Brown Bag – Mark Sicoli presents “Place Reference and Cultural Practice in a Zapotec Community” 1/20 12-1250p @Library Basement, room 111

Mark Sicoli, a linguistic anthropologist from Georgetown University, will be coming to Gallaudet to share some of his recent work Wednesday, January 20th at noon in the library basement  (Room 111). Dr. Sicoli’s research is making important progress toward understanding iconicity in spoken languages, language and embodiment, language and interaction, bilingualism, and broader, socio-political processes, which affect and are affected by language. Tomorrow, he will be talking about cultural dimensions of place reference in a Zapotec community in Mexico. Please see below for abstract.

**The presentation will be given in English with ASL interpretation.

Place Reference and Cultural Practice in a Zapotec Community

Dr. Mark A Sicoli
Assistant Professor
Georgetown University


People make reference to places in the variable formulations afforded by their languages and bodies in interaction and to multiple ends that in addition to picking out referents simultaneously build conceptual common ground about seen and unseen landscapes, including moral stances about the social geography of people on those landscapes. This talk examines the different ways that Lachixío Zapotec speakers of Oaxaca, Mexico formulate and interpret place references in a corpus of video-recorded practical conversations. I describe resources of the Lachixío Zapotec language for referencing place and show how place references are entangled with person references and references to historical events and narratives. I examine place references as collaborative social actions that include both speakers’ place formulations and addressees’ responses that publically display their uptake and interpretations. Through examining references to locations in turn sequences situated within conversational story telling events we gather some evidence for how conceptual common ground is developed through the step-wise progression of turn-taking and how stances about places come to be culturally shared or contested dialogically.

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