FOA Language and Culture Possible Topics

Possible Topics for your FOA

  • Gender (inequality, constructions of masculinity and femininity)

    • How what it means to be a “man” is shown through the language of characters on TV shows (or films, comic books, manga, etc.)
    • Stereotypes of gender roles as shown through the language of: film, TV, music, art, novels, etc.
    • The language of feminism
    • Sexism in comic books

 

  • Sexuality (its construction through language)
    • The language of magazines for teenage girls/boys
      • A comparison between the two?
    • An analysis of the language of texts for women (e.g. vogue magazine) over the past few decades
    • The role of language in labels and sexual identity
      • Watch this video of an apology by an aussie TV presenter who used the word “tranny” jokingly.

 

  • Language and communities (nation/region, subcultures)
    • E.g. the language of surfers and skateboarders
    • Gang language, including symbols
    • Analysis of language differences between different genres (art, film, poetry, music, novels, etc.)

 

  • Language and the individual (multilingualism/bilingualism, language profile/identity)
    • How language shapes who you are

 

  • Language and power (linguistic imperialism, propaganda)
    • The use of propaganda to spread ideas
      • War propaganda
    • An analysis of the difference/s between advertising and propaganda
    • Minority groups reclaiming derogatory terms (e.g. “queer”)

 

  • History and evolution of the language (disappearing and revival languages, Creoles)
    • How language has changed due to contextual factors (e.g. immigration)
      • See examples of Creoles below
    • Pidgin English (read more here)
    • Tok Pisin (read more here)
    • Chinglish (read more here)
      • Creoles = language that has come about due to a combination of languages

 

  • Translation (what is added and what is lost)
    • Comparing two texts, one being translated to/from English
      • E.g. comic book/manga
      • “The Housekeeper and the Professor” (English or Japanese novel, also film w/ subtitles and made into a manga).

 

  • Language and knowledge (science and technology, argot and jargon)
    • The creation of new language to adapt to new technology
    • A comparison of language used in scientific texts compared with spiritual texts

 

  • Language and social relations (social and professional status, race)
    • The way our language changes depending on whom we’re talking to
    • How language of the media propagates racial stereotypes

 

  • Language and belief (religious discourse, mythology)
    • The language of prayer or hymns.
    • A comparison of the language of the Old Testament and New Testament.
    • A comparison of language used in different religions (e.g. Buddhism vs. Islam – in English texts).
    • A comparison of the language of different editions of the bible

 

  • Language and taboo (swearing, political correctness)
    • PC language in the media
    • The censorship of classic texts in different contexts
      • How interpretations of texts can be different (and offensive) based on contextual factors. E.g. Harry Potter in religious communities
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