Spring Term 2019W

Instructors: Laurel Brinton (English), Gunnar Ólafur Hansson (Linguistics)

Calendar description: Critical consideration of a broad range of commonly held beliefs about language and its relation to the brain and cognition, learning, society, change and evolution.

Learning outcomes
Upon successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • identify common language myths and evaluate the roles they play in society, as well as how and why they change over time
  • critically reflect on and assess common beliefs about language
  • begin to understand the principles of academic and scientific inquiry
  • assess the connections between language and social phenomena
  • read and evaluate media and media content from an ethical perspective
  • identify various approaches to language study, ranging from the traditional to the qualitative and quantitative approaches characteristic of the humanities and social sciences

Course requirements:
Midterm examination (a combination of short answer and essay components) – 25%                                                                                                 
Final examination – 25%                                                                                                    
Written project (done in groups, randomly assigned) – 30%                               
Students will select a language myth and will locate a discussion of this myth in popular media (online, newspaper, etc.). Students will read several scholarly sources concerning that myth and will use these readings as well as the material covered in class to argue for or against the point expressed in the popular source.
Attendance  – 8%                                                                                                    
Attendance will be taken on Fridays and is mandatory on workshop dates and for student presentations.
Participation – 12%                                                                            
Participation is based on 8 written observations and on participation in Friday student-led discussions; the written observations are max. 200 words, will be submitted online, and are due Thursday noon of the week assigned.

Course readings
Kaplan, Abby. 2016. Women talk more than men … and other myths about language explained. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. [required textbook] (Approximate price $28.95)
Set of course readings (available under “Library Online Course Reserves” in Canvas).
Textbook readings for the course should be done in advance of the week assigned and reviewed afterwards.

All materials of this course (course handouts, lecture slides, assessments, course readings, etc.) are the intellectual property of the Course Instructor or licensed to be used in this course by the copyright owner. Redistribution of these materials by any means without permission of the copyright holder(s) constitutes a breach of copyright and may lead to academic discipline.