LING 394 - Topics in Linguistics
Section: 001 Language and Religion
Term: WN 2008
Subject: Linguistics (LING)
Department: LSA Linguistics
Advisory Prerequisites:
LING 210 or 211.
May be elected twice for credit. May be elected more than once in the same term.
Primary Instructor:

If we define religion as a system of belief in and worship of some force or power higher than humankind, whether it be the one God of the Judeo-Christian and Moslem traditions, or the multiple deities of many ancient (and some contemporary) belief systems it seems safe to say that all cultures and societies practice some form of religion. Religious practices involve some form of oral communication with the superior power(s), which requires the use of language, the only tool available to humans to communicate (directly or indirectly) with the divine and to share the chosen beliefs with others. This course will examine how religions make use of language to meet their spiritual and non-spiritual goals, and how various facets of language are influenced by their use as the linguistic medium of religion. Topics to be examined and discussed include legends on the divine origin of human languages (and writing systems), references to language and speech acts in sacred texts, the nature and use of sacred and liturgical languages, the development of the religious vocabulary of a language, the problems involved in the translation and transmission of sacred texts, and the linguistic nature of prayer. Although this course will seek to examine these issues with reference to a large number of religions, emphasis will be placed on the Judeo-Christian and Islamic traditions.

Students will write two exams and a research paper on a topic (chosen in consultation with the instructor) relevant to the course topic. In addition, each student will make a brief oral presentation based on his/her paper topic. Readings will be provided in a coursepack.

LING 394 - Topics in Linguistics
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
MW 2:30PM - 4:00PM
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