Comm 3404F06 Language Borderlands
Prof. Amy Sheldon
Office: 228 Ford Hall
Office hrs. Tues. 4-6, Wed. 1:30-3:30 and by appointment
It is estimated that half of the people in world speak more than one language.
What is the quality and texture of a life like when lived in more than one
language? How does language contribute to our sense of identity and sense of
community? We will read essays and books about people who are polylingual or
bidialectal. Some had to learn English because their families fled their homeland.
Some are American born. One writer chose to immerse herself in another language
after her father’s death. Each writer struggles to fit into two or more worlds of
language and hence culture, and searches for self-unification and meaning. Their
languages or dialects have been a source of self-exploration, self-disruption, and
self-reintegration. We will explore the gifts and heartaches of living within and
across other languages or dialects, Whether monolingual or polylingual, we will
learn about own linguistic histories, and the multilingual world we live in.
To enter the subjective world of polylingual people and learn how centrally
language affects them. To learn multiple perspectives about how Language and
Culture construct our Self. To see how closely tied Language is to Culture and to
Self. To become more aware of multilingualism in your daily world and in the
larger world. To explore some powerful language issues of our time. To discover
what you did not know and what you believed which was not true, about language
and language varieties. To become a more critical and clear thinker and a better
writer. To discover ways in which you love language.
Books (Coffman Union Hall Book Store)
• Eva Hoffman. Lost in Translation
• Alice Kaplan. French Lessons
Articles and chapters
• Most readings are in your Course Packet, in alphabetica