This course is an overview of linguistics, the scientific study of the structure, function, and importance of human language. Students will be introduced to the main structural aspects of language: sounds (phonetics and phonology), words (morphology), sentences (syntax), and meanings (semantics). We will also examine how language allows interaction between individuals in specific contexts (pragmatics), in cultural settings (anthropological linguistics), and in the society at large (sociolinguistics). Finally, the course will take a closer look at the Quechua languages of South America. We will explore what it means for a language to be written and "standardized," and the role of linguistic standardization and literacy in indigenous communities. The ultimate goal of the course is to show how language matters at every level in everybody's life.