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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Akesha L. Baron
ANTH 203
Seattle Campus

Introduction to Anthropological Linguistics

Linguistic methods and theories used within anthropology. Basic structural features of language; human language and animal communication compared; evidence for the innate nature of language. Language and culture: linguistic relativism, ethnography of communication, sociolinguistics. Language and nationalism, language politics in the United States and elsewhere. Offered: jointly with LING 203.

Class description

Dell Hymes, a founder of linguistic anthropology, wrote: A "language in some sense IS what those who have it can do with it." To the linguistic anthropologist, language use is social practice. We will develop an understanding of the connections between language, culture, society, identity and action by immersing ourselves in the theoretical and descriptive writings of early and contemporary scholars of language and society, as well as by sharing our own ideas and research. Students will come to appreciate a variety of methods for the close study of language as a social phenomenon.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

The course will be taught in a discussion format, with additional information presented through short lectures, films, and student presentations. Handouts and board writing will be used extensively to clarify concepts.

Recommended preparation

Good college-level writing and reading skills. A willingness to learn and contribute in a discussion-type format.

Class assignments and grading

Short response papers; one midterm; a final pilot research or literature review project of 9-12 pages on a topic pertaining to language and society of the student's choice.

25% participation 25% regular preparation and small assignments 25% midterm exam 25% independendent project


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Akesha L. Baron
Date: 04/13/2005