Anthony K. Webster
This article argues for the continuing importance of ethnopoetics/cultural poetics in the work of linguists and anthropologists. A heuristic definition of ethnopoetics (or cultural poetics) is given as the various traditions of such recurrent patternings of linguistic forms (and the thwarting of such expectations of such patternings). The continuing relevance of a Hymesian-inspired anthropological philology is noted. After framing the discussion of poetry and poetics as both linguistic and ethnographic questions, this article engages questions of linguistic relativity and its relationship to poetics, as well as poetry and poetics as social practices. Examples of parallelism and metaphor are given and discussed both in relation to their poetic form and to their social work. A final extended illustration is given concerning Navajo poetry as an example of a cultural poetics informed by both linguistics and anthropology. It is argued that research on cultural poetics/ethnopoetics encourages patience and reflection.
This chapter introduces the topic of Perceptual Dialectology (PD), an area of sociolinguistics concerned with how nonlinguists understand dialectal variation. The chapter provides a brief history of the field and explores the ways in which the perceptions and language attitudes of nonlinguists have typically been elicited in research conducted within the modern tradition of PD with a particular focus on mental maps. Additionally, this chapter identifies ways in which these methods have been improved upon, specifically through the use of geographic information systems (GIS) tools. As an illustration of both the typical tools used in PD research and these recent advances in data analysis, a research project on the perceptions of dialectal variation within and across the state of Kentucky is presented.
This article traces the development of the most recent approach to the study of sociolinguistic variation and considers the theoretical issues it raises. This field has moved through three waves of analytic practice. The first focused on the spread of linguistic change, finding robust correlations between linguistic variables and macrosocial categories across large populations. The second wave took an ethnographic turn, examining the relation between variation and local social dynamics. The third wave focuses on the indexical nature of sociolinguistic variation and on the stylistic practice in which variables gain their meaning. This approach differs from earlier practice in its focus on social meaning and speaker agency, and on the role of stylistic practice in social change and the construction of social distinctions.