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Cindi SturtzSreetharan, Ph.D.

Department of Anthropology | SSIS | csus home









ANTH 160 :: syllabus:: Fall 2005

Objectives :: Assignments :: Grading :: Technology :: Text and Materials

Course Objectives

This course is designed to introduce you to some of the fundamental concepts of linguistic anthropology.  A crucial aspect of linguistic anthropology is the ability to analyze language as both an abstract system of symbols as well as one which is grounded (embedded, submerged, inextricably entwined, stuck-in, mired-in, [you get the idea]) in culture, cultural norms, social norms, power, ideology, and any number of varying contexts.  That is, this course aims to give you the tools to analyze language as both a somewhat “fixed or static system” (the abstract part) and as an always “moving or dynamic system” (the context/culture part). 

During the first part of the semester, after gaining a sense of how linguistic anthropology came to exist and how it differs from cultural anthropology, we will focus on the structural aspects of natural languages (i.e. any language that isn't "artificial").  You will learn the basics of phonological, morphological, syntactic, and pragmatic analysis.  You will be doing homework on a weekly basis which requires you to apply your brand-new skills to real life language situations and contexts.  The skillset or toolbox you learn in these first few weeks are fundamental to the rest of the course.  Without understanding how language works – formally (i.e. grammatically) – it is really difficult to understand the ways in which language serves to limit or create meaning in our everyday lives.  As such, it is critical that you either come to class with an understanding of the "parts of speech" or you brush up on them in the first week of classI expect students to know and be able to recognize nouns, verbs, adjectives, subjects, direct objects, and pronouns; moreover, I expect students to have some idea of what I mean by "subjective or objective case," "first person versus second person pronoun," and so on.  If you are not comfortable with these terms, please let me know as there are various texts which I can recommend to you.

The remaining weeks of class will be focused on examining how cultures, speakers, and contexts interact with these formal structures of language to create new meanings, new identities, and “extra” information that may not be directly encoded in the formal structures of languages.  We will investigate different languages and cultures in an endeavor to understand both the wide variation and the universal properties across languages.  Toward the latter part of the course, we will be reading specifically about English and the ways in which language is used to create and reproduce social and cultural stereotypes, (subordinate) statuses, and value.

 Cell Phone Policy:

Please be sure to turn off all cell phones when you arrive in class.  When cell phones ring in class, it is disturbing to me which ultimately makes it disturbing for the entire class since I often lose my train of thought, etc.  Furthermore, for some reason unbeknownst to me (I can also sense earthquakes seconds before they hit), I can actually hear the phone even on "vibrator" mode; so, please, just turn it all the way off.  Thanks.

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Materials, Assignment/Evaluation, and Course Schedule

Textbooks for course:            These textbooks can be purchased in the Hornet Bookstore.

1.  Western Apache Language and Culture, University of Arizona Press, Keith BASSO (KB)

2.  Language Files.  Ohio State University Press.  (LF).

3.  Out of the Mouths of Slaves:  African American Language and Educational Malpractice, John BAUGH.  (JB)

There are also several readings which are on reserve at the library.  The readings are listed below with full bibliographic citation; in the syllabus they are listed as "RR#X."  Please note when these readings are due and be sure to acquire them well in advance.

RR#1:  DURANTI, Alessandro.  1997.  The Scope of Linguistic Anthropology out of Linguistic Anthropology, Cambridge University Press:  1 – 22.

RR#2:  BOAS, Franz.  1974 (n.d.)  Introduction to the Handbook of American Indian Language from Language, Culture, and Society:  A Book of Readings (Blount ed.).  Waveland Press:  9 -28.

RR#3:  SAPIR, Edward.  1974 (1933).  Language from Language, Culture, and Society:  A Book of Readings (Blount ed.).  Waveland Press:  43 – 63.

RR#4:  DURANTI, Alessandro.  1997.  Ethnographic Methods out of Linguistic Anthropology, Cambridge University Press:  84 – 121.

RR#5: LIPPI-GREEN, Rosina.  1997.  The Myth of Non-Accent out of English with an Accent:  Language, Ideology and Discrimination in the United States.  Routledge Press:  41-52.

RR#6:  LIPPI-GREEN, Rosina.  1997.  The Linguistic Facts of Life from English with an Accent:  7 -29.

RR#7:  BRENNEIS, Donald & Ronald MACAULAY (eds).  1998.  Part One Learning Language, Learning Culture out of The Matrix of Language:  Contemporary Linguistic Anthropology.  Westview Press:  7 – 11.

RR#8:  HEATH, Shirley Brice.  1998.  What no Bedtime Story Means:  Narrative Skills at Home and School from The Matrix of Language:  12 – 38.

RR#9:  OCHS, Elinor, SMITH, Ruth, & TAYLOR, Carolyn.  1998.  Detective Stories at Dinnertime:  Problem-Solving Through Co-Narration from The Matrix of Language:  39 – 55.

RR#10:  FELD, Steven & SCHIEFFLEN, Bambi.  1998.  Hard Words:  A Functional Basis for Kaluli Discourse from The Matrix of Language:  56 – 74.

RR#11:  IRVINE, Judith.  1998.  When Talk Isn't Cheap:  Language and Political Economy from The Matrix of Language:  258 – 283.

RR#12:  SILVERSTEIN, Michael.  1998.  Monoglot "Standard" in America:  Standardization and Metaphors of Linguistic Hegemony from The Matrix of Language:  284 – 306.

RR#13:  LIPPI-GREEN, Rosina.  1997.  The Standard Language Myth from English with an Accent:  53 – 73. 

RR#14:  LIPPI-GREEN, Rosina.  1997.  The Educational System:  Fixing the message in stone from English with an Accent:  104 – 122.

RR#15:  LIPPI-GREEN, Rosina.  1997.  The real trouble with Black English from English with an Accent:  176 – 201.


Breakdown of Course:

Homework assignments:                      25%  (5 assignments, 5% each)

Essay                                                   15% (instructions to be handed out in lecture)

Exam I                                                 25%

Final Exam                                          35%

TOTAL                                                100%


Doing the reading in this course is essential to understanding the course.  Please come to class having completed the reading listed for the particular day.  If it seems that people are not coming prepared having read the assigned reading(s), then I reserve the right to implement pop quizzes.

Assignments (25%):

There will be five (5) homework assignments; most of these will occur in the first 6 weeks of the course; the assignments will be handed out and collected in class.  They may not be turned in late without official documentation of an illness or emergency.

Essay (15%): 

Instructions will be handed out in class on October 19; it will be due November 14 in class.  Late essays will receive a reduction in 5 percentage points per day it is late including weekends.  You may email me your essay as long as it arrives in my inbox by the beginning of class time (e.g. 3:00 pm) on Nov. 14, 2005.  You may not turn your essay into the main Anthropology office but you may put it into the dropbox located outside of the Anthropology's office door.  If you do the dropbox option, please keep in mind that the box is only checked once or twice a day, so it may arrive LATE to my campus mail which is not to your advantage (see late paper policy above).  Thus, you can see that it is in your best interest to bring the essay to class on Nov. 14 (or before).

Exam I (25%):

Exam I will be on Wednesday, October 5.  This quiz will cover everything that we have done up until the day of the Exam; however, the main emphasis will be on formal linguistic analysis and your knowledge of how language works as a formal system and on the history of linguistic anthropology.

Exam (Final = 35%):

The exams will not be cumulative; however, at all times we will be building on skills and knowledge that we are developing from day one.  Thus, while you will not be tested on specific formal linguistic analyses on the Final, you will undoubtedly use this knowledge to help you answer questions on the exam.   Any exam can not be made up without officially documented illness or other traditionally recognized emergency.  Make-up exams will only be given via the testing center in Lassen Hall (after 5:00 PM only); please keep this in mind.  Exams will cover readings, lectures, discussions, and videos; most typically the exams will be a combination of short answer, fill-in-the-blank, multiple choice, and essay questions.

Schedule of Topics and Readings:





Reading Assignments




Course Introduction

Overview of Linguistic Anthropology







Roots of Linguistic Anthropology






Roots of Ling. Anthropology Cont.

Tool Kit






Articulatory Processes


LF:  Ch. 3

LF:  Ch. 4; RR#5






LF:  pages 410 – 421

LF:  Ch. 5; pages 426 - 431








LF:  Ch. 6 (thru pp. 196)

LF:  pages 432 – 435










Recommended:  LF:  Ch. 8

KB:  Intro

KB:  Ch. 1

Recommended:  LF:  Ch. 7




Semantics and (new) cultural artifacts


KB:  Ch. 2

KB:  Ch. 4, 5




Language, land, & Culture


KB:  Ch. 6, 7




Learning Language, Learning Culture


RR#7, RR#8

RR#9, RR#10




Political Economy of Language


RR#11, RR#12





Standard Ideology

Variable Economies


JB:  Foreword, Ch. 1, 2




Language, Education, & AAVE


JB:  Ch. 3, RR#14




AAVE & Education

Some AAVE Specifics

JB:  Ch. 5, 6

JB:  Ch. 9, 12




The REAL trouble

Last Day Discussion, etc.

JB:  Ch. 13; RR#15



Final Exam:  Dec. 14 3 pm - 5 pm




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 Some Noteworthy Notes and FYIs:

Nothing of note at this point . . .

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Technology Requirements

Students will need an electronic mail account and computer access to the Web. All CSUS students enrolled in one or more units can create a SacLink account for electronic mail and Internet services. Although a home computer with a high speed modem running Netscape or Internet Explorer would be beneficial, students can use the Web from one of the campus student labs.

Computing Recommendations

You should be comfortable using a computer and willing to browse the Web. This class requires online class participation on the Web assignments and electronic discussions.

You need:

  • Macintosh compatible with System 10 (OS X) or higher or Windows compatible Pentium running Windows 98 or XP.
  • 128 MB of RAM
  • 56K modem or faster connection
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 5 or Netscape 6 (or higher)
  • SacLink or other Internet Account
  • Word processing skills

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Text and Materials

 See Above


last updated: 08/24/2005
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