critical reflection

. Required Length: 2000 words

Your essay should be a critical reflection, which means you discuss the concepts in relation to the proposition. You will have to choose your topic from a list of essay questions that we provide. You must not make up your own essay question. You do not have to agree or disagree with the essay question or topic, but you must form an argument that shows critical assessment of the question or topic. It is advisable to frame your argument around one or more of the issues or thinkers from the subject and to reflect on the concepts and the proposition in relation to the course.

You may continue to explore the issue or thinker you chose for the first assessment, or you may select a different issue or thinker.

  • Those students who display particular skill in the deployment and analysis of theories will be especially rewarded.
  • This is not a research essay. Use the materials from the course – ‘further readings’, readings discussed in lectures and readings from later parts of the course are also fine. If you choose to add one or two further references, they should strengthen your critical reflection rather become a focus of your essay. Do not just tell us what the authors say – show us that you can think.
  • Do not reference the lectures or tutorials.
  • For more information on essay writing, go to the University’s Academic Skills Homepage: http://services.unimelb.edu.au/academicskills/resource_assets/skill.

YOU ARE REQUIRED TO MAKE AT LEAST THREE REFERENCES TO MATERIALS PRESENTED IN THIS SUBJECT ON CANVAS (SUBSTANTIAL SET READINGS OR ADDITIONAL READINGS AVAILABLE ON CANVAS).

IF YOU WANT TO, YOU CAN ALSO USE ONE OR TWO FURTHER REFERENCE TEXTS THAT ARE NOT MADE AVAILABLE TO YOU IN THIS SUBJECT ON CANVAS, BUT THIS IS NOT OBLIGATORY.

THE WORD COUNT DOES NOT INCLUDE THE BIBLIOGRAPHICAL REFERENCES AT THE END.

APPLY THE APA 7 STYLE SHEET.

Two guideline essays can be seen here: Essay on power Essay on politics.

Questions

  1. Saussure says in the Course in General Linguistics that in the system of a language, ‘there are only differences, with no positive terms’ (Course, p. 120). Can you give examples of what he means by this in relation to English or another language you know well? Discuss some of the implications of this for his theory of language.
  2. In this course, language has been described as both a crucial link to our innermost existence and a social construct. Draw on materials from this course to discuss this apparent conflict.
  3. The power of language to control others has been a central theme in a number of topics covered in this course. However, language also has the power to define self and reality and thus empower individuals. Draw on two or more aspects of this course to discuss these viewpoints.
  4. Judith Butler speaks of language as ‘border control’ and gender as a ‘strategy of survival within compulsory systems’. Is gender something imposed by language? Is this reconcilable with a notion of the ‘spontaneous freedom’ that is ‘at the root of all natural speaking’, as elocutionist Barbara Storey wrote in 1937 (Damousi, 2010, p.222)?
  5. Aboriginal languages and cultures express identities that are often different from those of descendants of European settlers in Australia, for instance. How can this difference be viewed and how is this difference dealt with? Discuss this in the light of material covered in Language, for instance with European race-based theories of language and language development, or with colonial-era language policy and cultural hegemony.
  6. In what sorts of situations can language be considered an action? Draw on material covered in the course.
  7. This course has demonstrated parallels between learning a first and second language. How is the acquisition of a first language similar/different to the acquisition of a second language? Discuss with reference to at least two thinkers.
  8. Umberto Eco said, ‘Translation is always a shift not between two languages but between two cultures.’ Outline how language use entails acquiring a mental system or culture.