This course examines the complex relationship between culture and language. Lectures and readings will use ethnographic case studies and linguistic data to explore various theories about how language is shaped by, and in turn shapes, culture and social relations.

You will learn how to analyze the components of languages around the world, using linguistics as the primary means for investigation.

This includes studying:

  • the origins of language
  • the social uses of language among different cultural groups
  • the formal elements of language, such as grammar, morphology, and syntax
  • etymologies (histories) of words and language shifts
  • language change
  • how anthropologists document the dynamic and more formal elements of language
  • the role that computers/software play in studying language; changing language
  • indigenous and non-indigenous languages

Tower of Babel by MC Escher

Anthropology Links
National Association of Student Anthropologists
Ancient Scripts of the World
Native American languages index
Anthropology in the News
Directory of anthropologists
Linguistics as a career
Society for Linguistic Anthropology
Museum of Weird Consumer Culture
NVC Links
Office of Student Services
NVC Catalog
Writing Center
Testing & Tutoring Center
Study Abroad!
McCarthy Library
Disabled Students Programs and Services
Online Education
Division of Social Sciences


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© Jessica Amato, Ph.D.
The views and opinions expressed in this page are strictly those of the page author.
The contents of this page have not been reviewed or approved by Napa Valley College.
Students should ALWAYS refer to their Catalog and/or a Counselor for accurate information specific to their educational goals.