As educated users of language, many of us have strong feelings on language, including how we should use it (“That isn’t what ‘literally’ means!”) and why we should do so. Which of these feelings are valid and which are closer to folklore? In this class, we investigate several language myths, objectively explore their validity, and make conclusions about how human languages can (not) be described. Myths we may address include: women talk more than men, children learn languages better than adults, legalese is more linguistically precise, dolphins use language, all languages/dialects are equally sophisticated, and bilingualism makes you smarter.
Mondays and Wednesdays 3:00-4:20pm