ANTH 231 - Sociolinguistics
Fall 2013

 

Class time:             Tu-Th 4 – 5:15

Denice Szafran                                  Classroom:             Welles 26

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

email: szafran@geneseo.edu             FINAL EXAM                   TH 12/12 3:30-6:30

                                            

 

 

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 examines the mutually inclusive relationship between language and society. With regard to the linguistic dimensions of society, it will explore micro-sociolinguistics and investigate how the way people talk correlates with social variables, such as class, gender, ethnicity, and education, etc. With regard to the social dimensions of language, it will explore macro-sociolinguistics and investigate what societies do with their languages, as in linguistic engineering and language attitudes. In the process, certain issues will be examined, where linguistic problems have become societal problems, as in educational failures, bilingualism, and ethnic conflicts arising from rival linguistic-cultural identities.

 

As a Social Science Core course, Anth 231 is designed to deepen your understanding and awareness of speakers as social beings, and to introduce to you the different approaches and methods used by linguists in the investigation of the social aspects of speech and communication.

 

LEARNING OUTCOMES

 

  • Students will demonstrate knowledge about the major issues of micro-sociolinguistics and macro-sociolinguistics by taking a midterm and a final examination;
  • Students will demonstrate an appreciation of sociolinguistic theories and paradigms through developing a term paper which synthesizes and critiques sociolinguistic researches on a particular aspect or topic of language use in society;
  • Students will show more respect for multilingualism by confronting linguistic biases in classroom discussions;
  • Students will demonstrate an ability to think critically and address the controversies of certain social dialects in both classroom discussions and term papers.

 

REQUIRED TEXTS:

 

Blum, Susan D.

2013   Making Sense of Language. 2nd ed. New York: Oxford University Press.

 

McWhorter, John

2003   The Power of Babel: A Natural History of Language

 

Additional required readings are loaded onto myCourses and the due dates are indicated on the syllabus. Please feel free to search online and in local stores for used copies of the texts or share books.

 

 

COURSE REQUIREMENTS:

 

Readings:

 

Readings are from the textbook, and from additional materials uploaded to myCourses. Please make sure you have read them by the day they are listed on the syllabus, as we will discuss them in class on that day.

 

Exams:

 

There will be two exams for the class, a midterm and a final. The final exam will be take-home project that I will hand out on November 19th. We will meet on the day scheduled for your final, Thursday, December 12th at 3:30 pm, 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!

 

Paper:

 

You are to produce a descriptive and analytic report on the required reading, The Power of Babel. The length of the paper must be five to seven typed double-spaced pages (no greater than a Courier Font at 12 point), not including the references cited section. You should include references to the material covered in class as it applies to Babel. Please make sure you cite where you quote or paraphrase or use ideas from your references. Papers without citations referenced in the body of the text will be graded lower. All papers must have an additional page listing the references cited in the text. I loaded the AAA Style Guide onto myCourses, and I expect that you will use this style for your citations in the paper.

 

 

COURSE GRADING:

 

Midterm Exam:                        30 %

Discussions                             10 %

Final Project:                            40 %

Paper:                                       20 %

 

 

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 dog ate my homework” 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.
  • Students with disabilities or special needs should contact the Office of Disability Services. Based on recommendations from that office, students may receive needed assistance, such as additional time or a quiet space to take exams, a reader for exams, and so on.
  • 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 PDA, iPhone, 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. Bottom line: if it’s rude or intended to be rude, don’t say it.

 

 

COURSE SCHEDULE:

 

 

Week

Dates

Topic

Reading Assignment

 

 

 

 

 

1

 

8/27 - 8/29

 

Introduction, syllabus, language and anthropology

 

 

Smiles, Winks and Words

The Origin of Speech

How to Do Things With Words

 

2

9/3

Language and Society

 

Metaphors We Live By

Language Acquisition

 

 

9/5

Language and Society

Language and Mind

To Give Up On Words

 

3

9/10

Place and Space

 

where the sun doesn’t rise in the east

 

  

9/12

Place an Space

space, relativity

 

4

9/17

Social Status

adat/indigenous

hijab/headscarf

 

   

9/19

Social Status

The Social Stratification of (r)

 

5

9/24

Time

 

The Relation of habitual Thought

 

  

9/26

Time

Boroditsky 2001

 

10/1

Ethnicity

 

hip hop nation language

 

10/3

Ethnicity

 

language, race, and white public space

 

7

10/8

Review

 

 

 

10/10

MIDTERM

 

 

 

10/15 

NO CLASS FALL BREAK

 

 

 

10/17

Gender and Identity

 

Power and Language of Men

Eckert 2002

gender

 

9

10/22

Gender and Identity

 

“Unnatural” Gender in Hindi

Dude

 

    

10/24

Style

variation, style

 

 

10 

10/29

Style

 

Regional Dialects

    

10/31

Interaction

 

Matsumoto 1988

Competence

 

11

11/5

Interaction

Turn

 

     

11/7

Multilingualism

 

voice, heteroglossia

12

11/12

Multilingualism

PAPER DUE

 

 

Serious Games

Bad Language, Bad Citizens

 

 

11/14

Language Contact

FINAL PROJECT HANDED OUT

 

conflict, contact, control

13

11/19

Language Contact

 

Most of the World’s Languages    Went Extinct

 

 

11/21

Attitudes and Ideologies

 

Rewritten Rites

Discourse in the Novel

 

14

11/26

Naming, Framing and the Internet

 

Media, Names

Homo Somnians

booting up

Why All the Fuss?

 

     

11/28

NO CLASS THANKSGIVING BREAK

 

 

15

12/3

Endangered Languages

 

Endangered

Downey (see below)

Indigenous Language            Endangerment

 

   

12/5

Language as a Social Entity

 

 

community

 

 

 

 

FINAL

12/12

3:30 – 6:30 pm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Downey: Language Extinction Ain’t No Big Thing?

http://neuroanthropology.net/2010/07/25/language-extinction-aint-no-big-thing/