Language, Culture, and Society (3) Relationships among language, culture and society, with an anthropological emphasis.
ANTH 477 Language, Culture, and Society (3)
Anthropologists have long acknowledged the importance of language as a major adaptive tool of the human species and as our principal means of transmitting culture. Indeed, it is often difficult to separate language, culture and society because of their intrinsic interrelatedness; language requires a social environment, while culture requires an efficient and expressive means of communication. This course will explore the relationship of language, culture and society, within an anthropological context that distinguishes it from the standard approach of linguistics courses. Linguistic anthropologists have focused on language as a way to make inferences about larger anthropological issues such as world view, semantic fields, the relationship between speech and socialization and the interaction of linguistic and social communities. The course will include a section on the structure of languages, emphasizing the similarities and differences in human languages and the expression of the general language code in particular languages. It will also deal with the origins of language and briefly explore language change, including contacts between members of different societies and the changes that those contacts entail. The major hypotheses concerning the relationship between language and culture will be assessed. Finally, a major part of the course will be devoted to the study of language and its social context, the ways in which speech is associated with social relations, how speech affects and is affected by social interaction. Students will gain an understanding of the importance of language in human adaptation and the transmission of culture and as a social marker both between and within social groups. Students will be evaluated through written exams, problem sets, contributions to class discussions and presentations. The course will provide 3 credits in the Major and Minor in Anthropology.
Note : Class size, frequency of offering, and evaluation methods will vary by location and instructor. For these details check the specific course syllabus.