LING 3912 Social Identities and Language

Pre-requisite: Any of the following courses: LING 1005 Introduction to Language, PSYC 1004 Introduction to Social Psychology, SOCI 1006 Introduction to Anthropology or SOCI 1002 Introduction to Sociology 1

This course generally introduces students to the notion of social identity from the vantage point of language. More than a sociolinguistics course, it presents language as a source of data usable within the fields of sociology, anthropology, and social psychology in the interest of systematically identifying and describing dynamics of social identification and intergroup relations.

To that end, it first explores the origin of social identities and the rationale behind maintaining them, such as in particular racial and ethnic identities, and the cultural boundaries that these social identities imply. Second, it presents the complex relations between language and social identities, and the specific linguistic means through which social identities manifest themselves, either unintentionally or intentionally.

Against this backdrop, the course places social identity within the perspective of intergroup communication, presenting the students with analytical tools for linguistically identifying individual strategies of identity negotiation in interactions and describing the intergroup power relations they imply. The teaching methods used rely to a large extent on audiovisual data illustrating a variety of societal settings and of experiments.

The assessment involves a final exam, an oral presentation, as well as an in-course assignment based on fieldwork.        

Method of Instruction: 2 lectures and 1 tutorial per week

Assessment: 50% in-course assessment, 50% final examination