ENGL779A - Seminar in Language Study: Language and Text: Interpretation and Identity

This course explores how contemporary approaches to the study of language can illuminate critical issues at the heart of literary, rhetorical and cultural studies. Students of text and culture, though deeply concerned with matters of linguistic interpretation, often lack a technical vocabulary with which to discuss matters of linguistic form and their broader psychological and cultural significance. This course introduces theoretical insights and analytic techniques from linguistics and the cognitive sciences relevant to understanding how meanings are constructed in texts and how cultural values and social identities are negotiated in and through the use of language.

Major topics include the nature of linguistic creativity; metaphor and analogical thought; speech act theory and performativity; objectivity and subjectivity in language; dialect, register, code-switching and stylistic variation; and the linguistic expression of social and personal identity in general.

Course work will consist in a program of directed readings, four short reaction papers, and a term paper in which students can apply what they have learned about linguistic analysis to a topic of their choosing in literary, rhetorical or cultural studies.


Permission of department.