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LING 316 The Nature of Language

The course introduces students to the study of how language is acquired and learned, concepts and methods of analyzing language, and how the field of linguistics studies regional, racial, and gender differences in language. The course examines how the processes of standardization create approved and dominate versions of languages and non-standard and minoritized varieties and dialects of languages. The course also explores linguistic intolerance and prejudice, raciolinguistics, linguistic hierarchy, implicit bias, and privilege. Significant focus is given to issues of race and racism.

Learning outcomes


  • Apply principles of language analysis to real language data in order to interpret examples of sound, word, and sentence structures.
  • Learn the world¿s variety of language families.
  • Describe and explain factors that influence how languages and dialects become standardized and dominant, or minoritized and devalued, through processes such as colonization and racialization.
  • Apply principles of raciolinguistics to study language in its interaction and intersectionality with race, ethnicity, and national origin.
  • Examine the impacts and responsibilities to address linguistic racism in public institutions such as education, health, and/or government/policy.

Minnesota Transfer Curriculum

Goal 5: History and the Social and Behavioral Sciences

  • Employ the methods and data that historians and social and behavioral scientists use to investigate the human condition.
  • Examine social institutions and processes across a range of historical periods and cultures.
  • Use and critique alternative explanatory systems or theories.
  • Develop and communicate alternative explanations or solutions for contemporary social issues.

Goal 8: Global Perspective

  • Describe and analyze political, economic, and cultural elements which influence relations of states and societies in their historical and contemporary dimensions.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of cultural, social, religious and linguistic differences.
  • Analyze specific international problems, illustrating the cultural, economic, and political differences that affect their solution.
  • Understand the role of a world citizen and the responsibility world citizens share for their common global future.

Spring 2024

Section Title Instructor books eservices
50 The Nature of Language Abdurrahman, Muhammad I Books for LING-316-50 Spring 2024 Course details for LING-316-50 Spring 2024

Summer 2024

Section Title Instructor books eservices
50 The Nature of Language Upton, Beth Books for LING-316-50 Summer 2024 Course details for LING-316-50 Summer 2024

Fall 2024

Section Title Instructor books eservices
01 The Nature of Language Staff, Staff Books for LING-316-01 Fall 2024 Course details for LING-316-01 Fall 2024
50 The Nature of Language Staff, Staff Books for LING-316-50 Fall 2024 Course details for LING-316-50 Fall 2024