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Language and Relations of Power

Assignment Details

  1. The notion that language shapes thought and all mental activity is heavily debated.  If language does indeed shape thought,  this suggests that faithful cross-cultural communication and translation are impossible. Discuss with reference to two thinkers or topics from the course.
  2. There is a discussion of whether  Australian  Kriol is a variety of English. How do we know that they are separate languages?  Does it matter?  Draw on two different areas of the course to discuss this issue.
  3. How might the use of different languages reflect relations of power in society? Discuss with reference to two topics from the course.
  4. Sometimes theories about language are broadened to become theories about culture more generally. Discuss by drawing on two thinkers from the course whose theories are linked in this manner.
  5. In this course, the debate on the way in which asylum seekers are “judged” has been framed in terms of LADO; another way to look at the public discourse on asylum seekers is through similar processes of linguistic manipulation as those identified by Victor Klemperer and George Orwell. Are you aware of linguistic manipulation in the debates about asylum seekers?  Draw on examples  with which you are familiar, both from the course  materials  and from your own observations,  and make parallels  between  these  thinkers  and this contemporary political situation.+’
  6. This course has demonstrated parallels between learning a first and second language. How is the acquisition of a first language similar/different to the acquisition of a second language? Discuss with reference to at least two thinkers.

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