When people from different regions of the World and from various parts of the English-speaking world meet for the first time, they are immediately struck by differences in the way they speak.
But is there any objective reason to consider non-standard dialects as inferior? How are dialects and their speakers represented in literature, film, humor, music, and other aspects of popular culture? What are the implications of dialect diversity for education, civil rights, and other aspects of public policy?Where do these accents and dialects come from in the first place? How exactly does English, French, Italian and Spanish vary across different places and social groups?
This course, which assumes no previous background in linguistics, investigates these questions from both a linguistic and a more broadly humanistic perspective.