ANTH 120 – Language and Culture
Fall 2013

 

Class time:             Wed -Fri 11:30 – 12:45

Dr. Denice Szafran                             Classroom:             Newton 203

Sturges 13F, 245-5174                         Office hours:         Wed & Fri 2-3:30 pm

email: szafran@geneseo.edu                FINAL:                   Fri 12/13  12-3 pm

                                            

 

 

NOTE: The course content is subject to change as necessary throughout the semester. All students are responsible for attending class for information in this regard. Check myCourses for updates and announcements, lecture outlines, and information on homework, papers, and exams. It is important to consult the myCourses page at a minimum of once a week for changes and important information.

 

 

DESCRIPTION

 

This course provides an introduction to language as a cultural phenomenon. The topics of investigation include the design features of language, language and biological evolution, language acquisition and socialization, language contact, the dynamic relationship of language with society, the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, and the theory of culture as communication.

 

LEARNING OUTCOMES

 

  1. Students will demonstrate a basic knowledge about how language interfaces with culture geographically, socially, and cognitively by taking a midterm and a final examination.
  2. Students will demonstrate an ability to understand the core values of a culture by examining the semantic composition of its key terms through classroom and online discussions. 
  3. Students will demonstrate their understanding of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis and cultural semantics. 
  4. Students will demonstrate willingness as well as an ability to appreciate multiculturalism and multilingualism by participating in classroom discussions of cross-cultural communication.

 

 

REQUIRED TEXT:

 

Bonvillain, Nancy

2011   Language, Culture and Communication: The Meaning of Messages. Prentice-Hall.

 

 

COURSE REQUIREMENTS:

 

Homework/Labs:

 

This classroom will be blended this semester. Every Wednesday we are in session will be lecture, and every Friday will be hands-on engagement with the material for that week. This will require you to prepare for the lab by watching some short video material and reading your textbook prior to the lab. The materials we work with in the lab will then be the basis for your homework assignments.

 

These assignments are due Sunday night at midnight after every lab session during the semester. For each one there is a drop box on myCourses.  If you have problems typing IPA characters into some of the assignments please ask for help, or visit http://westonruter.github.com/ipa-chart/keyboard/. Please do not hand in draft work – retype or scan in your materials for upload. I have a really tough time reading some of your handwriting J No late work will be accepted.

 

Exams:

 

There will be a midterm exam and a final exam in this course. The midterm due date is on the course schedule below, in two parts. The midterm is a creative project on phonology, morphology, syntax and grammar – you will create your own conlang. The second part of the midterm is trying to analyze someone else’s conlang!  The final exam is a take-home research project that I will hand out on November 20th . We will meet on the day scheduled for your final, December 13th at noon, to hand them in and discuss what you have researched. You MUST show up on final exam day in order to receive credit for the exam!

 

 

COURSE GRADING:

 

Midterm Exam                          25%

Final Exam:                              35%

Homework assignments           40%

 

 

Grading scale:

93 -100                  A                73 – 76.9               C

90 – 92.9                A-               70 – 72.9              C-

87 – 89.9                B+               67 – 69.9             D+

83 – 86.9                B                63 – 66.9              D

80 – 82.9                B-               > 62.9                   F

77 – 79.9                C+

 

 

CLASSROOM EXPECTATIONS:

  • Deadlines: No late work will be accepted. I understand that there may be situations where you just cannot get work to me on time, or that you may miss an exam – illness, accidents, deaths in the family – but “my computer just crashed” is old, as are the variations of it. If you have a very good reason why your work was/will be late (with documentation), please notify me as soon as possible, and we can work something out.
  • Attendance: Show up for class.
  • Plagiarism: Presenting another person's work as your own (including downloading materials from the Internet, multiple submissions of the same work, unauthorized collaboration, falsification and/or any other violation of academic integrity) is unacceptable and will result in a 0 grade on the assignment and/or a failing grade in the course.
  • Accommodations:  SUNY Geneseo will make reasonable accommodations for persons with documented physical, emotional, or cognitive disabilities.  Accommodations will also be made for medical conditions related to pregnancy or parenting.  Students should contact Dean Buggie-Hunt in the Office of Disability Services (tbuggieh@geneseo.edu or 585-245-5112) and their faculty to discuss needed accommodations as early as possible in the semester.
  • Teaching Philosophy: I teach my classes with the broadest possible examples and try to tie them in to your everyday life and ordinary experiences. I believe that the best educational experiences occur in an open and participatory environment. There will be no "trick questions" on the exams or assignments, and I will make every effort to ensure that you understand exactly what is expected of you.
  • Cell phones: If you are facing an emergency situation which necessitates that you keep your phone on, please notify me before the class begins and be as discrete as you can while in class. Otherwise, I expect that your phone will either be off, or set to vibrate, unless we are using smart phones for research during class. Of course, text messaging during class is rude and out of the question.
  • Laptop use in the classroom creates new and exciting possibilities for teachers and students when used appropriately. Negative participation (surfing, gaming, chatting, emailing) in class is prohibited. Any student found to violate this policy will be asked to discontinue use of the laptop (or tablet, phone, etc) for the remainder of the class period. A second occurrence will result in the removal of the student’s laptop privileges for the remainder of the semester and will reduce your grade because you are a distraction to others sitting nearby, and to me.
  • Discussion guidelines: Everyone is expected to comport themselves in a manner that does not convey to others in this classroom any disrespect, intolerance, or rude behavior based on age, race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, physical attributes, disability, or marital, veteran, or socioeconomic status. You have the opportunity for open, mature, academic discussions about the current lecture topic. Human issues facing modern society are not always politically correct or popular, and I'm not interested in serving as a referee to sort out battles over opinions and beliefs. Stick to the logic of the argument at hand. Personal attacks directed against other students, accusations, or remarks that are irrelevant to the topic at hand are not acceptable in this forum, and should be brought to my attention immediately. Bottom line: if it’s rude or intended to be rude, don’t say it.

 

 

COURSE SCHEDULE:

 

 

Week

Dates

Topic

Reading Assignment

 

 

 

 

1

8/28 - 8/30

Introduction, syllabus, language and anthropology

 

chapter 1

 

2

9/4-

The Form of the Message

 

 

9/6

Discussion/Lab

chapter 2

 

3

9/11-

9/13

The Form of the Message

Discussion/Lab

 

  

 

 

 

4

9/18

Language and Cultural Meaning

chapter 3

   

9/20

Discussion/Lab

 

 

5

9/25

Outline of an Ethnography of Communication

chapter 4

 

  

9/27

Discussion/Lab

 

 

10/2

Communicative Interactions

chapter 5

 

10/4

Discussion/Lab

 

 

7

10/9

Digital Communications and Sign

chapter 6

 

10/11

Discussion/Lab

 

 

10/16

Learning Language

MIDTERM EXAM due

chapter 7

 

10/18

Discussion/Lab

 

 

9

10/23

Acquisition of Communicative Competence

chapter 8

 

    

10/25

Discussion/Lab

 

 

10 

10/30

Class and Race

MIDTERM EXAM peer portion due

chapter 9

    

11/1

Discussion/Lab

 

 

11

11/6

Language and Gender

 

chapter 10

 

     

11/8

Discussion/Lab

 

 

12

11/13

Multilingual Nations, Bilingual Communities

Chapter 11 & 12

 

11/15

Discussion/Lab

 

 

13

11/20

FINAL EXAM HANDED OUT

 

 

11/22

NO CLASS – AAA Conference

 

 

14 

11/27

No class - Thanksgiving

 

     

11/29

No class - Thanksgiving

 

 

15

12/4

Language and Institutional Encounters

chapter 13

   

12/6

Discussion/Lab

 

 

 

 

 

FINAL

12/13

Friday Noon – 3 pm