1. my neighbor to the north
the answer to the last blog being a bit more obvious to me than what is going on around me, i will postpone that answer in favor of noting the nature of the conversations i’ve had with my new neighbors. i’m finding interesting cultural mechanisms and watching the ties of social networks bind people together. at some point i would like to gather recorded data of a conversation the likes of which i had tonight. during a conversation with my neighbor to the north, i learned about the kinds of social parameters among which humanity communicates and which call back strongly to prior incarnations of human spoken communication, i.e., by short, mid, or long distance travel by foot, stopping to speak to strangers.
my neighbor described to me an exchange as he was sitting outside his house with a man who was homeless. he went on to describe the social graces by which the two sat together for over an hour and a half and traded stories, life information, points of view and all the underlined cultural knowledge and experience that structure such exchanges (much in the same way we were, standing outside and having our first official conversation as neighbors- an exchange with a structure tailored to the information needs of getting to know one’s neighbor). my neighbor to the north had been drinking his last beer, and the traveling man shared his four pack. my neighbor, being the keen social and cultural observer (as he is able to articulate this story in such a way that it has struck me so), later on remembered the man in the same part of town from which he hailed. remembering his name, he told me that his desire was to make sure the man remembered him. my neighbor finally jogged “James”’ memory, and went on to buy him a 4 pack, because at the time, as he pointed out “he could.” this story was told to illustrate my neighbor’s point of view on life, which have a very strong undercurrent of lingusitic availability and willingness, while maintaining an awareness and belief that others do not engage in such behavior and that this is detrimental. this is helpful to me as it gives me insights into how people actively seek others in conversation and the use of spoken language to exchange ideas and information.
this method still overridingly affects our communication and means of doing so, and more importantly creates the types of connections between the people within a society and culture at the immediate, opinion forming level.
this description i feel does not do justice to the exchange i just had. i look forward to the possibility of capturing some speech and transcribing it in order to note the exact linguistic cues that have aided me in this observation. i fear that they are so tenuous, and yet so obvious, that they may seem pedantic or worse, eye rollingly basic. however, there are certain aspects of any language variety, in any space or time, that should be captured as best as possible in order to further our general understanding of language usage.
from now on i’ll continue to keep track of interactions with my neighbors as faithfully as i can, understanding the inherent pitfalls and failings of, to analyze and try to understand the discoursal, pragmatic, and social aspects of language in conversation through the exchanges i have with them. this neighborhood provides me with a rich variety of…well….varieties of speech, and i hope to capture some of the nuances that make up what we call culture and community.