This course offers a wide-ranging introduction to, and analysis of, varieties of spoken and written language. From political oratory to examination answer scripts to computer codes, not to mention jokes, riddles and poetry, human language offers an amazingly rich set of structures for expressing and conveying our thoughts, intentions and desires. The course will consider some of these linguistic structures and communicative strategies in detail, beginning with early childhood development. How is it that children in every culture learn language so effortlessly despite its great complexity? The course aims to introduce students to a set of theories that address this and other puzzles and mysteries in the arena of language studies. Finally, since a central focus of the course is communication, it will strive to be as interactive as possible, with lots of scope for the discussion and working out of actual 'problems' in language use.