ANT206H5F  Fall 2011
Culture and Communication: Introduction to Linguistic Anthropology
Dr. Dylan Clark

communication 1, by unknown artist

 Teaching Assistants: Salvatore Giusto and Jessika Tremblay

 Course Overview:

 Anthropological Approaches to Language

This yearlong course sequence provides an introduction to the study of how language and culture are intertwined in everyday practice.  We will take an anthropological approach to language, that is, we will study language as that common human condition which is also a fundamental mode of difference and diversity across cultures and communities.  We want to consider the inseparability of language, thought, and culture.  So too, we want to see that language is often best comprehended in its cultural context: in light of social forces, hierarchies, economic circumstances, and various environmental conditions.   

 Fall 2011.  

Time and Place: Wednesdays, 10-12, IB 235.

Tutorials: Thursdays. 

Office: HSC 354;  Office hours: by appointment, and Tuesdays 10-12, Fridays 11-12.   "Virtual office hours" online at Blackboard: always glad to answer questions on our Blackboard discussion board.

Course texts:

*  Ahearn, Laura.  2011.  Living Language: An Introduction to Linguistic Anthropology.  Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.

*  Blum, Susan (ed.). 2008.  Making Sense of Language.  NY: Oxford University Press.

Expectations, Policies, and Common Courtesy 

Attendance: Students are expected to attend all classes, including lectures and tutorials. 

Punctuality: You are expected to arrive and be settled in your seat by the beginning of class or tutorial and to remain until the end of class, or you will only receive partial credit for tutorial attendance. Unless you become ill, do not begin packing up books or stand to leave before the end of class or tutorial, because this is distracting to all. If you know you cannot stay for the entire period, please sit near the door and leave very quietly.  
Courtesy in Class
: Every student is expected to pay close attention in the lecture or film. Refrain from talking during lectures and films, except to ask or respond to a question from the instructor. Even quiet talking is distracting and disrespectful for your fellow students and your instructor. Turn off pagers and mobile phones. In tutorials, your undivided attention and courtesy is also expected; however, this is your opportunity to discuss what you are learning in class with your TA and one another. You are encouraged to thoughtfully ask and answer questions, but please, no confidential, whispered conversations. Anything you say should be directed to the class as a whole. 

Email Communication: Emailing with your professor or TA is a form of professional communication. Please write courteously and clearly; do not use text-messaging abbreviations or slang. Please clearly indicate your questions or concerns. Be sure to provide a summary of the email topic in the Subject line (do not just write “Hi”or leave the Subject blank, or your email may be rejected as junk mail by the UTM server). You should always use your UT email address if at all possible.  The UT server regularly rejects Hotmail and Yahoo accounts as potential spam. Your message should be very brief, polite, and to the point. (For example: subject; [ANT204] Dear Professor Clark, I will be unable to attend the midterm because I will be observing the religious holiday of X.  Is there a way I can make up the midterm?) 

Please try to limit your email to the professor.  Can't find the reading?  Ask a friend, or ask your comrades on Blackboard.  Did you miss class one day?  Please ask a friend or a peer for her notes.  Not sure which pages to read?  Can't find your tutorial?  Unsure of what is on the final?   All of these good questions are better posed to the discussion board on Blackboard.  Your comrades in class can help you and you can help them.  The professor and the TA will also be frequent contributors on Blackboard.  And, if you have a question about the material, please post it to the discussion board on Blackboard.  Still seeking an answer?  After talking with your peers and the TA, and still needing help, then it may be time to visit office hours.  Please remember that office hours are limited and that there are only so many hours to divide between hundreds of students.  
There is seldom a reason to explain your missing presence, missing papers, etc. Generally speaking, something came up and you missed class. It is your responsibility to get notes from another student.  Back up your computer files, start projects long before they are due, and study hard. You will not be excused from your work: just get the job done. In severe situations (death in the family, disabling illness, etc.) provide written proof.  
If you qualify for accommodations because of a disability, please submit to me a letter from the proper UTM authorities in a timely manner so that your needs may be addressed. UTM has procedures to determine accommodations based on documented disabilities. If you have religious scheduling concerns, please report these in the first or second week of class. I will do my utmost to respect disabilities and religious issues if they should arise.  

Both the mid-terms and the final exam will consist of multiple choice and short answer questions on ALL materials presented in the class and discussed in tutorial (readings, lectures, AND films).  The final exam may be cumulative, but likely will feature material from after the midterm.  Final decisions about exam materials will be announced in class. 

Missed exams
Avoid missing an exam - the procedure for taking a make-up exam is strictly regulated by the university, and these policies will be followed in all cases. Please notify the instructor by email or phone as soon as possible if you miss an exam.  Ideally, you should notify the professor before you miss the exam or the day of the exam.  Any student who misses an exam, must contact the instructor on email within 24 hours, unless physically unable to do so.  The instructor may refuse a make-up exam to students who do not provide a valid excuse and who fail contact the instructor in one day.

* For the Mid-term Exam, see Section 7.9 “Term Tests” in the UTM Calendar for 2009-2010. A valid doctor's excuse or similar university-approved excuse will be required to take the make-up for the mid-term. ONE makeup will be given for the mid-term, the week after the regular exam. All makeup exams will be short answer format only, not multiple choice. 
* For the Final Exam, see Section 7.14 “Examinations” in the UTM Calendar for 2009-2010. You will have to submit a petition to Registrarial Services, among other requirements, and re-take the exam during the Deferred Examinations Period (possibly Feb. 2010 during Reading Week, or as otherwise scheduled by the university). All makeup exams will be short answer format only, not multiple choice. 

PLAGIARISM on exams and written work: You may get lecture or tutorial notes from other students for days when you are absent, but the answers you submit must be your own independent work.  Exercises in which duplication is detected will be severely penalized. For more details, see Academic Honesty; and the Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters in the UTM Calendar for 2009-2010 under Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters. It is your responsibility to be familiar with this code, and adhere to it.  IF you have any questions about what is or is not plagiarism, please see  Students will be required to submit their course essays to  Instructions will be provided.  By now you should be aware that the university expects your work to be done independently.  The university takes this issue very seriously.  Any attempt to gain undue advantage over your classmates by plagiarizing or other forms of cheating will be dealt with according to the Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters.  The terms that apply to the University's use of the service are described on the web site.  

LATE EXERCISES: (1) Late exercises will be penalized per calendar day, including weekends ( will register the time/date of your submission).  The penalty is 3% on the first day late, then 1% per day thereafter.  Professor may refuse to mark work that is more than 10 days late, if unexcused and deadline unextended. 

MARKING.  Your mark will be computed as follows: first exam, 30%, term paper 15%, participation in tutorials and lectures (including oral contributions, attendance, and contributory presence, and involvement on discussion board of Blackboard) 15%, final exam 40%.  


*  Attendance is required in lectures and in tutorials. 

*  Reading is to be done by the start of class and tutorial.  
*  Read both text and illustrations, except as noted. 
*  Do not fall behind. The reading is too challenging and too extensive to cram before an exam. When you have done your reading you will have a far greater comprehension of the lectures.
Please bring the day’s assigned readings to class.

Fall Session 2011
Week 1        [introduction]
Sept 7     Blum, cha. 3: de Saussure, “Nature of the Linguistic Sign,” pp. 21-4. Ahearn, “The Socially Charged Life of Language,” pp. 3-30. 
Sept 8     Tutorials.  Ahearn, “Language Acquisition and Socialization,” pp. 50-64.            

Week 2         [language and thought]

Sept 14     Ahearn, “Language, Thought, and Culture,” pp. 65-98.
Sept 15    Tutorials. Blum, cha. 9: Whorf, “The Relation of Habitual Thought and Behavior to Language,” pp. 72-83, Blum, chapter 11: Lakoff and Johnson, “Metaphors We Live By,” pp. 92-4.
Week 3         [race]
Sept 21   Blum, cha. 27. Marcyliena Morgan: "'Nuthin' but a G Thang': Grammar and Language Ideology in Hip Hop Identity" and Blum cha. 28. Mary Bucholtz: "The Whiteness of Nerds: Superstandard English and Racial Markedness."

Sept 22   Tutorials. Ahearn, “Language, Race, and Ethnicity,” pp. 214-39.
Week 4           [multi-racial society]
Sept 28  Blum, cha. 26. John R. Rickford: “Suite for Ebony and Phonics” and Blum cha. 29. Rusty Barrett: “Language Ideology and Racial Inequality: Competing Functions of Spanish in an Anglo-Owned Mexican Restaurant.” 
Sept 29  Tutorials.  Blum, cha. 19: Beth Simon, “Language Choice, Religion, and Identity in the Banarsi Community,” pp. 179-91.

Week 5          [the gender of language and the language of gender]

Oct 5    Ahearn, “Language and Gender,” pp. 187-213.
Oct 6  Tutorials.  Blum, cha. 30, William M. O'Barr and Bowman K. Atkins: “'Women's Language' or 'Powerless Language'?”Blum cha. 32. Scott Fabius Kiesling: “Power and the Language of Men.” 
Week 6          [performing gender; speech acts]
Oct 12    Blum, cha. 34, Elinor Keenan (Ochs): "Norm-Makers, Norm-Breakers: Uses of Speech by Men and Women in a Malagasy Community," 337-46; Blum, cha. 35: Austin, “How to Do Things with Words.”

Oct 13  Tutorials.   Ahearn, cha 8, “Performance, Performativity, and the Constitution of Communities,” pp. 160-84.

Week 7   

Oct 19    MIDTERM examination.  2 hrs.
Oct 20     no tutorials, no reading assigned. 

Week 8 [discourse, performance, and ritual]

Oct 26   Blum cha. 36. Joel Sherzer: "Kuna Curing and Magic: Counseling the Spirits" and Blum, cha. 38. Cheryl Wharry: "Amen and Hallelujah Preaching: Discourse Functions in African American Sermons."
Oct 27   No tutorials: TA busy marking midterms. 
Week 9    [discourse, naming, and ritual]
Nov 2.  Blum, cha. 37: Susan D. Blum, "Naming Practices and the Power of Words in China" and, Blum cha. 39: Yanrong Chang, "Courtroom Questioning as a Culturally Situated Persuasive Genre of Talk"
Nov 3  Tutorials.  Basso, “ ‘To Give Up on Words’: Silence in Western Apache Culture,” pp. 466-74.

Week 10       [language ideology]

Nov 9    Blum, cha. 41. Don Kulick: “Anger, Gender, Language Shift, and the Politics of Revelation in a Papua New Guinean Village.”
Nov 10  Tutorials.  Blum, cha. 42. Lippi-Green, “Accent, Standard Language Ideology, and Discriminatory Pretext in the Courts,” pp. 435-50.

Week 11  [language ideology; papers due]

Nov 16   Ahearn, cha. 12: “Conclusion: Language, Power, and Agency,” pp. 259-91.
Nov 17  Tutorials.  Blum, cha. 15, Battistella, “Bad Language, Bad Citizens,” pp. 125-36.
Nov 18  Paper due.  Please submit electronically on UTM Submit, by 6PM. Hard copy (paper) due under prof’s door by Nov 22. 

Week 12  [language endangerment and revitalization]
Nov 23  Blum, cha. 20, John H. McWhorter: “Most of the World's Languages Went Extinct", Blum cha. 21. Lindsay J. Whaley: "The Future of Native Languages.”

Nov 24  Tutorials.  Ahearn, “Language Death and Revitalization,” pp. 240-58.  

Week 13  

Nov. 29- Dec 4.    Study week.
December XX: Date and time and place to be determined.  FINAL EXAM.  Content emphasizes readings and lectures since the midterm. 

updated: September 19, 2011