Whassup: The complex relationship between language and society

Why are there accents and language varieties? Why are there few honorific expressions in English? Why was Taiwanese Mandarin once considered low-class but now a symbol of Taiwanese identity? This course takes students on a path to experience the interactive relationship between language and society in order to enhance their sensitivity to language use in various contexts. After examining how gender, age, class, ethnicity, culture, and other factors affect language use, students collect data from the campus or the society to identify linguistic features in the language used by a specific group of people and understand the potential reasons. Through the process, students develop contextually and socially appropriate communicative competence.