The Secret Life of Language

Subject LING10001 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 1 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

Semester 2, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 25-Jul-2016 to 23-Oct-2016
Assessment Period End 18-Nov-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 05-Aug-2016
Census Date 31-Aug-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 23-Sep-2016

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 35 hours- 2 x 1 hour lecture and a 1 hour tutorial per week. There will be no tutorials in first week of semester.
Total Time Commitment:

170 hours

Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


Dr Brett Baker



Subject Overview:

Have you ever wondered how language actually works? Or how it can be that a 6 year-old child can know more about their native language than the most sophisticated computers? This subject is a practical introduction to the nature of human language which gives a conceptual framework for discussing language and provides the tools required to analyse and describe all of the world's 6000+ languages. Central areas of linguistics will be covered using data from languages from all over the world, including speech sounds, word structure, sentence structure, meaning, language learning, and language change.

Learning Outcomes:

On successful completion of this subject, students should have:

  • explored the general nature of human language;
  • learnt how language can be described and analysed;
  • gained a conceptual framework for thinking about and discussing language;
  • developed simple analytic skills as applied to language;
  • attained a broad overview of academic approaches to the analysis of language;
  • develop foundational discipline-specific research skills in analysing and describing languages from around the world;
  • become acquainted with the use of learning and research technologies (LMS, library) to solve linguistic tasks;
  • engaged in pedagogically led interactions in the classroom around problems and tasks in Linguistics;
  • developed an understanding of linguistic, social and cultural diversity in the university and wider community.

  • 3 problem-solving assignments (equivalent to 2000 words total) distrubuted throughout the semester [50%]
  • 2-hour exam (equivalent to 2000 words) during the examination period [50%]

Hurdle requirement: Students must attend a minimum of 75% of tutorials in order to pass this subject. All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject.

Note: Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10% per working day. In-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked.

Prescribed Texts:

An Introduction to Language (Australian edition) (Fromkin et al (eds)) Latest edition

Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

Students who successfully complete this subject should:

  • be able to communicate knowledge intelligibly and economically
  • have developed skill in critical thinking and analysis;
  • have gained skills in observation and attention to detail;
  • have developed skills in thinking in theoretical terms.
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: English Language - 200 Point Program
English Language Studies
Graduate Certificate in Arts - Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
Graduate Diploma in Arts - Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
Language Testing - 200 Point Program
Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
TESOL - 200 Point Program
Technology in Language Learning - 200 Point Program
Related Breadth Track(s): Linguistics: Language Structure and Analysis
Linguistics: English Language Studies

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