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Language, Culture, and Society Major

The new major in language, culture, and society offers an exploration of the relationship between language, social factors and culture, multilingualism, language variation, and theories about how language is shaped by, and in turn shapes, our understandings about the world, social relations, identities, and power. This major offers a coherent interdisciplinary curriculum with coursework that will provide theories and analytical frameworks to explore language use and variation across cultures and social contexts. Students receive foundational knowledge of the two disciplines, linguistics and anthropology, and will be immersed in sustained inquiry of social, cultural and linguistic systems, with a focus on the interdependence of these systems. The major enables students to perform analyses of language use to investigate the nature of language and power, language use and identity construction, language and world-view, gendered speech, discourse styles and social roles and relations, and cultural traditions and language arts. The major also involves consideration of issues of bilingualism and multilingualism, and related issues of language ideology and policy.

Graduates gain expertise to address complex social problems in a globalized, pluralistic twenty-first century world and qualify for employment in applied careers in nonprofit associations, federal, state, local government and international agencies, community centers, refugee organizations, cultural institutes, and tech companies. Graduates can pursue graduate work in anthropology, law, linguistics, or a variety of interdisciplinary areas in the social sciences, especially those related to language and its use. 

Preparation for the Major (6 units)

  • Linguistics 101
  • Anthropology 102

Language Requirement

Competency (successfully completing the third college semester or fifth college quarter) is required in one foreign language to fulfill the graduation requirements. Refer to the section of the catalog on “Graduation Requirements.”

Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement

Passing the Writing Placement Assessment with a score of 10, or Linguistics 305W, or Rhetoric or Writing Studies 305W or 500W with a grade of C (2.0) or better. See the “Graduation Requirements” section of the catalog for a complete listing of requirements.

Major (33 units)

A minimum of 33 units to include:

  • Language, Culture, and Society 300
  • Anthropology 303
  • Anthropology 410
  • Three units selected from Linguistics 420, 501, Anthropology 304
  • Nine units selected from Language, Culture, and Society 483, Linguistics 502, 526, 551
  • Three units selected from Linguistics 363 [or Africana Studies 363] or Linguistics 460 [or American Indian Studies 460 or Anthropology 460]
  • Six units selected from Linguistics 350, 352, 354, Sociology 410, 412
  • Three units of a course focusing on a specific culture, from any department.

Upon successful completion of this program, students will be able to:

  • Develop an understanding of how language varies according to socio-cultural factors, such as place, race, socio-economic status, sexuality, ethnicity, and gender.
  • Analyze discourses and their variation across social contexts using suitable discourse analytic frameworks.
  • Analyze the intersection of language and culture in bi- and multi-lingual societies.
  • Provide mastery of academic literacy skills needed to synthesize background literature, identify socio-cultural problems related to language use, and provide arguments for solutions.
  • Apply the understanding of language, culture, and society to challenges and opportunities found in a globalized and linguistically complex 21st century.

Download the curricular matrix.

Contact Us

Ian Ruston, Program Advisor
Email: [email protected] | Office: SHW 226


Important Links

SDSU Catalog | Class Schedule | Major Academic Plan (MAP)