This course examines five intriguing areas of linguistics that relate to crucial 21st Century social issues. Starting with fossils and skulls, we explore where language came from and how it evolved. Next, we look at “Englishes” in America, from regional to class dialects. We move onto a specific area of interest: naming practices of people, places, and brands. Next, we explore the language demanded at the college level, what it is and what obstacles students face when charged with mastering it. We finish with an analysis how changing social norms influence language change.
Students work with texts, lectures, and films, covering the principles of linguistics and the relevant literature. They problem-solve by working through case studies and analyzing linguistic evidence via databases and other web resources. Guest speakers who are active in their fields add a level of detail and specificity to the course. The course includes asynchronous work, which students are expected to complete between class sessions.
Participants gain a deeper understanding of the role of language in their society and linguistics as an interdisciplinary tool for greater insight into how we live.
LING0100 | Call Number: 22330 | View this listing on the Directory of Courses
Cindy Mercer holds a Ph.D. in Slavic linguistics from Indiana University. She has taught issues of language and speech to all ages, in Poland, Turkey, and the United States. Her interests include comparative grammar, language change, and pedagogy. She is a part-time faculty member of communication sciences and disorders at Marymount Manhattan College.