This course will present a global approach to the linguistic phenomenon of pronouns. Use of pronouns is widely considered to represent a universal feature of human language, yet they have at the same time been shown to vary dramatically in their employment and structure even within a single linguistic community. This seeming contradiction will serve as our locus of exploration as we follow threads of linguistic meaning and social function to better understand the myriad incarnations of pronouns across languages of the world, as well as their essential unity as a class. We will examine the multiple and complex structural roles pronouns play in the operation of diverse linguistic systems, and investigate how their core functions are accomplished from the perspectives of both speakers and listeners, intersecting with conceptualizations of agency, animacy, gender and attention to construct meaning and discourse. We will also examine how pronouns evolve over time as products of both social and systemic change, and how a length and breadth of view within and across languages can inform understanding and action regarding vital questions of pronoun use as part of the linguistic here and now.
1) Comprehend the functions and characteristics of pronouns as a meaningful linguistic class, instantiated across multiple, diverse languages and speech communities.
2) Synthesize concepts across language-systemic, cognitive linguistic, and sociolinguistic dimensions to describe the operation and evolution of individual pronouns as situated in context.
3) Approach pronoun use in your own linguistic communities in a manner informed by both global and personal perspectives.
Delivery Method: Fully in-person
Course Level: 2000-level
T/F 10:30AM - 12:20PM (Full-term)
Maximum Enrollment: 20
Course Frequency: One time only
Categories: All courses , Cultural Studies and Languages , Sociolinguistics , Fully In-Person
Tags: linguistics , sociolinguistics , language , Identity