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1 Proposal: number 25

25. LCD 144: Language and Social Diversity

This is a new course

Contact:Robert Vago
Authors:Robert Vago
Michael Newman
Abstract:This is a research-based course involving sociolinguistics with an
international focus, designed for undergraduates with no background in the
field. Students explore sociolinguistic research through reading representative
but accessible studies and through their own carefully structured research
projects. Typical questions addressed in the studies involve the association of
different languages, dialects, and speech styles with ways social structures
and norms including:
• how specific languages or dialects are used preferentially by
individuals belonging to different social categories such as genders, social
classes, ethnic or racial groups.
• how these different groups preferentially observe different norms
oral and written language behaviors.
• why certain languages or varieties of languages become dominant or
their privileged position and why they can even disappear.
• why and how languages or dialects evolve.
• issues specific to multilingual societies
Reading materials include textbook chapters and original research articles.
Students see how knowledge presented in textbooks originates in research.
Students gain knowledge about how research works by written analyses of the
The writing involves original research on a sociolinguistic phenomenon.
Students will either formulate research questions (RQs) individually, in
groups, or as a class or will be assigned a project by the professor. They will
learn how to collect appropriate data to meet standards of validity and
reliability, and perform a basic analysis of that data. They will end by
reporting their findings and conclusions to the class. A classic type of
sociolinguistic project that can be used in the course involves correlating the
use of linguistic (dependent) variable(s) involving pronunciation, morphology,
syntax, or vocabulary with social (independent) variables. Students formulate
research questions by deciding on which social variables (i.e., race, age,
gender, class, geographic roots, and national identity) they wish to explore.
They then investigate their questions, by collecting, analyzing and
interpreting data as they relate to their RQ(s), and write up their results.
Students are carefully guided through each step of this process until their
project’s completion.

Submissions and Approvals

Course Date Requirement Action By Whom Notes
LCD 144 2008-04-20 SS Submitted Dept
LCD 144 2008-04-20 WC Submitted Dept
LCD 144 2008-10-14 SS Approved GEAC
LCD 144 2008-10-14 WC Approved GEAC
LCD 144 2008-11-13 SS Approved UCC
LCD 144 2008-11-13 WC Approved UCC
LCD 144 2009-04-02 SS Approved Senate
LCD 144 2009-04-02 WC Approved Senate