Exploring Meaning through Movies
This spring, the study of linguistics and philosophy will combine with film to form a unique class offered by the University of Arizona, Ling/Phil 211: Meaning in Language and Society.
As part of the course “Meaning in Language and Society,” students will watch movies at The Loft Cinema that illustrate the linguistic, psychological and social aspects of meaning. For only $5 a movie, community members can attend the screenings and join in the conversation.
“The course will begin with films that explore distinctions between communication, language, and speech,” said Linguistics Professor Cecile McKee. “It will move to considerations of how language signals our social groupings, such as people whose shared dialect reflects their shared culture. It will then consider communication among people who do not share a language and must relay meaning in some other way. It will end with a focus on invented languages, such as we often see in science fiction films.”
The course movies include “Children of a Lesser God” (1986), “The King’s Speech” (2010), “The Color of Paradise” (1999), “Do the Right Thing” (1989), “Snatch”(2000), and “Chinese Take Out” (2004).
The College of Social and Behavioral Sciences and community partner The Loft Cinema introduced the classroom/movie combination course this past fall with “The Struggle for the Presidency.” The addition of movies and community participation to the course met with rave reviews.
“Some of the greatest comments were from Tucson community members who were around for some of these historical elections,” said communication student Bethany Conway. “They gave some really humorous, intelligent comments.”
Peggy Johnson, the executive director of The Loft Cinema, added, “We heard from many of our patrons that they appreciated the chance to see the films and sit in on the lectures...it was like attending a UA class at The Loft, for $5 a session. What's better than that?”
McKee, a developmental psycholinguist who researches syntactic development and children’s processing mechanisms, is all in favor of bringing new mediums and audiences into her classes.
“Having a diverse audience enriches a discussion,” said McKee. “We all have different reactions to films and how they relate to meaning in language and society. We will learn not only from the films but also from each other. I’m really excited to teach this course!”
Details for students:
Spots are still available for the course Ling/Phil 211: Meaning in Language and Society,
This three-unit course satisfies a Tier 2 General Education requirement and runs January 16 through April 3. The lectures are held on Wednesdays from 3:30-4:45 p.m. on campus. The movies will be seen on Thursdays from 3:30-6 p.m. at the Loft Cinema. The Loft is located at 3233 E. Speedway Blvd. For the SunTran route #4 schedule, go to: http://suntran.com/routes.php.
Professor Contact: Cecile McKee, Department of Linguistics, 520-621-2188, firstname.lastname@example.org
Enrollment Contact: Shayna Walker, Department of Linguistics, 520-621-2113, email@example.com