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Course Syllabus

Course: ENGL 2650

Division: Humanities
Department: English & Philosophy
Title: Language in Society

Semester Approved: Fall 2020
Five-Year Review Semester: Summer 2026
End Semester: Spring 2026

Catalog Description: We are all intimately familiar with at least one language: our own. Few native speakers, however, stop to consider what they know about their own language and how their language shapes daily life. This course will provide students with a basic introduction to language and the relationship of language to society. Examples will be taken from a wide variety of languages and cultures. This course is cross-listed with TESL 2650.

General Education Requirements: Humanities (HU)
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring
Credit/Time Requirement: Credit: 3; Lecture: 3; Lab: 0

Prerequisites: ENGL 1010 (C- or better)

Corequisites: N/A


Justification: There is probably no subject which is so crucial to normal human functioning, and about which so little is understood, as language. Building language awareness (of one's own as well as other languages and the cultures in which they operate) is an important priority in today's world. We must communicate with an ever increasing number of people from cultures other than our own. It is necessary to be aware of the relationships between language and culture, and of their interconnected systems which together constitute language. At Snow College this course will fulfill a general education option in the Humanities Division. The course is also a major requirement for students in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL). This course fulfills Humanities credit and is similar to Utah State University ENGL 4230 and Utah Valley State College ENGL 2030. It also fills in Arts and Science Elective credit for Brigham Young University. At Snow College, the Humanities focus on cultural traditions that are expressed largely through text or which have a strong textual component: language, literature, and philosophy. The methods by which the Humanities study culture are at once analytical and interpretive, objective and subjective, historical and aesthetic.

General Education Outcomes:
1: A student who completes the GE curriculum has a fundamental knowledge of human cultures and the natural world. Students will demonstrate they understand that language is not static and that it is continually evolving. They will learn the nature of human language and be able to understand the aspects of language and culture including social and geographical dialects, child language acquisition and language universals.

Through class discussions, observations, group presentation and essay exams students will demonstrate that they have internalized the material presented.

2: A student who completes the GE curriculum can read and research effectively within disciplines. Students will read carefully by analyzing a newspaper article with charged words and change the words to be more neutral and report to the class their discoveries. They will follow up their class report with written interpretive responses citing specific examples of the pragmatic aspects of the language.

Students will work on this through the semester and get feedback from the instructor and classmates in order to write a final analysis.

3: A student who completes the GE curriculum can draw from multiple disciplines to address complex problems. Students will look at different cultures and become familiar with the creative nature of language and how it reflects its culture. This is implicitly interdisciplinary because it involves analysis of social groups, history, geography and other fields.

Students will demonstrate this knowledge in essays, quizzes, assignments, and exams.

4: A student who completes the GE curriculum can reason analytically, critically, and creatively. Students will be guided on analytic thinking by exploring the ethics of field testing in Sociolinguistics and the challenges faced in such studies.

Students will demonstrate the above mentioned items through quizzes, class presentations, and tests.

5: A student who completes the GE curriculum can communicate effectively through writing and speaking. Students will expand their knowledge of spoken communication, specifically tone (sarcasm, sincerity, irony, humor, anger, mocking, etc.).

Students will demonstrate this learning in oral reports to the class.

General Education Knowledge Area Outcomes:
1: Students will be able to explain and understand the impact that language has on society and the impact that society has on language by reading the text and discovering through personal reflection how people use aspects of language (kinesics, proxemics, speech acts, manipulation of rules, etc.) to communicate. Through class discussions, observations, group presentations and essay exams students will demonstrate that they have internalized the material presented. Students will be able to explain and understand the impact that language has on society and the impact that society has on language by reading the text and discovering through personal reflection how people use aspects of language (kinesics, proxemics, speech acts, manipulation of rules, etc.) to communicate. Through class discussions, observations, group presentations and essay exams students will demonstrate that they have internalized the material presented.

2: Understand how knowledge is created through the study of language systems, literature, and/or philosophy. Students will be able to appreciate multiple languages and cultures. They will be able to understand that languages change, develop, evolve and are created through the human experience. Through reading, discussion and self-examination, students will recognize their own cultures' rules of sociolinguistic acts. Through class discussions, observations, group presentations and essay exams, students will be able to articulate the rules of their own language and culture.

3: Understand cultural traditions within an historical context and make connections with the present. Students will be able to understand that language is not static and that it is continually evolving. They will learn the nature of human language and be able to understand aspects of language and culture including social and geographical dialects, child language acquisition and language universals. Through class discussions, observations, group presentations, and essay exams, students will demonstrate that they have internalized the material presented.

4: Critically read and respond to primary texts (original, uninterpreted) from a Humanities’ perspective. Students will read newspapers, news journals and news reports, and will be able to pick up on negatively and positively charged words that writers use to sway readers. They will understand tone (sarcasm, sincerity, irony, humor, anger, mocking, etc.) Through the semester students will report to the class their discoveries.

5: Write effectively within the Humanities discipline to analyze and form critical and aesthetic judgments. Students will pick up on negatively and positively charged words that writers use to sway readers. They will understand tone (sarcasm, sincerity, irony, humor, anger, mocking, etc.) Students will report to the class their discoveries and will follow up their class report with written interpretive responses citing specific examples of the pragmatic aspects of the language. Students will work on this through the semester and get feedback from the instructor and classmates in order to write a final analysis.


Content:
This course will include:
• What is Language?
• Field Methods
• Kinesics: The Silent Language
• Pragmatics
• Orality and Literacy
• Everybody Speaks a Dialect
• Bilingualism: Individual and Social
• Speech Communities
• Gender and Language
These topics will be addressed through the use of textbook materials, journal articles, scholarly writing, films, video clips and works of literature in which different dialects and registers and other elements of sociolinguistics are obvious.

Diverse perspectives drive the curriculum in that each language learner comes with unique challenges and perspective regarding the content.

Key Performance Indicators:
A course grade will be determined using the following:

participation in class and group activities: 20%  15 to 25%

essays and quizzes: 35% 30 to 40%

homework assignments: 20% of final grade 20 to 30%

final exam: 25% of final grade 20 to 30%


Representative Text and/or Supplies:
Elaine Chiaka, Language: The Social Mirror, current edition, Heinle and Heinle.


Pedagogy Statement:
Students will work in groups throughout the semester doing activities, sharing personal experiences, and giving presentations. Students will not work with the same group throughout the semester but will end up working with different people so that the class becomes a “society” of its own promoting inclusivity in the “society” of the course.

Research-based and pedagogically sound teaching methods will be applied to effectively reaching, engaging, and attending to the success of students from a variety of different national, cultural, and learning backgrounds, recognizing their various tendencies, strengths, and challenges in 2nd language acquisition, and developing these through an appropriate balance and variety of class work.

Instructional Mediums:
Lecture

Online

Hybrid

Maximum Class Size: 15
Optimum Class Size: 12