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14769Re: SV: SV: SV: [ANE-2] emic/etic

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  • Peter T. Daniels
    Mar 4, 2013
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      I find this attitude very bizarre in someone who is supposed to be an objective moderator of a discussion list.

      Thank you for the Lett quotation; meanwhile I discovered the Headland et al. (the al. happen to include Pike and Harris) reference and expect to be able to read it on Thursday.

      Lett, unfortunately, assumes that his readers already know what both Pike and Harris meant by the terms.

      In linguistics, the emic items are the ones that matter, the ones that make a difference; there can be any number of different realizations of emic items, and those realizations are the etic items. 

      Thus in English there is only one phoneme /k/, and it has phonetic variants [k^] before a front vowel, [q] before a back vowel, etc., and if you say "qitchen" (using the Arabic-type [q]), everyone will know you said "kitchen" (with a funny accent). Thus in English the k/q difference is phonetic but not phonemic.

      But in Arabic, as everyone here knows, a kalb is a dog and a qalb is a heart, so the k/q distinction _does_ make a difference, so it is phonemic and not merely phonetic in Arabic.

      In Greek 1, and in Hebrew 5, letters have a special shape at the end of a word. The difference between Mem and Mem Sofit is etic, because the two forms have exactly the same function; but one of them happens only to occur at the end of a word. It is an automatically conditioned variant. 

      What is entirely unclear is how this contrast of "makes a difference/doesn't make a difference" got transmogified (by M. Harris?) into a contrast of "what subject knows/what observer knows." In particular, speakers of languages generally do _not_ know that they are consistently making phonetic, non-phonemic, distinctions in their speech. The English-speaker automatically doesn't aspirate a stop after /s/ and has no idea that s/he aspirates stops in some contexts, and doesn't aspirate stops in other contexts.

      The Evans-Pritchard examples is perfectly clear, however. The sainted Evans-Pritchard made a bonehead mistake. It has nothing to do with the fact that 30 years later, someone (M. Harris?) chose to apply a pair of labels to such a situation (that one in particular?).
      --
      Peter T. Daniels grammatim@...


      >________________________________
      > From: Niels Peter Lemche <npl@...>
      >To: "ANE-2@yahoogroups.com" <ANE-2@yahoogroups.com>
      >Sent: Monday, March 4, 2013 2:11 PM
      >Subject: SV: SV: SV: [ANE-2] emic/etic
      >
      >

      >Found this: http://faculty.ircc.cc.fl.us/faculty/jlett/Article%20on%20Emics%20and%20Etics.htm
      >
      >I do not know anything of the status of professor James Lett. But from the article on this distinction I quote:
      >
      >" Besides Pike, the scholar most closely associated with the concepts of "emics" and "etics" is the cultural anthropologist Marvin Harris, who has made the distinction between the emic and etic perspectives an integral part of his paradigm of cultural materialism. Pike and Harris continue to disagree about the precise definition and application of emics and etics (Headland et al. 1990). The most significant area of their disagreement concerns the goal of the etic approach. For Pike, etics are a way of getting at emics; for Harris, etics are an end in themselves. From Pike's point of view, the etic approach is useful for penetrating, discovering, and elucidating emic systems, but etic claims to knowledge have no necessary priority over competing emic claims. From Harris's perspective, the etic approach is useful in making objective determinations of fact, and etic claims to knowledge are necessarily superior to competing emic claims. Pike believes
      that objective knowledge is an illusion, and that all claims to knowledge are ultimately subjective; Harris believes that objective knowledge is at least potentially obtainable, and that the pursuit of such knowledge is essential for a discipline that aspires to be a science."
      >
      >So some sources says Pike, other Harris. What was in this connection important before Daniels started to confuse matters was the use of the distinction which I found in material included in my Early Israel (Vetus Testamentum Supplementum, 37, Brill 1985).
      >
      >And if Daniels would try to read what other people wrote, we would realize that he distorted my Evans-Pritchard example. Evans-Pritchard studied the Nuers in the 1930's. His book came out in 1940. His students visiting the place in the 1950s couldn't find them. The source for this is A. Southall, "Nuer and Dinka are people: Ecology, ethnicity and logical possibility, Man N.S. 11 (1976), 463-491.
      >
      >I know that Daniels studies linguistics, but I didn't know that he also mastered social anthropology. Evidently he got lost when he was confronted by a use of the distinction that has for now been around for 40 years or more. In the way he became the first ever to question the dichotomy between emic and etic as normally used in anthrpology.
      >
      >Otherwise, it would be nice if he would step down and tell us what the distinction really means in light of a generations abuse (in his eyes) of the term.
      >
      >Niels Peter Lemche
      >Copenhagen
      >
      >-----Oprindelig meddelelse-----
      >Fra: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ANE-2@yahoogroups.com] På vegne af Peter T. Daniels
      >Sendt: den 4 mars 2013 19:47
      >Til: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
      >Emne: Re: SV: SV: [ANE-2] emic/etic
      >
      >Thank you. Niels Peter is quite off base in suggesting that Pike had anything to do with the misuse of his own terminology.
      >
      >And it would seem the reference to Evans-Pritchard was at least _two_ generations too early. 
      >--
      >Peter T. Daniels grammatim@...
      >
      >>________________________________
      >> From: Emanuel Pfoh manupfoh@...>
      >>To: "ANE-2@yahoogroups.com" ANE-2@yahoogroups.com>
      >>Sent: Monday, March 4, 2013 9:07 AM
      >>Subject: Re: SV: SV: [ANE-2] emic/etic
      >>
      >>
      >> 
      >>Anthropologists on the emic/etic distinction: I think Marvin Harris was one of the first, if not the first one, in presenting a formal use of this distinction in his *The Nature of Cultural Things* (New York 1964) and in his *The Rise of Anthropological Theory* (London 1968).
      >>
      >>Emanuel Pfoh
      >>National University of La Plata
      >>Argentina
      >>
      >>________________________________
      >>From: Peter T. Daniels grammatim@...>
      >>To: "ANE-2@yahoogroups.comANE-2@yahoogroups.com>
      >>Sent: Monday, March 4, 2013 10:43 AM
      >>Subject: Re: SV: SV: [ANE-2] emic/etic
      >>
      >>
      >> 
      >>Can you provide the reference where someone so badly misinterprets the terms? An anecdote about Evans-Pritchard's failure to learn the language of the people he was "studying" doesn't seem to provide the origin. At least a subsequent generation learned(!) of the distinction between endonyms and exonyms.
      >>
      >>(I don't give a d... for what the anthropologists think.) 
      >>--
      >>Peter T. Daniels grammatim@...
      >>Jersey City
      >>
      >>>________________________________
      >>> From: Niels Peter Lemche npl@...>
      >>>To: "ANE-2@yahoogroups.comANE-2@yahoogroups.com>
      >>>Sent: Sunday, March 3, 2013 10:45 AM
      >>>Subject: SV: SV: [ANE-2] emic/etic
      >>>
      >>>
      >>> 
      >>>Dear Peter,
      >>>
      >>>I do not think that the anthropologists will give a d... for what you think. That is the way it is being used. In social anthropology, as well as in sociology. It is quite like our old discussion about Canaanite script which a historian did not make much sense but nevertheless was the term adopted by philologists.
      >>>
      >>>There will probably be list among anthropologists where you can go and make your complaints. They will probably say that you are right about the origins of the term, but also say that this is the derived way we use it.
      >>>
      >>>The last sentence was a spin off from the discussion, and should be read in context (which I am sure you understand).
      >>>
      >>>Niels Peter Lemche
      >>>Copenhagen
      >>>
      >>>-----Oprindelig meddelelse-----
      >>>Fra: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ANE-2@yahoogroups.com] På vegne af Peter T. Daniels
      >>>Sendt: den 3 mars 2013 16:32
      >>>Til: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
      >>>Emne: Re: SV: [ANE-2] emic/etic
      >>>
      >>>As I said, "The usual use in social anthropology" would not be a helpful answer.
      >>>
      >>>That business about "what informer tells you" vs. "what you think yourself" has nothing whatsoever to do with the original lingusitic sense (and I do not see how it can be derived from it), nor with the detachment from the root "phon-" that was used by the linguistic theoretician Kenneth Pike at least since the early 1950s. (Many -eme words were devised by Baudouin de Courtenay more than half a century before that.)
      >>>
      >>>If you meant "we don't know what the folks we call Philistines called themselves," that's what you should have said.
      >>> 
      >>>--
      >>>Peter T. Daniels grammatim@...
      >>>Jersey City
      >>>
      >>>>________________________________
      >>>> From: Niels Peter Lemche npl@...>
      >>>>To: "ANE-2@yahoogroups.comANE-2@yahoogroups.com>
      >>>>Sent: Sunday, March 3, 2013 9:27 AM
      >>>>Subject: SV: [ANE-2] emic/etic
      >>>>
      >>>>
      >>>> 
      >>>>And I would only add: We have an idea about what other people called the Philistines, but do we know what they called themselves? They are quite mute. It is, however, interesting that the Assyrians when they became better acquainted with the area, called "philistine" in the OT, they did not any longer use it. They never talk about Philistine kings, but rather kings from various cities mentioned by name, which would in the etic source in the OT be reckoned "Philistine."
      >>>>
      >>>>Niels Peter Lemche
      >>>>Copenhagen
      >>>>
      >>>>-----Oprindelig meddelelse-----
      >>>>Fra: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ANE-2@yahoogroups.com] På vegne af Niels Peter Lemche
      >>>>Sendt: den 3 mars 2013 15:25
      >>>>Til: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
      >>>>Emne: SV: [ANE-2] emic/etic
      >>>>
      >>>>I know of the origins of emic and etic, but these terms are used without the addition og "phon-" in social anthropology to distinguish between what the informer tells you and what you think yourself. It means that what one part seems as the fact is not necessarily shared by the other part. The use of the two concepts are in anthropology not as old as in linguistics, but quite common and accepted.
      >>>>
      >>>>To illustrate the issue, in his well-known book "The Nuer" from the thirties, Evans-Pritchard wrote about the "Nuer". When his students returned after the war, they couldn't find them. It showed up that "Nuer" was the term used by the Dinka about the people living on the other side of the river. The people themselves did not know that they were the "Nuer".
      >>>>
      >>>>I used the concept for the first time in Early Israel from 1985.
      >>>>
      >>>>Niels Peter Lemche
      >>>>Copenhagen
      >>>>
      >>>>-----Oprindelig meddelelse-----
      >>>>Fra: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ANE-2@yahoogroups.com] På vegne af Peter T. Daniels
      >>>>Sendt: den 3 mars 2013 15:16
      >>>>Til: ANE-2 list
      >>>>Emne: [ANE-2] emic/etic
      >>>>
      >>>>Toward the end of one of his long postings on "Palestine," Niels Peter recently used the terms "emic" and "etic."
      >>>>
      >>>>I wonder what they mean to him?
      >>>>
      >>>>("The usual use by scholars of X" would not be a helpful answer. The terms arose in linguistics almost 150 years ago and have been reinterpreted many times.) 
      >>>>--
      >>>>Peter T. Daniels grammatim@...
      >>>>Jersey City
      >

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