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Write an essay in which you characterize the society that uses the language (see Canvas for the language). Consider giving a name to the tribe to help focus your sentences. For example, if I was writing this essay, I might call my tribe the Ryans.

As you analyze the language, you will be reconstructing a culture. The data are limited (please use only what is provided), so you will have to make a few educated guesses and qualify conclusions carefully. To accomplish this, use terms such as “possibly,” “one might conclude,” “the evidence suggests,” “maybe,” “perhaps,” and similar hedges.

Remember to support your inferences with the facts provided. The more specific you get, the more you won’t be able to support your inferences. For example, you can argue the tribe lives far from an ocean based on the terms, but you can’t know if the tribe lived in Kansas.

What is crucial for success is that you, the writer, assume that you have not seen this tribe and have no firsthand evidence of the tribe. You will also assume your reader does not have a copy of this assignment, so it is your job to cite all of the specific evidence (the terms on the list) to justify your inferences.

The Structure:

The opening section of any essay must provide readers with the necessary background information. For this essay, ask yourself what information you have and how you have found 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 make about this society based on the more specific conclusions you have presented in the supporting paragraphs? Is there an overall point you want to make about this society?

Other conclusion possibilities: What do you find admirable about this society? Do you have any criticisms of the society? Do you have any questions about the society?

The conclusion can deal with more than one of these possibilities.

Organize your body paragraphs around logical groupings of the terms on page 34, such as the following:

  • terrain and precipitation
  • diet
  • views on family and children (might require more than one body paragraph)
  • views on books and the arts
  • views on leadership and peacefulness


Audience and Purpose:

You have a wide range of possibilities for this essay. Choose the best possibility for you. In other words, there is no wrong answer.

Your paper may assume the form of a report, scholarly or simply informative, directed to any audience you choose. The form can be a letter to a friend or colleague, a traditional essay for an audience unfamiliar with the assignment that explains what the language tells us about the people who use or used it.



  • Examine and group the data. Look for pattens.
  • Draw inferences depending only on the data given.
  • Use all of the data.
  • Cite evidence to support these inferences. Be sure to base all of your conclusions on the linguistic evidence provided. Do not draw inferences that you don’t support with specific examples. Explain your reasoning — how and why the data lead to the inferences you have made.
  • Draw logical inferences (conclusions) about the tribe’s ways of life, value systems, etc. using only the language facts listed on p. 34. Do NOT venture into storytelling or making up facts.
  • Clearly state your inferences, back them up with the relevant specific language facts, explain your reasoning process, and explore logical implications.
  • The lack of a word or words to express a concept or thing might mean the tribe has never been exposed to that concept or thing. However, don’t make this assumption unless you can logically support that claim.
  • If the tribe has many words to express one concept or thing, you might assume the tribe has been exposed to that concept or thing. You can also assume the tribe places value on that concept or thing because there are multiple terms. You can also assume different terms for different types of art, for instance, show respect and distinction from the tribe.



  • four pages with at least one line onto the fifth page
  • Use all the language facts on page 34 somewhere in the body of your essay.
  • A Works Cited page is not needed for this assignment