You Are What You Speak

Louise Barnett (American Studies)

This seminar is designed to increase awareness of the dynamics of conversation, of "speech acts" and hidden messages, the influence of gender, assertiveness in speaking, manipulation through speech, and different verbal strokes for different folks—to name a few of the aspects of speech we'll examine. Students learn the meaning of "linguistic capital" and the "CP," the cooperative principle of conversation. This topic lends itself to every area of life, and this seminar will concentrate on speech in both its social and personal dimensions. We will read some real and fictive conversations, keep journals of our own verbal interactions, and examine a trial transcript, evaluating the language as if we are members of the jury.  Expect to learn things you didn’t know about why you say what you do, why other speakers please or irritate, and how gender and “social capital” affect speech.

Course Number: 
01:090:101 section 05 index 07563