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CCOG for ATH 104 archive revision 201604

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Effective Term:
Fall 2016 through Summer 2017
Course Number:
ATH 104
Course Title:
Language and Culture
Credit Hours:
4
Lecture Hours:
40
Lecture/Lab Hours:
0
Lab Hours:
0

Course Description

Introduces basic concepts, approaches, and perspectives of linguistic anthropology. Explores how language defines the relationship of the individual to society and the role language plays in constituting power, hierarchy, ethnicity, gender, ideology, and other aspects of social identity. Explores how language can also affect the ways that speakers conceptualize actions and organize the world. Audit available.

Addendum to Course Description

This course examines how speakers use language to display identity and define social context. It emphasizes sociolinguistic diversity in American society and the difference between Standard English (and the SAE movement) and language as it is used and spoken by communities.

This course examines language endangerment and its impact on the world's speech communities. Topics regarding language endangerment include: language ecologies; reasons for language shift; social, affective, and linguistic impacts of language contraction; indigenous knowledge systems; biocultural diversity; documentation, revitalization, and reclamation.actions and organize the world. This means that that we will look at the relationship between language and thought.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon completion of the course students will be able to:

  • Understand the basic theories and mobilize the methods of linguistic anthropology.
  • Acknowledge the differences and similarities between Standard American English and other equally effective modes of vernacular communication.
  • Perceive the theoretical implications and disguised colonial narratives that often hide behind the political imperatives to save 'dying' indigenous languages.
  • Demonstrate skills and technical knowledge in transcription.

Cultural Literacy

Students completing an associate degree at Portland Community College will be able to analyze and evaluate how cultural systems relate to broader social dynamics.

Aspirational Goals

  • To understand the relationship between language and culture.
  • To provide an understanding of the production of power relations, identities, and speech communities that they participate in.
  • To create an enduring respect for context in everything and to recognize the persistence of ambiguity and nuanced possibilities in any social situation.
  • To realize the diversity, complexity, and the changing nature of global languages.
  • To facilitate an understanding of the symbolic dominance embedded within the 'English Only' and the 'Standard American English' movements that perpetuate the social construct of race and the American class system.
  • An appreciation of the unique patterns of speech patterns and language use that each student has and how this is integrated with larger cultural patterns that extend beyond national identity.

Course Activities and Design

Activities might include:

  • Lectures
  • Quizzes
  • Term papers
  • You Tube video viewing for prompting discussion and practicing transcription skills
  • Viewing of documentaries on the language revitalization movement
  • Partner work in interviewing
  • Group activities
  • Reviewing new words added to the Webster's Dictionary and discussing the social implications with the new language.
  • Analysis of court transcriptions (For example a courtroom transcription may indicate social attitudes about gender, race, etc.)

Assignment Examples:

Slang Dictionary Assignment: For this assignment a student will do ethnographic and textual research on two slang terms. The first will be a word that was historically seen as outside the acceptable lexicon of English that may, may not have, turned into a word that is acceptable to say around any, or most, audiences. The student will define, to the best of their ability, where the line of acceptability lives. They will do the etymological research for this word. The second slang term should be current, as current as possible. Perhaps it is so new it does not even have a definition in the Urban Dictonary. They will do informal ethnographic research to try to get the fullest definition possible. In addition to turning this in as part of this assignment they will also post a concise and brief definition in Urban Dictionary.

Discourse Project: Each student will choose one speech event to record and analyze. They will be responsible for choosing an example of speech to record, obtaining permission from the speakers to use the data, representing the discourse in written form, and submitting a final paper with your analysis of the speech event (approximately 4 pages). I will go over this project in detail during the third week of class.

Each student will choose a 5-minute YouTube video to transcribe.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Assessment strategies may include any of the following:

* exams ( in class and take home)

* term papers

* quizzes

* student presentations

* Attendance and Participation

* in-class activities and labs

Examples from the sample syllabus include:

There will be five in-class 10- point activities that look at different aspects of language and communication. Activities will be based on current issues and might include: (1) Listen first and then watch a YouTube Video to reveal assumptions about vernacular dialect. (2) We may read anonymous posted comments on social media to look at hidden narratives concerning race or gender. (3) We may listen to a political speech or (4) read a transcript of a rape trial

These activities will investigate indexicalilty, footing, reference, cultural assumptions or other aspects of language and culture that we are learning.

Journal Article Presentation: You will read and present one journal article this term. See syllabus for readings. You will post your presentation notes onto our class forum.

Slang Dictionary Assignment: For this assignment you will do ethnographic and textual research on two slang terms. The first will be a word that was historically seen as outside the acceptable lexicon of English that may, may not have, turned into a word that is acceptable to say around any, or most, audiences. You will define, to the best of your ability, where the line of acceptability lives. You will do the etymological research for this word. The second slang term should be current, as current as possible. Perhaps it is so new it does not even have a definition in the Urban Dictionary. You will do informal ethnographic research to try to get the fullest definition possible. In addition to turning this in as part of this assignment you will also post your concise and brief definition in Urban Dictionary.

Discourse Project: Each student will choose one speech event to record and analyze. You will be responsible for choosing an example of speech to record, obtaining permission from the speakers to use the data, representing the discourse in written form, and submitting a final paper with your analysis of the speech event (approximately 4 pages). I will go over this project in detail during the third week of class.Midterm Exam (100 Points)

Final Exam

The  final exam will consist of short answer and essay questions. The materials for both exams will come from the readings, class discussions, and lectures. I encourage you to study together for this.

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

  • Themes:

  • language loss, revitalization, regeneration
  • language and online communities
  • the linguistic performance of youth identities (slang)
  • language and the performance of gender
  • language, ethnicity, and race
  • Issues:   

  • Considers power dynamics in multiple domains including: everyday interaction, education, media (advertising, news, film/tv, online), and political discourse.

  • How does language produce social realities?
  • How does language construct us as individuals and mark us as members of groups?
  • What role does language play in processes like socialization, globalization, and domination?
  • Concepts:   

  • Understanding micro and macro-level methods of analysis in language and culture
  • Ability to examine issues of language and culture in the news and in your daily lives
  • To think critically about the various stances and ideologies that inform popular discussions of language and culture
  • Skills
  • Students gain knowledge that will allow them to identify, explain, and historically contextualize the primary objectives, fundamental concepts, modes of analysis, and central questions and demonstrate proficiency in their use of this knowledge. 
  • Students are able to demonstrate proficiency in the use of critical thinking skills.
  • Students will gain some understanding and experience in transcription