"Language is as important to human beings as water is to fish. Yet, it often seems that we go through life as unaware of language as we suppose the average fish is of the water it swims in. ... Language awareness can be defined as an understanding of the human faculty of language and its role in thinking, learning and social life. It includes awareness of power and control through language, and the intricate relationships between language and culture" (van Lier, 1995).
Explicit knowledge about language and conscious perception and sensitivity in language learning, language teaching and language use are valuable in a wide interdisciplinary spectrum of academic majors. In this spirit, we will explore together the benefits that can be derived from developing knowledge about language, how they work, and how people learn them and use them to express their ideas, identities and ideologies.
This course is designed to provide new IU students with an intercultural foundation for purposeful learning about language and culture that is a requirement for effective participation in a cosmopolitan interconnected world. The readings, class activities and assignments are designed to blend practical, social and theoretical experiences that help students to explore what it means to be a flexible, cosmopolitan, culturally aware and tolerant individual. We will focus on the opportunities to experience cultural immersion and language learning while at Indiana University, as well as strategies for a lifelong pursuit of linguistic and sociolinguistic cosmopolitanism. We will explore current language-related issues such as bilingualism, multilingualism, translingualism, dialects and accents, language-in-education policy, language learning and teaching, basic principles of English linguistics, and content area language learning. We will approach these topics always from the perspective of the students – how taking a cosmopolitan perspective on World Englishes or the experiences of young language learners who are immigrants or refugees, as in the account by Eva Hoffman in Lost in Translation of her arrival from Poland and her adjustment to learning English in Canada and the United States. We will explore difference and multiple identities, e.g. culture, language, religion, gender and our common humanity, and develop skills for living in an increasingly diverse and cosmopolitan world.
GenEd Information: Currently approved for the IU Bloomington GenEd SH requirement. See the GenEd Website for more information.
Catalog Information: EDUC-L 239 LANGUAGE AND LEARNING