Language is a stunningly dynamic system. Different groups of people speak differently, individuals alter the way they speak in different situations, and our bodies even communicate without us realizing it. Linguistics is a field of social inquiry that helps explore the cultural and psychological underpinnings of various forms of language and expression. In this course, students will learn about the latest research in linguistics and will learn how to collect and analyze linguistic data for their own original research. Students will become more attuned to the way language operates in their daily lives, and will gain the skills to analyze and describe a variety of common linguistic behavior.
Session One will examine the social aspects of language variation and language change over time, following one fundamental overarching question: How do we use language to express and construct our identities? Session Two will examine gestures as a form of expression, and students will learn about language and cognition by investigating this integral aspect of our communicative and cognitive selves.
There are no specific prerequisites or requirements; prior experience with psychology or linguistics is helpful but not necessary. The ideal student is interested in some aspect of language and/or cognition, or is simply interested in learning more about how we communicate.