Linguistic Anthropology Essay Topics

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

Are you trying to help your students understand the complicated yet important field of linguistic anthropology? This lesson provides a series of essay topics that will encourage students to consider linguistic anthropology while developing their critical thinking.

Writing About Linguistic Anthropology

Whether you are teaching a foreign language, a general anthropology class, or a course on understanding different cultures, linguistic anthropology is a discipline that will help your students make sense of the relationship between language and cultures. Though it grew mostly out of a desire to preserve endangered languages, linguistic anthropology has blossomed into a more complex field that studies the relationship between language and society.

To help your students understand linguistic anthropology and its importance, you might want to consider assigning them essay topics. Writing essays will help your students develop a theory and back it up with evidence from a variety of sources. The topics in this lesson will help your students think about linguistic anthropology.

History of Linguistic Anthropology

Here, you will find essay prompts that will help your students see how linguistic anthropology originated and then developed as a field.

  • What were some of the events and discoveries that led to the inception of linguistic anthropology as a field of study? Describe the major concerns and questions the field tried to address at its beginning.
  • Explain some of the most important changes that have occurred in the theories underlying linguistic anthropology over time. How has the field evolved or remained consistent over the course of its existence?
  • What were some of the contributions of Dell Hymes in cementing linguistic anthropology as a major sub-field? Describe both his theoretical and his methodological contributions to the field.
  • Analyze some of the major methodological changes that impacted linguistic anthropology in the late 1980s and beyond. What were some of the implications of these changes for the field overall and its influence?

Current Issues in Linguistic Anthropology

This section provides some topics having to do with current questions and studies in linguistic anthropology, as well as the theories that emerge from them.

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