ANTH 231 - S/Sociolinguistics
Fall 2014


Tuesday and Thursday, 4:00-5:15, Newton 213
Prof. Jennifer Guzman
Office:    Bailey Hall 108
Phone:    (585) 245-5174
Office hours: Tuesday 12:00-1:30, Friday 2:30-4:00, and by appointment

Course description: This course is the second in the linguistic anthropology series at SUNY Geneseo. In this course, students gain deeper understanding about the underpinnings and social consequences of linguistic diversity in the contemporary world: how language choices are influenced by social pressures and why certain ways of speaking are highly valued while others are denigrated. Topics covered in the course include: multilingualism, language shift, the ways language use differs according to social variables (e.g. age, gender, sexuality, class), and the communities of practice to which people belong, and the challenges and opportunities that cultural and linguistic diversity create for educational policy and practice.
This course satisfies the SUNY Geneseo General Education requirement in Social Sciences, as described in the Undergraduate Bulletin. As such, the course is designed "to deepen students' understanding and awareness of important aspects of human behavior and social organization, to increase students' understanding of the human condition and human institutions, and to introduce them to the different approaches and methods used by the various social science disciplines. These goals are pursued through theoretically and empirically based course work" (50-51).

Learning Objectives:
•    Develop critical awareness of how ways of speaking are tied to social categories and play a role in social inequalities.
•    Gain observational and analytical skills for documenting language use in naturalistic social environments.
•    Hone critical reading, synthesizing, and social scientific writing skills.
•    Gain practice organizing and communicating information verbally to a group of peers.

Required texts
•    Romaine, Suzanne. Language in Society. 2nd ed.
•    Mendoza-Denton, Norma. Homegirls. Wiley-Blackwell.
•    All other readings will be available on the course webpage 

Course requirements:
20%    Midterm
20%    Final exam
10%    Lead discussion of assigned reading(s) on 1 day
5%      Bibliography
5%      Field note
5%      Photographs & memo
5%      Data index
20%    Final paper
10%    PowerPoint presentation (in groups)

Grading: Criteria for letter grading in this course follows Geneseo Undergraduate Bulletin standards, which stipulate A, A- for excellent work, B+, B, B- for very good work, C+, C for satisfactory work, C- for work demonstrating minimal competence, D for marginal work, and E (failure) for inadequate work. Other possible grades are: P (pass), F (fail), S (satisfactory), U (unsatisfactory), and W (withdrawn). Consult the Bulletin for details about these latter grades.
Gradebook will generate grades according to the following scheme:
A = 94% +
A - = 90 - 93.99 %
B+ = 87-89.99%
B = 83 - 86.99 %
B - = 80 - 82.99 %
C+ = 77 - 79.99 %
C = 73-76.99%
C - = 68 - 72.99 %
D = 58-67.99%
E =0-57.99%

Accommodation: If you need classroom accommodations due to a documented or suspected disability, please contact Tabitha Buggie-Hunt at (tbuggieh@geneseo.edul at the Office of Disability Services (ODS) then bring Prof. Guzman a letter outlining the accommodations you require as early as possible.
Writing assistance: Academic writing is a skill that, like any other, requires a lot of practice. Becoming a better writer involves persistence and the help of others. Please avail yourself of the excellent assistance that is available at the Writing Learning Center on campus. For information or to make an appointment for a one- on-one meeting see: center

Course policies and expectations: This is a challenging course that requires considerable reading and progressive work on project-related assignments outside of class. It is imperative that students keep up with the readings and come to class 
prepared to engage actively with the themes they cover. Complete all readings before class on the day they are listed.
Deadlines: Assignments are due in the appropriate Dropbox (on the course webpage) by midnight on the day listed in the Course Schedule. Assignments turned in after this deadline will be docked a half-grade per day of lateness.
Participation: We are incredibly privileged to participate in higher education. Please respect the opportunity that class sessions offer for learning, analyzing, and discussing issues that impact our lives as members of civil society. Turn off cell phone ringers and refrain from participating in social media and any other activities unrelated to the course during class time. Students who violate this policy will be asked to leave the lecture hall for the rest of the class session. If you have extenuating circumstances that require you to keep your ringer on during class, please let the instructor know in advance.

Week 1 - The Study of Language in Society & Society in Language
Aug 26    Read syllabus carefully; enter important dates in your calendar
Aut 28 Toni Morrison's Nobel Lecture. The recording of Morrison's original speech and a transcript of the same are both available at: prizes/literature/laureates/19 93/morrison-lecture.html. I highly recommend taking the time to listen to the speech in its entirety. Also read the short entry in the Encyclopedia Britannica about Morrison: Morrison. HOMEWORK: Print a copy of Morrison's lecture, highlight the section(s) about language/society/community that you find most interesting and be prepared to share your thoughts and questions in discussion on Monday. There are no wrong answers!
Week 2 - Epistemological, Methodological, and Representational Concerns
Sept 2    Ahearn, L. 2011. "The Research Process in Linguistic Anthropology."
In Living Language. Maiden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell. 31-49.
Sept 4    Bailey, B. "Communication of Respect in Interethnic Service
Encounters" In A. Duranti (ed.). Linguistic Anthropology: A Reader. Maiden, MA: Wiley Blackwell.
Attend: KIMCHEEAND CHITLINS by Elizabeth Wong
4:00 pm FREE reading of a "serious comedy about getting along" based on the conflict between Korean and African American 
communities that occurred in Flatbush, Brooklyn during the 1990's. Black Box Theatre, one performance only, first come, first seated. Co-sponsored by Theater and GENseng.
Week 3 - Linguistic Diversity Writ Large
Sept 9    Lg in Society Chapter 1
Sept 11 Zentella, Ana Celia. 1997. "The Hows and Whys of Spanglish." In
Growing Up Bilingual: Puerto Rican Children in New York. Maiden, , MA: Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 80-114.
DUE: Preliminary bibliography of 3 academic articles or book chapters related to project theme
Week 4 - Language Choice at the Individual Level
Sept 16 Lg in Society Chapter 2
Sept 18 Alim, H. S. 2003. On Some Serious Next Millennium Rap Ishhh:
Pharoahe Monch, Hip Hop Poetics, and the Internal Rhymes of Internal Affairs.
DUE: Field notes & consent forms
Week 5 - Sociolinguistic Patterns: Linguistic Variation along Social Lines
Sept 23 Lg in Society Chapter 3 (pp. 64-78)
Sept 25 Bucholtz, M. 2011. "I'm Like Yeah but She's All No: Innovative Quotative Markers and Preppy Whiteness." In White Kids:
Language, Race, and Styles of Youth Identity.
DUE: Photo collection and memo
Week 6 - Language and Identity
Sept 30 Lg in Society Chapter 3 (pp. 78-101)
Oct 2    Fuller, J. 2007. Language Choice as a Means of Shaping Identity.
Journal of Linguistic Anthroplology 17(1):105-129.
Week 7 - Review & Midterm
Oct 7    Review
Oct 9    MIDTERM
Week 8 - Language & Gender Introduction
Oct 14 No class - Fall break Oct 16 Language in Society Chapter 4 DO: Record Video Data 
Week 9 - Language & Gender: Masculinity
Oct 21 Kiesling, S. F. 2004. "Dude." American Speech 79(3):281-305. Oct 23 ■ Kiesling, S. F. 2002. Playing the Straight Man: Displaying and
Maintaining Male Heterosexuality in Discourse. In K. Campbell- Kibler, R. J. Podesva, S. Roberts, & A. Wong (Eds.), Language and Sexuality: Contesting Meaning in Theory and Practice (pp. 249- 266). Stanford CA: CSLI Publications.
Ethnographic Case Study
Homegirls Introduction + Chapters 1, 2 Homegirls Chapter 3, 4, 5 DUE: Data Index
Week 11 - Ethnographic Case Study
Nov 4    Homegirls Chapters 6, 7
Nov 6    Homegirls Chapters 8-10
Week 12 - Language Problems as Societal Problems: The Ebonics Controversy
Nov 11 Language in Society Chapter 6
Nov 13 Labov, W. June 1972. Academic Ignorance and Black Intelligence. The Atlantic Monthly.
Ronkin, M. and H. Kara. 1999. Mock Ebonics: Linguistic racism in parodies of Ebonics on the Internet. Journal ofSociolinguistics 3/4. 360-380.
Week 13 - Language Problems as Societal Problems: Bilingual Education
Nov 18 Reading TBD
Nov 20 DUE: Final report on mini-ethnography
Week 14 - Review
Nov 25 Review course material in preparation for final exam Nov 27 No class - Federal holiday
Week 15 - Celebration of Knowledge Dec 2    FINAL EXAM
Dec 4    Course time will be used for groups to work on their presentations.
Dr. Guzman will be out of town to present at the American Anthropological Association Meetings but will be available via Skype to meet remotely. 
Exam schedule: 3:30-6:30 pm, Tuesday, December 16 in Newton 213
We will use this time allotted during exam week to celebrate the knowledge we have gained during the quarter. Each group will share the findings from their mini- ethnography with a 10-minute presentation using a PowerPoint slideshow or other appropriate technology.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Excerpt from Toni Morrison's Nobel Lecture:
"Being a writer she thinks of language partly as a system, partly as a living thing over which one has control, but mostly as agency - as an act with consequences. So the question the children put to her: "Is it living or dead?" is not unreal because she thinks of language as susceptible to death, erasure; certainly imperiled and salvageable only by an effort of the will."