This fieldwork-based course considers themes relating to language and communication within the global community. The focus of the course is on the relationship between language, culture and identity. To understand the cultural dimensions of language and communication, this course will provide students with knowledge of ethnographic methods and opportunities to apply theoretical concepts to real-world contexts. Students will also explore subgroup or subcultural varieties, that is, special languages or vocabulary sets which mark out or identify a particular group. These jargons may be technical, as in the expert terminology used in particular trades or professions (lawyers, engineers, doctors), or informal, for example the poetic, mythic or slang-like jargon used by criminals, taxi-drivers, police officers, actors, restaurant staff, and so on. Students are expected to conduct their own ethnographic fieldwork (in groups) and write extensive fieldnotes and vignettes. They will learn how to tackle an in-depth research project, dealing with methodological and theoretical questions, and integrating data analysis with wider intellectual questions. The student may work on English or non-English data, but any project using primarily non-English data must be presented so as to be comprehensible to a general reader.
At the end of the course, students should:
- be able to identify and critique relevant issues relating to cultural dimensions in the study of language and communication
- have the methodological skills for conducting independent research on issues that are relevant and significant in language and communication and present findings in adequate, reflexive ways
- be able to apply theoretical knowledge to real-world linguistic and communicative data, in particular in their everyday contexts of Hong Kong and Asia.
- Classes: held as lecture-seminar sessions to raise and discuss issues in the field
- Consultations: to discuss and offer advice in developing a research project
- Fieldwork sessions: to complement the lectures and provide experiential learning, such that students can utilize theoretical knowledge and methodological skills acquired to conduct research
Attendance and Participation 10%
Ethnographic fieldnotes/vignettes 20%
Presentation of final research project 10%
Final research project 60%
Suggested readings will be provided throughout the course. Students are expected to source additional readings related to their research topics.