snow field in the foreground with snow-capped mountains stretching away behind

Language and Landscape (Fall 2019)

Cross-listed as:

  • LING 4009 A
  • ALDS 4906 A

This course introduces concepts and theories in the areas of applied linguistics, physical geography, cartography, anthropology, and Indigenous Studies. The focus of this course is to examine how landscape, and activities which take place upon that landscape, are encoded and expressed through the medium of language, and how these elements are interrelated. We will discuss how concepts of “landscape” are unique to sociocultural groups and how space is partitioned and named, as well explore some of the different linguistic systems utilized in the encoding of space, and how these linguistic elements contain Indigenous Knowledge (IK) and Traditional or Local Environmental Knowledge (TEK or LEK). The course work also explores the connections between biodiversity and linguistic diversity through an examination of how loss disruption of, or removal from the landscape also causes the loss of IK and TEK as well as language loss, and how mapping and place name/landscape language documentation can aid in revitalization of both language and landscape.

Some of the key questions we will be exploring in this course are:

  • How does language encode the diverse global concepts of environment, landscape and position?
  • What are some of the different linguistic systems tied to position and direction?
  • How is Indigenous Knowledge, Traditional Environmental Knowledge or Local Environmental Knowledge of a landscape encoded into language?
  • How does loss, disruption of or removal from a landscape contribute to the loss of language and/or linguistic diversity?
  • What are some tools and techniques that can be used to help document and preserve landscape-related language?
  • How is Place important to language revitalization initiatives?

These and other questions will be explored through readings and lectures as well as through interaction with guest speakers.

Prerequisites: LING 1001 & 3rd year standing, or permission of the instructor.
Instructor: Rebekah Ingram