Minding Play: Structural and Cognitive Studies

  • Helen B. Schwartzman


In 1954, the linguist Kenneth Pike enumerated a distinction between etic and emic statements derived from the difference, in linguistic analysis, between phonemic and phonetic units. Etic statements were said to be those whose validity could be verified by independent investigators using similar operations, analogous to the linguists’ discrimination of phonetic units (e.g., the difference between aspirated and nonaspirated sounds). Emic statements were those categories and meanings perceived, articulated, and validated by the actors themselves, as in the specific system of sound contrasts that English speakers employ (the phonemic units) (see Harris, 1976:331–332; Langness, 1974:107–108; Pike, 1954:8–28). Pike’s purpose in formulating this distinction was to suggest the need for a unified theory of the structure of human behavior that would incorporate both types of statements as research “standpoints.” Unity in theory and methodology could best be achieved, according to Pike, by viewing language as behavior and in turn behavior as language.


Symbolic Play Cognitive Study Source Word Emic Statement Relay Race 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • Helen B. Schwartzman
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Juvenile ResearchChicagoUSA

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