21G.221 | Spring 2019 | Undergraduate

Communicating in American Culture(s)

Topics to Guide Reading and Discussion

Mainstream Anglo-American Communication Norms

Keep in mind that cultures shape communication on different levels—local, national, regional, ethnic, institutional, gendered—as you study the materials and prepare to contribute in an informed discussion of the following topics and questions:

  1. In general, how do factors such as a community’s social structures, values, and beliefs influence specific communication practices?
  2. What are some situations in your own life where these factors have influenced your communication?
    • What are some examples from any language you speak of the way culture is reflected in language?
  3. In his review of the book Speaking American, McWhorter describes both the difficulties of studying the history of American English and the particular drawbacks of the book under review. What are they?
  4. Describe your general attitude to class discussions. Is Graff & Birkenstein’s approach to supporting college discussions, as represented in the very short chapter you read for class, helpful? How could the chapter be expanded?

Written Response #2: Stewart & Bennett identify three core principles of American culture. Describe the influence of these principles on American communication norms, and discuss the ways cultural core principles influence your other language(s).

Course Info

As Taught In
Spring 2019