COGS12: Language, Culture, and Cognition (Winter 2017)

 

Syllabus: https://goo.gl/i3G745

Time: Tuesdays & Thursdays, 11:00am-12:20pm, SOLIS 109

Instructor: Lera Boroditsky (lera@ucsd.edu) - Office hours Thursdays 12:30pm-1pm in CSB 215

TA: Donald Everhart (deverhar@ucsd.edu) - Office hours Tuesdays 1-3pm in SSB 431

 

How do the languages we speak shape the ways we think? Do people who speak different languages think differently? Does learning new languages change the way you think? Do polyglots think differently when speaking different languages? Are some thoughts unthinkable without language? The course will bring together ideas and findings from psychology, linguistics, anthropology, neuroscience, and philosophy.

What we’ll do in class: 

 

In a typical week, we’ll have a mixture of lecture, discussion, and in-class activities (as best suits the material we need to cover). Please do all of the readings before the class session for which they are assigned. Readings will be available at the links on the online syllabus, and will be uploaded as the class progresses.  Please check the online syllabus before each class session to get the most up to date schedule and readings.

Grading:

The total grade for the class will be out of 100 points. Please contact deverhar@ucsd.edu for all questions about grading & attendance.

Class participation - 25 points:  You are allowed one excused absence as long as you notify the TA 24hrs in advance. Every session you miss beyond that one excused session, you will lose 5 points.  

Commentaries - 45 points:  For each discussion session you need to turn in a short written commentary (1 page or so) with your thoughts on the readings.  Think of it as a blog entry, but on paper. Please bring your commentary to class with you - printed on paper. During the first 10-15 minutes of class you will trade commentaries with someone and read and discuss. Each commentary is out of 5 points. Commentaries submitted late will lose 1 point for each day.

The goal of the commentaries is to think critically about the research/ideas that a paper presents and why it is important. The goal is not to summarize the paper (everyone reading your commentary will have already read the paper). Some things to address in your commentaries: What struck you as most novel, interesting, surprising? Does the reading provide evidence to support its conclusions? Why or why not? Things in the reading that you disagree with or believe not to be true? How would you resolve the disagreement between your views and those in the reading? How has the reading changed your opinion or outlook on the topic? Any ideas you have for further studies based on this reading? Important: include 3 questions that you would like to pose to me or to the class.

Final paper - 30 points: The final product for this class is a paper that proposes a new experiment related to the relationships between language, cognition, and culture, based on the information you learn from the readings and discussions in class. 10 pages (double spaced).

Schedule of meetings and assignments:

date

meeting

due

readings

T

01.10

welcome

Th

01.12

lecture

chapter 0, chapter 1

T

01.17

discussion

comment 1 on --->

pullum, chapter 2

Th

01.19

lecture

T

01.24

discussion

comment 2 on --->

culture & reasoning (Henrich et al (read up to page 23), Miner)

Th

01.26

lecture

T

01.31

discussion

comment 3 on --->

navigation (chapter 3) - listen to this episode of radiolab

Th

02.02

lecture

T

02.07

discussion

comment 4 on --->

time & metaphors (chapter 4)

Th

02.09

lecture

T

02.14

discussion

comment 5 on --->

number (chapter 5)

Th

02.16

film

T

02.21

discussion

comment 6 on --->

wukchumni (watch video & read article)

Th

02.23

lecture

T

02.28

discussion

comment 7 on --->

events (chapter 6)

Th

03.02

lecture

T

03.07

discussion

comment 8  on --->

Bilingualism (chapter 7)

Th

03.09

lecture

T

03.14

activity

Th

03.16

discussion

comment 9

metaphors (immigrants are...?)