Faculty Course Description
Dr. Ellen Johnson
Office: Evans 210
Office phone: 368-5638
From the catalogue: Study of the ways language functions within society, including language variation and change, pidgins and creoles, bilingualism, ethnography of speaking, and language policy. Prerequisite: one 200-level English course or ANT 200 [or permission of instructor].
Requirements: Students will complete original research projects involving fieldwork to collect data. One project will involve recording dialect differences and correlating them to differences in region, ethnicity, sex, age, or social class. Another project will involve observing a group of people to discover their underlying rules of communication. There will also be two exams. The course topics are further described below.
Language Variation and Change:
• dialects of American English: history and features
• new words and slang
• why do we speak the way we do?
• how women and men use language differently
Pidgins and Creoles:
• how new languages arise from cultural contact
• the legacy of slavery: ties between African American English and the Caribbean
Bilingualism and Language Policy:
• can societies remain unified without a common language?
• the question of English Only in the United States
• language and thought: bilingualism and competing world views
• post-colonial societies and international languages
Ethnography of Speaking:
• knowledge of which style or language to use in which situation
• politeness markers
• language rituals in everyday life