LANGUAGE AND CULTURE

        ANTH 356                            M-F 12:00-12:50
        WINTER 2007                         ACKERMAN 105

        “The fact of the matter is that the „real world‟ is to a large extent unconsciously built up on the
        language habits of the group. The worlds in which different societies live are distinct worlds, not
        merely the same world with different labels attached.”
                                                                                       Edward Sapir, 1929

PROFESSOR: Dr. Kathleen A. Dahl
   Office: Ackerman 204-H       Telephone: 962-3349  Email:
   Office Hours: ____________________________________________, or by arrangement.
   My URL:
   Anth/Soc URL:
   Social Science Office: Ackerman 202

BOOKS/READINGS: The following book(s) have been assigned for this course and are required for all students.
They are available for purchase at the EOU Bookstore.

       Language, Culture and Communication: The Meaning of Messages, 4th edition, by Nancy Bonvillain, 2003.

In addition to the above readings, there may be other articles and handouts distributed in class, or placed on reserve in
Pierce Library. If you miss a class, it is your responsibility to ask the instructor if there were any new readings or
handouts assigned for the class you missed.

COURSE DESCRIPTION / OBJECTIVES / OUTCOMES: Language and Culture is a course designed to
provide you, the student, with a basic understanding of the field of anthropological linguistics, one of the four
subdisciplines of anthropology. It is strongly encouraged for Anthro/Soc majors, but should be accessible and valuable
to anyone with an interest in human language. The course will cover a wide variety of linguistic topics, including
descriptive and historical linguistics, the ideas of Noam Chomsky, the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, language acquisition,
linguistic change, pidgins and creoles, writing, dialects, the role of language in cultural constructions of reality, and the
sociocultural use of language in "real life," also called sociolinguistics. The latter subject area, which will take up the
last part of the course, will look at such topics as language and stratification, gender and language, ethnicity and
language, humor, and the use of language in the media and advertising industry. When you complete this course, you
will never take anything “literally” again!

By the end of this course, students should be able to:

       Discuss the major areas of anthropological linguistic study.
       Understand and explain how human language is metaphoric, and how this shapes the ways in which humans
        perceive and think about the world.

       Discuss some of the connections between language and culture, and how language underlies cultural
        phenomena like gender, race/ethnicity, and social class.
       Conduct original linguistic ethnographic or media research and discuss the results with colleagues.

Please feel free to express yourself in class. Ask questions if you don't understand or need more explanation. Argue
(intelligently) with the instructor--human knowledge is not set in concrete, it is changing and evolving all the time. We
should be able to get some good class discussions going, and to share our many individual linguistic experiences. So,
if you have a different view or interpretation of events, speak up!

TESTS / GRADES / ASSESSMENT: There will be four main projects in this course: two take-home essays, a
closed book exam part way through the course, and a research paper based on original linguistic research. You will
also write short reaction papers based on the reading. The exam, essays, research paper, and reaction papers will be
worth the following number of points:

        Exam and essays:         50 points each, 150 points total
        Reaction papers:                10 points each, 50 points total
        Research Paper:                          150 points
        Preparedness/Participation                60
           Total points for course:              410 points

The first essay assignment will start you thinking about how language shapes the way we think and, ultimately, live
metaphorically. The research paper will allow you to explore the intricacies of verbal or nonverbal language in the
everyday life of some "speech community" that you choose, or to analyze the use of language in the media. The last
essay allows you to apply sociolinguistic ideas to your own experiences. Notice that the research paper is worth more
than 1/3 of your grade for the course. I will discuss the research paper and other assignments in greater detail in class.

Your grade will be calculated by adding up the points on all assignments and then dividing by the total possible points
(410) to give you your percentage. Grades will be based on the following scale:

                 Percentage     (Points)          Grade              Percentage     (Points)          Grade
                 94-100           385-410          A                 74-77            303-319          C
                 90-93            369-384          A-                70-73            287-302          C-
                 88-89            361-368          B+                65-69            267-286          D+
                 84-87            344-360          B                 60-64            246-266          D
                 80-83            328-343          B-                 0-59               0-245         F
                 78-79            320-327          C+

All grades will count--I do not throw away the lowest score or make other adjustments. You will be competing only
with yourself in this course, not fighting with other students over a scarce resource (i.e. a limited supply of A's and B's).
It is theoretically possible for every person in the class to earn an A or a B. Please note that the key word here is earn!


a)       Students are expected to attend every class. I will assume that you are a responsible person who takes your
studies seriously and is in this class to learn about language and culture. If you miss a class, you are still responsible
for learning the material presented. You should arrange with someone in the class to share his/her notes with you if
you will not be in class. It is not the instructor's job to take notes for you.

b)       You will also be responsible for the information contained in any films, videotapes, slide presentations, and
handouts in this course. Many of the videos and all of the slides belong to the instructor or other faculty members, and
are not available for viewing in the library if you miss them the first time around. I do not loan out my videos.

         The various films and videos included as part of this course are a vital component of the material under study.
They are not included as time fillers or for the purpose of entertainment. You will be expected to take notes during or
after each film, and there may be questions about them on the exam. They may also be very useful for your take home
assignments, so pay attention!

c)       If you are ill or injured on the day of the exam or when an assignment is due, please call me before the exam at
the telephone number above to inform me you won't be taking the exam. You may leave a message at that number 24
hours a day. Failure to notify me in advance will result in the loss of 25 percent of the points. Make-up exams must be
completed within a week of the original time for the exam.

Hat Policy: Outdoor-type hats with brims that shade the face, such as baseball caps, fedoras, cowboy hats and
sombreros, must be removed during class. This applies to women as well as men, and the professor as well as the
students. Indoor-type hats that do not shade the face, such as turbans, berets, bandannas or yarmulkes, are permissible.

Language Policy: While in the classroom, we will think, discuss and debate as anthropologists. This means that both
the professor and the students will use language that is scholarly and professional, reflecting the fact that we are trying
to achieve a greater understanding of the human condition. Learn to express yourself clearly and accurately, and in an
intellectual rather than personal fashion. Develop awareness of your own ethnocentrism and make conscious efforts to
ameliorate it. Also, be conscious of the language you use to talk about race, ethnicity and gender. For example, no
anthropologist publishes articles that refer to “girls” and “guys;” they are “women” and “men.”

Food policy: You are welcome to bring something to drink into the classroom, but please, no food or snacks. Also, no
gum chewing; this is a discussion-based class and watching people speak while tossing gum around in their mouths is
rather distracting.

Wandering-in-and-out Policy: Take care of business between classes! It is distracting and inappropriate for students
to get up, leave the classroom, and return. If you are ill, by all means take your things and go home and get well.

Statement on Academic Misconduct: Eastern Oregon University places a high value upon the integrity of its student
scholars. Any student found guilty of an act of academic misconduct (including, but not limited to, cheating,
plagiarism, or theft of an examination or supplies) may be subject to having his or her grade reduced in the course in
question, being placed on probation or suspended from the University, or being expelled from the University—or a
combination of these. Please see Student Handbook at:

Documented or Suspected Disabilities: If you have a documented disability or suspect that you have a learning
problem and need reasonable accommodations, please contact the Disability Services Program in Loso Hall 234.
Telephone: 962-3081.

If you remain in the course after receiving this syllabus, I will assume you have read it carefully and understand the
mechanics and objectives of the course. Welcome to Language and Culture.

                                       COURSE SCHEDULE

WEEK DATES                         TOPICS                       READING ASSIGNMENTS

1   Jan. 8-12              Introduction to Course                 Bonvillain, chap. 1 and 3
                           Language and Culture
                           Human and Animal Communication
                           1/11-12 -- VIDEO: An English Speaking World

2   Jan. 16-19             Language and Cultural Meaning            Ch. 3, continued
    (MLK 1/15              Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis                   Metaphor (handouts)
     no class)             Metaphor and extended meaning
                    1/18-19 – VIDEO: Discovering the
                           Human Language

3   Jan. 22-26             Metaphor, continued                      Bonvillain, ch. 4-5
                    Linguistic Ethnography

                           ***** Reaction paper 1 due 1/22 in class*****

4   Jan. 29-Feb 2          Language and the brain                   Brain handouts
                           Ape Language Studies                     Goodall (handout)
                           2/1-2 VIDEO: TBA (apes)

                           ***** ESSAY I DUE *****
                           MONDAY, JANUARY 29, BY 4:00 p.m.

5   Feb. 5-9              Descriptive Linguistics                         Bonvillain, ch. 2
                    Phonemes and Morphemes                   “Phonemic alphabet” handout
                          Grammar and syntax

                           ***** Reaction paper 2 due 2/5 in class *****

6   Feb. 12-16             Nonverbal communication               Bonvillain, ch. 9-10.
                           Acquisition of Language
                           2/15-16 -- VIDEO: Acquiring the Human Language

                           ***** Reaction paper 3 due 2/16 in class *****

7    Feb. 19-23            Historical/Comparative linguistics        Bonvillain, ch. 11-12
                           Linguistic change/diversity
                           2/20-21 VIDEO: The Human Language Evolves

                           ***** IN-CLASS EXAM *****
                               FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 23
                           (Bonvillain, ch. 2, 9-10, brain handouts, Acquiring H.L,
                           H.L Evolves)

8    Feb. 26-Mar 2         Language and Society                       Bonvillain, ch. 6-8.
                     Gender, Race and Class
                           3/1-2 -- VIDEO: Black on White

9    Mar. 5-9              Gender, Race, and Class, continued         Above readings, continued
                           Language and politics                      Bonvillain, ch. 13.
                           Language in institutions                   Other reading TBA

                           ***** Reaction paper 4 due 3/5 in class *****

10   Mar. 12-16            Images in advertising                      Reading TBA
                           Media coverage of current events

                           ***** ESSAY II DUE *****
                           WEDNESDAY, MARCH 14, BY 4:00 p.m.

11   Mar. 19-23            Final thoughts and reflections
     Finals week
                           ***** FINAL EXAM TIME*****
                           WEDNESDAY, MARCH 21, 10:00-12:00
                               Attendance is REQUIRED.

                           ***** Reaction paper 5 due at final exam time in class *****

                           ***** RESEARCH PAPERS DUE *****
                             THURSDAY, MARCH 22, by 12:00 p.m. (noon)


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