How do people use language to construct identities and achieve interactional goals? How is that language use represented, circulated, and discussed in the media? This course will explore the way that language operates in society with a particular focus on popular and new media. The media, as both a platform for the display and dissemination of linguistic creativity as well as a site for explicit commentary about language, is ripe for analysis of both language use and language attitudes. To do this, we’ll examine specific contexts: how public figures, actors, and corporations use language in movies, television, and advertising, and how individuals use language in new media (e.g. YouTube) and on social media (e.g. Twitter). We’ll discuss the function of linguistic variation in the construction, recognition, and circulation of social types and conventionalized notions about language.
For early-year undergraduates or high school students