Anthropology and Language - ANTS5510

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2022 to 2023.


This module introduces linguistic anthropology and a critical exploration of the relationship between language, culture, and social organisation. Indicative topics covered are: language and thought in the history of anthropology; the rudiments of linguistic description; language as a social phenomenon; oratory and ritual speech; the significance of the written word and literacy; speech variation; the links between language; social structure and culture; linguistic aspects of symbolism; the relationship between words and categories; colour classification and universalist versus relativist theories.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 24

Private study hours: 126

Total study hours: 150


BSc Anthropology and associated programmes

BA Social Anthropology and associated programmes

Method of assessment

Essay, 2000 words (20%)
Examination, 2 hours (80%)

Reassessment instrument: 100% coursework

Indicative reading

E. Ardener (ed.) Social anthropology and language.
R. Bauman and J. Sherzer (ed.) Explorations in the ethnography of speaking.
R. Casson (ed.) Language, culture and cognition.
W. Foley, Anthropological Linguistics, A. Duranti, Linguistic Anthropology.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
8.1 demonstrate a broad outline knowledge of anthropological approaches to the study of language;
8.2 competently assess evidence and articulate theories concerning the relationship between language, culture, and social organisation;
8.3 evaluate critically arguments and data in the field of anthropological linguistics.


  1. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  2. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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