LNG1100 Language, Culture, and Society, Fall 2018 (D899)

List of key terms

  • A “proto” language
  • Observer’s paradox
  • The ‘standard language myth’
  • Negative prestige
  • Logographic writing system
  • Abjads, abugida, and alphabet
  • Low vs high intensity contact
  • Copula absence
  • Signifying and talking Trash
  • Superstratum and substratum
  • Additive bilingualism and subtractive bilingualism


List of important questions

  1. How many languages are actively spoken?
  2. What is a language family tree? What do the leaves, the branches, and the trunks refer to?
  3. Can you name three major language families and one language that belongs to each family?
  4. How do linguists decide if two languages belong to the same family?
  5. Briefly describe the history of the English language. What are some of the major milestones of the development of the English language?
  6. What are some major differences between spoken and written language?
  7. Explain why texting can be considered “fingered speech.”
  8. What is the difference between languages and dialects? How do linguists define them, and how are they defined in reality?
  9. What are factors that facilitate language change?
  10. What is diglossia? Illustrate the idea by an example.
  11. What is the difference between a pidgin and a creole?
  12. What is code-switching? Why do people code-switch?
  13. In a multilingual society, what are factors that affect people’s code choice?
  14. What are different types of language planning? Illustrate each type with an example.
  15. What are the advantages and disadvantages of language planning? Discuss examples from two countries.
  16. Should the US adopt English as an official language? Why and why not? Provide examples to support your arguments.