What might humanity be like if humans had never developed language? What social and cultural forms would not be possible without language? How would we survive? Would we be capable of creating tools or art? Would our social relationships be different? Would our social groups be different?
Describe a romantic relationship, one you have experienced or observed. How did it begin, develop, endure, or end? Now, make note of how many times in your description you relied on various metaphors. Is it possible to fully describe romance without the use of metaphor? Do these metaphors shape the way we think about romance?
List the speech communities to which you belong. Do all members of a speech community share exactly the same vocabulary and practices? Do speech communities overlap?
Aside from weddings, list rituals in your culture that rely on the performance of language. How do people use forms of commentary and back talk to reshape those performances?
How does language operate as a form of power in schools and universities? Consider the gendered norms of language as well as racial and ethnic dynamics.