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J. L. Fischer

Other affiliations: Harvard University
Bio: J. L. Fischer is an academic researcher from Tulane University. The author has contributed to research in topics: Caroline Islands & Atoll. The author has an hindex of 7, co-authored 21 publications receiving 633 citations. Previous affiliations of J. L. Fischer include Harvard University.

Papers
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Journal ArticleDOI
J. L. Fischer1
01 Apr 1958-WORD
TL;DR: In this paper, social influence on the choice of a Linguistic variant of a word was discussed, and social influence was discussed in terms of social influence in the selection of a variant.
Abstract: (1958) Social Influences on the Choice of a Linguistic Variant WORD: Vol 14, No 1, pp 47-56

414 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
J. L. Fischer1
TL;DR: In this article, the authors make use of objective statistical tests to test theories of the relationship of art style to social conditions and show that in expressive aspects of culture, such as visual and other arts, a very important determinant of the art form is social fantasy.
Abstract: STUDENTS of the history of the visual arts have long postulated connections between art forms and sociocultural conditions. Such a connection is often obvious in respect to overt content: e.g., the religious art of the Middle Ages. But connections between social conditions and general features of style have also been postulated: romanticism versus classicism, for instance, have been explained as related to the position of the individual in society and to the rapidity of social change. While these explanations of style are often convincing and appear profound, from an anthropological point of view they suffer from being limited, for the most part, to artistic data from various branches of European civilization, or in some cases certain other extremely complex societies such as the Oriental civilizations. The study of art in a widely distributed sample of primitive, relatively homogeneous societies would seem to offer valuable evidence for testing theories of the relationship of art style to social conditions. This paper is intended as a modest contribution in this direction, making use of objective statistical tests.2 Two sets of variables are used in the tests reported below. The judgments on the art styles were made by the psychologist, Herbert Barry III, and formed the basis originally of his undergraduate honors thesis at Harvard carried out under the direction of John Whiting. Barry later published some of his findings in a paper on "Relationships between Child Training and the Pictorial Arts" (1957). Judgments on the social variables are from Murdock's "World Ethnographic Sample" article (1957). Since both sets of judgments were made independently without, moreover, any intent to test the specific hypotheses to be discussed below, it can be fairly stated that the positive results are not to be explained by bias of the judges in favor of the hypotheses. The sample of primitive societies used below is determined by the overlap of Barry's and Murdock's sample. Thanks to the large size of Murdock's sample all except one of Barry's societies are also represented in Murdock. Barry's sample itself consists of those societies with sufficient art data from the larger cross-cultural sample of Whiting and Child (1953). It is somewhat biased geographically in favor of well-covered parts of the world-North America and the Pacific, but I personally doubt that this seriously affects the validity of the conclusions, since for many of the art variables both extremes of values can be found in the same continental area. A total of 29 societies are available for testing, although for stratification Murdock makes no rating for the Thonga for lack of specific data. The general theoretical position behind this paper is that in expressive aspects of culture, such as visual and other arts, a very important determinant of the art form is social fantasy, that is, the artist's fantasies about social

84 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
J. L. Fischer1
TL;DR: The problem of identifying anomalous types of residence has been studied extensively in the literature as discussed by the authors, and a wide range of ambiguity exists in most published statistical reports of incidence of residence types-for statistical reports are most commonly given when there is some variety of residence type in a community.
Abstract: or ideal pattern of a whole society, (2) to classify the varying forms of residence of a series of married couples, or (3) to classify the residence forms of individuals, whether married or not. Thus in an ethnography one might encounter statements "Residence in this society is normally avunculocal" or "My informant and his wife lived avunculocally" or "My (male unmarried) informant lived avunculocally." Probably we all feel we understand what is meant by any of these statements. They would apply to a society where adult men typically live with their mother's brother and other male matrilineal (uterine) relatives, and where married women live with their husbands, along with their young children. We can readily take into consideration the fact that in "avunculocal" residence a married woman is living with her husband (and his mother's brother) rather than with her own uncle, or that small children are living with their parents (and their father's mother's brother), again rather than with their own uncle. These logical discrepancies do not at first glance appear to require revision of a widely used and seemingly practical typology of residence. However, as shown below, in those societies where circumstances may produce individual alternatives to the dominant residence pattern, a number of anomalous types of residence arise for individuals and couples. In reporting numerical frequencies of residence types, ethnographers have been faced with the problem of assimilating these unnamed types to one of the recognized dominant types. It would appear that different ethnographers have tried a variety of solutions to the problem of classifying anomalous types of residence, and that accordingly a wide range of ambiguity exists in most published statistical reports of incidence of residence types-for statistical reports are most commonly given when there is some variety of residence type in a community. An example of such an ambiguity reported by Ward Goodenough for Truk will illustrate the potentiality for confusion (Goodenough 1956). Goodenough's paper was inspired by an apparent disagreement with my report on the incidence of forms of residence on the island of Romonum in Truk Lagoon (Fischer 1950). We both based our statements on what purported to be census figures for all married couples on the island, mine being obtained three years after Goodenough's. In spite of the short time interval, the reported incidence of

40 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
J. L. Fischer1
TL;DR: This paper examined consonantal sandhi in Trukese and Ponapean and proposed possible differences in its stylistic significance as between these two related Micronesian languages, and also considered the implications for phonological change of such stylistic preferences and of the underlying cultural attitudes toward speech.
Abstract: T HIS paper' examines consonantal sandhi in Trukese and Ponapean and proposes possible differences in its stylistic significance as between these two related Micronesian languages. It also considers the implications for phonological change of such stylistic preferences and of the underlying cultural attitudes toward speech. Trukese and Ponapean are mutually unintelligible but have rather similar structures. The degree of their relationship may be roughly gauged by the fact that they share about 40% of the Swadesh hundred-word basic vocabulary list. The inventories of consonant phonemes are quite similar. For purposes of this paper we may note that both languages have the same number of genetically equivalent and phonetically quite similar stops and nasals.

19 citations


Cited by
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MonographDOI
01 Jan 2003
TL;DR: Language and Gender as discussed by the authors is an introduction to the study of the relation between gender and language use, written by two leading experts in the field, who argue that the connections between language and gender are deep yet fluid, and arise in social practice.
Abstract: Language and Gender is an introduction to the study of the relation between gender and language use, written by two leading experts in the field. This new edition, thoroughly updated and restructured, brings out more strongly an emphasis on practice and change, while retaining the broad scope of its predecessor and its accessible introductions which explain the key concepts in a non-technical way. The authors integrate issues of sexuality more thoroughly into the discussion, exploring more diverse gendered and sexual identities and practices. The core emphasis is on change, both in linguistic resources and their use and in gender and sexual ideologies and personae. This book explores how change often involves conflict and competing norms, both social and linguistic. Drawing on their own extensive research, as well as other key literature, the authors argue that the connections between language and gender are deep yet fluid, and arise in social practice.

1,383 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This article found that women use linguistic forms associated with the prestige standard more frequently than men than men and that working-class speech has favourable connotations for male speakers, but these attitudes to non-standard speech are not normally expressed, however, and emerge only in inaccurate self-evaluation test responses.
Abstract: Women use linguistic forms associated with the prestige standard more frequently than men. One reason for this is that working-class speech has favourable connotations for male speakers. Favourable attitudes to non-standard speech are not normally expressed, however, and emerge only in inaccurate self-evaluation test responses. Patterns of sex differentiation deviating from the norm indicate that a linguistic change is taking place: standard forms are introduced by middle-class women, non-standard forms by working-class men. (Sociolinguistic variation; linguistic change; women's and men's speech; contextual styles; social class; British English.)

1,100 citations

Book
01 Jan 1974
TL;DR: In this paper, the co-variation of phonological and sociological variables was investigated and a record was first taken of each occurrence of all the variables in the four contextual styles for each informant, and the mean index score for each social group calculated.
Abstract: One of the chief aims of this work is to investigate the co-variation of phonological and sociological variables. In order to measure this type of correlation, a record was first taken of each occurrence of all the variables in the four contextual styles for each informant. Index scores for each informant in each style could then be developed, and, subsequently, the mean index score for each social group calculated. [The following abbreviations are used in this chapter in relation to the social and stylistic stratification of the variable (ng): LWC — lower working-class; MWC — middle working-class; UWC — upper working-class; LMC — lower middle-class; MMC — middle middle-class; WLS — word lists; RPS — reading passages; FS — formal style; CS — casual style — Eds.] By means of these scores we are able: (i) to investigate the nature of the correlation between realisations of phonological variables and social class, social context, and sex; (ii) to discover which variables are subject to social class differentiation and which to stylistic variation; and (iii) to find out which variables are most important in signalling the social context of some linguistic interaction, or the social class of a speaker.

1,061 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The authors found that women lead men in rejecting linguistic changes as they are recognized by the speech community, a differentiation that is maximal for the second highest status group, and that sexual differentiation is independent of social class at the beginning of a change, but that interaction develops gradually as social awareness of the change increases.
Abstract: Two general principles of sexual differentiation emerge from previous sociolinguistic studies: that men use a higher frequency of nonstandard forms than women in stable situations, and that women are generally the innovators in linguistic change. It is not clear whether these two tendencies can be unified, or how differences between the sexes can account for the observed patterns of linguistic change. The extensive interaction between sex and other social factors raises the issue as to whether the curvilinear social class pattern associated with linguistic change is the product of a rejection of female-dominated changes by lower-class males. Multivariate analysis of data from the Philadelphia Project on Linguistic Change and Variation indicates that sexual differentiation is independent of social class at the beginning of a change, but that interaction develops gradually as social awareness of the change increases. It is proposed that sexual differentiation of language is generated by two distinct processes: (1) for all social classes, the asymmetric context of language learning leads to an initial acceleration of female-dominated changes and retardation of male-dominated changes; (2) women lead men in the rejection of linguistic changes as they are recognized by the speech community, a differentiation that is maximal for the second highest status group.

1,012 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Results showed cross-language consistency in the patterns of prosodic modification used in parental speech to infants, and suggested that language-specific variations are also important, and that the findings of the numerous studies of early language input based on American English are not necessarily generalisable to other cultures.
Abstract: This study compares the prosodic modifications in mothers' and fathers' speech to preverbal infants in French, Italian, German, Japanese, British English, and American English. At every stage of data collection and analysis, standardized procedures were used to enhance the comparability across data sets that is essential for valid cross-language comparison of the prosodic features of parental speech. In each of the six language groups, five mothers and five fathers were recorded in semi-structured home observations while speaking to their infant aged 0;10-1;2 and to an adult. Speech samples were instrumentally analysed to measure seven prosodic parameters: mean fundamental frequency (f0), f0-minimum, f0-maximum, f0-range, f0-variability, utterance duration, and pause duration. Results showed cross-language consistency in the patterns of prosodic modification used in parental speech to infants. Across languages, both mothers and fathers used higher mean-f0, f0-minimum, and f0-maximum, greater f0-variability, shorter utterances, and longer pauses in infant-directed speech than in adult-directed speech. Mothers, but not fathers, used a wider f0-range in speech to infants. American English parents showed the most extreme prosodic modifications, differing from the other language groups in the extent of intonational exaggeration in speech to infants. These results reveal common patterns in caretaker's use of intonation across languages, which may function developmentally to regulate infant arousal and attention, to communicate affect, and to facilitate speech perception and language comprehension. In addition to providing evidence for possibly universal prosodic features of speech to infants, these results suggest that language-specific variations are also important, and that the findings of the numerous studies of early language input based on American English are not necessarily generalisable to other cultures.

790 citations