Course on Hymes, September 4-5, 2008

The Finland Distinguished Professor project on Multilingualism at the University of Jyväskylä will arrange a two-day PhD course “On Hymes” on September 4-5, 2008 in Jyväskylä (Agora Center). The course is open and teaching free of charge for LANGNET students as well as other PhD students in language studies in Finland; the maximum number of participants is 30. Please register by email to research secretary Piia Varis at multilingualism@jyu.fi by August 10, 2008. Participants will be accepted in registration order.

Jan Blommaert, Finland Distinguished Professor in Linguistic Anthropology

Course outline:
This course intends to explore the work of one of the founders of modern sociolinguistics, Dell Hymes. It will focus notably on Hymes' theoretical contribution, something which has received scant attention, because Hymes himself never provided a synthesis of his theoretical ambitions.

The course will, in four sessions, explore four topics:
1. Linguistic and cultural form and function
2. Ethnopoetics
3. Interdisciplinarity
4. The social and political study of language

4-5 September 2008
Sessions from 10 am to 4 pm (with breaks for lunch and coffee)


5 sp credit will be given for attendance plus a successfully completed 2000-word essay based on background reading (details tba).

Background reading:
There is extensive and complex reading to be done in view of this course, so early starting is advisable.

Lecture 1: Linguistic and cultural form and function

A perspective for linguistic anthropology

Two types of linguistic relativity

Preface to pidginization

Hymes speech and language


Lecture 2: Ethnopoetics

Breakthrough into performance

Bernstein and poetics revisited



Lecture 3: Interdisciplinarity

Sociolinguistics and the ethnography of speaking

The concept of 'tribe'


Lecture 4: The social and political study of language

Models of interaction

On communicative competence

Communicative competence revisited

Ways of speaking