This class introduces students to the key social considerations of using, learning, and teaching second/additional languages in today’s world. We will learn about multilingualism in various forms, including the use of second, foreign, heritage, and lingua franca languages. The course invites students to better understand the social aspects of language in linguistic terms and to consider how the social contexts in which we communicate shape linguistic choices. In order to learn or teach an additional language, it is very important to consider how that language is actually used, and to treat language use as the starting point for language-related work, such as language teaching.
The course will begin by exploring major themes in sociolinguistics that are relevant to L2/multilingual contexts, including language ideology, language variation, language and culture, and language and identity. In learning about these areas, we will consider how L2 users and multilingual people grapple with these issues in their lives, in the context of language learning and beyond. Next, the course will explore social aspects of language across domains of life, including education, healthcare, the workplace, family life, and digital spaces. Here, we will apply our understanding of the previous concepts (language ideology, variation, culture, identity) as we explore how people use their multilingual repertoires. Throughout the semester, we will treat the members of our class as a resource for investigating these topics among ourselves through small assignments. The course will also call on you to explore how the topics we are learning about relate to the context of Hawaiʻi. Since we are living in a highly multilingual place, we can benefit from relating our in-class learning to our observations and investigations of our community.