Language and Society: What Your Speech Says about You


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Language is not a passive means of communication. In fact, it's the active process through which we construct societies, and, within them, our own social lives and realities. Language - as we use it in our day-to-day interactions - fundamentally shapes our experience, our thinking, our perceptions, and the very social systems within which our lives unfold. Nowhere is the social role of language revealed more clearly than in the fascinating field of sociolinguistics. Among many eye-opening perspectives, the work of sociolinguistics points out that: Language is strong social capital, and our linguistic choices carry both costs and benefits we rarely consider. Our identity is strongly tied to the speech we use and our perceptions of the speech we hear. Our children are raised, our relationships are made, and our careers succeed, in large part, through how we use language. Language embodies a worldview: Your linguistic system reflects and affects the way you organize and understand the world around you. In these 24 thought-provoking lectures, you'll investigate how social differences based on factors such as region, class, ethnicity, occupation, gender, and age are inseparable from language differences. Further, you'll explore how these linguistic differences arise, and how they both reflect and generate our social systems. You'll look at the remarkable ways in which our society is a reflection of our language, how differences in the way people use language create differences in society, how people construct and define social contexts by their language use, and ultimately why our speech reveals so much about us. Join a brilliantly insightful sociolinguist and teacher in a compelling inquiry that sheds light on how our linguistic choices play a determining role in every aspect of our lives.
24 lectures of 30 minutes each on 12 audio CDs