Linguistic Anthropology

Looking through a window at a room with at people at desks and tables. On the window are Chinese characters that read please speak Mandarin, write proper characters

Linguistic anthropology is the dynamic study of language, addressing topics like language formation and spread, how and why languages change over time, and what happens when multiple languages meet.

Linguistic anthropologists investigate how language operates in global society. They study symbolic systems, how language varieties relate to culture and society, and how specific linguistic patterns influence language change.

Where did our modern languages come from? How and why do languages change over time? How does a person’s language or dialect relate to their culture? What happens when multiple languages meet? How can understanding language differences help one to operate more successfully in a very global society? How will online abbreviations or text-messaging influence our language and communication over time? These questions, and many others, all fall within the field of linguistics.

Courses in Linguistic Anthropology

  • ANTH 102: Introduction to the Anthropology of Language
  • ANTH 329: Special Topics in Social Anthropology (when a linguistics topic)
  • ANTH 340: Language & Culture
  • ANTH 341: Anthropological Linguistics
  • ANTH 680: Graduate Seminar (when a linguistics topic)
  • There are also relevant course in other disciplines on campus
  • See the catalog for course descriptions

Ethnographic Research

In the Anthropology Department at Humboldt, students critically engage ethnographic representations, design cultural studies, collect ethnographic data, delve into vital real-world cultural issues, and have the opportunity to make international experience an integral part of the degree through international exchange and independent study across the globe.