Summer 2021 - LING 160 D100

Language, Culture and Society (3)

Class Number: 1175

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Tu 2:30 PM – 4:20 PM



Examines the relationship between language use and social structure. Considers how social factors such as gender, class, age, and ethnicity may be reflected in language use, as well as "big picture" topics that include multilingualism, dialect variation, language policy and linguistic stereotypes. Encourages students to think critically about the social dimensions of language. Open to all students. Breadth-Social Sciences.


This course will introduce you to sociolinguistics. We’ll study the relationship between language and society, and uncover some of the ways in which we convey social meaning or signal aspects of our social and cultural identity through language. We’ll discuss how language is used in multilingual and monolingual speech communities, explore the reasons for language change, and the social and contextual factors conditioning various linguistic responses.


The main topics in this course include:

· national and official languages,

· language use, solidarity/distance, and power relationships,

· diglossia, bilingualism, multilingualism, and code-switching,

· language shift, language death, language maintenance, language revival,

· standard and vernacular varieties,

· regional and social dialects,

· the effects of gender, age, ethnicity, socio-economic class, and social networks on language use,

· politeness, and cross-cultural communication.

You will learn about sociolinguistic methods through illustrations from a variety of languages, as well as applications within your own speech community.


  • Exam 1, 2, and 3 (timed Canvas quizzes, synch) worth 15% each 45%
  • Two Group Projects (asynch) 20%
  • Three small assignments (asynch) 15%
  • Weekly Participation (group assignments, practice quizzes, etc.) 20%



Blended delivery: 2/3 synchronous 2:30-4:30 pm on Tuesdays (via Canvas and Zoom) and 1/3 asynchronous (approx. 1 hour recorded lecture per week).

Sample weekly module: approx. 1 hour of listening to a pre-recorded lecture (asynch); approx. 30 minutes going over main points of weekly topic (on Zoom, synch); approx. 1 hour interactive discussion and small in-class project (on Zoom, synch), approx. 20-30 min. questions, reminders about forthcoming projects, etc.


This course may be applied towards the Certificate in Teaching English as a Second Language. Linguistics program students cannot count this course towards their breadth requirements unless in joint or double majors, extended minor or double minors program.

TECHNOLOGY REQUIRED: Laptop, Internet, microphone.



PLATFORMS USED: Canvas & Zoom.

ADDITIONAL MATERIALS: Chapters on reserve in the SFU library and article downloads from the library, highlighting sociolinguistic issues in Canada.


Holmes, Janet and Wilson, Nick. (2017). An Introduction to Sociolinguistics (5th Ed.). London and New York: Routledge.

Be sure to obtain the correct edition. Older editions will not be used!
ISBN: 978-1-138-84501-5

Department Undergraduate Notes:

Students should familiarize themselves with the Department's Standards on Class Management and Student Responsibilities.

Please note that a grade of “FD” (Failed-Dishonesty) may be assigned as a penalty for academic dishonesty.

All student requests for accommodations for their religious practices must be made in writing by the end of the first week of classes or no later than one week after a student adds a course.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University.


Teaching at SFU in summer 2021 will be conducted primarily through remote methods, but we will continue to have in-person experiential activities for a selection of courses.  Such course components will be clearly identified at registration, as will course components that will be “live” (synchronous) vs. at your own pace (asynchronous). Enrollment acknowledges that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes. To ensure you can access all course materials, we recommend you have access to a computer with a microphone and camera, and the internet. In some cases your instructor may use Zoom or other means requiring a camera and microphone to invigilate exams. If proctoring software will be used, this will be confirmed in the first week of class.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning ( or 778-782-3112).