The teacher’s objective in compiling this syllabus was to encourage student input in the form of their own beliefs and experiences for each topic area. This was intended as a necessary Japanese and Chinese contrast to the teacher-led input which often took the form of mostly anglo-centric examples. Providing time each lesson for student- centered perspectives was seen as a means to redress this imbalance and make the lesson input more relevant for the student population.
In terms of the specific break-down of the syllabus, the first part of the 15-week syllabus (lessons 1 to 6) was so devised as to give students a background knowledge into the basic areas of sociolinguistics. This was with particularly reference to the use of English, Japanese and Chinese languages in societies in which they are used. i.e. their use in the world as first, foreign and second languages. The way men and women speak, and finally, the effect of social class systems and region on language were also addressed as essential components in this first part.
The second part of the syllabus (lessons 8 to 13) shifted the focus on to giving students a broader perspective on how to investigate the concept of “culture” (using cultural models and analogies), how politeness and terms of address are expressed and used in social relations, how images carry different associations across cultures, how language can be analyzed through its various speech acts (introducing pragmatic and discourse awareness), and finally, how non-verbal language (gestures) differs across cultures.
In summary, the syllabus contents were arranged in order to give students insights into the way they use language in society and how it can be perceived by others (perlocution) within the same region or country and in other countries. The course also attempted to enable students to become mini-researchers into language through the practical use of speech acts and interactional coding in discourse analysis, supporting that analysis by means of interpretative frameworks (cultural models like Geertz, 1973; Hall, 1977 and Holliday, 1994). Research into the course content was taken from two sources, in English by Holmes (1992), An Introduction to Sociolinguistics, and also in Japanese by Tanaka and Tanaka (1996), An Invitation to Sociolinguistics. This reference to both English-language and Japanese resources gave the teacher access to some information which was less anglo-centric in nature,