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Anthropology Exploration

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Anthropology Exploration
Section A: Americans tend to put a lot emphasis on money and objects; feeling as though what one has is more important than what one owns. In this context, there is a difference between having and owning. Having, I would explain as being in possession of. Owning, I would explain as paid in full. This is problematic because the thought of increasing ones status though vanity causes the American society to place themselves in a huge amount of debt, and eventually, not being able to release that debt, Americans will have a money crisis where there is more debt compared to income. This constant state of consumerism may be because of the consistent product advertisements that are visible everywhere in this society; from social media to driving around town, there seems to no place this population can be free from the advertisements.
While reading “Growing Up American” I wondered what it would be like to study abroad, to dive in to a culture completely different then my own. I thought to myself how courageous an individual would have to be to leave their bubble and explore and learn about others. I also found that I can relate to the authors voice in many parts of the article, especially when she spoke of mothering her child. There is a lot I found interesting about this article. One thing I thought was really interesting was that the author mentioned that American parents teach their children to be independent from a young age. I can relate to this observation; as a mother I try to teach my son to be independent with different aspects of everyday life within our household. I believe this makes my son feel as though he can rely on himself.
The most surprising part of the article was when the author relayed the importance of obedience from the children, being respectful, and the children being dependant on the elders in the Filipino culture. I find this surprising because this is similar to how I was raised. My ethnicity is mixed: Norwegian, Italian, and Native American, but mostly Norwegian. Speaking from personal experience; I was taught to never address an adult by their first name, and when introducing my parents to someone I always introduce them as Mr. and Mrs. This is how my parents raised me, but my parents were not raised in this manner. Where my experience differs is depending on the adults to make every decision; I was able to make minimal decisions for myself; up to a certain age.
I found the article: “Slumber’s Unexplored Landscape” to be very interesting. The most interesting part of the article was the part about the possible benefits of infants sleeping next to the parents. My child slept with me for a big chunk of his early life. I found having him sleep with me, or in the same room with me, was easier during the late night feedings. Recently, I heard on the news that “experts” are warning new parents of the dangers of having their child sleep with them, the dangers of using crib bumpers, and the dangers of having mobiles hanging above the crib. Hearing this made me wonder how many times, throughout the years, suggestions and/or warnings about what and what not to do when infants are concerned have changed. We as parents want to do the best for our children, and getting all of this mixed information can be confusing and overwhelming.
The most surprising part of the article was learning that there has not been much research on sleep patterns in human evolution and the different sleep patterns between different cultures. I can imagine that gathering information about early human civilization sleep patterns can be very difficult. Anthropologists may find evidence of if early humans were communal sleepers or slept in solitude, but I think it would be complicated to find evidence if the early human slept soundly through the night.

Section B:
As I mentioned above, I have a mixed ethnicity background. My family has been here in America for generations. My father’s side of the family migrated to American about six or seven generations ago from Norway. Through the years, the Norwegian language has been forgotten. My family only use a couple words: lefse (a Norwegian flat bread), and uff da which translates to “oh darn” or “Oh my”. My mother’s side migrated to America from Italy, and currently the Italian language is lost within my familial unit. When speaking with individuals with different main languages then my own, I notice differences with their speech cadence, their sentence structure, and sometimes the lack of indicating plurals, or adding “s” on the end of words.
Mark Pagel mentioned in his article “War of Words”, that in the distant future there may be one main language (Pagel, 2012). I have to agree with this thought. I also have to agree that it most likely will be English. In countries, all over the world, children are being taught English in primary school. Also, in some countries, a big part of the population uses “code-switching” which is using English words within a sentence because their main language does not have that word.
While reading the article “How Language Shapes Thought” by Lera Boroditsky, especially the part about different sentence structures within in different languages, I couldn’t help but think about American Sign Language. I am currently learning American Sign Language. ASL has a very different sentence structure than English. In ASL the sentence structure is time-topic-comment. As I learned, while reading this article, other languages have different sentence structures than that of English, or they indicate male or female with use of gender specific words.
One example where I was confused by the opposite sex was when this guy asked me to lunch. I agreed to have lunch with him, not knowing he thought it was a date. I thought he just wanted to be friends or study for class; going on a date was the last thing on my mind. It wasn’t until the end of lunch when I realized that he was on a date. There was a miscommunication because when he asked me to lunch he did not specify it was a date, nor did I ask if he thought it was a date. Looking through his eyes, I’m sure “date” was implied. But since men and women have different ways of conveying messages, and men and women have different understandings of each message conveyed there was an awkward situation caused miscommunication. “A Cultural Approach to Male-Female Miscommunication” by Daniel N. Maltz and Ruth A. Borker, suggested that “American man and women come from different sociolinguistic subcultures…” which causes miscommunication between the two subcultures (Maltz & Borker 1982). This thought explains why the guy thought asking me to lunch was a date; because of our different sociolinguistic subcultures there was a miscommunication between us.

Boroditsky, L. (2011). How language shapes thought. Sci Am Scientific American, 304(2), 62-65.

Bower, B. (1999). Slumber's unexplored landscape. Science News, 156(13), 205.

Maltz, D. N., & Borker, R. A. (n.d.). A cultural approach to male–female miscommunication. Language and Social Identity, 196-216.

Pagel, M. 2012. War of words. New Scientist, 8 December, 38-41. Reprinted in New Scientist, The collection: The Human Story, 2014.

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