Language, Cultures and communication

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GENERAL INSTRUCTIONS: Below are prompts for seven essays on various issues that have been covered in lectures and readings over the first six weeks of the unit. Respond to the prompts directly and concisely (i.e., avoid extraneous discussion; maintain focus on points that are relevant to the prompt, or explain why points are relevant for the discussion).
� Your response for each question should be approximately 300 words in length.
� Please include the question on the page with your response. (Feel free to simply insert your responses into this document.)
� Please use standard margins (2.54 cm. on each side) and double-space your answers for ease of reading.
� Please create a footer that includes page number.

1. At a party you mention that you are currently taking a unit called �Language, Cultures and Communication.� One of the people you are talking to says, �Oh, I�ve always been fascinated by languages, and yet I don�t even know the answer to a simple question: how many languages are there?� What would you say in response? (Your answer should incorporate
2. Anne was born and raised in the US, but she decided to attend university in the UK. After graduating she found a job in London, where she has lived for five years. When she talks to family and friends on the phone, all comment on how much she sounds like a Brit. On the other hand, after returning from a recent visit to the US, her British co-workers and friends all joked that she sounded �even more American than usual.� Use concepts from speech accommodation to explain why Anne�s dialect features seem to change?
3. Explain what is meant by the term linguistic relativity. Offer one piece of experimental evidence that suggests it is valid, and one piece that suggests the view is unfounded. (Be sure to explain the reasoning behind the evidence you present.)
4. The chart below represents findings from the sociolinguistic interviews conducted by William Labov in his study of dialect features in New York City in the 1960s. Explain the significance of this chart: what is reflected in the graph, why is that important and how does it support the central claim of Labov with relation to language variation and style-shifting?

5. Paraguay is a largely bilingual country. While there are pockets of monolingualism, nearly three-quarters of the population is bilingual in both Spanish and Guarani, an indigenous language of that region. The table below captures the observations of language choices in Paraguay made by an American sociolinguist in the 1960s. What sociolinguistic phenomenon does this data reflect? (Your answer should name the phenomenon using the sociolinguistic term, give a definition, identify the relationship between the languages and describe their respective properties within the system.)
Domain Addressee Setting Topic Language
Family Parent Home Planning a party Guarani
Friendship Friend Cafe Funny anecdote Guarani
Religion Priest Church Choosing a liturgy Spanish
Education Teacher Primary School Telling a story Guarani
Education Lecturer University Solving maths problems Spanish
Administration Official Government office Applying for a permit Spanish

6. (This question continues with the consideration of Spanish and Guarani in Paraguay from Question 5 above.) Forty years after the data above were collected another sociolinguist went back to the same region and asked Paraguayans which language they used in particular situations. Responses are summarized in the table below. What trends can be seen if one compares the responses from the 1960s to those of 2000? What does the trend suggest about the use of the two languages? Do the changes indicate a significant change from the sociolinguistic situation you identified in Question 5? Explain your answer.

�Which language would you use ��
Spanish Guarani Both
�� with your spouse?�
1960 18.9% 30.2% 50.9%
2000 32.8% 9.8% 57.4%
�� with your children?�
1960 58.6% 10.4% 31%
2000 50.8% 3.3% 45.9%
�� with your parents?�
1960 15.4% 56.9% 27.7%
2000 18.6% 40% 41.4%
�� with your siblings?�
1960 16.7% 48.3% 35%
2000 29.6% 23.9% 46.5%
�� with your housekeeper?�
1960 16.7% 50% 33.3%
2000 23.6% 20% 56.4%
�� with friends in the neighborhood?�
1960 27.6% 41.4% 31%
2000 26.8% 21.1% 52.1%
�� in the market?�
1960 5.6% 64.8% 29.6%
2000 17.4% 30.4% 52.2%

7. Students from minority language communities are often told that they should not code-switch. In some school settings teachers actually punish students based on the belief that codeswitching reflected a lack of knowledge of both languages. However, more recent thinking rejects that point of view. Explain why scholars and researchers believe that codeswitching reflects deep knowledge of both languages.

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