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Course Details

Fall 2018-2019
* LIN 235 (EC)   No Audit

Mythbusting Language

Byron T. Ahn

As educated users of language, many of us have strong feelings about it, such as how we should use it ("That isn't what 'literally' means!") and why. Which of these feelings are valid and which are closer to folklore? In this class, we investigate many preconceptions about language, objectively explore their validity as myth or fact, and make conclusions about how human languages can(not) be described. Topics may include whether: women talk more than men, children learn languages better than adults, legalese is more precise, dolphins use language, all languages/dialects are equally sophisticated, and bilingualism makes you smarter.

Sample reading list:
Pinker, Steven, The Language Instinct
Bauer, Laurie and Trudgill, Peter, Language Myths
Deustcher, Guy, Through the Language Glass: Why the World Looks Different
McWhorter, John, The Language Hoax: Why the World Looks the Same
Kaplan, Abby, Women Talk More than Men: And Other Myths about Language

Reading/Writing assignments:
25-50 pages of reading per week. Final research project.

Requirements/Grading:
Paper in lieu of Final - 30%
Oral Presentation(s) - 10%
Class/Precept Participation - 30%
Problem set(s) - 30%

Other Requirements:
Multimedia Student Project Required

Other information:
Problem Sets are short answer written assignments.

Schedule/Classroom assignment:

Class numberSectionTimeDaysRoomEnrollmentStatus
23419 C01 01:30:00 pm - 02:50:00 pm M W   Robertson Hall   002   Enrolled:28 Limit:35