Anthropological Approaches to Language
This yearlong course sequence provides an introduction to the study of how language and culture are intertwined in everyday practice. We will take an anthropological approach to language, that is, we will study language as that common human condition which is also a fundamental mode of difference and diversity across cultures and communities. The first semester of the course is designed to give students a basic grounding in anthropological linguistics and an outline of the major methodologies that have been developed to study the ways in which language, culture, and society are intertwined.
This is the second half of a yearlong course. The first half was taught by Dr. Francis Cody.
Time and Place: Wednesdays, 10-12, NE287.
Office: North bldg 242; Office hours: by appointment, and:
Mondays 11-12, Wednesdays 3-4, Fridays 3-4. “Virtual office hours” online at Blackboard: always glad to answer questions on our Blackboard discussion board.
* Blum, Susan (ed.). 2008. Making Sense of Language. NY: Oxford University Press.
Unit 4. Language diversity in diverse societies
Week 1 [introduction]
January 5 Blum, cha. 13. Tom McArthur: “The Power of the World’s Languages”
January 6 no tutorials.
Week 2 [class and ethnicity]
January 12 Blum cha. 15. Edwin L. Battistella: “Bad Language: Bad Citizens”
January 13 Tutorials. Blum, cha. 23. Dennis R. Preston: “They Speak Really Bad English Down South and in New York City”
Week 3 [race]
January 19 Blum, cha. 27. Marcyliena Morgan: “‘Nuthin’ but a G Thang’: Grammar and Language Ideology in Hip Hop Identity” and Blum cha. 28. Mary Bucholtz: “The Whiteness of Nerds: Superstandard English and Racial Markedness” and
January 20 no tutorials.
Week 4 [multi-racial society]
January 25 Blum, cha. 26. John R. Rickford: “Suite for Ebony and Phonics” and Blum cha. 29. Rusty Barrett: “Language Ideology and Racial Inequality: Competing Functions of Spanish in an Anglo-Owned Mexican Restaurant”
January 26 no tutorials.
Unit 5. Gender, language, and power
Week 5 [gender]
Feb 2 Blum, cha. 30, William M. O’Barr and Bowman K. Atkins: “‘Women’s Language’ or ‘Powerless Language’?”‘ and Blum, cha. 31, Janet Holmes: “Women Talk Too Much.”
Feb 3 Tutorials. Blum cha. 32. Scott Fabius Kiesling: “Power and the Language of Men”
Week 6 [gender]
February 9 Blum chapter 33, Deborah Cameron: “Performing Gender Identity: Young Men’s Talk and the Construction of Heterosexual Masculinity”;
February 10 Tutorials. Blum, cha. 34, Elinor Keenan (Ochs): “Norm-Makers, Norm-Breakers: Uses of Speech by Men and Women in a Malagasy Community”
Feb 16 MIDTERM examination.
Feb 17 no tutorials.
Feb 23 no reading assigned
Feb 24 no reading assigned
Unit 6. Language in Social Action
Week 9 [discourse, performance, and ritual]
March 2. Blum cha. 36. Joel Sherzer: “Kuna Curing and Magic: Counseling the Spirits” and Blum, cha. 37, Susan D. Blum: “Naming Practices and the Power of Words in China”
March 3 no tutorials.
Week 10 [discourse, performance, and ritual]
March 9 Blum, cha. 38. Cheryl Wharry: “Amen and Hallelujah Preaching: Discourse Functions in African American Sermons”
and Blum cha. 39. Yanrong Chang: “Courtroom Questioning as a Culturally Situated Persuasive Genre of Talk”
March 10 no tutorials.
Week 11 [language ideology]
March 16 Blum, cha. 41. Don Kulick: “Anger, Gender, Language Shift, and the Politics of Revelation in a Papua New Guinean Village”
March 17. Tutorials. Blum, cha. 42. Rosina Lippi-Green: “Accent, Standard Language Ideology, and Discriminatory Pretext in the Courts”
Unit 7. Language: wither goest thou?
Week 12 [language endangerment and revitalization]
March 23 Blum, cha. 20, John H. McWhorter: “Most of the World’s Languages Went Extinct”, Blum cha. 21. Lindsay J. Whaley: “The Future of Native Languages”, Blum cha. 22, Leanne Hinton: “Language Loss and Revitalization in California: Overview”
March 25 no tutorials.
Week 13 [paper submission and exam preparation]
March 30 Paper due. Please submit on UTM Submit, by 6PM. Hard copy (paper) due in class or in tutorial (3/31). No reading assigned. Exam review.
March 31. Tutorials: exam review.
April 2-6 Study week.
April 19: FINAL EXAM. Content features readings since the midterm.
Updated, March 21, 2011.
Further: academia.edu page