Need help with my English question – I’m studying for my class.
Reconstructing the Lost Tribe
This essay is taken from our text Writing Logically, Thinking Critically, where it is presented in its entirety. Some of the information from the textbook is located below this prompt. Your essay will “characterize the society that uses the language” discussed in the text. Do not describe a tribe or culture that already exists. Use your imagination and your impressions. Read and reread all sections of the writing assignment (specifically “The Topic,” “The Approach,” and “Audience and Purpose”) to be clear on your direction.
The objective of this paper is for you to have the opportunity to formulate a thesis, to provide development and support for your ideas, and to demonstrate your ability to structure a clear and effective essay.
Essay 1 will be due Sunday, March 1 and will be uploaded to the course website. The final should be 3-5 pages and should conform to MLA format. Essay 1 is worth 100 points.
Because there is no draft for this essay, be sure you have met the requirements for the essay. Check for mechanical and typographical errors. Be sure to follow MLA format. There are no references required for this essay, nor is a Works Cited page required.
Here is the information from the textbook:
Every language is also a special way of looking at the world and interpreting experience. Concealed in the structure of language are a whole set of unconscious assumptions about the world and the life in it. -Clyde Kluckhohn
With the above quotation in mind, imagine that a previously unknown civilization has been discovered and that linguistic anthropologists, after observing the civilization for a while, have delineated the following characteristics about the society’s language:
Three words for terrain, designating “absolutely flat,” “rolling,” and “slightly hilly.”
No word for ocean.
Dozens of terms for grains, including eight for wheat alone.
Several words for children some of which translate as “wise small one,” “innocent leader,” and “little stargazer.”
Seven terms to describe the stages of life up to puberty, only one term to describe life from puberty to death.
The word for sex translates as “to plant a wise one.”
Terms for woman are synonymous with “wife and mother.”
Terms for man are synonymous with “husband and father.”
Twenty words for book
Nine words for artist.
Terms for praise translate as “peacemaker” and “conciliator.”
Words designating cow, pig, calf, and sheep but no terms for beef, pork, veal, leather, or mutton
Several words for precipitation, most translating as “rain,” only one meaning “snow.”
Several words for leader but all are plural.
Four words meaning theater.
Write an essay in which you characterize the society that uses this language.
As you analyze the characteristics of the language, you will be remonstrating a culture. Obviously, because the data are limited, you will have to make a few educated guesses and qualify conclusions carefully. (“Perhaps,” “possibly,” “one might conclude,” “the evidence suggests,” and similar hedges will be useful.)
Examine and group the data; look for patterns.
Draw inferences, depending only on the data given.
Cite evidence to support these inferences – be sure to base all your conclusions on the linguistic evidence provided. Do not draw inferences that you don’t support with specific examples. Be sure to use all the data. Explain your line of reasoning – how and why the data lead to the inferences you have made.
Don’t simply write a narration or description based on the information. A narrative or story will only imply the conclusions you have arrived at from examining the data. This can be enjoyable to write and entertaining to read and certainly requires critical thinking, as does all good fiction. But your purpose here is to explain why you have made the inferences you have and to back up your inferences with facts drawn from the language list.
Give a name to this tribe to help focus your sentences.
The opening section of any essay must provide readers with the necessary background information. In this case: What information do you have? How have you come by this information? What are you going to attempt to do with this information?
Each supporting paragraph should deal with one distinct aspect of the civilization. Arrange the paragraphs so you can move smoothly from one paragraph to the next.
Some possibilities for the conclusion of the essay: What general conclusion(s) can you come to about this society based on the more specific conclusions you have presented in the supporting paragraphs? Is there any overall point you want to make about this society?
What do you find admirable about this society? Do you have any criticisms of the society?
Do you have any questions about the society?
Of course, the conclusion can deal with more than one of these possibilities.
Audience and Purpose
You have a wide range of possibilities here; we leave the choice to you. Your paper may assume the form of a report, scholarly or simply informative, directed to any audience you choose. It may a letter to a personal friend or fictional colleague. It may be a traditional essay for an audience unfamiliar with the assignment, explaining what he language tells us about the people who use or used it. What is crucial for success is that you, as the reporter-writer, assume that you have not seen this tribe and have no firsthand evidence of it. You will also assume that your reader does not have a copy of this assignment; it is up to you to cite all the specific evidence (the terms given in the list) to justify your inferences.