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  • Introduction to Linguistic Anthropology
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This introductory course serves as a foundation for understanding language from an anthropological perspective, addressing such core questions as how, what, when, where, why and with whom we communicate.  This course surveys three core areas in linguistic anthropology--structural linguistics: phonetics, phonology, morphology and syntax, as well as the biocultural basis of language;  historical linguistics: origins and evolution/change, dialects, and language families; and sociocultural linguistics: language acquisition in cultural context, emphasizing the relationship between language and culture, and issues of language conservation and loss.


Eligibility for or completion of C-ID ENGL 100: College Composition

  1. Characteristics (definitions) of human language
  2. Structural linguistics (phonetics, phonology, morphology and syntax)
  3. Nonverbal communication
  4. Biological basis of language
  5. Historical linguistics (language change/evolution over time, language families)
  6. Sociocultural linguistics (the relationships among language, identity, and power including language variation)
  7. Language acquisition and socialization
  8. Language conservation and loss


At the conclusion of this course, the student will: 

  1. Explain the anthropological approach to language and communication.
  2. Analyze and exemplify how language and culture are acquired and interrelated.
  3. Identify the structural properties of language.
  4. Analyze non-verbal communication cross-culturally.
  5. Describe the biocultural origins and development of language through time.
  6. Describe the ways in which beliefs about languages and speakers have social consequences.
  7. Describe factors and consequences of language change (such as loss) over time.

Multiple measures may include, but are not limited to: 

  1. In-class discussions.
  2. Individual/group writing projects.
  3. Written and oral quizzes.
  4. Observational activities.
  5. Journal reviews.
  6. Other written/oral assignments.
  7. Exams.

Ahearn, Laura.  Living Language:  An Introduction to Linguistic Anthropology.  Wiley Blackwell.

Bonvillain, Nancy.  Language, Culture, and Communication: The Meaning of Messages.  Prentice Hall.

Ottenheimer, Harriet.  The Anthropology of Language: An Introduction to Linguistic Anthropology. Cengage.

Rowe, Bruce and Diane Levine. Concise Introduction to Linguistics.  Prentice-Hall.

Salzmann, Zdenek, James Stanlaw and Nobuko Adachi.  Language, Culture, and Society: An Introduction to Linguistic Anthropology. Westview.

Supplemental readings (note that classic ethnographies may have publication dates older than 5 years):

Barker, Holly.  Bravo for the Marshallese: Regaining Control in a Post-Nuclear, Post-Colonial World.  Wadsworth.

Basso, Keith. Western Apache Language and Culture.  University of Arizona Press.

Jacobs-Huey, Lanita. From the Kitchen to the Parlor: Language and Becoming in African American Women's Hair Care. Oxford University Press.

Wogan, Peter.  Magical Writing in the Salasaca. Westview Press.

Or equivalent Open Educational Resource.

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