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Technically Speaking: On Equipping and Evaluating “Unnatural” Language Learners

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dc.contributor.author Reno, Joshua
dc.date.accessioned 2012-09-17T21:20:18Z
dc.date.available 2012-09-17T21:20:18Z
dc.date.issued 2012-09
dc.identifier.citation Reno, Joshua. 2012. Technically Speaking: On Equipping and Evaluating “Unnatural” Language Learners. American Anthropologist 114(3): 406–419 en_US
dc.identifier.other DOI: 10.1111/j.1548-1433.2012.01442.x
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/1951/57480
dc.description.abstract This article compares different communicative trials for apes in captivity and children with autism in order to investigate how ideological assumptions about linguistic agency and impairment are constructed and challenged in practice. To the extent that Euro-American techniques of “unnatural” language instruction developed during the Cold War era have been successful, it is because communicative interactions are broken down into basic components, and would-be language learners are equipped with materials, devices, and habits that make up for their distinct bio/social deficits. Such linguistic equipment can present a challenge to the ideological presumption of a subject inherently gifted with the rudiments of talk, that is, the human as naturally speaking. However, this ideology can reassert itself if the active contribution of unnatural language learners to their technoscientific trials is downplayed. In order to counter this tendency, I propose that speech acts be reimagined as part of a more encompassing semiotic ensemble. en_US
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.publisher American Anthropologist en_US
dc.relation.ispartofseries Reno;5
dc.subject language development en_US
dc.subject semiotics en_US
dc.subject materiality en_US
dc.subject posthumanism en_US
dc.subject linguistic ideology en_US
dc.title Technically Speaking: On Equipping and Evaluating “Unnatural” Language Learners en_US
dc.type Article en_US


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    A collection of publications from Binghamton Anthropology faculty which are available for open access to the general public.

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