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Modern Languages: 82283 - Language Diversity & Cultural Identity: GETTING THE BIG PICTURE:

In this guide, you will explore and compare a variety of information sources related to language diversity and cultural identity in the US and globally. The main focus of this guide is to help you complete the necessary components of your final project (


Library Scavenger Hunt


Language & Culture

Before you begin to talk about language diversity & culture, you need to understand the big picture. 

You need to ask the following questions:
  1. Where? Think demographics: Local (a dialect, perhaps)? US? (A specific language spoken in the U.S.) International (similarly what country or region)?  
  2. When? Are we talking about a modern dialect or use?  a certain period?
  3. How?  Is this a verbal or non-verbal language?  Is it limited to technical communication, oral, written?
  4. Who?  Is this concerning a specific population?  what describes this population?
  5. What?  name aspects you wish to study?  relationships?
  6. Why? Is there a gap in research, impact on other systems such as communication, social or economic, political, etc. 

Why go through all the trouble?  Well, most importantly, so you have helpful search terms to use in the search indices like the library catalog, databases, Google Scholar™, and even google™!
The best sources for the big picture are encyclopedias, or handbooks.  Here's how you can find them in our library:
Use the Advanced Search to search our catalog!  Here are some sample searches for our library catalog*
[in Subject]  "contains" [Language] AND [in Subject "contains" Culture] AND [in Title] "contains" encyclopedia
[in Subject]  "contains" [Communication] AND [in Subject "contains" Culture] AND [in Title] "contains" encyclopedia
or even a specific language; for example, Chinese:
[in Subject]  "contains" [Chinese] AND [in Subject "contains" Culture] AND [in Title] "contains" encyclopedia

  • Keep in mind that you may have to filter the results by Resource type: article, books, etc.
  • Make sure to look for words used in the subject area for each record or on suggested on the left by the database.  These will give you the chance to quickly browse as you do on a bookshelf.


ACTIVITY I:  The Big Picture - Did I get it?

Use the techniques described here to find sources that can provide background for your topic.  Go to the Activity.


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