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Last modified: 28 Jun 2018 10:27

Course Overview

This is an introduction to linguistic anthropology, focusing on language in use from an ethnographic point of view and complements rather than duplicates similar offerings in linguistics. Language is taken as a subset of culture. We begin with a core concept, Peirce’s idea of the index and his semiotics more generally, and explore several topics through ethnographic studies using qualitative data. The topics include power, gender & identity, creativity, language & thought, language shift & documentation. The course is useful for anyone interested in understanding aspects of social life that involve communication.

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 3
Session Second Sub Session Credit Points 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)
Campus None. Sustained Study No
  • Dr Alexander King

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Course Description

This course provides an advanced introduction to the critical analysis of discourse from an anthropological perspective. It focuses on cultural and social implications of language use as well as the linguistic factors involved in action and behaviour. Course topics covered include the ethnography of speaking, language change and its social consequences, power and authority in language, gender issues in speech, creativity and performance, psycholinguistics and the linguistic relativity principle, and discourse. The topics will be addressed through case studies drawn from a global perspective on languages and societies.

Further Information & Notes

This course will be available in the second half-session of 2014/15 as AT3524.

Contact Teaching Time

Information on contact teaching time is available from the course guide.

Teaching Breakdown

More Information about Week Numbers

In light of Covid-19 and the move to blended learning delivery the assessment information advertised for courses may be subject to change. All updates for first-half session courses will be actioned no later than 1700 (GMT) on 18 September 2020. All updates for second half-session courses will be actioned in advance of second half-session teaching starting. Please check back regularly for updates.

Summative Assessments

1st Attempt: 1 three-hour written examination (50%); continuous assessment - 2,500 word essay (50%).

Resit: 1 three-hour examination (100%).

Formative Assessment

Introductory quiz designed to identify students' assumptions about language and language use feedback on tutorial presentations.


Feedback on summative assessment will be given through extensive marginal notes on the essay and the standard Social Science school feedback form formative assessment feedback will be oral and written comments on tutorial presentations & performance.

Course Learning Outcomes


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