Malinowski’s last word on the anthropological approach to language

Michael W. Young

Abstract

This article reproduces an archived and previously unpublished paper by Bronislaw Malinowski entitled “The anthropological approach to language” which he delivered to a meeting of the elite Monday Night Group in the Institute of Human Relations at Yale University in November 1941. The social “context of situation” of Malinowski’s seminar presentation is reconstructed together with a brief consideration of his contribution to linguistic theory. A commentary on his paper refers to Malinowski’s relationship with several of his peers, including discussion of the critical reception given to the second volume of his last monograph on the Trobriand Islands, Coral Gardens and their Magic. Finally, the “biographical context of situation” describes Malinowski’s lethally busy schedule six months before his death, referring to his other public presentations during the months of October and November 1941.

Keywords:
Quick links
A browser-friendly version of this article is not yet available. View PDF
Barnouw, Victor
(1980) Ruth Benedict. American Scholar 1980: 504-09.Google Scholar
Berry, Jack
(1966) Introduction. In The Language of Magic and Gardening, vol.2 of Coral Gardens and Their Magic . 2nd Edition. London: George Allen & Unwin, pp. vii-xvii.Google Scholar
Bloomfield, Leonard
(1933) Language. New York: Holt.Google Scholar
Brightman, Robert
(2004) Jaime de Angulo and Alfred Kroeber: Bohemians and bourgeois in Berkeley anthropology. In Richard Handler (ed.), Significant Others. History of Anthropology 10. Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Press, pp. 158-95.Google Scholar
Buckley, William F. Jr
(1951) God and Man at Yale: The Superstitions of ‘Academic Freedom’. Chicago: Regnery Publishing.Google Scholar
Codrington, R.H
(1891) The Melanesians: Studies in their Anthropology and Folk Lore. New York: Dover Publications.Google Scholar
Darnell, Regna
(1990) Edward Sapir: Linguist, Anthropologist, Humanist. Berkeley: University of California Press.  BoPGoogle Scholar
DAPYU
Department of Anthropology Papers, Yale University.
De Laguna, Grace
(1927) Speech, Its Function and Development. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
Dewey, John
(1929) Experience and Nature. London: George Allen & Unwin. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Firth, Raymond
(1981) Bronislaw Malinowski. In S. Silverman (ed.), Totems and Teachers: Perspectives on the History of Anthropology. New York: Columbia University Press, pp. 101-39.Google Scholar
Firth, J.R
(1957) Ethnographic analysis and language with reference to Malinowski’s views. In R. Firth (ed.), Man and Culture: An Evaluation of the Work of Bronislaw Malinowski. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, pp.93-118.Google Scholar
Gellner, Ernest
(1998) Language and Solitude: Wittgenstein, Malinowski and the Habsburg Dilemma. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von
(1949) Faust, Part I. (trans. Philip Wayne). Harmondsworth: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
Graff, Willem L
(1932) Language and Languages: An Introduction to Linguistics. New York: D. Appleton & Co.Google Scholar
Halliday, Michael A.K
(1978) Language as Social Semiotic: The Social Interpretation of Language and Meaning. London: Edward Arnold.Google Scholar
Halliday, Michael A.K., and R. Hassan
(1989) Language, Context and Text: A Social Semiotic Perspective. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Langendoen, D.T
(1968) The London School of Linguistics: A Study of the Linguistic Theories of B. Malinowski and J.R. Firth. Cambridge, Mass.: M.I.T. Press.Google Scholar
Leach, Edmund
(1957) The epistemological background to Malinowski’s empiricism. In R. Firth (ed.), Man and Culture: An Evaluation of the Work of Bronislaw Malinowski. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, pp. 119-37.Google Scholar
Lowie, Robert, L
(1940) Native languages as ethnographic tools. American Anthropologist (n.s.) 42.1: 81-89. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Malinowski, Bronislaw
(1920) Classificatory particles in the language of Kiriwina. Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 1: 33-78. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
(1923) The problem of meaning in primitive languages. In C.K. Ogden & A.I. Richards, The Meaning of Meaning, Supplement I. London: Kegan Paul, pp. 451-510.Google Scholar
(1930) Kinship. Man 30: 17. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
(1931) Culture. Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences 4: 621-46.Google Scholar
(1932) The Sexual Life of Savages. 3rd edition. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
(1935) Coral Gardens and Their Magic. A Study of the Methods of Tilling the Soil and of Agricultural Rites in the Trobriand Islands, vol 1: The description of gardening; vol 2: The language of magic and gardening. London: George Allen & Unwin.Google Scholar
(1937) The dilemma of contemporary linguistics. Review of Infant Speech: A Study of the Beginnings of Language, by M.M. Lewis. Nature July 31: 172-73. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
(1939) Foreword. In F. Creedy, Human Nature Writ Large. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.Google Scholar
(1941a) An anthropological analysis of War. American Journal of Sociology 46: 521-50. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
(1941b) War: past, present and future. In J.D. Clarkson & C. Cochran (eds.), War as a Social Institution: The Historian’s Perspective. New York: Columbia University Press, pp. 21-31.Google Scholar
(1944) A Scientific Theory of Culture and Other Essays. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.Google Scholar
(1947) Freedom and Civilization. London: Allen & Unwin.Google Scholar
Mead, Margaret
(1939) Native languages as field-work tools. American Anthropologist (n.s.) 41.2: 189-205. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Miller, Neal, and John Dollard
(1941) Social Learning and Imitation. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
MPLSE
Malinowski Papers, the British Library of Social and Political Sciences, London School of Economics.
MPY
Malinowski Papers, the Sterling Library, Yale University.
Murdock, George P
(1965) Culture and Society. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press.Google Scholar
Pisarkowa, Krystyna
(2000) Językoznawstwo Bronisława Malinowskiego. Tom I & II. Kraków: Universitas.Google Scholar
Richards, Audrey
(1957) The concept of culture in Malinowski’s work. In R. Firth (ed.), Man and Culture: An evaluation of the Work of Bronislaw Malinowski. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, pp. 15-31.Google Scholar
Robins, R.H
(1971) Malinowski, Firth, and the ‘context of situation’. In Edwin Ardener (ed.), Social Anthropology and Language. London: Tavistock Publications, pp.33-46.Google Scholar
Senft, Gunter
(1985) How to tell – and understand – a ‘dirty’ joke in Kilivila. Journal of Pragmatics 9: 815-34. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
(1986) Kilivila: The Language of the Trobriand Islanders. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
(1996) Classificatory Particles in Kilivila. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
(1997) Bronislaw Kasper Malinowski. Handbook of Pragmatics. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company, pp. 1-20. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
(2005) Bronislaw Malinowski and linguistic pragmatics. In Piotr Cap (ed.), Pragmatics Today. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, pp. 139-55.Google Scholar
(2009) Introduction. In G. Senft, J.O. Östman, & J. Verschueren (eds.), Culture and language use. Handbook of Pragmatics HighlightsVol.2. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company, pp. 1-17. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Stocking, George W
(1995) After Tylor: British Social Anthropology 1888-1951. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.Google Scholar
Szymura, Jerzy
(1988) Bronislaw Malinowski’s ‘Ethnographic theory of language’. In Roy Harris (ed.), Linguistic Thought in England 1914-1945. London: Duckworth, pp. 107-131.Google Scholar
Voegelin, Carl F., and Zellig S. Harris
(1945) Linguistics in ethnology. Southwestern Journal of Anthropology 1.4: 455-65. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
(1947) The scope of linguistics. American Anthropologist, (n.s.) 49.4: 588-600. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Wayne, Helena
(ed.) (1996) The Story of a Marriage: The Letters of Bronislaw Malinowski and Elsie Masson. Volume II 1920-35. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
Whiteley, W.H
(1966) Social anthropology, meaning and linguistics. Man (n.s.) 1.2: 139-57. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Young, Michael W
(2004) Malinowski: Odyssey of an Anthropologist 1884-1920. London & New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar