A human language has to be capable of expressing infinite ideas—how do different languages accomplish this incredible task? What role does language play in society?
Start off with an introduction to phonology and morphology to learn how the building blocks of spoken sound actually combine to create words. Then explore the study of syntax, speakers’ “instinctive” knowledge of the ways to string words together into sentences. Investigate different languages’ solutions to the problems that face them all—how do languages other than English deal with plurals? With tenses? With showing who does the action of a verb? Finally, zoom out to examine the connections among language and culture. How is language shaped by a society’s evolution and features, and how does language shape a society in turn? Could something as basic as the way we speak be contributing to the problems of poverty, racism, and sexism still facing the United States—and could it be used to combat those problems instead?
Find out what makes learning a new language so emotionally challenging, and gain insight into your own study of a foreign tongue. You’ll never think about language the same way again!