Spring 2019 HC 424H/431H: Development of Language Attitudes: The Origins of Linguistic Discrimination

Spring Term, 2018-2019

Professor: Charlotte Vaughn

4.00 credits

  • CRN 36254: Tuesday & Thursday, 14:00 - 15:20 @ ANS 193

Graduation Requirement: This class will fulfill both of the following requirements: a Social Science Colloquium and an Identity, Pluralism & Tolerance (IP) Multicultural class. If the student has already taken a Social Science Colloquium, this class will fulfill an Elective Colloquium and an IP Multicultural class.

Most adults have beliefs about the languages and accents they think sound smart and sophisticated, and which sound uneducated. But, how did they come to have those beliefs? This course will examine how children come to hold attitudes about languages and dialects, attitudes which can have real consequences for speakers of marginalized and minority language varieties. As a secondary goal, we will ask how language attitudes may change across the lifespan, into older adulthood. The course will engage with an interdisciplinary literature from linguistics, psychology, and sociology to ask fundamental questions about how language attitudes are formed and change across human development. For example, we will examine: How do we study language attitudes? How and when do features of language come to take on social meaning? When in development do language attitudes emerge? How can we explain changes in language attitudes across the lifespan? Students will design original research projects that explore some of these questions, with the goal to inform effective strategies for reducing the entrenchment of linguistic prejudice in real world settings.