LING-586 Language and Identity
Spring for 2017-2018

This course explores the nature of identity and how linguistic resources like accent, grammar, and discourse contribute to its expression and interpretation. Students will review the literature on language and identity, ranging from early foundational work in sociolinguistics to the most recent debates on identity as an object of sociolinguistic study. Examining the construction of a number of aspects of identity – gender and sexuality, race and ethnicity, age and the life course, and nationhood, as well as how they intersect – will bring to the surface several important themes, among them access, agency, authenticity, borders, community, ideology, indexicality, and style. Together these themes will provide students with a framework for conducting an original research project on the linguistic construction of identity. In addition to carrying out this project, students will be required to present an article of their choice and to write three brief papers bringing together and building off of material in the assigned reading. The intended product of this course will be a theory of language and identity broad enough to encompass all course topics, yet sufficiently refined to be useful when framing individual projects.

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: A basic background in linguistics (particularly syntax, phonetics and phonology, and discourse analysis) is assumed. Technical concepts will be reviewed as necessary.
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