verbal culture

Johanna Laakso johanna.laakso at
Wed Feb 13 17:43:10 UTC 2002

> Dear friends and colleagues
> As a delayed reaction to Florian Siegl who asked what is "verbal culture"
> (see the copy of her letter below), I see it problematic in no way in case
> we understand human (or animal) culture as the conscius or unconscious
> brainworks according to the patterns which are learnt from other members
> of a society. This way a researcher may use the term "verbal culture" when
> referring to concrete images of the internal brain activities of an agent
> through
> verbal behaviour. Each society has separate systems of value, habit, language,
> dialect etc. because of which there are a huge amount of local verbal cultures
> all different in one way or another.
> Theoretically, we may also use term "non-verbal culture" when referring to
> locally inhereted tradition to communicate non-verbally. We may also use
> term musical culture when pointing to the way a communication is taking
> place through musical media, etc.
> Therefore, terms like these are nothing but academic aspects to interprete
> one and
> the same focus which is the variety of external materialisations of yhe
> internal
> culture (= thoughts, values, memories, mental pattern in mind) in our heads.
>  From this point of view, we are bound to accept that Kalashinikov museum is
> a part of 21th century Udmurt culture- do the Udmurts like it, or accept
> it, or not.
> A romantic view on any local culture is connected to invalid academic dreams
> of  some "authentic" local cultures. All culture is authentic and always were -
> even an agent wants to create fake culture. These questions lead to evaluations
> which we have no tools to put in any scietifically valid order. We
> certainly make
> value-based evaluations but not when having the role of a scientist.
> Well, it may be that I put my words in a cofusing order. It cant be helped now,
> becuse I do not want to miss the train. Anyway, neither would I be
> interested in
> visiting the K-museum.
> Warm greetings
> Tim
> >Pleased to get information about this years coming course, but what is
> >"verbal culture???" Never heard of that term before, neither in
> >linguistics nor in ethnology. Besides, I have been on the course last year
> >and intend to go there again this year, but just in case, that the
> >organizers learned something from the "valuable culture programm" the
> >offered us last year and the critics they earned. We endured a visit to
> >the Kalashinikov museum in Izhkar, which has nothing to do with udmurtic
> >culture at all, a trip to Votkinsk was canceled due to fact, that our course
> >refused to deal with
> >Mr. Tshaikovski. He was born in Udmurtia, but he has nothing to do
> >with udmurt culture. (Please correct me If I'm wrong) I appreciate the
> >tries and support them, because these kind of language courses give
> >students from Germany good chances to learn the basics of these languages,
> >we don't get stipendiants as language teachers from these countries, as
> >our fellow students in Finnland and Hungaria. But if one has to experience
> >a trip to Kalashnikov museum as a part of an udmurtian culture programm...
> >I rather prefer what in the beginning of the 90 was called WYSIWYG, what
> >you see is what you get! In this case a "what you read is what you get"
> >And if I read about an Summer course Udmurtian language and culture, I
> >want to see Udmurtian culture. And if not, better two hours more grammar
> >than another trip to Kalashnikov museum...
> >
> >With best regards, Florian Siegl
> ><flos at>
> Timo Leisiö, Professor, PhD.            Tel int: +358-3-2156 478
> Tampere University                      Fax int: +358-3-2157 081
> Department of Music Anthropology
> Ethnomusicology
> FIN-33014 University of Tampere
> (Visiting address: Hatanpaan valtatie 2 B, TAMPERE)
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