Linguistic Diversity and Cultural Diversity

Language, Literature & Performing Arts
Modern Languages
Course Code
LING 1102
Semester Length
15 weeks
Max Class Size
Method(s) Of Instruction
Course Designation
Certificate in Global Competency
Industry Designation
Typically Offered
To be determined


Course Description
This course is an introduction to the non-structural aspects of language with an emphasis on cultural diversity. Students will develop an appreciation of cultural diversity by studying similarities and differences among languages of the world, 3 from the Indo-European and 3 from the non-Indo-European language families. Topics covered may include, but are not restricted to, language development and language attrition/language death, language classification, typology and universals, language change, meaning in language, writing, the modern world and communication.
Course Content

Part I: Language

1. What is Language?

Defining language; language and speech; language and society; language and culture

2. Studying Language

The scientific approach to language; anthropological linguistics; linguistic analysis; language, mind and culture; language, discourse and variation

3. The Origin and Evolution of Language

Theories; reconstruction; core vocabularies; language change; primate language experiments

4. Language Levels

Describing language; the phonological level; the morphological level; the syntactic level; the semantic level


Part II: Language and Society

1. Language and Social Phenomena

Language and gender; markedness theory; language and style; naming people; artificial languages

2. Using Language

Conversational devices; speech acts; situational focussing; language functions; language and myth

3. Writing

Writing systems; literacy; abbreviated writing; online communication

4. Variations

Variant types; slang; jargon; borrowing


Part III: Language, Mind and Culture

1. Language and Classification

The Whorfian Hypothesis; specialized vocabularies; made-up languages

2. Language and Concepts

Sound symbolism; words and concepts; anthropomorphism; grammar and thought

3. Metaphor

What is a metaphor?; conceptual metaphors; metonymy and irony; metaphor and gesture; cultural reification

4. Pop Language

What is pop language?; hip talk; hip talk and gender



Learning Activities

Lectures, in-class tutorials, group work, group discussion, problem solving, data analysis, short reports by students


Means of Assessment

A typical assessment would include the following elements:

  • Attendance/participation/preparation 15%
  • Short oral reports as part of in class discussions 25%
  • 4 Assignments at 5% each (data analysis) 20%
  • 4 exams to a total of 20%
  • Portfolio 5% (to accompany the poster, as a way of keeping track of the progress)
  • Poster presentation 15% (final work)

(Note: no assignment will be more than 20%)

Learning Outcomes

Students will develop an appreciation of cultural diversity by analyzing a variety of language samples drawn among different languages, Indo-European and non-Indo-European.

By the end of term, the successful student will:

  • better understand the role the non-structural parts play in language
  • acquire some strategies to analyse and compare language samples
  • appreciate cultural diversity and be aware that different cultures may have different linguistic strategies to encode concepts



Textbook Materials

A current edition of a textbook such as the following:

Danesi, Marcel. Language, society and culture: Introducing Anthropological Linguistics. Toronto: Canadian Scholars, Inc.









Course Guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester / year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

Course Transfers

These are for current course guidelines only. For a full list of archived courses please see

Institution Transfer Details for LING 1102
Alexander College (ALEX) ALEX SOSC 1XX (3)
Athabasca University (AU) AU ANTH 2XX (3)
College of the Rockies (COTR) COTR LING 1XX (3)
Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) KPU LING 1300 (3)
Northern Lights College (NLC) No credit
Simon Fraser University (SFU) SFU LING 1XX (3)
Thompson Rivers University (TRU) DOUG LING 1101 (3) & DOUG LING 1102 (3) = TRU LING 2010 (3) & TRU LING 2020 (3)
Thompson Rivers University (TRU) TRU LING 2XXX (3)
Trinity Western University (TWU) TWU LING 1XX (3)
University Canada West (UCW) No credit
University of British Columbia - Okanagan (UBCO) UBCO ANTH 170 (3)
University of British Columbia - Vancouver (UBCV) UBCV LING 1st (3)
University of Northern BC (UNBC) UNBC ANTH 217 (3)
University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) UFV LING 1XX (3)
University of Victoria (UVIC) UVIC LING 1XX (1.5)
Vancouver Island University (VIU) VIU LING 112 (3)

Course Offerings

Summer 2023