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University Bulletin

Undergraduate Degree Programs

Communication Arts and Sciences (CAS)

CAS 200 (US;IL) Language, Culture, and Communication (3) Introduction to language, language development, cultural literacy, culture, and intercultural communication.

CAS 200 Language, Culture, and Communication (3)
(US;IL)

This course defines culture broadly, including how people conceptualize and enact reason, rationality, race/ethnicity, sex/gender, power, and age. Course content is organized into three large units: (1) how culture shapes language use; (2) how language use shapes culture; and (3) how culture and language (both verbal and nonverbal) operate together and influence each other, including how language is used to create, and negotiate understandings of culture. In the first unit, the class examines the effects of preconceived cultural beliefs on behavior; that is, how beliefs that a culture takes for granted as being true filter persons' perceptions of reality. This unit also covers the concepts of self-fulfilling prophecies, cultural stereotypes about age, the possibility of cross-cultural universals (e.g., politeness), and African-American culture. In the second unit, the class examines how the structure of different culture's languages (e.g., their vocabulary and grammar) shapes how persons experience the world and thus shapes their "reality." In the third unit, the class takes the position that various aspects of culture (e.g., race/ethnicity, sex/gender, power, and age) are constantly being constructed and re-constructed through language. This unit examines how persons accomplish being "a woman," "African American," "old," "polite", "powerful," etc. This class is interdisciplinary and incorporates materials from anthropology, applied linguistics, linguistic anthropology, communication studies, and sociology. Grades are based on three in-class exams (two midterms and a final), which are closed-book and involve short-answer and essay-type questions. Attendance is mandatory. This is one of the three core/required courses for the major. This course ties into another core course, Communication Theory, by discussing several key Communication Theories in different ways, such as the Sapir/Whorf hypothesis, Politeness Theory, and various theories of language. This course ties into those dealing with race and gender.


General Education: None
Diversity: US;IL
Bachelor of Arts: None
Effective: Summer 2005

Note : Class size, frequency of offering, and evaluation methods will vary by location and instructor. For these details check the specific course syllabus.