ANT 353 Language and Culture (14052) Dr. Dorothy D. Wills
Cal Poly Pomona Winter Quarter, 2014
Instructor: Dorothy D. Wills, Ph.D., Professor of Anthropology, Dept. of Geography and Anthropology.
Class meetings: MWF 9:15-10:20, 5:143.Office hours: MW 8:00-9:00, Tues. 9:00-12:00, or by appointment, located in Bldg. 5-145, phone 869-3582, or department office 869-3569.
Web page: www.csupomona.edu/~ddwills
The course is the upper division component of our sequence in linguistic anthropology (preceded by ANT 104 Introduction to Linguistic Anthropology). It provides an in-depth exposure to communicative variation within human sociocultural systems (such as slang, dialects, jargon, speaking in tongues, etc.), language acquisition, languages in contact, communicative performance, linguistic issues in meaning and cognition, aspects of the structure of language, and applied linguistics. The usual format for the class meetings is lecture/discussion, with some in-class exercises and out-of-class fieldwork. The course meets the Upper Division General Education Synthesis course requirement in Humanities (C4).
This course synthesizes information on language and culture, human communication, thought and creativity, literary expression, social and historical diversity. It bridges the humanities field of linguistics and aspects of history, literature, philosophy, and the performing arts, as well as the science and social science approaches to language.
Students will be able to:
- Compare and contrast distinctive features of languages and dialects other than Standard English.
- Develop appreciation for the acquisition of languages at any level of fluency and for communicative achievements in prose, poetry, and other performance.
- Demonstrate connections between language and culture, social life, political relations, and personal experience.
- Find practical applications (and/or career uses) for linguistic anthropology, language sciences, and foreign language skills.
- Critically evaluate usage differences in literary, scientific, multiple media, and vernacular language.
We will discuss your individual objectives for the course on the first day of class. My goals are for you to:
- Gain respect for languages and dialects other than Standard English.
- Positively evaluate the acquisition of other languages at any level of fluency.
- Realize that language is not fixed or self-contained, but related to culture, social life, political relations, and personal experience.
- Find practical applications (and/or career uses) for linguistic sciences.
- Gain experience in field and library research with respect to language topics.
Genie: A Scientific Tragedy, Russ Rymer. New York: Harper-Collins, 1994.
Portraits of "The Whiteman": Linguistic Play and Cultural Symbols among the Western Apache, Keith Basso. Cambridge University Press, 1979.
Linguistic Anthropology, Nancy Hickerson, 2nd ed. Harcourt, 2000.
Outline: Units, Topics and Assignments
Note: Part of the course will be on line. My plan is to meet most Mondays and Wednesdays, and a few Fridays. The other days will involve activities on Blackboard. This plan could change, but we will discuss it in class on the first day. That means at least some materials will be on Blackboard. This syllabus is to be regarded as a flexible document, but I will not change it without consultation, except as a matter of getting ahead or behind. Dates, assignments, topics, and activities could conceivably change, as we progress through the quarter. You are expected to attend class when class is held, and to participate in Blackboard activities on the given dates.
Jan. 6 Introduction to language and culture. What is language? Some myths about language, linguistics, and human communication. Course overview. Objective: Open perspective.
READ: Begin Genie. “Gesture and speech” on web. Hickerson TBA.
Jan. 8 A broad perspective on human and animal communicative behavior. Hypotheses about the origin of language. Body language (proxemics and kinesics). Objective: Examine linguacentrism.
ASSIGNMENT: Ungraded in-class exercise.
READ: Continue Genie, to finish by Jan. 31.
Jan. 10 Levels of structure: Phonetics, phonology, and morphology. Wild children, chimps, and grammar. Objective: Recognize skills related to structural levels.
Assignment: Hickerson (see Blackboard assignment).
Jan. 13 The structure of language: universals, similarities, and differences. Meet the IPA. Objective: Identify major structural features of language.
Jan. 15 Syntax, semantics, and pragmatics (language in context). Transformational generative grammar (Chomsky's theory). Ethnographic semantics. Color terms, names for diseases, 'snow' in Eskimo. Objective: Refine concept of how language maps reality. Understand issues of language differences.
Make arrangements for first assignment.
ASSIGNMENT: Child language. Due dates for these projects will be discussed in class.
Jan. 17 No meeting. Discussion of readings and project topics on Blackboard.
Jan. 20 Holiday.
Jan. 22 Language acquisition: the first (child) language. Biological basis. Language in relation to maturation and cognitive development. Objective: Understand main theory of the process of child language acquisition.
Jan. 24 No meeting. Discussion on Blackboard.
Jan. 27 General sequence of linguistic development: phonology, morphology, syntax. Context of acquisition. Socialization and parental speech (baby talk). Objective: Identify problems in acquisition.
Jan. 29 Cross-cultural case studies in child language. Wolof, Hausa, English, bilingual families. Methodological issues in language acquisition research. Objective: Increase skill in communicating with children.
ASSIGNMENT: Adult language learner.
Jan. 31 No meeting. Discussion of Genie on Blackboard.
Feb. 3 Second language acquisition. The phenomenon of 'accent'. Dialectology and code-switching. Objective: Improve receptivity to new language acquisition.
Feb. 5 Bi- and multi-lingualism in history and the modern world. How languages change. Translation theory. Objective: Improve facility with language learning.
Carry out second assignment.
Feb. 7 No meeting. Discussion on Blackboard.
Feb. 10 Languages in contact. Lingua francas, pidgins and creoles. Diglossia. Bickerton's hypothesis. How creolization, language acquisition by children, and the origin of language are related. Objective: Compare theories of language development.
READ: Begin Whiteman.
Feb. 12 The ethnography of speaking. Language in society. Dialectology. Objective: Develop methodology for study of language in society.
Feb. 14 No class (holiday).
Feb. 17 Sociolinguistics continued. Ethnography of communication in Senegal.
ASSIGNMENT: Possible progress reports on projects. ADULT LEARNER PROJECTS DUE THIS WEEK.
Feb. 19 Continue ethnography of speaking. Objective: Relate language to social phenomena.
READ: Continue Whiteman (to finish by Mar. 2).
Feb. 21 American Indian attitudes to language. Typical 'Whiteman' attitudes. Background on Apache culture. Speech events and speech acts. Objective: Understand contact relationship between Native and White.
Feb. 24 Discourse analysis and ethnomethodology (social interaction theory). Goffman's dramaturgical model of 'face'. CHILD LANGUAGE PROJECTS DUE. Objective: Competent to design research on feature of sociolinguistic behavior.
ASSIGNMENT: Gossip project.
Feb. 26 Language as performance: joking, ritual speech, insults, taboos, poetic speech, glossolalia, stories (written and oral), teaching. Objective: Improve ability to monitor oral performance.
Feb. 28 No meeting. On-line discussion of reading and/or projects.
Mar. 3 Language planning and policy. Educational policy and administration in a multilingual context. The case of Nigeria. Beliefs about language. Gender, sub-cultures, stigmatized groups (e.g., queer identity or community, African-Americans), professions. Objective: Place linguistic phenomena in social framework.
Mar. 5 Speech styles, idiolects, and situational code-switching. Slang, jargon, argots, and secret languages. Discussion of gossip project and reading. Objective: Identify idiosyncrasies of personal speech.GOSSIP PROJECTS DUE. Objective: Apply linguistic analysis to classroom/teaching. ASSIGNMENT: Language policy.
Mar. 7 No class meeting. You will have a discussion board.
Objective: Apply linguistic analysis to community development.
READ: Art of Being Schizophrenic (web page).
Mar. 10 Political language and the politics of language. Propaganda and disinformation. Advertising. Objective: Identify underlying themes of public communication from humanistic perspective.
Cognition, perception, speech pathology, and disordered communication (e.g., schizophrenic speech). Objective: Apply linguistic analysis to individual differences.
Mar. 12 The demise of the diversity of languages. A bit on recent language history and the current situation. Public (mis)information and the demise of 'tribal' languages. PLANNING AND POLICY PROJECTS DUE.
Objective: Develop educational tools on language survival.
Mar. 14 Epistemology and methodology of language research in linguistics, anthropology, and other language studies. Modern language use and social communication. Objective: Synthesize course activities and learning. Assess student experiences with projects and learning.
No final exam.
There are regular reading assignments, regular homework assignments, and discussion forums. You are responsible for completing all of these at the specified time, unless you make a prior arrangement with me. You will be expected to keep in touch by email, phone, and in person (by appointment or during office hours) for outside-of-class communications. You will not have any exams, which means the assignments, the discussion board, and the in-class activities are very important. Since we will not meet all the time, attendance is very important when a class meeting is scheduled. Participation in on-line discussion and other activities is essential. The assignments must reflect input from class lectures, discussion, films, and readings, both assigned and additional. Although you are welcome to confer with your classmates on these activities, the final products must be your individual work. Use MLA, APA or Chicago citation methods when referring to or listing resources, including the Internet. If you are not sure of the differences between cooperation and cheating, we will discuss them in class. The nature of your projects will also be discussed in class. If you ever want to submit a draft of your work early for feedback, you are welcome to do so, provided you give me sufficient lead time.
ASSIGNMENTS AND EVALUATION
Each homework research activity will be related to the reading and in-class discussion. I will give you as much individual guidance with all of these as I am able to. Your final grade is based mainly upon the quality of your performance with respect to these assignments, taking into account your varied background in the subject matter, different skills and interests, and amount of preparation in anthropology and linguistics in general. If I am under the impression that you are not doing the assigned reading, I will give weekly quizzes. I expect your written and oral work to be presented in academic English. If you require assistance in this form of English, let me know, and I will attempt to direct you to sources of instruction, tutoring, etc. We will confirm the deadlines for assignments in class.
The approximate percentage value of each requirement is:
Homework projects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70%
(Child project 20%, adult learner 15%, gossip 20%, planning and policy 15%)
Class discussion and attendance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . .. 15%
Discussion Board . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15%
Plagiarism will result in a referral to Judicial Affairs.
Readings from the Hickerson text will be assigned from time to time. Otherwise, it is a good reference.
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