LIN 317 
Language and Culture
Fall 2005
MWF 1-1:50     
J. Rouhier-Willoughby 
Office: POT 1049 
Telephone: 257-1756 
Office Hours: M 2-3; T 11-12, W 11-12 and by appointment 
web page: 


1) increase cross-cultural understanding and awareness of cultural assumptions, especially those related to language

2) understand and perform sociolinguistic and anthropological linguistic analyses of language and culture

3) improve intercultural communication

4) improve analytical skills through analyses of linguistic data

5) explain and apply major 20th century theories of language and culture

6) understand critical issues in the study of language and culture

7) perform ethical and accurate collection of linguistic data

8) recognize their own learning styles and learn to style stretch

9) recognize and respect those of different learning styles to achieve goals

TEXTS:     Language, Culture and Communication: The Meaning of Messages, Nancy Bonvillain
        Language Shock: Understanding the Culture of Conversation, Michael Agar

    Papers= 60%                                            90-100%         A
    Class Participation= 20%                            80-89%        B
    Article Review= 10%                                    70-79%        C
    Weekly Journal=10%                                    60-69%        D
                                                                            59% or below    E

ATTENDANCE/CLASS PARTICIPATION/READINGS: This course will include both class discussion and in-class work. You are responsible for the reading assignments from the texts in the daily syllabus, so that you can participate actively in both the discussion and in-class assignments. You are also responsible for the material covered in class, which may not be in the readings. Thus attendance is important, and more than two unexcused absences will lower your grade by one full grade. For an absence to be excused, you must provide documentation ( Persistant tardiness will adversely affect your CP grade as well.  We will have small group or individual written exercises that you will submit at the end of class. Remember that quality is more important than quantity in participation (do not talk just to hear the sound of your voice; respect others’ opinions and share the floor). Participation will be assessed daily as follows:
5    Student is completely prepared to answer or attempt to answer all questions and participate in the     discussion/assignment actively and thoughtfully (and considerately).
4    Student is partially prepared to do the above.
3    Student is minimally prepared to do the above.
2    Student is completely unprepared to do the above.
0    Student is absent.

JOURNAL: Every two weeks (see dates below) you should submit a journal that includes an analysis of the material we have been discussing, based on EXAMPLES of said material you have found in everyday life; in other words be observant about language; keep a notebook to record interesting material. Consider questions such as: how does this material relate to my everyday life; how does this material support my understanding of language and culture; how does this material change my understanding of language and culture; how does this material relate to my major/profession (future or current). Do not answer these questions in order; they are ideas to get you started thinking. One good way to get data for the journal is to listen to The World on WEKU 88.9 from 6:00-7:00 M-F. There is often something about language and culture on that program (not always, but you will learn a lot anyway). Late work (journals or papers) is not accepted without prior approval or a documented excused absence. All written work must be typed. Your written work should reflect the standards of a university (i.e., accurate spelling, proper grammar, etc. You may work together on the assignments, but once you begin writing the answer, no consultation with others is permitted. By university policy, the minimum penalty for handing in an assignment any part of which is plagiarized or from which another student is allowed to copy is an E for the course. Journals will be assessed as follows:  
5      Student has demonstrated mastery of the concepts/theory under consideration, familiarity the     readings and class discussion. The response is original, well-thought out, written and/or     organized and supported with examples/data.
4      Student has demonstrated reasonable mastery of the concepts/theory under consideration,     some familiarity the readings and class discussion. The response has one or two original     insights, but is less well-thought out, written and organized. It is supported with some     examples/data, but not all points are adequately supported.
3       Student has demonstrated minimal mastery of the concepts/theory under consideration,     minimal familiarity with the readings and/or the class discussion. The response reiterates a     common interpretation, is minimally well-thought out, written and/or organized and is     supported with minimal examples.
2       Student has demonstrated no mastery of the concepts/theory under consideration, no     familiarity the readings, the class discussion and other students' responses. The response is not         original, well-thought out, written and/or organized or contains no support from     examples/data.
0       Student does not submit the assignment.

PAPERS/ARTICLE REVIEW:  You will two paper assignments and an article review this semester, one in each half of the class (see due dates below). You will receive a separate assignment and assessment sheet for each of them. They will involve collection of and analysis of data (English unless you would like to work on another language you know) according to the theories we discuss in class. Your article review is due on 12/14 no later than 1 p.m.

LEARNING STYLES:  One of the fundamental goals of this course is not only to teach you about semantics, but to increase your skills as an analyst. However, not everyone has the same way of learning. You will be given an assessment to determine how you learn best. The results should inform you a great deal about yourself and what you should do to master the material for this class and for other classes. I am a firm believer that the teacher/student relationship is a partnership. I cannot open up your brain and pour information into it. You must be an active participant to succeed. Learning style analysis will give the opportunity to take more control of the learning process.

E-MAIL: I will sometimes contact you or send the class additional information via e-mail, so that each of you should have an e-mail account by the next class. If you already have an account, make sure that it is activated and that you have the correct address. If you need to open an account, go to 110 McVey Hall. You can also get an account on-line at  If you are having trouble with an assignment or with a linguistic concept, please let me know. Note that e-mail is often the easiest way to reach me, but feel free to make an appointment or come see me during office hours to discuss the course.

COURSE EXPECTATIONS: This class requires a great deal of work, including writing, reading and preparation for class participation. I have high standards for my classes and for the students in them. However, I have similar high standards for myself, which include:
    --I will return your papers, graded and with comments, within a week. In order for you to have the weekend to work on the papers, they are generally due on Mondays. As a result, I cannot have them read the same week, since I also need a weekend to grade. I will not read drafts of your papers, but if you want to meet with me to discuss your ideas, please feel free to make an appointment.
    -I will be at my office hours. If I have to cancel office hours, I will e-mail you the changes and will offer alternate times to ensure that I am in my office at least 3 hours a week.
    -I will make appointments with you if you cannot meet with me during office hours.
    -I will always try to answer questions in class and outside of it.
    -I will provide you with as many opportunities to speak as much as possible in class. I will try to ensure that this class is student-centered, not teacher-centered.
    -I will help you if you have particular problem areas through learning styles analysis as well as in one-on-one consultation.
    -I am flexible regarding deadlines (within reason), but a majority of the class must agree for a deadline to be changed. You should expect that once a deadline is set, all work is due by class time.
    -I will try to make this course as relevant to your goals as is possible. However, there are certain academic requirements that need to be fulfilled.

COURSE SCHEDULING:  The following dates are approximate. We may find that we need to postpone or extend our discussion of various topics. If you are having trouble on a particular concept, please let me know, so that we can adjust the schedule accordingly.


 8/24    **Introduction
8/26    **The Linguistic Base
    Read Bonvillain, pp. 1-45

8/29    **The Linguistic Base    
8/31    **Language and Cultural Communication:
    Language Inside or Outside the Circle?
    Read Bonvillain, pp. 46-75; Agar pp. 13-30
9/2    **Language and Cultural Communication: Language Inside or Outside the Circle?
    Read Agar pp. 31-48

9/5    No class-Labor Day
9/7    **Ethnography of Communication: Language Outside the Circle
    Read Bonvillain pp. 76-110; Agar pp. 49-60
9/9    **Ethnography of Communication: Language Outside the Circle
    **Journal #1 due

9/12    **Structure of Communication: Is Your Language a Trap?
    **Read Bonvillain pp. 111-139; Agar pp. 61-72
9/14    **Structure of Communication: Is Your Language a Trap?
9/16    **Structure of Communication: Is Your Language a Trap?

9/19    **Class and Race (and Addicts)
    Read Bonvillain pp. 140-180; Agar pp. 73-88
9/21    **Guest Lecture: Suleiman Darrat
9/23    **Class and Race (and Addicts)
    **Journal #2 due

9/26    **Language and Gender
    Read Bonvillain pp, 181-215
9/28    **Language and Gender
9/30    **Language and Gender
    **Read Bonvillain pp. 216-240

10/3     **Guest Lecture: Marro Inoue
10/5    **Language and Gender
    **Journal #3 due
10/7    **No class—Fall Break

10/10    **Situation and Culture
    Read Agar pp. 89-139
    **Paper #1 due
10/12    **Guest Lecture: Ok Joo Lee
10/14    **Situation and Culture

10/17    **Languages Between Cultures
    Read Bonvillain pp. 298-335; Agar pp. 140-163
10/19    **Guest Lecture: Kwako Addo
    **Journal #4 due
10/21    **No class

10/24    ** Languages Between Cultures
10/26    ** Guest Lecture: Sadia Zoubir-Shaw
10/28    **Languages Between Cultures

10/31    **Languages Within Cultures
    Read Bonvillain pp. 336-369; Agar pp. 164-191
11/2    **Guest Lecture: TBA
    **Journal #5 due
11/4    **No class

11/7    **Languages Within Cultures
11/9    **Guest Lecture: visiting professor from Kirgizhstan
11/11    **Languages Within Cultures

11/14    **Language and Instiutions
Read Bonvillain 370-404; Agar pp. 192-210
11/16    **Language and Institutions
11/18    **Languages and Institutions
    **Journal #6 due

11/21    **Variation and Languaculture
    Read Agar pp. 211-258
11/23    **No class
11/25    **No class

11/28    ** Variation and Languaculture
    **Paper 2 due
11/30    ** Variation and Languaculture
12/2    **Article Discussions (assignment TBA)

12/5    **Article Discussions (assignment TBA)    
    **Journal #7 due (assignment TBA)
12/7    ** Article Discussions (assignment TBA)
12/9    ** Article Discussions/Course Wrap Up

12/14    **Article Review Due