Language, Culture, and Society Classroom Resources

Instructor and Student Materials for Language, Culture, and Society, 7th Edition

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Student Online Resources and Activities

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Chapter One

Online Resources and Activities

1. Some recommendations for Internet resources are the SIL International glossary of linguistics terminology (, The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Linguistics online version (, and Utrecht University’s Lexicon of Linguistics ( These are all free.

2. The following are the official sites for several important organizations.

There many resources and links at each of these places, even for students and non-members. Most are free. Besides access to journals and other academic information, and notices for scholarly conferences, each of these sites also have tabs for job and career opportunities in their respective fields. Anyone with even a passing interest in anthropology and linguistics is strongly encouraged to visit them.

Chapter Two

Online Resources and Activities

In the video clips below, try to uncover some techniques that can be used by linguists in the field to learn a newly-encountered language. See if you can find at least five strategies that you might use if you do this yourself.
1. The Linguistic Fieldwork Campus has posted 20 videos of simulated fieldwork using virtual native-speaker informants. This video will start you off:

2. Working with real people under real conditions, however, is a bit more involved and more complicated. This next clip takes about hour and twenty minutes, but it is fascinating to see what can be uncovered in this short amount of time, phonologically, grammatically, and lexically. Dan Everett, whom we meet again later several times in this textbook gives a “monolingual fieldwork” demonstration at:

NOTE: “A monolingual fieldwork demonstration” shows techniques that a linguist will use to begin to figure out a target language when she does not share a language with the informant (that is, the informant can’t simply translate for the linguist … that is what the “monolingual” means here).

Chapter Three

Online Resources and Activities

1. An interactive chart of all the (many!) sounds of the International Phonetic Alphabet is found at:

Though this chart is not the one we stress in the text, students can go through it and hear dozens of “exotic” sounds by clicking over a particular symbol. There is some overlap between the IPA and the American system we use here, so perusing the chart is worthwhile, if nothing else to see the different philosophies behind each of the two systems (especially in transcribing vowels). In that vein, see this post from Language Log website which has some pointed criticisms about the IPA:

2. To hear how the various ma syllables talked about in Table 3.6 are pronounced by a native Chinese speaker, download the free audio file zh-pinyin_tones_with_ma.ogg. This can be done via:

To see the tones depicted graphically (and to hear how the ma syllable can change under certain environments), go to:

Also see further discussion of ma in Chapter 5, Table 5.1.

3. Numerous files from Dawson and Phelan’s Language Files, 12th Edition (2016) can be found on the Ohio State University Lingistics Department website. The ones from phonetics and phonology are found, respectively, at:

These are not only some interesting problems, but also have some interesting sound clips.

4. Further discussion on phonemes, minimal pairs, allophones, etc., can be found at

Chapter Four

Online Resources and Activities

1. Navaho animal names. More than 60 Navaho names for animals are given at the site:

2. The subtle distinctions between inflectional and derivational morphemes are nicely demonstrated at:

3. A good explanation on how an inflectional language—in this case, Latin—operates, with some interesting analogies, is found at:

Chapter Five

Online Resources and Activities

1. People sometimes say things like “A smile will get you a far way, anywhere in the world.” How universal to do think kinesics and gestures are? Watch the following video clip from the BBC on kinesics and body gestures:

Are there no gestures which are universal? Do you think some gestures have a biological basis, or all they all culturally determined?

2. Go to the Ethnologue resource site (see Box 5.1) on the 137 sign languages it now includes in its database ( Choose three sign languages besides American Sign Language (ASL) or Signed English. You can find various sign languages by simply going to the next page when on the site, or by typing in a specific name, if you know it, in the search bar. Compare them on the basis of formal properties like typology and dialects, and also on things like language use (and also check “other comments”). Even if you are fluent in, say, ASL, it is likely you will discover some interesting things. Which were the most fascinating to you? Can you make any generalizations about sign language speakers worldwide? That is, as a community, do you think sign language speakers worldwide have more, or less, in common than those of the spoken-language community?

3. The amateur linguist Xidnaf has posted numerous observations on languages and writing systems on YouTube. Watch these video clips, in order:

  • (types of writing systems):
  • (Korean):
  • (Thai):

What are some of the ways a language can be written down? Our textbook here basically argues—speaking in very broad and dangerous generalizations!—that the writing systems of the world can ultimately be reduced to just a few different kinds. Does Xidnaf agree? What, in his humble opinion, is the world’s easiest writing system? Why? And what is the world’s hardest? What criteria is he using to make these judgments? Do you agree? [NOTE: Xidnaf is apparently not a professional linguist or anthropologist, so there are a few instances where a specialist might beg to differ with him on some fine points. However, he is a good media artist and we think these clips are as entertaining as they are informative.]

Chapter Six

Online Resources and Activities

1. Language evolution. It is your lucky day! You get to watch a bunch of entertaining Internet video clips. View the following videos, in order. For fun, you get to start with Sacha Baron Cohen, in character as Ali G, “interviewing” the world’s most famous linguist, Noam Chomsky.

  • Chomsky and Ali G
  • Washoe and Koko
  • Kanzi’s lexigrams
  • Kanzi’s novel sentences
  • Koko the Gorilla Meets Mr. Rogers
  • Koko’s level of awareness
  • Koko’s propaganda
  • Chimp memory test; Matsuzawa. YOU TRY IT AND SEE IF YOU DO BETTER!
  • Savage-Rumbaugh on chimp language
  • William Shatner’s story on being introduced to Koko
  • William Shatner, and his biggest fan (literally!), Koko the Gorilla

Be ready to address the issues brought up in the video clips in either essay form or student-discussion format. In particular, consider these questions: How are humans and chimpanzees, and gorillas different in their (1) language ability, (2) interspecies communicative ability, and (3) intraspecies communicative ability?

2. Language death. Go beyond the information given in the text of this chapter by examining the further information and the latest statistics on the languages of the world given by the Summer Institute of Linguistics at their Ethnologue site:

You can peruse the various languages by searching by name, language family, or geographical location.

You can view their philosophical statement on endangered languages, browse various cases, and learn about their status criteria for how they rank a language’s vulnerability to extinction at:

3. The Cooperation Theory of language evolution. University of Reading biologist Mark Pagel gives his view of language evolution in this 20 minute video:

What do think about his “cooperation theory” of language evolution? What about his statement, “Language is our genes talking, getting things they want”?

Chapter Seven

Online Resources and Activities

1. Theories of language acquisition. View this video, a lively debate between Dan Everett and Jan-Wouter Zwart on the innateness of language hypothesis:

Using the three theories on language acquisition presented in this chapter, which label would apply to Everett and which would you apply to Zwart? Which position does each researcher in the video hold, and why? Which argument do you feel is more compelling?

2. Diglossia. Professor “Paul” on the Langfocus YouTube channel gives a nice review of diglossia at this site:

Now view this extended single Indonesian example presented by a sociolinguistics student:

From your viewing of these two videos, analyze the Indonesian example as best you can. What specific instances did you see that indicated the first case was the high variety, and the second case the low variety? Certainly, having to rely only on subtitles (if you are not an Indonesian speaker) is a bit of a handicap; but there are still many cues you can find indicating which is which! What might some of them be?

Now that you are skilled at recognizing diglossia when you see it, let’s go on to the next step. Youssef Tamer gives an extended discussion (an hour and fifteen minutes!) on diglossia—in much more detail than we were able to present in the chapter—at this site:

He talks about the theory as originally presented by Charles Ferguson in 1959, and then on its extension by Joshua Fishman in 1972. What is “extended” diglossia, and what does this notion contribute to the theory. Do you feel it is necessary?

3. Multilingualism. A previous edition of this book had a section in this chapter called “The Social Aspects of Multilingualism.” However, we feel that Dr. Li Wei’s 2014 Provost’s Lecture at Stony Brook University—“Multilingualism, Social Cognition, and Creativity”—is a nice substitution:

What are Li Wei’s main points? What does he feel are the social advantages of multilingualism? Are you convinced? For example, do you believe that “collaborative” code-switchers are more empathetic than monolingual speakers? Does this same advantage apply to those who only know multiple languages?

4. Code switching. The following link is to the song “Sabse Bada Rupaiya” [“Money is the Greatest”] from the 2005 Bollywood film Bluffmaster, about a con man who basically tries to take advantage of everyone, including his girlfriend:

As is typical of most Bollywood films, song and dance abound. Also typical is the code switching between Hindi and English. Watch this song, and see how much code switching you can catch. The song does have subtitles, but because it may be difficult to catch all of the code-switching taking place in the video, a sample verse from the song is provided here to supplement class discussion. The actual lyrics are given on the left and English translation is given on the right. (Hindi in italics, English in plain text).

Original lyrics Translation
Doctor laut jata fee na milti agar
Tu maa ke pote ke andar pada hi reh jata har baar
Woh kiya jisne paida woh ishwar hai na maiya
The whole thing is that ke bhaiya sabse bada rupaiya
The doctor would’ve quit if he wasn’t paid
And you would’ve stayed right there in your mother’s womb
The one who brought you isn’t God or your mother
The whole thing is that, my man, money is everything

4. Code switching. The complete Dave Chappelle quote from Project 2 can be found at:

Chappelle cuts to the heart of the issue when he states, “Every Black American is bilingual. All of us. We speak street vernacular, and we speak ‘job interview’.”

Make an argument, if possible, that going back and forth between “street vernacular” and “job interview” is a case for 1. bilingualism, 2. code-switching, 3. diglo.

Chapter Eight

Online Resources and Activities

1. How to do reconstructions…and hints for the problems in the text!

The following video clip gives you an introduction on how to do problems in historical linguistics, and indeed, the problems at the end of the chapter. We strongly recommend that you watch this clip before you tackle the problems in Chapter 8:

The site below gives much more details and written explanations, as well the first three lessons in this four-part series:

2. Proto-Indo-European, and its pronunciation. View these two short clips of how Proto-Indo-European was supposedly pronounced. Do they sound the same to you? If not, why not? What closest modern language today do you think these pronunciations sound like?

If you are intrigued by Proto-Indo-European pronunciation, you find a more detailed, but accessible elaboration at:

3. Linguistics and archeology. J.P. Mallory, one of the foremost Indo-European scholars, gives a 50 minute illustrated lecture on the dispersal of Indo-European people on the Eurasian steps, from Ireland to the China. Recommended for archeology and history students:

4. Join the society that studies Indo-European! If you have become interested in Indo-European in even the slightest, please visit the site below. This is a good source on all things Indo-European, and to have several free courses on how to learn it. Amateurs are indeed, welcome—encouraged, actually—to visit or to join.

5. Language typologies. For those who want more examples, and a slightly different explanation, of language typologies (like analytic or polysynthetic languages) see this clip:

Chapter Nine

Online Resources and Activities

1. Hawaiian “Pidgin.” Comedian Andy Bumatai gives a brief overview of a local style of speech commonly called Hawaiian Pidgin at the following site:

Certainly, this kind of English found in Waikiki is pretty different than the English in, say, Washington. What are some of these features that make them sound different? Also, though it is called a “pidgin,” does it meet the criteria of a pidgin as described in the text? If you do not think it is a pidgin, what other moniker might you use? Why?

2. Cameroon Pidgin. The following site give the famous Biblical story of the “Woman at the Well” (Book of John, Chapter 4, versus 1 to 25) rendered in Cameroon Pidgin. If you don’t know the story, you can follow along below as you listen. Note, not every detail and nuance is given in the spoken version. The idea of a pidgin, after all, is to reduce things to their basics. As you compare the text and the spoken version, what parts are given? What is left out? How much could you understand? How are things from the text spoken in the pidgin?

John 4:1-25 (NIV, New International Version); Jesus Talks With a Samaritan Woman
Now Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that he was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John— [2]although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples. [3]So he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee.

[4]Now he had to go through Samaria. [5]So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. [6]Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon.

[7]When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” [8](His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)

[9]The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.[a])

[10] Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

[11] “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? [12]Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?”

[13] Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, [14]but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

[15]The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”

[16] He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”

[17] “I have no husband,” she replied.

Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. [18]The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”

[19] “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. [20]Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”

[21]“Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. [22]You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. [23] Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. [24] God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

[25] The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”

3. The Harvard Dialect Survey. Look at Table 9.1 again. How did you answer these questions? How close were your choices to those of the majority? What “dialect” do you belong to? The original questions and maps can be found at:

Dynamic google maps of these and many more dialect questions, as well as new questions, can be found at Vaux’s current survey site:

4. Josh Katz’ Dialect Maps. In 2013, statistician and graphics editor Josh Katz created the year’s most popular quiz for the New York Times: a dialect survey answered by some 350,000 people. He took many of these maps and collected them into a lavishly illustrated book (Katz 2016; see Maps 9.1 and 9.2 in the text). New York Public Radio tested his expertise and computer algorithm on a live broadcast on November 16, 2016 on their program Studio 360. You can listen to the nine minute excerpt where he is tested on identifying where people are from by the speech patterns at:

Listen to the people being presented, and see how Katz identifies where they are originally from. If you played along, how did you do? What features was Katz looking at to identify “accents?” Is this what you’d normally expect when you think about how linguists identify a dialect?

You can take the quiz yourself and get you own personal dialect map at:

Chapter Ten

Online Resources and Activities

1. The following is an entertaining illustrated presentation on the Dell Hymes’ S P E A K I N G model of the ethnography of communication:

2. The following is a detailed analysis of a single speech event—a funeral reception in Saudi Arabia —using the method of the ethnography of communication:

After you have watched these two video clips choose one speech event yourself and analyze it using the methods presented above and described in the chapter. This can be any kind of event you’d like, but you probably shouldn’t choose something too complicated or lengthy. Even a small interaction, like ordering lunch in a line a fast food restaurant, actually has plenty of interesting SPEAKING components. After you have completed the task, ask yourself this question: What information was revealed through the ethnography of communication that I might not have been able to notice or retrieve using simple participant observation?

Chapter Eleven

Online Resources and Activities

1. The History and Development of Ethnoscience.
A more detailed—historical—explanation of ethnoscience and cognitive anthropology is given at:

2. Language: The Stuff of Thought.
Popular linguist and Harvard psychology professor Steven Pinker gives a talk on “The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature” at this site:

It is accompanied by cute on-going cartoon drawings illustrating his presentation. Which of Pinker’s examples demonstrate any of the cases we have talked about in the chapter text?

3. Partonomies.
In this exercise, first go through and name all the different parts of your body. This is gross anatomy here; not anything you cannot see, or below the skin. We just want things like “nose” or “eyebrow” that you use every day in a casual non-scientific way. Jot them down and notice things that you might not have noticed before, like where does the “leg” end and the “foot” begin?

Now, you have a virtual informant, Hilario, at:

He names all the parts of the body he knows. YOU are the anthropologist! Collect these terms. Don’t worry about correct spelling; ignore the directions given for the video, which is intended for language students. But, do you see now why knowing a phonetic alphabet is important? Compare this information you have just uncovered with the data you gathered on yourself.

And here is Chesley Wilson, a Western Apache speaker (the body parts come around 4:45):

Do the same thing. How does Apache compare to your “body part-onomy” and Mayan body-partonomy? Why was the Apache exercise easier?

Chapter Twelve

Online Resources and Activities

1. The Virtual Anthropology Color Laboratory
The site for the Virtual Anthropology Color Laboratory is:

Go to the site and follow the instructions upon entering. You will have an opportunity to virtually interact with a number of languages/informants and see how color nomenclature systems work in detail in ten languages from various parts of the world. There is a video introduction to help get you started. There is also a lab manual you can read with information on color nomenclature, including a little bit on the physics of light. There is a tab for you print out a worksheet that will help you track your data, and draw conclusions at the end. The exercise will probably take you a good hour or so to complete. But Dr. Anthro is waiting to start you off. . .

2. Navajo and Apache colors
A description of Navajo colors is given at:

A description of Western Apache colors is given at (around 3:20):

How do the Navajo and Western Apache color terminology systems compare to English, or another language that you know? Does the Navajo data seem to lend support to the “universalist” view (like Berlin and Kay) or the “relativist” view (like Lenneberg and Roberts)? Why, or how? How about Western Apache?

3. “Language” in The Arrival
In 2016, a new science fiction film, The Arrival, drew attention for its cerebral material and sophisticated depiction of aliens. The aliens didn’t speak English, or any human language, and there was no Star Trek-like intergalactic universal translator available to allow Earthlings to communicate with them. It may be the only movie coming out of Hollywood that has ever mentioned the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis. You can hear a brief discussion here:

Then, check out Astronomer Andy Howell’s episode on the film on his YouTube regular show Science vs. Cinema at:

There he talks with Denis Villeneuve, the director, stars Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner, author of the short story on which the movie is based, Ted Chiang, and screenwriter Eric Heisserer. He also talked to scientists like Stephen Wolfram (the creator of the Mathematica software package), SETI astronomer Seth Shostak, and the consulting linguist Jessica Coon.

What do you think? Is this a better rendition of “close contact” than other films you have seen? Have they gotten the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis right? Or do you think if close contact ever really occurs it will be something altogether different?

4. Sapir-Whorf: An Historical Overview
The following site gives an historical overview of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis and presents some good explanations of color terminology systems, as well as showing some other pieces of indirect evidence for linguistic relativity.

5. A Sapir-Whorf Summary?
Shannon Rose Kieran, an assistant professor of communications, gives a summary of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis at this link:

What do you think of her assessment of Sapir and Whorf’s work, compared to that described in the text? That is, how might you criticize her presentation? Why? What do you think she got right? What did she overstate or get wrong?

Chapter Thirteen

Online Resources and Activities

1. The Worldwide Distribution of Grammatical Gender and Natural Gender.
Go the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology’s online site, World Atlas of Language Structures:

This is a fascinating source of information of all kinds for many languages in the world. Search for terms like “gender” and read some of the articles and citations; don’t forget to check the maps. As for “grammatical gender” and “natural gender,” what properties do many languages demonstrate? What might programs for future research be, using this information?

2. Inherent Sexism in the 2016 Presidential Debates?
Bestselling linguist and Georgetown University professor Deborah Tannen analyzes one of the 2016 presidential debates:

What are some of her points? What was the role of gender in their debates? How does she think this was manifested linguistically?

3. Japanese Female and Male Speech
Many researchers believe there is a great deal of sexual dimorphism in the Japanese language. Here you will get a chance to form your own opinion. YouTube Japanese teacher Comical Reina gives a brief overview of some of the differences between men and women’s Japanese speech that we have discussed. She uses some of the same examples we presented. You can view her clip at:

Now admittedly, she exaggerates both the women’s and men’s styles a little bit; but not excessively so. It does make it easier to pick things up. Besides the spoken differences, which hopefully were fairly clear, what other things did you notice when she was demonstrating how men and women speak?

4. Láadan Syntax and Gender
Láadan, a supposedly feminist language constructed by linguist and science fiction writer Suzette Haden Elgin, is described in Box 13.2 (see BOX 13.2). These comments and information are taken from:

Explore some of the language’s grammatical features. For example, Elgin—believing that women are vulnerable to excuses from men, like “All I said was . . .”—built certain protections into the Láadan syntax. For example, Láadan has features such as requiring speakers to grammatically reveal their intentions or the extent of their knowledge regarding their statements (an example is provided in Box 13.2). What do you think about this? Would this make for a “female-sensitive” language? Why, and how? Would your answer change if you found out that some languages (like supposedly sexist Japanese) do a few of these things already?

Chapter Fourteen

Online Resources and Activities

1. The following link gives an excerpt from an ABC News Nightline report in 1997 on the Oakland School Board’s decision on adopting Ebonics (12 min.)

2. Ilan Stavans give a strong case for Spanglish becoming a new language in the New World in this lecture below (1:15 hours):

3. These two clips present different takes on fake “Asian accents” from different Asian American groups. The first is by an Asian American, who claims, if you are going to mock us, at least get it halfway right! (2 min.)

But the comedian Russell Peters seems rather nonplused in this very off-color clip (3 min.):

4. William Labov gives a summary of his work on social class in this discussion with PBS’s Robert Macneil (3:30 min.):

A more detailed look by Labov at sound change in Philadelphia is found here (1 hour):

5. The Basque language, revitalization, and nationalism is found in (14 min.):

Chapter Fifteen

Online Resources and Activities

1. Go to the following YouTube website and watch actor and filmmaker John Favreau play an Internet movie game. He is given some famous lines from some recent films, depicted only in emojis. The object of the game is to guess what the line is. You can play along, too, by turning down the sound, or stopping the clip when the emojis are presented, before the answer is given. In fact, we recommend you do this first.

If you played the game, how many did you get right? How hard was it? Watch the clip again, this time with full sound and listen to John Favreau’s thought processes as he tries to guess the lines. Were his the same as yours? What strategies was he using as he tried to decipher them? What does this tell us about the place of emojis in language?

2. Watch Seth Godin’s TED talk, “The Tribes We Lead,” at the following site:

What do you think about his idea that social media have the ability to align people together, and thus, can change the world? His claim is that effective social movements are not “mass” movements of everyone, but instead are effectively-lead collections of “tribes” of people with already similar interests, persuasions, or characteristics. (e.g., “The Beatles didn’t invent teenagers, they just decided to lead them.”). If true, what is it about Twitter that makes it a particularly effective medium to do this? Will you take the next 24 hours and do what he says?

3. In the following link, New York Times columnist Adam Bryant speaks what is probably heresy to most of you—don’t email, pick up the phone!:

What is his reasoning? What kind of problems does he think email causes? Why does email cause them? Are other forms of digital communication—like Twitter, Instagram, etc.—also susceptible to these same weaknesses? What, in short, is his solution? Do you agree?

4. You can read hundreds of Japanese manga comics in English for free at

Go there and pick any issue that looks interesting to you and read a chapter. NOTE: Because there are also some Korean manga on there as well, if you cannot discern Japanese names very well, we recommend you look at “Naruto” or “One Piece” (popular examples of “boys” manga) or “Dengeki Daisy” or “Nisekoi Manga” (examples of “girls” manga). The past plot is not important for this exercise, though you are welcome to read the summaries and past issues to get up to speed, though that is not required. Look at some of the Japanese visual “morphemes” given in Figure 15.1 in this chapter. How many can you find in your selection? Do you think they add to the story and the characterization, as we claimed in this chapter?

The complete list gathered so far of Japanese visual morphemes (cited in the bibliography as [Cohn n.d.]) is given at:

This will give you more things to choose from and more things to look for. Now, (1) compare the visual morphemes found in “boys” manga with “girls” manga. Are there substantial differences? Is there a comparable set of visual morphemes for American or Western comics? If you are ambitious, you might want to check an older issue of a long-running series (like Batman) and see how it compares to a current issue. How have the visual morphemes changed? Has there been any influence from the Japanese manga?

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