New UBC course coming this fall: Living Language – Science and Society

The first University-wide course in Language Sciences, Living Language: Science and Society, will be offered in September 2018. In this interdisciplinary course, upper year students will examine and apply their subject specific knowledge through the lens of language and the framework of the language sciences, with a focus on themes of real-world importance.
The course will be taught by Psychology Professor and Co-Director of the UBC Language Sciences Initiative Dr. Janet Werker and Anthropology, First Nations and Endangered Languages Professor Dr. Mark Turin.
The class structure is comprised of in-class lectures by Drs. Werker, Turin and invited language leaders across campus and in the wider community, together with student-led reflections and presentations. Through the course, students will lead their own exploration of language as it applies to all domains of human life, from the creation and acquisition of spoken language to writing systems, texts of all kinds, arts, culture, science, and technology.
Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Identify the core properties of language, and demonstrate how these shape human thought and interaction
  • Critically assess the use of language in your existing area of specialization
  • Become self-aware of what you’ve learned, and be in a position to apply this deepened understanding in critical, creative and flexible ways
  • Use methods and tools from language sciences to communicate disciplinary insights to broader audiences
  • Listen beyond your discipline and open yourself to other ways of knowing
  • Locate the power of language in science and society and recognize when language is harnessed to manipulate rather than inform

This course is designed for upper level students in any discipline and from any faculty who are interested to learn more about how language works and what it does. There are no pre-requirements, other than a commitment to deep intellectual exploration, a willingness to be challenged, and a readiness to reflect on what you have learned in your discipline through the lens of language.
For more information about the course offerings and enrolment visit: