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  • Archival Resources and How to Prepare Your Data for Preservation and Sharing

    Malcah Yaeger-Dror, Christopher Cieri

    This course introduces concepts in corpus development that help the data to be reused by the creator or by others and to be archived and adapted for larger, comparative studies which may range over geographical space or time to permit the analysis of linguistic change in real time. The course will address the importance of robust collection, the coding and storage of specific demographic, situational and attitudinal metadata and reusable annotation as well as practical issues such as preparing for Institutional Review Board oversight to permit data sharing among linguists.

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  • Influence of the Media on Speech

    Jane Stuart-Smith

    The extent to which the spoken media (e.g. films and television) might have an impact on language variation and change in the community has been considered for some time within different areas of sociolinguistics. In this course we will consider the following:
    - previous research on the influence of the media on spoken language
    - methods and models of media influence within mass communications research
    - the findings of a recent variationist study on the impact of engaging with TV soap dramas on phonological variation and change

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  • Introduction to Discourse Analysis

    Barbara Johnstone

    Discourse is a focus of study in most of the humanities and social sciences, and discourse analysis is practiced in one way or another by anthropologists, communications scholars, linguists, literary critics, and sociologists, as well as rhetoricians.  Discourse analysts set out to answer a variety of questions about language, about writers and speakers, and about sociocultural processes that surround and give rise to discourse, but all approach their tasks by paying close and systematic attention to particular texts and their contexts.  We are all familiar with the informal discourse analy

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  • Introduction to Sociolinguistics

    Penelope Eckert

    This course will introduce students to socially patterned variation in language, bringing together the insights of sociology and linguistic anthropology with quantitative linguistic data. With the goal of understanding the nature of meaningful variability in social practice, we will examine variability at all levels – from the macro-sociological to the micro-interactional, and from language choice to subtle phonetic variation. The focus will be on the construction of meaning through variability, with an emphasis on phonological variation. 

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  • Language Contact

    Pattie Epps

    This course considers the phenomenon of language contact from both structural and sociocultural angles. We will investigate the processes and patterns involved in lexical and structural borrowing, the formation of new contact varieties such as creoles and mixed languages, and the role of contact in driving and shaping language change. We will take a close look at the dynamics of specific contact zones, most notably the Vaupés region of the northwest Amazon.

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  • Language in Social and Cultural Context

    Michael Silverstein

    Language contextualized as social action and as a medium of cultural knowledge and value.  The semiotics of 'interaction ritual' (Goffman): How "what one says" projects as "what one comes to have done" in discursive interaction.  Denotation and the pragmatics of language: indexicality in the entextualization/contextualization process.  The specifically socio-cultural component of "knowledge of language" and the sociolinguistic division of denotational labor.  Heteroglossia (Bakhtin) and language variation: semiotic processes of enregisterment in relation to sociolinguistic variation.  Cultu

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  • Language Variation through the Lens of Web Data

    Sravana Reddy

    The rise of social media has resulted in an unprecedented quantity of user-generated data such as text on Twitter or speech and video on YouTube. This content is often associated with demographic information – the gender, geographic location, ethnicity, and social network connections of the author – which opens up the opportunity to study language variation from a corpus-based "big data" point of view.

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  • Language, Gender and Sexuality

    Rusty Barrett

    This course presents an overview of current research on language, gender and sexuality, emphasizing work across a wide range of linguistic and cultural contexts. We will first examine cross-linguistic variation in categories related to gender and sexuality and linguistic variation in representations of gender and sexual differences. We will then examine gendered variation within specific languages and gendered patterns of conversational interaction. The course will then turn to the role of language in regulating sexual markets and understandings of the body.

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  • Perceptual Dialectology: What have we learned? What’s to be done?

    Dennis Preston

    In this course the goals, methods, and findings of perceptual dialectology are summarized and evaluated, with special regard to the following:
    1) Where do people believe speech differs?
    2) How do folk boundaries differ from professional ones?
    3) How do people believe speech differs? 
    4) Which signals do people use to identify varieties?
    5) Which variant facts influence comprehension?
    6) What social factors accompany/influence any of this?

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  • Sociophonetics

    Lauren Hall-Lew, Jennifer Nycz

    This course will examine the social aspects of phonetic variation, paying particular attention to the relationship between method and theory. The course will introduce students to the field through a survey of contemporary research, drawing on studies from variationist sociolinguistics, linguistic anthropology, and laboratory phonology. Basic methods for studying the production of different types of phonetic variables (vowels, consonants, voice quality, and prosody) will be introduced to give students the foundational tools for conducting sociophonetic work.

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  • The Relationship between Social Meaning and Formal Semantics/Pragmatics

    E. Allyn Smith

    This course takes a holistic perspective on what constitutes meaning in natural language, looking at semantic, pragmatic and social factors. We examine various empirical phenomena that have been studied through different lenses across subfields, such as honorifics, deictics, and sentence-final rising intonation in an attempt to see whether existing research from one perspective may advance theories in another.

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  • Variationist Sociolinguistics

    Sali A. Tagliamonte

    This course will survey the most influential research in Variationist Sociolinguistics focusing on theory, analysis and interpretation. Several case studies from different levels of grammar will be used to demonstrate how language change can be usefully studied in time, space and social context. We will also consider methodological and statistical modeling techniques used to analyze linguistic change, including the comparative sociolinguistic approach. What questions arise? Where can current research be pushed forward and how?

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