2008-09 Catalog

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Program Description

Language Matters: Persuasive Language in Popular Culture

Revised Last Updated: 12/05/2008

Winter quarter

Faculty: Susan Fiksdal linguistics, French, Rachel Hastings linguistics, mathematics

Faculty Signature Required: Winter quarter

Major areas of study include linguistics, communications, media studies, writing and gender studies.

Class Standing: This all-level program accepts up to 25% freshmen as well as supporting and encouraging those ready for advanced work.

Accepts Winter Enrollment: This program will accept new students who have appropriate background. Contact faculty by email. New students should expect to complete some catch-up work during the December break.

Prerequisites: An introductory course in linguistics at the level of Fromkin & Rodman's An Introduction to Language, or equivalent experience with linguistic analysis. Students with questions about the prerequisite should contact Rachel Hastings at hastingr@evergreen.edu.

This program will focus on the linguistic resources we all use to persuade others of a particular point of view. We will study the art of persuasion in a wide range of settings within popular culture, ranging from comedy to politics, from news journalism to blogs. Part of our work will involve deepening our engagement with linguistic theory in several areas, including discourse analysis, semantics, pragmatics, metaphor, morphology and syntax.

As we develop these theoretical tools, we will concurrently be using them to analyze discourse from the media, the internet, conversations, and speeches in order to uncover ways in which speakers use their linguistic knowledge to persuade. We will study how different individuals and different categories of communication vary with respect to the structure and content of their persuasive language. In particular, we will use theories of language and gender to investigate how men and women may sometimes adopt different rhetorical strategies for persuasion. For a broader view of linguistic resources, we will also examine cross-linguistic variation in persuasion in languages other than English, including Quechua and French.

Students will apply their understanding of concepts by writing papers using two formats – short expository essays and linguistic analyses. To demonstrate their understanding of persuasion in a particular setting, they will create final oral presentations.

Credits: 16 per quarter

Enrollment: 48

Books: www.tescbookstore.com

Program is preparatory for careers and future studies in linguistics, languages, communications, law, gender studies, media studies and education.

Planning Units: Programs for Freshmen, Culture, Text and Language

Program Revisions

Date Revision
September 18th, 2008 Correction made to faculty information
December 5th, 2008 Winter enrollment details added.