A Linguistics for Ethnography. Why Not Second Languaculture Learning and Translation?

Michael Agar (1)
(1) College Park Consultant, University of Maryland, United States


Language and ethnography have always gone hand in hand. In this article two kinds of linguistics are explored that seem to have a close relationship to ethnography, namely, second languaculture learning and translation theory. The article shows how the former resembles the ethnographic research process while the latter is similar to the usual ethnographic product. The irony is that neither of these two kinds of linguistics have played much of a role in ethnographic research in the past. By applying them to the author’s past work on ethnographic logic and exemplifying them with samples of applied ethnographic work, languaculture learning and translation help re-think the notion of "method" beyond the usual social science conversations while highlighting features of intercultural communication as it happens on the ground.

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Michael Agar
magar@anth.umd.edu (Primary Contact)
Author Biography

Michael Agar, College Park Consultant, University of Maryland

Michael Agar received his Ph.D. in linguistic anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley. He has worked in both university and applied research settings, most recently at the University of Maryland where he is now emeritus. Currently he works independently as Ethknoworks on projects involving a blend of ethnography and complexity theory in social service organizations. He is the author of The Professional StrangerLanguage Shock, and the recently published Dope Double Agent: The Naked Emperor on Drugs. This article is based on a lecture delivered at the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education at the University of California, Santa Barbara. The lecture series was made possible by Judith Green and Janet Chrispeels with the indispensable and generous help of Audra Skukauskaite.

Agar, M. (2008). A Linguistics for Ethnography. Why Not Second Languaculture Learning and Translation?. Journal of Intercultural Communication, 8(1), 1–12. https://doi.org/10.36923/jicc.v8i1.449

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