from other dialects in interactions to construct and maintain ties of relatedness to relatives outside of their patrilineal clans who live in other dialect areas. The tension between patrilineal relatedness as a basis for clan formation and cognatic relatedness as a basis for village and larger units of social organization and exchange gets played out interactionally through the use of linguistic variants. The organization of such multi-dialectalism is an important factor in constructing an adequate description of Yopno phonology.
Boltokova, Daria, U. of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada - To aid research on 'Betwixt and Between: Studying Processes of Language Hybridization among Sakha Youth,' supervised by Dr. Patrick Moore
Preliminary abstract: In my research, I am theorizing processes of language hybridization through an ethnographic study of generational differences in the linguistic practices of Sakha people residing in Russia's far northeast. Most accounts of linguistic hybridity in anthropology frame hybrid language use in terms of 'code-switching' and 'code-mixing' on the assumption that speakers remain fluent in the languages they combine. Less considered are the cumulative effects of prolonged switching and mixing on fluency itself, particularly across generations. I ask: When and how do processes of hybridization like mixing and switching lead to the emergence of novel hybrid language practices? To answer this question, first, I explore the social and political factors driving processes of language hybridization among Sakha youth and, second, document the growth of Sakha-Russian hybrid language forms in practice. For scholars studying the Sakha people, this research provides a more accurate picture of contemporary Sakha language practices. For anthropologists more generally, this research offers a more refined conceptual toolkit for theorizing processes of language hybridization in multilingual communities, both elsewhere in Russia and around the world.
Floyd, Dr. Simeon I., Max Planck Inst., Nijmegen, Netherlands - To aid workshop on 'The Grammar of Knowledge Asymmetries: 'Conjunct/Disjunct' Alignment from a Cross-Linguistic Perspective,' 2011, Boulder, CO, in collaboration with Dr. Lila San Roque
Preliminary abstract: Knowledge is negotiated in speech according to specific norms of interaction and grammar. 'Conjunct/Disjunct' (C/D) alignment systems are an under-studied grammatical expression of such negotiations. Verbs are marked as 'conjunct' in first person statements or in second person questions, and as 'disjunct' in other situations, picking out the participant with the highest epistemic authority. C/D systems have been described for languages of the Himalayas, the Caucasus, Andean South America and Highlands New Guinea, but have not yet been well-studied in cross-linguistic perspective. C/D systems are relevant for theories of social cognition: the morphology reflects the exchangeability of viewpoint with others, a topic that is currently being taken up as 'intersubjectivity' in linguistic and evolutionary anthropology, as well as in interaction studies. This workshop will bring together for the first time specialists working in four geographic areas where C/D alignment is attested to form a scholarly community, address conceptual and terminological divides between specific regional traditions and build towards a cross-linguistically viable framework for further work. A focus on C/D forms in interaction will highlight their relevance for social behavior more broadly, allowing this emerging area of linguistic typology to contribute to research on the social organization of intersubjective knowledge.
Hein, Emily Carter, U. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - To aid research on 'Out of the Archive: Coptic Language Ideologies in Berlin, Germany,' supervised by Dr. Judith T. Irvine
EMILY JANE HEIN, then a student at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, received funding in November 2005 to aid research on 'Out of the Archive: Coptic Language Ideologies in Berlin, Germany,' supervised by Dr. Judith T. Irvine. This project examined the role of the sacred language of Coptic in creating an imagined community for Copts in Berlin, Germany. It explored ideas about Coptic and its relationship to social phenomena (known as language ideologies) as they emerge in textual practices between the Coptic Orthodox Christian community and the academic Coptology community in Germany. Using the techniques of participant observation, interviews, and recording spontaneous conversation, the grantee focused on the three sites where these communities are becoming interconnected: the church, the university, and the monastery. Research findings indicate that it is the act of speaking in structured ways -- independent of particular codes such as Coptic -- that is a defining element of imagined community for Copts in the diaspora. This focus on the pragmatics of language may undermine projects of Coptic language maintenance or revival, but facilitates the creation of the Christian ecumene as a larger religious diaspora in which Copts claim membership. The research findings confirm the importance of focusing on the role of religion, and particularly religious language, in creating new transnational communities.