Anthropology 2510Y
Language, Culture and Communication
Summer 2008
Mondays & Wednesdays 6:00 p.m. – 8:50 p.m.
Instructor: Chris Holdsworth (B.SC., MA, D.Phil)
Room: TBA
E-Mail: [email protected] or [email protected]
Office Hours: before or after class or by appointment
Class Web Page:
Bonvillain, Nancy 2008 Language, Culture and Communication: The Meaning of
Messages, 5th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Additional study materials, relevant web links, etc. may be made available on the class web site
This course is a general introduction to basic approaches to the study of language, symbols and
communication. Language use is a communicative interaction through which meaning is created
in a cultural context. This course takes an ethnographic approach to how language use is
structured, and on how particular forms of language use produce social relations in terms of
identity, power and inequality. An ethnography of communication includes analysis of speech,
situational contexts, and cultural norms used in evaluating talk. Topics explored include: the
organization of language; how children acquire language, how context and social interaction affect
the meaning of an utterance; the relationship between language, thought and culture; the linguistic and
sociocultural consequences of language contact; and how social categories and inequalities of class, race
and gender are reflected and constructed in language;
Through regular discussions and debates on contemporary issues students will enhance their critical
thinking and communication skills, learning to verbally articulate complex ideas in a public setting.
Through discussion, reading, and writing acquire both a basic understanding of the main
approaches, analytical tools, methods and theories used by linguistic anthropologists as well
as an understanding of the relationship between culture and language and how language
underlies cultural phenomena like gender, race/ethnicity, and social class.
By learning how to notice and analyze language, to gain important insights into cultural systems – our
own and others.
Through exposure to diverse cultures acquire an increased understanding and awareness of crosscultural assumptions, and identify obstacles that hinder the development of intercultural
Through essay exams and a final paper, students will improve their ability to write effectivel y
The course will follow an interactive lecture-discussion format and small group and individual
activities accompanied by the occasional film. Classes will not necessarily repeat or cover all the
material in the text but will elaborate on selected topics and use additional case studies to provide
a deeper understanding of the material. Assigned textbook readings may be augmented with
suggested additional readings and handouts. Although not a grade component, students are
expected to contribute to class discussions so attendance and participation is therefore essential.
Although attendance and participation are not considered in the grade for this course students are
expected to attend all classes and to contribute to class discussions based on the assigned
readings. Students will be unable to make valuable contributions to the discussion, or benefit
from the contributions of others, if the readings have not been done beforehand. As students are
required to demonstrate a working knowledge of all course materials in exams, grades will suffer
if more than two classes are missed.
Assessment for this course will be based on two midterm exams, a final exam and a term paper.
Exams will cover the assigned readings and all material discussed in class and presented in
videos. Exams will not be cumulative, although students are expected to have a good grasp of
basic concepts for later exams.
1. Mid-term Exam 1
Date: May 21
Weight: 20% of final grade.
2. Mid-term Exam 2
Date: June 4
Weight: 20% of final grade.
3. Final Exam
Date June 23
Weight: 30% of final grade.
4. Term paper
Date June 18
Weight: 30% of final grade.
Additional Information about the exams and term paper will. Be provided the first day of class.
Exams must be taken at the scheduled times and assignments handed in on the dates specified.
Course material submitted late will lose 10% of the mark per day that they are late. Students may
be granted an extension on submissions or deferral from writing the mid-term exam only due to
illness or other extenuating circumstances beyond their control and with the presentation of a
valid written explanation from the appropriate authority, e.g. a physician or employer.
Alternative arrangements may be made at the discretion of the instructor. Students who miss the
final exam must apply to the Dean for deferral.
Plagiarism: “to steal and pass off the ideas or words of another as one’s own” (Webster’s). Plagiarism will
not be tolerated and will automatically result in a zero grade for the submission. Any student caught
plagiarizing may also be subject to additional University sanctions. The University’s policies and
procedures on academic offences can be found at the following website: The University of Lethbridge subscribes to a plagiarism
detection service. Students may be required to submit their written work in electronic form for plagiarism
Each item of course work will be weighted as above and a final mark out of 100 calculated. This
will then be converted to a letter grade according to the formula below.
A+ = 95-100%
B+ = 82-85.9
C+ = 70-73.9
D+ = 58-61.9
A = 90-94.9%
B = 78-81.9
C = 66-69.9
D = 50-57.9
A- = 86-89.9%
B- = 74-77.9
C- = 62-65.9
F = 0-49
Note: All chapter readings are from Bonvillain. The list below is tentative. Some topics may require
more attention than others, and we will take more time with them
Mon May 5th
Wed May 7th
Mon May 12th
Wed May 14h
Mon May 19th
Wed May 21st
Mon May 26th
Wed May 28th
Mon Jun 2nd
Wed Jun 4th
Mon Jun 9th
Wed Jun 11th
Mon Jun 16th
Wed Jun 18th
Mon Jun 23rd
What is language: The form of the message: phonology,
morphology, syntax, semantics, non-verbal communication
Learning language: speech, grammar, cultural comparisons
Acquiring Communicative Competence
No Class Victoria Day
Mid-term Exam 1,Language and Cultural Meaning, lexical and
cultural categories
Ethnography of Communication: Contextual components setting. Participants, goals, speech acts
Discourse analysis, communicative interactions: conversations,
Linguistic Variation: Class and Race
Mid-term Exam 2 Language and Gender - English
Language and gender – other languages
Multilingualism – Canada, USA
Bilingual Communities, linguistic change, conversational
Language and institutional Encounters: education, medical, legal
Final Exam
Chapter 1
Chapter. 2
Chapter. 9
Chapter. 10
Chapter. 3
Chapter. 4
Chapter. 5
Chapter. 6
Chapter. 7
Chapter. 8
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13