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Language and culture: an introduction

Class at Faculty of Arts |




Required Readings 1

Preview of the course

Introduction to linguistic and cultural anthropology

Duranti, 2009 2

The beginnings of modern linguistic anthropology

Duranti, 2009: 263-278 3

Language, culture, and worldview

Martin, 1986

Everett, 2008 (introduction)

Nevins, Pesetsky, & Rodrigues, 2007 4

Universal Grammar

Dabrowska, 2015

Evans & Levinson, 2009 5

The primordial scene of socio-cultural life: Conversational exchanges from an anthropological viewpoint

Tannen, 1984,

Sacks, Schegloff & Jefferson, 1974

Dingemanse & Floyd, 2014 6

"Social media culture" and linguistic self-construction

Lee, 2014

Mahay, 2013

Crystal, 2006 7

Digital linguistic anthropology: Language change in online communities 8

Oral folklore and spoken art

Salzmann, 2004

Sindoni, 2010 9

"Desi land": Teen culture, gender, race

Shankar, 2008

Lotherington, 2003

Schleef, Meyerhoff, & Clark, 2011 10

Language vitality, death, and revitalization: The role of English

Eckert et al., 2014

Kornai, 2013 11

Linguistic anthropology in the contemporary world

Student presentations 12

Linguistic anthropology in the contemporary world

Student presentations 13

Linguistic anthropology in the contemporary world

Student presentations


Linguistic anthropology studies the relationship between language and culture, as well as the linkages between language, culture, and cognition. Language is defined as the common human condition, which is also a fundamental mode of diversity across communities, and considered an integral part of culture – the sum of knowledge and practices shared by members of a community.

This course provides an overview of important and current topics in the field and focusses on the question of how linguistic variation and categorization can be investigated from an anthropological perspective. In addition, research methods, including digital means to study culture and language, will be discussed.

Students will become familiar with philosophical ideas, sociolinguistic models, and anthropological theories that have inspired the anthropology of language. An up-to-date review of the latest theories and findings in all the key areas will be presented alongside famous and influential studies that have shaped anthropological approaches to language in the past.