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    Macalester College
  Feb 21, 2018
College Catalog 2014-2015 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

ENVI 225 - 100 Words for Snow: Language and Nature

Cross-Listed as LING 225 .
Human beings have an unprecedented ability to shape the environment around them, yet the environment powerfully shapes both individuals and species. Two main questions run throughout this course: 1. How does language influence the way we think about and perceive nature, which in turn influences the way we interact with and shape nature? 2. How has our environment shaped the Language faculty and individual languages? To answer these questions, we’ll start by asking, what is language and what is nature? Then we’ll turn to the way that our environment has impacted the evolution of Language. Next we’ll look at indigenous knowledge as it is encoded by language and the Linguistic Relativity Hypothesis, which says that language influences the way we perceive the world. With this as background, we’ll look at the language of environmental discourse. Next, using the metaphor of ecology, we’ll examine languages as if they were organisms and analyze the ecosystems that sustain them. Knowing what makes a healthy language, we’ll look at endangered languages and the connections between linguistic diversity and biodiversity. Spring semester. (4 Credits)