Curriculum Guideline

Linguistic Diversity and Cultural Diversity

Effective Date:
Course Code
LING 1102
Linguistic Diversity and Cultural Diversity
Modern Languages
Language, Literature & Performing Arts
Start Date
End Term
Not Specified
Semester Length
15 weeks
Max Class Size
Contact Hours
4 contact hours per week
Method Of Instruction
Methods Of Instruction

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


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 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



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%)

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.








Which Prerequisite