2017-2018 Academic Catalog 
    
    Oct 28, 2021  
2017-2018 Academic Catalog [Archived Catalog]

ENGL 222H - The Mystery of Language


Credits: Four (4)
Prerequisite: Membership in Bascom Honors Program
We speak and write every day, and yet language remains one of the greatest mysteries of our existence. Is it language that distinguishes humans from animals? Is it possible to trace the origins of human language? What is the relationship between speech and silence? Between language and experience? Between words and images? Between original and translation? What are the limits of language? Can we even define what language is? This interdisciplinary course will explore the mythological, philosophical, theological, linguistic, and literary dimensions of these and similar questions. Our readings will span 2500 years of reflections on language, from the Bible and Plato to contemporary inquiries. Along the way, we will encounter philosophers such as Nietzsche, Wittgenstein, and Heidegger, poets such as T.S. Eliot and Emily Dickinson, medieval mystics and modern linguists, and many other writers wrestling with the enigma of language.