Most of us have noticed that different people speak in different ways. Language use is a large part of our individual identity, and one’s speech can vary according to age, gender, ethnicity, geographic origin, or socioeconomic status. Every language is enormously complex, but despite this complexity, every language is systematic on many levels, often in ways that are hidden and surprising. This seminar will examine the systematic nature of language, through contributions from the fields of linguistics, language learning, language variation, and sociolinguistics. We will also examine beliefs and attitudes about language and language use. For example: Is French a “prettier” language than German? Is it true that people who say It’s me or He nice or Nobody ain’t done nothin’ cannot think logically? Do some people speak “better” than others? Is English easier than Chinese? Is it easier to learn Spanish if you are of Latino/a ancestry? Is written language superior to spoken language? Is it OK to speak a dialect? Should nations legislate a standard? In addition to class activities, there will be exams, and students will write several critical essays and a final research paper. Texts may include: Language files 11: materials for an introduction to language and linguistics from Ohio State’s Dept. of Linguistics; You Are What You Speak by R. Lane Greene; A pocket style manual by Hacker & Sommers. We may also view the PBS program Do you speak American?, hosted by Robert MacNeil, as well as segments of John McWhorter’s The Story of Human Language.
Galpin Memorial Building1101 N. Bever StreetWooster, OH 44691Phone: 330-263-2004Fax: firstname.lastname@example.orgHours: M-F: 8am-5pm
1189 Beall Avenue, Wooster, Ohio 44691. (330) 263-2000
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