Language, Culture and Society

Griffith University

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Language, Culture and Society

  • Host University

    Griffith University

  • Location

    Gold Coast, Australia

  • Area of Study

    British Studies, Sociology

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • Credit Points

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
    3 - 4
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
    4 - 6
  • Overview

    Course Description
    Language, Culture and Society provides an introductory overview of the sociolinguistics of English-speaking societies, with a particular focus on understanding how language is enacted in social contexts and how social life is performed through language. The course begins by considering how language reflects social variables such as gender, social class and ethnicity. It then focuses on the use of English across social groups, including the analysis of register, speech functions, politeness, power and solidarity in interaction. Finally, it considers the place of bilingualism and multilingualism in English-speaking societies, and the reasons why some people 'code-switch' between languages when they interact.

    Course Introduction
    This course introduces some core topics in sociolinguistics, examining how people use language in their everyday lives across a variety of life events and language experiences. It explores both macro-sociolinguistics (i.e. language variation and change at the societal level) and micro-sociolinguistics (i.e. individual and group language variation), as well as examining the relationship between language (particularly semantics) and culture. Specifically, the course examines how language changes over time, and highlights the phenomena that drive this change. It also explores how languages can be planned, and how some languages or varieties of a language are endowed with prestige and others are not. It illuminates social factors such as class, age and gender which inform this discrepancy. Additionally, the course considers the role of politeness in maintaining solidarity between speakers.

    Course Aims
    This course has four main aims:
    1) To introduce you to the field of sociolinguistics and its key sub-fields.
    2) To explore the social relationships in a community or society, and how people signal aspects of their social identity through language.
    3) To encourage critical thinking about language variation and language use and to promote awareness of social factors which inform the acceptability and prestige of certain linguistic varieties.
    4) To explore the relationship between language (particularly semantics) and culture.

    Learning Outcomes
    After successfully completing this course you should be able to:
    1 understand the relationship between language and society at both the group and individual level
    2 recognise some of the key social factors that underpin linguistic variation
    3 analyse instances of sociolinguistic variation in spoken discourse
    4 use general academic skills to locate and select material from academic sources, critically analyse written texts, write in academic style, and prepare and deliver an oral presentation
    5 understand how the meaning of words can differ between cultures

    Assessment Plan
    Academic development holistic assessment - Academic development 20%/20
    Presentation - technical or professional - Paired oral presentation 20%/20
    Assignment - Written Assignment - Essay 25%/20
    Exam - selected and constructed responses - End of semester examination 35%/80

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.