LING 1102 - Language and Ethnography of Communication

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2016

The course information on this page is being finalised for 2016. Please check again before classes commence.

This course introduces students to Language and Ethnography of Communication, a field of study which ties language and communication to the context in which the language is being used. The basis of an Ethnography of Communication is that what language is cannot be separated from how and why it is used. Accordingly, the focus is on an investigation of how language varies according to context. A key figure in the field is Dell Hymes, the American linguist who coined the term and who proposed the core elements of the approach in the mid C20th. Language and Ethnography of Communication is located within the broad field of sociolinguistics and related traditions are also introduced. Of particular relevance is functional linguistics which models the relationship between context and language and proposes language variation as linked either to the users of language or to the use of language. At a practical level the course will introduce ethnographic work which has been conducted on specific topics and in particular geographic locations, while at the same time conducting ethnographic observations within a chosen community or site of interaction, for example a coffee shop, a supermarket, a gym or an office. The course is activity based and students are encouraged to engage in collecting and analysing data related to authentic language use in the broad community. The variations of language use that are found in relation to age, gender, ethnicity, geographical location and social structure are some of the areas for investigation in the course.

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