“Boas and Sapir” (20)
**Franz Boas (The Mind of Primitive Man, 1938; Handbook of American Indian Languages, 1969)
“Sapir was a follower of Boas…Sapir was faithful to the principles and methodology of Boas, though he seems to have been bolder than his master” (20).
“‘Boas’s principal interest was in demonstrating the role language study must play in the study of culture” (20). **I think of the Montessori Elementary cultural curriculum & the language practiced in and through it.
“In his struggle to demolish the concept of race, he found it important to establish the point that no abstract, ‘ideal’ language should be used as a criterion by which other languages might be measured” (20).**** SAE… Here is the problem with SAE and teaching SAE. When you teach it—because you think, it is your determination that, your students will benefit by being able to write it/think it/speak it—(and they haven’t determined this for themselves and asked for it), WE PROMOTE SAE as an “ideal language” that perpetuates notions if race and class superiority.
“Boas held that folklorists, psychoanalysts, and many an anthropologist confused causality with predictability (1938: 176). There is an irony in the fact that unmuddling these two is at the heart of the theory of relativity. Complementarity, the uncertainty principle, and probability theory are central to an understanding of what is ‘relative’ to what” (20). **Useful in thinking about contemporary notions of ‘relationships a la rhizomes and ecologies and ambiences (and plasmas, which goodness is a terrible word… like ooze or sweat or something…yuck).
“Like Boas before him, Sapir rejected the idea of a direct correlation of culture and language” (21).**And Berthoff… This notion of triadicity speaks to the Bizzell letter. In it, Bizzell seems to hold, implicitly, to this kind of ‘direct correlation’ … The “social turn” and its insistence on an explicit discussion of culture also perpetuates (implicitly or explicitly?) this ‘direct correlation’????