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Chapter 0: Introduction to sociology 2e

Preface Read Online

About openstax

OpenStax is a non-profit organization committed to improving student access to quality learning materials. Our free textbooks are developed and peer-reviewed by educators to ensure they are readable, accurate, and meet the scope and sequence requirements of modern college courses. Unlike traditional textbooks, OpenStax resources live online and are owned by the community of educators using them. Through our partnerships with companies and foundations committed to reducing costs for students, OpenStax is working to improve access to higher education for all. OpenStax is an initiative of Rice University and is made possible through the generous support of several philanthropic foundations.

About this book

Welcome to Introduction to Sociology 2e , an OpenStax resource created with several goals in mind: accessibility, affordability, customization, and student engagement—all while encouraging learners toward high levels of learning. Instructors and students alike will find that this textbook offers a strong foundation in sociology. It is available for free online and in low-cost print and e-book editions.

To broaden access and encourage community curation, Introduction to Sociology 2e is “open source” licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license. Everyone is invited to submit examples, emerging research, and other feedback to enhance and strengthen the material and keep it current and relevant for today’s students. You can make suggestions by contacting us at

To the student

This book is written for you and is based on the teaching and research experience of numerous sociologists. In today’s global socially networked world, the topic of sociology is more relevant than ever before. We hope that through this book, you will learn how simple, everyday human actions and interactions can change the world. In this book, you will find applications of sociology concepts that are relevant, current, and balanced.

To the instructor

This text is intended for a one-semester introductory course. Since current events influence our social perspectives and the field of sociology in general, OpenStax encourages instructors to keep this book fresh by sending in your up-to-date examples to so that students and instructors around the country can relate and engage in fruitful discussions.

General approach

Introduction to Sociology 2e adheres to the scope and sequence of a typical introductory sociology course. In addition to comprehensive coverage of core concepts, foundational scholars, and emerging theories we have incorporated section reviews with engaging questions, discussions that help students apply the sociological imagination, and features that draw learners into the discipline in meaningful ways. Although this text can be modified and reorganized to suit your needs, the standard version is organized so that topics are introduced conceptually, with relevant, everyday experiences.

Changes to the second edition

Part of the mission of the second edition update was to ensure the research, examples and concepts used in this textbook are current and relevant to today’s student. To this end, we have rewritten the introduction of each chapter to reflect the latest developments in sociology, history and global culture. In addition to new graphs and images, the reader of the second edition will find new feature boxes on a diverse array of topics, which has been one of the goals of the update—bringing the world into greater focus through case studies on global culture.

In this assignment you will learn the basic principles of how the human brain functions in ways that make possible symbolic communication.

You will learn to distinguish between symbols and signs and between verbal and nonverbal communication. You will learn to distinguish human communication from communication in other animals.

You also will learn about the building blocks of language and the effects that language has on human thinking and culture.

Finally, you will learn about the processes of language change that have resulted in the contemporary diversity of human languages.

Assignment PDF eBook: 
Chapter 5: Anthropology Language and Culture
Download #5 Language & Culture Assignment PDF eBook
49 Pages
English US
Educational Materials

Sample Questions from the Chapter 5: Anthropology Language and Culture Assignment

Question: The number of phonemes in human languages is typically how many?






Question: When Helen Keller began to use symbolic communication, her rate of learning:


increased dramatically.

decreased slightly.

remained about the same.

declined initially and then returned to its original level.

Question: Speech differs from language in that:


It includes the sequence of sounds made by nonhuman primates.

It refers only to more formal uses of language.

It is the interpretation of sounds produced.

It consists of the symbolic sequences of sounds that people produce.

Question: How do signs differ from symbols?


Signs are kinds of symbols.

Symbols are kinds of signs.

Signs and symbols have nothing in common.

Only symbols have meanings only because their users agree they do.

Question: What best characterizes language?


It relies on the acting out of meanings.

It expresses only feelings.

It cannot provide information abut things that are invisible or that do not exist.

It is a meta-communication system.

Question: The number of human languages in the world today is approximately:






Question: Which of the following is true of proxemics?


It is the study of unconscious nonverbal gestures.

Its meanings are the same in all cultures.

It is the study of the use of distances to communicate meaning.

It does not express feelings.

Question: What does it mean when we say that language is an open system?


The rules governing the use of language can never be completely specified.

With a finite set of symbols and rules for combining them, an uncountable number of ideas can be communicated.

Language has no real structure--structure implied by written grammars is artificial.

People are free to change the rules of language.

Question: the study of how language is used and how the use of language conveys information about the social settings in which it is used


anthropological linguistics





cerebral cortex

American Sign Language (ASL)


International Phonetic Alphabet

phonemic alphabet

linguistic relativity


basic vocabulary

language families




prestige dialects

language nationalism

Question: Which of the following is true of the use of personal distance in the United States?


Americans use a greater distance to show friendship than people in many other societies use.

It indicates that people tend to e close and personable in their relationships.

It is the same in the U.S. as in most parts of the world.

It has nothing to do with showing friendliness.

Question: Communication is synonymous with:



using one set of objects and events to represent other objects or events.

the use of signs.

the use of symbols.

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Source:  Prof. Richley Crapo, Cultural Anthropology. (Utah State University), (Accessed 28 Mar, 2014). License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA
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