SOAN 305

Heritage Languages and Language Policies

Using the perspectives of linguistic anthropology and sociolinguistics, this course investigates not only languages and the people who speak them, but also some of the ideologies and policies (in schools, government, and work) that impinge on issues of language rights and practice. Beginning with a comparative consideration of the semantic 'load' carried by several specific key words in different languages/cultures, the course proceeds to examine the larger theme of language loss, looking in particular at endangered indigenous languages. Complementing this focus on the threat faces by 'small' languages around the world, the course also considers examples of systematic efforts, on the part of native speakers and policy makers, to affirm linguistic diversity in multicultural societies, exploring in this connection such topics as bilingualism and diglossia (including Ebonics and Creoles). The course ends with a critical look at some of the rhetoric, ideologies, and policies geared to promote or challenge monolingualism in the U.S.