ENG 694/ APY 694/ COL 733/ AMS 694


Professor Dennis Tedlock/Fall 2000/Tuesdays 3:30-6:10PM/540 Clemens


For students of literature or cultural anthropology, this will be a seminar on everything you wanted to know about linguistics but were afraid to ask. The issues to be considered will include the Sapir-Whorf-Lee hypothesis (as originally formulated and as subsequently imagined), Jakobsonian poetics, the linguistic roots of structuralism, the roots of logocentrism in alphabetic writing (rather than in the voice), orality and literacy, and dialogical vs. monological approaches to language, culture, and the verbal arts.


For each week’s reading you should bring two copies of a one-page response paper to class, one to hand in and the other to remind you of contributions you might make to the seminar. You will be expected to make one formal presentation to the seminar and prepare a term paper. Alternatives to a term paper may be negotiated.


Office hours are Thurs. 2-4 PM and by appointment (645-3422) in 540 Clemens.


Email address is


Website address is


Books are available at Talking Leaves Bookstore, 3158 Main Street, near the Main Street campus. They are:


Roman Jakobson, Language in Literature.


Deborah Tannen, You Just Don’t Understand.


Dennis Tedlock and Bruce Mannheim, The Dialogic Emergence of Culture.



Additional readings available online:


Aristotle. Poetics, parts of chapters 21 and 22.


Bolinger, Dwight. “Meaning and Memory,” from his Aspects of Language.


Dauenhauer, Richard. “Koyukon Riddle-Poems,” from Alcheringa and Symposium of the Whole, edited by Jerome Rothenberg and Diane Rothenberg.


Duranti, Alessandro, ed. “Language Matters in Anthropology: A Lexicon for the Millennium,” a special issue of Journal of Linguistic Anthropology vol. 9, nos. 1 and 2, June 1999 and December 1999.


Frake, Charles. “The Ethnographic Study of Cognitive Systems,” and “How to Ask for a Drink in Subanun,” from his Language and Cultural Description.


Friedrich, Paul. “Linguistic Relativism and Poetic Indeterminacy: A Reformulation of Sapir’s Position,” from his The Language Parallax.


Goffman, Erving. “The Lecture,” from his Forms of Talk.


Lakoff, George, and Zoltán Kövecses. “The Cognitive Model of Anger Inherent in American English,” from Cultural Models in Language and Thought, edited by Dorothy Holland and Naomi Quinn.


Lévi-Strauss, Claude. “The Structural Study of Myth,”from Journal of American Folklore 1955:68.


Malinowski, Bronislaw. “The Meaning of Meaningless Words and the Coefficient of Weirdness,” from Symposium of the Whole, edited by Jerome Rothenberg and Diane Rothenberg.


Nalungiaq. “Magic Words,” from Symposium of the Whole, edited by Jerome Rothenberg and Diane Rothenberg.


Ortiz, Simon. Song, Poetry and Language—Expression and Perception.


Sampson, Geoffrey. “The Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis,” from his Schools of Linguistics.


Sapir, Edward. “Introductory: Language Defined,” from his Language.


Saussure, Ferdinand de. “Nature of the Linguistic Sign,” “The Object of Linguistics,” and “Static and Evolutionary Linguistics,” from his Course in General Linguistics.


Street, Brian. “Literacy and Linguistics,” from his Literacy in Theory and Practice.


Tedlock, Dennis. “The Boy and the Deer,” from his Finding the Center.


Tedlock, Dennis. “Phonography and the Problem of Time,” from his The Spoken Word and the Work of Interpretation.


Tedlock, Dennis. “Toward a Poetics of Polyphony and Translatability,” from Close Listening, edited by Charles Bernstein, and A Book of the Book, edited by Jerome Rothenberg and Steven Clay.


Todd, Loreto. “Introduction,” and “Language and Name,” from his Pidgins and Creoles.


Whorf, Benjamin. “An American Indian Model of the Universe,” and “The Relation of Habitual Thought and Behavior to Language,” from Language, Thought, and Reality, edited by John B. Carroll.