Sociolinguistics: Language Variation, Culture and Society

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HUL 234, HUL242 and HUL 350 for UG or Prior Permission of Coordinator.

Course Objective

This course examines linguistic variation from a sociolinguistic perspective. Students will examine case studies on typological and dialectal variation that show how languages naturally tend towards variation, owing to both internal (UG-level) and external factors. They will also learn how variation is often curbed by socio-political and cultural factors, giving rise to homogenizing language and education policies and consequent linguistic identity struggles.

Course Content

This course aims at understanding variation mainly from a sociolinguistics perspective, but while also considering some relevant cues from generative views of the phenomenon. It will cover aspects of language change (bilingualism, multilingualism, language deaths, pidgin and creole formation etc.) as explained by feature-based and parameter-based grammars, as well by socio-cultural-political factors. The focus will then shift towards how homogenization of language also happens - combating the natural tendency towards variation - triggered by external factors. Concepts of race, gender, nation and identity will also be brought up to show the pervasive role of language in varied aspects of our socio-cultural-political lives.
The information provided here may not be updated. Please check UG/PG section for updated course offering data.