Speaking with Names Summary

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The article highlights the importance of ethnographers studying more than just language. Understanding a community’s customs and traditions requires considering the specific land they inhabit.

Here are a couple examples of what he says about it. “In other words, one must acknowledge that local understandings Of external realities are fashioned from local cultural materials, and that, knowing little or nothing of the latter, ones ability to make appropriate sense Of “What is” and “What occurs” in another’s environment is bound to be deficient. For better or worse. He ethnographers see, landscape and speech acts do not interpret their own significance” Then he goes on to explain that Natives perceive the outside world differently and find it unenjoyable. So the same idea applies to them because they don’t live in that society; they don’t comprehend how their location and different situations impact other situations. They wouldn’t be adapted or at least until they learned the proper way of doing things while being in a different environment.

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An example from the reading states, “Constructions of reality that reflect conceptions of reality, the meanings of landscape and acts of speech are personalized manifestations of a shared perspective on the human condition.” The natives have three ways of interacting with the landscape: 1) observation, 2) modification or alteration for their own purposes, and 3) discussing it in social gatherings or events. To fully understand these concepts as a native, an ethnographer suggests attending “native place names,” as giving names to places is connected to emotions, providing insight into a culture. Speaking with Names: Lola, a mother of eight children, takes care of her children, collects herbs, farms, and participates in ceremonial activities. She is highly respected in the village and regarded as an intelligent woman.

Then, she starts conversing with other women regarding her ill brother. These women tell a story about Tory, who, despite being warned about the potential consequences of stepping on a snake skin and advised to cleanse himself, disregarded the warning without any concern. Cubicle perceives speaking as a means of exemplifying. They believe that at times, children or other individuals omit ideas or images when they speak, resulting in inaccurate representations. Conversely, the Western Apache people perceive speaking as a means of expressing emotions through various tones.

If you were to speak softly, you are showing kindness. An example from the reading is someone who talks too much – they describe things in excessive detail, repeat and qualify too often, and assume without reason that listeners can freely and creatively build upon the speaker’s descriptions. In other words, people who speak too much undermine the imaginative abilities of others.

In brief, Lola helps her brother by using names to improve his mood. Another story depicts a young person receiving advice from an elderly figure but choosing not to follow it. Consequently, this decision nearly leads to their demise.

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Speaking with Names Summary. (2018, Jun 29). Retrieved from


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