This course examines the complex relationship between culture and language. Lectures and readings will use case materials drawn from North America, Southeast Asia, the Caribbean, Oceania, and Europe to explore theories about how language is shaped by, and in turn shapes, culture and social relations. We will start by looking at the influence of linguistic categories on the way we view the world around us. We will look at color terminology, racial and ethnic categories, pronoun use, and differences in vocabulary used to talk about men and women. Next, we will turn to cultural differences in communicative behavior. We will examine theories that suggest that males and females, and members of various ethnic groups, use language differently in everyday social interaction. These differences in communicative strategies lead to systematic miscommunication and perpetuate stereotypes. We will then turn to the ways changes in communicative technologies such as the internet and cellphones change social relations. Finally, we will explore the ways that language reflects and supports social class, and the patterning of language use in multilingual nations.
Location & Meeting Time
Karp Hall-105+ M/W/F 12:30PM-01:35PM LEC