Anthropology Linguistics is an interdisciplinary field that investigates the relationship that subsists between language and culture (Ahearn, 2012). Each country possesses its own unique culture that evidently describes the way of life that has been adopted by its people. Although different countries may speak the similar or different languages, there are distinctive factors that define how their language influences their social life. This report will describe the language used in two popular America TV shows, the observable similarities of differences in the way people speak within these shows, how the language portrays the relationship of individuals, and an explanation on the instances of code-switching evidenced in the shows.
Description of Languages Used in the TV shows
TV shows: Game of Thrones & Suits
There are two distinct languages used in both these TV shows. Suits make use of the modern English language as the show is based on aspects of the law as well as relationships in the office setting. This depicts the modern day American culture and mixed experiences from different parts of the world. On the other hand, Game of Thrones makes use of the Old English which is the earliest form of the English language preferably known as common language in the TV show (Atherton, 2006). This represents a quaint and uncontaminated form of ancient cultural experience as portrayed by the characters.
Discernible Differences in the Way Characters Speak in the Two Shows
The way the characters speak in both TV shows also portray huge differences. The modern English used in suits is more direct and compacted. Its uses prestigious accent (received pronunciation) as well as Standard English, which is a form of dialect commonly used by business people. This is contrary to the Old English used in the Game of Thrones whereby characters used words with numerous inflectional endings and forms as well as a much freer word order.
How Language Provided an Indication of Social Relationships of Individuals
Both these languages illustrate the kind of social relationships that exists between individuals. For instance, the modern form of language used in suits expresses the give-and-take type of social relationship that focuses on deals and contracts rather than healthy mutual relationships between individuals. However, the old English used in Game of Thrones portrays a much closer form of social relationship as the characters often exhibit a careful selection of words and emphasis on mutual understanding.
Code-switching occurs in the Game of Thrones where a character alternates between two languages (Kawaguchi, 2007). This occurs in Astaphor when Daenerys Targaryen negotiates with Krasnys for an army of slaves. The conversation is held in both the common tongue and the Valyrian language (a fictional language) with the aids of a translator. When Daenerys offers one of her dragons as a means of payment, Krasnys promptly becomes interested and bargains for three dragons using the common language which Daenerys speaks. The use of code switching by Krasynys, in this case, was primarily aimed at reinforcing his request concerning the number of dragons he wanted in exchange for the army.
In light of the above, language proves vital in understanding the social relationships between different cultures. This is due to the difference in language and its associated aspects of speech, accent and dialect that depicts their different experiences. The type of social relationships within and among these individuals are expressed through the type of language they speak as well. Coupled with code switching, which emphasizes on these social relationships, these aspects of language are essential elements in the anthropology linguistic study to gain knowledge on the American culture.
Ahearn, L. (2012). Living Language. Chichester, West Sussex, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.
Atherton, M. (2006). Old English. Blacklick, OH: McGraw-Hill.
Kawaguchi, Y. (2007). Corpus-based perspectives in linguistics. Amsterdam [etc.]: John Benjamins.
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