1. University of Virginia
  2. Arts & Sciences

Linguistic Anthropology Seminar

The Linguistic Anthropology Seminar is an informal, interdisciplinary venue for presentations of work by faculty, students, and visiting scholars in linguistic anthropology, linguistics, and related fields.

Current Seminar Schedule

Seminars are usually held on Friday afternoons in the Second Floor Conference Room of Brooks Hall. Note that this room is up a long flight of stairs. If you would like to come but would find the stairs prohibitive, please contact the organizer so that alternative arrangements can be made.

To volunteer a talk or propose a discussion topic, contact Lise Dobrin.


Thursday, April 13, 5-7pm        EVENT CANCELLED: We will try to reschedule next Fall.

Amy Paugh, Department of Anthropology, James Madison University

A discussion on the concept of "sociolinguistic scale"

Amy will be leading us in a discusison of the concept of "sociolinguistic scale" and its potential applications and utility. There are two short background readings for this event: 

1. The first 11 pages of the introduction to the book Scale: Discourse and Dimensions of Social Life (2016), edited by E. Summerson Carr and Michael Lempert. The entire book is availabe open access via Luminos at: http://www.luminosoa.org/site/books/10.1525/luminos.15/

2. A short article entitled "Further Notes on Sociolinguistic Scales" by Jan Blommaert, Elina Westinen, and Sirpa Leppänen which was published in the journal Intercultural Pragmatics in 2015. 

Amy Paugh is Professor of Anthropology at James Madison University. Her research and publications focus on language and identity, language socialization, multilingualism, creole languages and cultures, and work and family. She has conducted fieldwork in Dominica in the Caribbean, and in Los Angeles, California. Her most recent book is Playing with Languages: Children and Change in a Caribbean Village (Berghahn Books, 2012). Her website can be found at: http://www.jmu.edu/socanth/anth/paugha.shtml


Friday, April 7, 4-6pm

Olivier Le Guen, Center for Advanced Study in Social Anthropology (CIESAS), Mexico

"A Linguistic and Cultural Approach to Epistemicity among the Yucatec Mayas (Mexico)"

According to Grice (Lecture 2:15): "Interlocutors are expected to meet the informational need of their interactional partner(s), i.e. if a speaker has access to the information required by the hearer, then he is expected to communicate that information to the hearer." It might be the case that speaker is expected to share the information, this does not mean however that (s)he willingly shares that information. Many recent cross-cultural studies in non-Western industrial cultures have challenged some "basic" conversational principles: in Madagascar (Ochs Keenan, 1976), in the Pacific (Duranti, 1992; Robbins & Rumsey, 2008; Rosaldo, 1980; Rumsey, 2013; Schieffelin, 2008 inter alia), and in Mesoamerica (Brown, (2002); Groark, (2013) for the Tseltal Maya in Mexico and Danziger (2006, 2013) for the Mopan of Belize). In this paper I will consider the management of epistemicity among the Yucatec Mayas of Mexico. I am interested in understanding not only the function of the evidential particle in Yucatec Maya but also its use and moreover, the cultural context in which it fits. More particularly, I will present and analyze what constitutes rules for knowledge acquisition and evaluation among the Yucatec Mayas, both children and adults.