[Lingtyp] Recording of Nick Enfield's talk on 15 March 2021

Randy J. LaPolla randy.lapolla at gmail.com
Sun Mar 21 04:43:11 UTC 2021

Hi All,
Several people wrote to me to ask if Nick Enfield’s talk on 15 March 2021, Moorings: The role of linguistic practices in linking experience, action, identity, and community, news of which I posted on this list earlier, would be recorded, as the time was bad for people in the Americas and Europe. Nick agreed to have us record it. The talk was great, and so I am sharing the recording here.

We have posted the video in two places on YouTube:

Nanyang Technological University channel: https://youtu.be/esa9IMGiGcE <https://youtu.be/esa9IMGiGcE>

Linguistics Videos channel: https://youtu.be/t4S9nxqK-Iw <https://youtu.be/t4S9nxqK-Iw> 

Moorings: The role of linguistic practices in linking experience, action, identity, and community

Nick Enfield and Charles Zuckerman  (The University of Sydney)
How is it that categories of experience can be conventionalized across communities? An ‘experiential gap’ must be bridged between individuals. In seeking a causal account of how this occurs (in relation to a case study of metalinguistic terminology in the Nam Noi valley, a multilingual and multi-ethnic area of upland Laos), we find that linguistic practices play a central role, by means of a set of semiotic and cognitive mechanisms, including stigmergy, orientation to norms, cumulative angulation, attentional asymmetry, and verbal overshadowing. Through these mechanisms, linguistic practices allow individuals to build conceptions of experience that are culture-specific and community-shared. We illustrate with examples relating to categories of experience in the domains of sound, sensation, and the emotions. We then find that the linguistically-mediated discrimination of experience has corollary processes in two other domains of meaning—action and identity—and that these corollary processes are always implicated whenever experience is linguistically mediated. From the point of view of an observer, every instance of a linguistic practice—some words—is simultaneously a source of evidence along all three of these axes: reference (what a person is referring to with those words), action (what a person is doing by saying those words), and identity (what kind of person they are being by saying those words). This means that any account of community-level calibration of categories of experience necessarily also implicates community-level calibration of action and identity. We illustrate this with an examination of the action potential and identity implications of a metalinguistic convention for describing speech sounds in the Nam Noi area. We conclude that linguistic practices are moorings, in two senses. First, individuals can use linguistic practices to tether their experiences to their actions and to their identities. Second, groups of individuals can use linguistic practices to distribute these. The result is a community-wide system of intersubjectively-shared experiences, actions, and identities.


Randy J. LaPolla, PhD FAHA (羅仁地)
Professor of Linguistics, with courtesy appointment in Chinese, School of Humanities 
Nanyang Technological University
HSS-03-45, 48 Nanyang Avenue | Singapore 639818
http://randylapolla.info/ <http://randylapolla.info/>
(personal.ntu.edu.sg/randylapolla <http://personal.ntu.edu.sg/randylapolla>)
Most recent books:
The Sino-Tibetan Languages, 2nd Edition (2017)
https://www.routledge.com/The-Sino-Tibetan-Languages-2nd-Edition/LaPolla-Thurgood/p/book/9781138783324 <https://www.routledge.com/The-Sino-Tibetan-Languages-2nd-Edition/LaPolla-Thurgood/p/book/9781138783324>
Sino-Tibetan Linguistics (2018)
https://www.routledge.com/Sino-Tibetan-Linguistics/LaPolla/p/book/9780415577397 <https://www.routledge.com/Sino-Tibetan-Linguistics/LaPolla/p/book/9780415577397>

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://listserv.linguistlist.org/pipermail/lingtyp/attachments/20210321/a701a644/attachment.htm>

More information about the Lingtyp mailing list