William Foley's Anthropological Linguistics: An Introduction PDF

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By William Foley

ISBN-10: 0631151222

ISBN-13: 9780631151227

It begins from a theoretical standpoint of either language and tradition as conventionalised varieties of located perform and makes use of this as a unifying framework to hide the entire diversity of subject matters as a rule handled lower than the rubric of language and tradition.

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At this juncture, it is useful to heed Anderson’s observation about the perils of cultural anthropology’s failure to deliver an adequate account of the authority of elders. “Only a few of the oldest people,” Anderson writes,” possessed at any given time knowledge of the total cosmological order. 47 In sum, the anthropology of aging, including that concerning Native American traditions, is only beginning to reckon with the religious authority of the elder, with considering old age not simply as a part of the life course but as a salient social distinction pivotal for social relations.

32 If this is also the case among the Ojibwe, as I believe it was and is, then how are we to regard anew the significance of age and the authority of eldership in Ojibwe life? Hallowell, the most likely of the ethnologists to make these interpretive connections, was apparently beginning to do so on this particular issue late in his career. In a posthumously published 1976 essay entitled “Northern Ojibwa Ecological Adaptation and Social Organization,” Hallowell concludes with a series of three observations, and since these are prospective as much as conclusive, a reader can reasonably conjecture that, had he lived longer, Hallowell would have paid even more attention to their elucidation.

Second, eldership came again into pronounced relief a century later in the conscious turn to elders’ authority by Native people in the rekindling of traditions in the 1970s. A story from my own experience can further illustrate the historicity of this tradition and the traditionality of the historical. Ten years ago, I found myself in the packed gym of the Minneapolis American Indian Center, where then freshman Senator Paul Wellstone, along with the head of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, had arranged a town hall meeting with the local Native community.

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Anthropological Linguistics: An Introduction by William Foley

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