Linguistic anthropology without foreign languages?

<p>Hi all. I absolutely adore linguistic anthropology, but seem to be unable to learn any foreign languages of my own. Is it advisable or even possible to get an advanced degree in linguistic anthropology without being even bilingual?</p>

<p>I’ve been looking into linguistic anthroplogy (as well as anthropological linguistics) ph.d. programs and most of the programs I’ve found have stated you should have “working knowledge” of a foreign language. Usually this means taking an exam where it proves you know the language. This isn’t always the case, though- some programs don’t require knowledge of a foreign language at all. I think it will depend on what specifically you hope to study, as well as the program itself.</p>

<p>Why do you think you’re unable to learn any foreign languages?</p>

<p>There are many levels of language fluency. Don’t worry about not being bilingual!</p>

<p>Since you have mastered your first language, clearly the language centers of your brain are fully functional. Acquiring a second language is a matter of motivation and of finding an instructor who uses a teaching methodology that makes sense to you. Not all students respond the same way to every methodology. For fun reading on this topic, see [Books</a> and Articles by Stephen D Krashen](<a href=“]Books”></p>

<p>I know several professors on either the linguistics side or the anthropology side of linguistic anthropology. All of them are complete polyglots – not just two or three languages, they are competent in 10+, many of them obscure. I can’t imagine being in that field unless learning a whole bunch of weird languages is something you are excited about doing and feel confident about.</p>

<p>So . . . formal requirement or not, it’s hard to imagine taking on a linguistic anthropology student who says “I can’t learn a foreign language”. There are lots of applicants for most positions, and it’s far too easy to take one who says “I love learning languages, here are three I’ve studied in the past two years”, or something like that.</p>

<p>If you don’t think you can learn foreign languages easily yourself, then why are you interested in doing this field?</p>

<p>To clear things up for some posters. I apparently have a low verbal memory capacity which makes it very difficult for me to learn the spoken aspect of languages. I would like to become fluent in a second language someday, but it is going to take me a very long time. </p>

<p>As for why I am interested in linguistic anthropology. I love learning about how people judge others based on their accent, speech mannerism, or dialects. For example, how a person may be perceived differently if they speak African American vernacular as opposed to American Standard. How some people will change their speech mannerisms depending on what group they are interacting with. I’m more interested in dialects and vernaculars than languages tbh.</p>

<p>What you’re interested in isn’t really linguistic anthropology. What I think you’re looking for is sociolinguistics, which studies exactly the things you listed as interests. Try Googling this and see if what comes up doesn’t ring your bell.</p>

<p>Fortunately, if you’re willing to stick to studying English-speaking countries, you may not wind up needing to learn another language. I mean, knowing some of the minority languages like Spanish could help, but maybe it wouldn’t be critical.</p>



<p>Hmm, maybe I’ve been a little mislead about what linguistic anthropologists study. I am an anthro major, but my school doesnt really have much in terms of linguistic anthropology. What kinds of things would a linguistic anthropologist study?</p>

<p>Please do not consider me an expert, but I have taken both types of courses and there seems to be a slight difference between sociolinguistics (which would fall within socio-cultural programs) and linguistic anthropology (which actually seems to fall into linguistic programs). Sociolinguistics is the study of language within culture–class, diction slides, slang, vernacular speech in general, etc. The professors I know who were interested in sociolinguistics are trained socio-cultural anthropologists and usually have other interests (such as gender, class, race or ethnicity). Linguistic anthropology, which my memory is hazy since I only learned about it in my required linguistic course too many years ago, is the study of language through the lens of anthropology as opposed to syntax or phonemes. For example, pidgeons, the creation of new languages, computer-based language, language families, etc. These people are polyglots to the nth degree. Many know how to say every phoneme in the book, even if they do not speak a language that use that sound.</p>