HomeEnglish 416 (Fall 2017)): English in Society
TR 9:30AM - 10:45AM
Richard Young

(English Language and Linguistics; Mixed grad/undergrad) The English language is both an object of study in its own right and also a tool that people use to communicate information and to influence the behavior and opinions of others. Although it has been studied for centuries, but what we know about the English language is strongly influenced by writing and written language and, because writing and reading are most often done in isolation, many linguistic theories have ignored the social life of language. Yes, language has a social life and, obviously, social interaction does not happen in isolation; it involves people doing things and influencing each other by what they do. To combine the English language and social interaction in a single thought means asking: How does social interaction happen through English? And how does our knowledge of the English language change when we consider it to be primarily a means of social interaction? These are the two questions that we will wrestle with over and over again in this course. If you are interested in language and if you are interested in social relationships, this course will help you develop those interests.


Young, R. F. (2008). Language and interaction: An advanced resource book. London & New York: Routledge. ISBN: 978-0-415-38553-4

A packet of 11 readings