Course Description

s.act_.utterance.gifTo what extent does our language affect the way we live in the world? How does the way we describe our world in verbal and non-verbal language affect the ways we perceive, think, and act? Do speakers of different languages have different perceptions of the world? How do the figures of speech and the types of sentences we use affect the assumptions we have about fundamental concepts of living in a cultural and linguistic community? What makes a promise something we should keep? What makes the words “I do” different from the words “I think”? Can we rely on language to say what we mean?

Language is as an essential element of a human being’s thought processes, perceptions, and self-expressions; and as such it is considered to be at the core of translingual and transcultural competence. While we use language to communicate our needs to others, language simultaneously reveals us to others and to ourselves. Language is a complex multifunctional phenomenon that links an individual to other individuals, to communities, and to national cultures.


  • Heather Bowe,  Kylie Martin, Howard Mann: Communication across Cultures, Mutual Understanding in a Global World, Second Edition (Cambridge, 2014)
  • Robin Lakoff, Language and Women’s Place: text and commentaries (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004) (optional)