Language Socialization Amount Samoans

Topics: Sociology, Social stratification, Family Pages: 4 (1320 words) Published: March 14, 2012
Describe the language socialization practices of Either the Samoans OR the Kaluli (as described in the Ochs and Schieffelin article) and describe how this practices “fit” (makes sense) in this particular society. In other words, how is the process of learning language also the process of learning culture?

According to Ochs and Schieffelin, the process of language acquisition is seen as unaffected by cultural factors such as belief system and social organization. Doing research in language socialization practices in Samoans, they found out that the process of enculturation and socialization do not occur apart from the process of language acquisition, which shows that children acquire language and culture together. Ochs and Schieffelin point out that Samoan society is highly stratified and that social stratification defines the role of individuals in their society by ranking them in terms of title and age. Caregiving is also socially stratified. According to the authors, children are cared for by a number of low status individuals such as the child’s siblings or the mother’s unmarried brother. Socially, the oldest sibling is considered the higher ranking caregiver and the youngest the lower ranking caregiver. This classification will determine the way in which caregiving tasks are carried out and define the way in which verbal interactions are organized. “Pepemeamea” a term meaning “baby thing thing” is used for infants since the day they are born until they are 5 or 6 months old. At this time, the baby stays close to the mother who is helped by other women and children in caregiving tasks. At resting time, the child is close but at the same time separated from others on a pillow enclosed by a mosquito net hanging from a beam or rope. When the child is learning how to walk, he/she spends time at the mother’s arms, even though the baby is still carried by older sibling whose task is to deliver the baby to his/her mother to be fed and comforted. It is...
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