FYS-179 Language in a Multicultural America

Instructor: Associate Professor Jennifer Collins Bloomquist
Department: Africana Studies

Course Description:
What kind of linguistic choices do people make, and why do they make the choices they do? This course entails the study of regional and social varieties of American English from sociolinguistic perspectives, focusing on the forces that influence different types of language variation in the United States. We will investigate the social basis of language, and the linguistic basis of social life; what happens when languages come into contact, how dialects form, how and why language changes and how and why different social groups (age, gender, ethnicity, and class) speak differently. Through the use of film, literature, music and poetry, we will examine issues of linguistic identity, language status, and communicative pride and prejudice, and in doing so will develop a multi-cultural, multi-disciplinary perspective on the role of language in daily life.