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This edition: Communication & Culture

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Episode Details

This program focuses on the efforts of the Serrano tribe of Native Americans to revitalize their dying cultural traditions and language. The features and structures of human language in general are discussed, showing examples from the Serrano language, and the role played by the descriptive linguist assisting them is examined. A discussion of sign languages reveals that they are in every way like all other human languages except that they are based on gestures instead of sounds. Nonverbal human communication systems are explored, as are various aspects of the fields of ethnolinguistics and sociolinguistics. African-American Vernacular English is discussed as an example of a social dialect that marks membership in a group. The film closes with a focus on the Serrano children, who it is hoped will carry on the tribal language and traditions.