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ANTH 104: Language, Culture, and Society

Thomas Plummer and Miki Makihara

(Submission #40)

Course Description

Language plays a very important role in our everyday life. Not only is linguistic behavior the central focus of many social settings, but it is also on linguistic evidence that we base many of our evaluations of the world around us. Yet attitudes towards language and the ways in which we use language are highly dependent on social and cultural factors. This course is an introduction to the field of linguistic anthropology: the study of language use in its socio-cultural context from anthropological perspectives. It provides students with a history of the development of linguistic anthropology, its theoretical and methodological issues, and case studies that illustrate the understandings of language in sociocultural contexts and how linguists and anthropologists engage real world issues. It aims to address commonly held misconceptions about language as well as important issues such as appreciation of diversity, multiculturalism, language policies, ethics and social justice. Discussions on the sociocultural significance of language will be held by addressing such questions as: To what extent does language shape our thoughts and identities? What does it mean to know a language? Can we think without language? Do all children follow the same language acquisition patterns within a society or across cultures? What is the nature of sign language? How do languages develop and change? What are the differences between language and dialect? How does language reinforce or challenge social stratification? What is the relationship between language and ethnicity? Do women speak more politely than men? Do men and women miscommunicate? How do we study language use in its socio-cultural context? How do conversations work? Do we need English-Only laws in the United States? Why is Ebonics controversial? Should we do anything about disappearing languages? Is English going to be the world language?


Area of Knowledge and Inquiry: Culture and Values (CV)
Context of Experience: World Cultures (WC)
Extended Requirement: Not Applicable

Additional Course information

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
Existing Course: Existing
Existing Course Number: Anthropology 104
Course Anticipated to be offered: Every Semester
Other (if specified): 
Number of Sections: 5
Number of Seats: 50~110


[Justification, Materials, Assessment, Administration (DOC)]   [Syllabus/Syllabi (DOC)]  

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