2019-2020 Catalog

SPAN 343 Spanish Sociolinguistics

Language use symbolically represents fundamental dimensions of human behavior and social interaction. For instance, what can you immediately infer about a Spanish speaker who uses the word “zumo” to describe the orange beverage commonly drunk at breakfast? Most likely, they are from Spain, otherwise they might describe this beverage as "jugo."

This course introduces the basic concepts of sociolinguistics, using Spanish as our tool of exploration and description. Sociolinguistics focuses on the symbolic value of language as an expression of group identity based on region, gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic class, age, or other ways of defining group affiliation. In this course, we describe key notions of sociolinguistics such as the speech community, the sociolinguistic variable, and field methods. The core goal of the course is to identify phonological and morphosyntactic variation throughout Spain, Latin America, and the US, and identify what this variation tells us about language change and development as well as about the social characteristics and identities of the speakers themselves. The course also surveys other related topics such as language contact, bilingualism, Spanish as a heritage language, language attitudes and language identity in the U.S. and elsewhere, language and law, language and age, and language and gender. 


4 units


SPAN 202 or SPAN 211

Core Requirements Met

  • Global Connections