ANTHRCUL 576 - Introduction to Linguistic Anthropology
Section: 001
Term: FA 2018
Subject: Anthropology, Cultural (ANTHRCUL)
Department: LSA Anthropology
Waitlist Capacity:
Advisory Prerequisites:
Two courses in ANTHRCUL or LING.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

This course is an intensive introduction to theoretical issues in linguistics of special relevance to anthropologists, most of whose primary interests are outside of language. Think of language as a special kind of semiotic or cultural system. Our subject matter, then, consists of ways of approaching its formal description and the general issues (for the most part, about the nature of culture) that are raised by those approaches. Several such issues will continually crop up:

  1. The nature of cultural patterning, its representation, and the means we use to describe it;
  2. The possibility of cross-cultural comparison and typology using culturally-meaningful (or "emic") patterns as a basis; can general "laws of structure" of cultural form be constructed from descriptions of particular cultural systems?
  3. Are there true universals of culture? Are they biologically determined, determined by the nature of the cultural code, or some combination of the two? What evidence is required to make sense of the question?
  4. What does it mean for individuals to share a culture? Does "sharing a culture" require collective representations? Are there any?
  5. How do languages, and other aspects of cultural patterning, map onto populations of speakers? Is language best viewed as an especially complex cognitive system, or as socially-situated practices? Are these views mutually exclusive?

No background whatever in linguistics or linguistic anthropology is assumed, although familiarity with one of the other fields of anthropology is expected. The course is designed for graduate students.

ANTHRCUL 576 - Introduction to Linguistic Anthropology
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
TuTh 1:00PM - 2:30PM
NOTE: Data maintained by department in Wolverine Access. If no textbooks are listed below, check with the department.

We will also read Saussure, Course in General Linguistics, translated by Wade Baskin -- available in inexpensive Kindle edition on Amazon. Make sure it's the Baskin translation.
ISBN: 9780262031332
Language and problems of knowledge : the Managua lectures, Author: Chomsky, Noam, Publisher: MIT Press 2001
Other Textbook Editions OK.
ISBN: 0262305844
Language, thought, and reality selected writings of Benjamin Lee Whorf, Author: Whorf, Benjamin Lee, 1897-1941., Publisher: The MIT Press 2012
Other Textbook Editions OK.
ISBN: 0520055942
Selected writings of Edward Sapir in language, culture and personality, Author: edited by David G. Mandelbaum ; new forword by David G. Mandelbaum ; epilogue by Dell H. Hymes., Publisher: University of California Press 1st pbk. e 1985
ISBN: 9780585196503
Theory of language, Author: Weisler, Steven., Publisher: MIT Press 2000
ISBN: 9783110172836
Fundamentals of language, Author: Jakobson, Roman, 1896-1982., Publisher: Mouton de Gruyter 2002
ISBN: 9780674635357
On language, Author: Jakobson, Roman, 1896-1982., Publisher: Harvard Univ. Press 1998
ISBN: 3110172828
The psychology of culture : a course of lectures, Author: Edward Sapir. Reconstructed and ed. by Judith T. Irvine., Publisher: Mouton de Gruyter 2. ed., wi 2002
Syllabi are available to current LSA students. IMPORTANT: These syllabi are provided to give students a general idea about the courses, as offered by LSA departments and programs in prior academic terms. The syllabi do not necessarily reflect the assignments, sequence of course materials, and/or course expectations that the faculty and departments/programs have for these same courses in the current and/or future terms.

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