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LING 3442: Sociolinguistics (CRN 36501) I Northeastern University, Spring 2015

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LING 3442: Sociolinguistics (CRN 36501) I Northeastern University, Spring 2015
LING 3442: Sociolinguistics (CRN 36501)
Northeastern University, Spring 2015
INSTRUCTOR INFORMATION
Instructor
E-Mail
Office
Office hours
H. Littlefield, Ph.D.
[email protected] (preferred contact)
548 Nightingale Hall; 617.373.3164
Tuesdays, 12:50pm – 2:50pm; Fridays, 11:35am – 1:35pm
If these times are not convenient, please contact me to set up an appointment.
COURSE INFORMATION
Class meetings
Tuesdays and Fridays, 9:50 to 11:30am; 43 Snell Library
Course description
Why do people choose to say things in different ways in different situations? In examining language
behavior in its social context, this course will outline the linguistic constructs that allow conversation to
occur, the types of variation that can occur in registers and dialects, and the possible reasons for choosing
different linguistic varieties. Linguistic variation in relation to social context, gender, socioeconomic
class, race, and ethnicity will be examined.
Prerequisites
This course is a high-level, writing intensive linguistics course, so you must have successfully completed
the two prerequisite courses Introduction to Linguistics (LING 1150) and College Writing (ENGW 1111,
ENGW 1102, ENGL 1111, ENGL 1102 or equivalent). An understanding of linguistic terminology and
concepts will be assumed, as will the basic elements of essay writing. Please see me immediately if you
haven’t completed these two courses.
COURSE RESOURCES
Blackboard website
The Blackboard site for the course is an excellent reference for course materials including the syllabus,
assignment guidelines, lecture slides, and supplemental readings not found in the textbook.
Required texts
Mesthrie, Rajend, Joan Swann, Ana Deumert, & William Leap. (2009). Introducing Sociolinguistics.
Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. Available at the following permalink:
http://onesearch.northeastern.edu/NU:NEU_ALMA51188123700001401
COURSE REQUIREMENTS
Reading of assigned literature
Because in-class lectures are designed to complement and augment the information in the readings, it is
your responsibility to prepare the readings before class meetings so that you have a basic familiarity of
the terms and concepts of each topic.
Regular attendance and active participation
Your participation in class discussions and activities is essential to your progress in this course, and your
understanding of the topics covered in class will be severely handicapped if you are unable to participate.
In order to underscore the importance of your role in in-class discussions and activities, you will be given
a participation grade at midterm and at the end of the term. This will be based on my observations of
your participation in class each day, including the quality and quantity of your efforts in class discussion
and activities. Clearly, when you are absent, you cannot participate, and your grade for that day will be a
zero. Additionally, if you have not read and thought about the assigned readings in advance of the day’s
discussion, you are not prepared to participate, and your grade for that day will be a zero. Lastly, reading,
texting, surfing the web, etc. not only hampers your own focus, but and that of the others in the course
(including mine as the instructor), and thus will negatively affect your participation grade.
Please note that while it is not recommended that you miss any class meetings, you may be absent
for two class meetings during the semester without penalty to your participation grade (one before
midterm, one after midterm). This includes absences for any reason, including illness and emergencies.
There are no “excused” absences, so be sure to plan and use your absences wisely. You do not need to
inform me of an absence, unless you will be missing a day when an assignment is due and you need to
organize how to turn in the assignment.
Lastly, it is expected that every participant in the classroom engage in our discussions with
respect towards others. Some of the topics will bring out varying feelings and opposing opinions; we
must work as a group to openly and respectfully listen to each other, even when our views differ and we
feel strongly about our own viewpoint. Additionally, we may find that we disclose personal observations
to the class that we don’t necessarily want shared with the world; please be aware of this when you are
having discussions with people out of class—use your best judgment as to what you share and the degree
of detail that you disclose. In order to have a highly productive, engaging classroom experience, we must
be able to trust one another enough to speak freely as we encounter the fascinating, sometimes
controversial ideas that we will cover.
Fieldwork Projects: Presentations and Papers
Each of the required fieldwork projects are designed to give students hands-on opportunities in the
collection and analysis of data, and make observations in the field of sociolinguistics. The results of each
of your projects will be presented in class (except the last project, which will be presented at the
Linguistics Program Poster Session on Wednesday, April 22), and will be submitted as a formal written
paper. While each paper will vary in length, they will typically be expected to be between three to six
pages, single-spaced. Copies of the guidelines for each project will be given in class and made available
on Blackboard, and the expectations for each will be discussed in class before it is due. Please keep in
mind that these projects will take significant planning and effort; you should avoid waiting until the last
day or two to complete them!
Weekly reading journal
While you are encouraged to keep a journal of your questions, thoughts, observations, and interests
throughout the semester, this will be required for the second half of the term. Following spring break,
you will need to keep a reading journal and submit it regularly. The ideas, questions and insights that you
record in your journal will allow you to more fully participate in our in-class discussions, and will also be
a good reference for you as you consider topics for fieldwork projects. Further information for the
journaling process and expectations will be provided and discussed in class.
Extra credit
Opportunities for extra credit may be available occasionally throughout the course. These opportunities
must be taken when they are offered, and turned in on time.
COURSE GRADES
Calculation of grades
In calculating grades, I use a criterion-referenced grading system. That means that your final grade for
the course is calculated by taking the total number of points that you have earned in the class (including
extra credit points) and dividing by the total number of possible points (excluding extra credit points).
This percentage is used to assign your letter grade according to the scale below (see “Grading scale”).
The anticipated values for the course requirements are provided below. In the unlikely event of the need
to shift the total points (i.e. drop an assignment due to lack of time at the end of the term), you will be
notified in class. Importantly, all efforts will be made to keep the average weight of each requirement the
same, so the relative value of each type of work is not altered.
Requirement
Attendance and participation
Fieldwork Projects: Presentations
Fieldwork Projects: Papers
Journal
Totals
Table 1: Anticipated values for course requirements
Points
120
200
400
80
800
Percent
15%
25%
50%
10%
100%
Grading scale
Because I am using a criterion-referenced system, I use an absolute scale (as shown below), and there is
no curve. Note that “A” work is exceptional: it goes beyond just completing an assignment accurately
and obviously exceeds the minimum requirements. It shows a clear attention to detail and demonstrates
the highest levels of depth and breadth of conceptual comprehension.
Please note that while I have an “A+” grade listed here, Northeastern does not allow for the
assignment of “A+” grades. I will, however, report this as the top grade possible in my courses in letters
of recommendation.
Letter
Grade
A+
A
AB+
B
B-
Grade
Range
97 – 100%
93 – 96.9%
90 – 92.9%
87 – 89.9%
83 – 86.9%
80 – 82.9%
Level of
Achievement
Outstanding
Good
Letter
Grade
C+
C
CD+
D
DF
Grade
Range
77 – 79.9%
73 – 76.9%
70 – 72.9%
67 – 69.9%
63 – 66.9%
60 – 62.9%
0 – 59.9%
Level of
Achievement
Satisfactory
Poor
Failure
Table 2: Grading scale
COURSE POLICIES
Academic integrity
All work that you turn in must be your own: cheating, plagiarism, fabrication (the invention of data) of
any kind will not be accepted. Any violation of academic integrity will be immediately reported to the
Office of Student Conduct & Conflict Resolution (OSCCR) and will be given an automatic zero. If you
are unsure as to what constitutes cheating, plagiarism, fabrication, etc., please see me before you turn in
any work.
I strongly recommend that you read the information at the following sites:
www.northeastern.edu/osccr/ and www.lib.neu.edu/online_research/help/avoiding_plagiarism/.
Students with disabilities
If you have a documented disability (learning or otherwise) and anticipate needing accommodations in
this course, please meet with me as soon as possible so we can work out a plan to meet your needs.
Electronic devices
Using personal electronic devices in the classroom can hinder instruction and learning, not only for you,
but also for your classmates, and for me, your instructor. Please be courteous to all, and make sure to turn
your cell phone off and keep it put away during class. Laptops, tablets and other electronic equipment are
not allowed in class except for the express purpose of taking notes.
Expectations for participation
You should come to class prepared to contribute your perspectives and opinions, be open to engaging in
hands-on learning, and be prepared to listen respectfully to others. This includes being sensitive to the
opinions and observations of others, and everyone’s right to participate: participants should not dominate
class time or engage in disruptive behaviors (chatting with a neighbor, texting, surfing the web, etc.).
Submission of coursework
All work must be submitted in hardcopy or electronically, as directed. Please note that I will not print
papers that you have e-mailed me: you must supply the hardcopy when hardcopy is required.
General formatting guidelines
All work must be typed with a standard 12-point serif font, be single-spaced, and have 1-inch margins; a
stylesheet will be provided for more specific formatting guidelines.
Late work
All work must be turned in on time or ahead of time. “On time” for work due in class means at the
beginning of class on the day that it is due; other deadlines will be specific as to date and time. If you
will be absent, you must submit the assignment before the deadline. Late work will be deducted by 20%;
assignments more than one week late will not be accepted, and will receive a score of ‘0’.
WHERE TO FIND HELP
Instructor
I am always happy to help answer questions, and provide extra assistance. Drop by anytime during my
office hours, or make an appointment, if those aren’t convenient. I’m also happy to answer questions via
e-mail (be sure to allow for a day or so, as I may not be able to respond immediately).
Study groups
Many students find that discussing their work with their fellow classmates helps them to understand the
material more fully. Small study groups of two to four people are ideal, as they allow for everyone to
contribute their ideas and questions to the discussion.
Blackboard
The slides from class are posted once a topic is completed; these will be helpful for reviewing the material
and filling in your notes.
COURSE SCHEDULE
This schedule is tentative and may be revised over the course of the semester. If revised, you will receive
an updated copy in class, and it will be posted on Blackboard. Due dates for assignments will be specified
in class; the weeks when work is expected to be due are indicated here for general planning purposes.
Jan 13, 16
Readings:
The Foundations of Sociolinguistics: Language Variation
Introduction to the course; Assumptions; Brief introduction of research methods
Mesthrie, Swann, Deumert, & Leap. Chapter 1: Clearing the ground: Basic Issues,
Concepts, and Approaches.
Schleef, Erik & Miriam Meyerhoff. (2010). Sociolinguistic methods in data collection
and interpretation. In Miriam Meyerhoff & Erik Schleef (eds.), The Routledge
sociolinguistics reader, 1-26. London and New York: Routledge. [Download from
Blackboard.]
Jan 20, 23
Readings:
Regional Dialects
Mesthrie, Swann, Deumert, & Leap. Chapter 2: Regional Dialectology
Jan 27, 30
Readings:
Turn in:
Regional Dialects; Social dialects
Mesthrie, Swann, Deumert, & Leap. Chapter 3: Social Dialectology
Presentation of Fieldwork 1: Regional Dialects
Fieldwork 1 Paper: Regional Dialects
Feb 3, 6
Readings:
Social dialects: Class, Gender
Labov, William. (1997). The social stratification of (r) in New York City Department
stores. Chapter 13 in Coupland, Nikolas and Adam Jaworski (eds). Sociolinguistics:
A reader and coursebook. NY: Palgrave. 168-178. Download at the following link:
http://web.stanford.edu/class/linguist62n/labov001.pdf
Mesthrie, Swann, Deumert, & Leap. Chapter 7: Gender and Language Use
Feb 10, 13
Readings:
Social dialects: Race and Ethnicity
Wolfram, Walt. (2003). On the Construction of Vernacular Dialect Norms. Chapter 14 in
Paulston, Christina Bratt & G. Richard Tucker (eds). Sociolinguistics: The Essential
Readings. Malden, MA: Blackwell. 251-271. [Download from BlackBoard.]
Fishman, Joshua. (1997). Language, Ethnicity and Racism. Chapter 25 in Nikolas
Coupland & Adam Jaworski (eds), Sociolinguistics: A reader. New York: St.
Martin's Press. 341- 352. [Download from BlackBoard.]
Feb 17, 20
Turn in:
Presentations of Fieldwork 2: Social dialects
Presentation of Fieldwork 2: Social Dialects
Fieldwork 2 Paper: Social Dialects
Feb 24, 27
Readings:
Register
Biber, Douglas & Edward Finegan. (1994). Introduction: Situating Register in
Sociolinguistics. In Biber, Douglas & Edward Finegan (eds). Sociolinguistic
Perspectives on Register. NY: Oxford University Press. 3-12. Available at the
following Permalink: http://onesearch.northeastern.edu/NU:dedupmrg45704701
Mar 3, 6
Turn in:
Presentations of Fieldwork 3: Register
Presentation of Fieldwork 3: Register
Fieldwork 3 Paper: Register
Mar 10, 13
No class: Spring Break!
Topics in Sociolinguistics
Mar 17, 20
Readings:
Suggested:
Turn in:
Mar 24, 27
Readings:
Suggested:
Turn in:
Language and identity; Attitudes towards differences
Coulmas, Florian. (2005). Chapter 10: Language and identity: individual, social,
national. In Coulmas, Florian. Sociolinguistics: The study of speakers’ choices.
Cambridge: Cambridge UP. [Download from Blackboard.]
Fuller, Janet. (2007). Language choice as a means for shaping identity. Journal of
Linguistic Anthropology 17(1): 105-129. [Download from BlackBoard]
Preston, Dennis. (2013). Language with an Attitude. Chapter 7 in Chambers, J.K. &
Natalie Schilling (eds). Blackwell Handbook of Language Variation and Change, 2nd
edition. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell. 157-182. Available at the following
permalink: http://onesearch.northeastern.edu/NU:NEU_ALMA51207204160001401
Kiesling, Scott. (2013). Constructing identity. Chapter 21 in Chambers, J.K. & Natalie
Schilling (eds). Blackwell Handbook of Language Variation and Change, 2nd edition.
Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell. 448-467. Available at the following permalink:
http://onesearch.northeastern.edu/NU:NEU_ALMA51207204160001401
Trudgill, Peter. (1997). Acts of conflicting identity: The sociolinguistics of British popsong pronunciation. Chapter. 20 in Nikolas Coupland & Adam Jaworski (eds),
Sociolinguistics: A reader. New York: St. Martin's Press. 251- 266. [Download from
Blackboard.]
Journal 1
Language variation and change in context
Mesthrie, Swann, Deumert, & Leap. Chapter 4: Language Variation and Change
Mesthrie, Swann, Deumert, & Leap. Chapter 5: Language Choice and Code-switching
Giles, Howard & Peter Powesland. (1997). Accommodation Theory. Chapter 18 in
Nikolas Coupland & Adam Jaworski (eds), Sociolinguistics: A reader. New York:
St. Martin's Press. 232- 239. [Download from BlackBoard.]
Milroy, J. & L. Milroy. (1997). Network structure and linguistic change. Chapter 16 in
Nikolas Coupland & Adam Jaworski (eds), Sociolinguistics: A reader. New York:
St. Martin's Press. 199- 211.
Gardner-Chloros, Penelope. (1997). Code-switching: Language selection in three
Strasbourg department stores. Chapter 28 in Nikolas Coupland & Adam Jaworski
(eds), Sociolinguistics: A reader. New York: St. Martin's Press. 361- 375.
[Download from BlackBoard]
Mesthrie, Swann, Deumert, & Leap. Chapter 6: Language in Interaction.
Journal 2
Mar 31, Apr 3 Language and power
Readings:
Mesthrie, Swann, Deumert, & Leap. Chapter 10: Critical Sociolinguistics: Approaches to
Language and Power.
Tannen, Deborah. (2003). The Relativity of Linguistic Strategies: Rethinking Power and
Solidarity in Gender Dominance. In Sociolinguistics, essential readings, chapter 12.
Ochs, Elinor. (2009). Indexing Gender. Chapter 30 in Meyerhoff, Miriam and Erik
Schleef (eds). The Routledge Sociolinguistics Reader. Routledge.
Kiesling, Scott. (2009). Power and the Language of Men. Chapter 31 in Meyerhoff,
Miriam and Erik Schleef (eds). The Routledge Sociolinguistics Reader.
Turn in:
Apr 7, 10
Readings:
Turn in:
Apr 14, 17
Readings:
Select one article in: Mayr, Andrea (ed). (2008). Language and Power: An Introduction
to Institutional Discourse. Continuum International. [Available at the following
permalink: http://onesearch.northeastern.edu/NU:NEU_ALMA51187065700001401]
Journal Entry 3
Language and education
Mesthrie, Swann, Deumert, & Leap. Chapter 11: Sociolinguistics and Education
Paulston, Christina Bratt. (1997). Language Policies and Language Rights. Annual Review
of Anthropology. 26: 73-86. [Available at the following permalink:
http://onesearch.northeastern.edu/NU:TN_gale_ofa20378096]
Edwards, Viv. (1997). Patois and the politics of protest: Black English in British
classrooms. Chapter 31 in Nikolas Coupland & Adam Jaworski (eds),
Sociolinguistics: A reader. New York: St. Martin's Press. 408- 415. [Download from
BlackBoard.]
Journal Entry 4
Language Policy and Planning
Mesthrie, Swann, Deumert, & Leap. Chapter 12: Language Policy and Planning
Nahir, Moshe. (1984). Language Planning Goals: A Classification. In Language Problems
and Language Planning, 8(3): 294-327. [Download from BlackBoard.]
Turn in:
Hornberger, Nancy. (1994). Literacy and Language Planning. In Language and
Education. 8(1): 75-86. [Download from BlackBoard.]
Haugen, Einar. (1997). Language Standardization. Chapter 26 in Nikolas Coupland &
Adam Jaworski (eds), Sociolinguistics: A reader. New York: St. Martin's Press. 341352. [Download from BlackBoard.]
Bourhis, Richard. (1997). Language policies and language attitudes: Le Monde de la
Francophonie. Chapter 24 in in Nikolas Coupland & Adam Jaworski (eds),
Sociolinguistics: A reader. New York: St. Martin's Press. 306- 322. [Download from
BlackBoard.]
Journal Entry 5
Apr 21
Course wrap-up and evaluations
Apr 22
Poster Presentation of Final Project (save the date!)
Apr 24 - May 1 Final Exam Week
Turn in:
Fieldwork 4 Paper: Final Project
Fly UP