ANTH 208 Language, Culture and Society • 5 Cr.


Explores the role of language in culture and society. Course covers tools for analyzing language, and examines cross-cultural and cross-linguistic variation. There is a focus on cultural and social issues, such as attitudes toward regional and social dialects, correlations between social groupings and language behavior, the influence of language on thought, and the life and death of languages. Note: May be used to fulfill social or humanities requirement, not both, at BC. Previously ANTH 200.


After completing this class, students should be able to:

  • Recognize and give examples of the ways in which language and culture are integrated.
  • Critically assess claims about the effect of language on perception and thought, in relation to the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis.
  • Demonstrate basic understanding of the different levels of language structure exhibited by languages around the globe.
  • Apply a holistic ethnographic approach to describing language use in different cultural situations.
  • Describe how languages evolve over time, and how social and regional dialects may arise.
  • Recognize ethnocentric statements about language and be able to explain the value of taking a comparative, relativistic approach to the study of language