2010-11 Catalog

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Offering Description

Language Matters: Persuasive Language in Popular Culture

Spring quarter

Faculty: Susan Fiksdal linguistics and languages, Rachel Hastings linguistics, mathematics

Fields of Study: communications, language studies, linguistics, media studies and writing

Spring: CRN (Credit) Level 30068 (12) Fr; 30070 (12) So - Sr; 30463 (1-16)  

Credits: 12(S)

Class Standing: Freshmen - Senior; 25% of the seats are reserved for freshmenFreshmen - Senior

Offered During: Day


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. Our work will engage us in several areas of linguistic theory, 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.  For a broader view of linguistic resources, we will sometimes 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 three formats—persuasive essays, short summary essays and linguistic analyses. To demonstrate their understanding of persuasion in a particular setting, they will create final oral presentations.

Maximum Enrollment: 48

Preparatory for studies or careers in: communications, education, languages, law, linguistics, media studies, and writing.

Campus Location: Olympia

Online Learning: Enhanced Online Learning

Books: www.tescbookstore.com

Program Revisions

Date Revision
February 14th, 2011 This program is now being offered for 12 credits, not 16.