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In this assignment you will learn the basic principles of how the human brain functions in ways that make possible symbolic communication.

You will learn to distinguish between symbols and signs and between verbal and nonverbal communication. You will learn to distinguish human communication from communication in other animals.

You also will learn about the building blocks of language and the effects that language has on human thinking and culture.

Finally, you will learn about the processes of language change that have resulted in the contemporary diversity of human languages.

Assignment PDF eBook: 
Chapter 5: Anthropology Language and Culture
Download #5 Language & Culture Assignment PDF eBook
49 Pages
English US
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Sample Questions from the Chapter 5: Anthropology Language and Culture Assignment

Question: What best characterizes language?


It relies on the acting out of meanings.

It expresses only feelings.

It cannot provide information abut things that are invisible or that do not exist.

It is a meta-communication system.

Question: Which of the following is true of the use of personal distance in the United States?


Americans use a greater distance to show friendship than people in many other societies use.

It indicates that people tend to e close and personable in their relationships.

It is the same in the U.S. as in most parts of the world.

It has nothing to do with showing friendliness.

Question: The number of human languages in the world today is approximately:






Question: Communication is synonymous with:



using one set of objects and events to represent other objects or events.

the use of signs.

the use of symbols.

Question: the study of how language is used and how the use of language conveys information about the social settings in which it is used


anthropological linguistics





cerebral cortex

American Sign Language (ASL)


International Phonetic Alphabet

phonemic alphabet

linguistic relativity


basic vocabulary

language families




prestige dialects

language nationalism

Question: Speech differs from language in that:


It includes the sequence of sounds made by nonhuman primates.

It refers only to more formal uses of language.

It is the interpretation of sounds produced.

It consists of the symbolic sequences of sounds that people produce.

Question: How do signs differ from symbols?


Signs are kinds of symbols.

Symbols are kinds of signs.

Signs and symbols have nothing in common.

Only symbols have meanings only because their users agree they do.

Question: When Helen Keller began to use symbolic communication, her rate of learning:


increased dramatically.

decreased slightly.

remained about the same.

declined initially and then returned to its original level.

Question: Which of the following is true of proxemics?


It is the study of unconscious nonverbal gestures.

Its meanings are the same in all cultures.

It is the study of the use of distances to communicate meaning.

It does not express feelings.

Question: The number of phonemes in human languages is typically how many?






Question: What does it mean when we say that language is an open system?


The rules governing the use of language can never be completely specified.

With a finite set of symbols and rules for combining them, an uncountable number of ideas can be communicated.

Language has no real structure--structure implied by written grammars is artificial.

People are free to change the rules of language.

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Source:  Prof. Richley Crapo, Cultural Anthropology. (Utah State University), (Accessed 28 Mar, 2014). License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA
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