Language and Identity

Subject LING30012 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 3 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

Semester 1, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 29-Feb-2016 to 29-May-2016
Assessment Period End 24-Jun-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 11-Mar-2016
Census Date 31-Mar-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 06-May-2016

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 34 hours- 2 x 1 hour lectures and 1 x 1 hour tutorial per week. No tutorials in the first and last 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:


Prof Tim Mcnamara



Subject Overview:

This subject introduces students to the ways in which language indexes and constructs identities in social contexts. It introduces students to a range of theoretical approaches, and the distinctive research methodologies associated with each. These include language socialization. studies of language in social interaction using the techniques of Conversation Analysis and discourse analysis (including critical discourse analysis). and poststructuralist approaches to language and subjectivity. Topics covered will include gender-related language use, language and racism, language and sexuality, the negotiation and deployment of identities in face-to-face interaction, and the way language and discourse construct and maintain a sense of "otherness". On completion of the subject, students should be able to recognise ways in which language and discourse construct particular social identities of relevance to themselves, and critically analyse ways of thinking about the complex phenomenon of language and identity.

Learning Outcomes:

On successful completion of this subject, students should:

  • be able to think critically and in theoretical terms about possible relationships between language and identity;
  • be able to analyse and critically evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of a variety of approaches to investigating such relationships, and position themselves within theoretical debates within this field;
  • have positioned themselves towards the broader implications of research in language and identity for issues in gender, ethnicity, sexuality, racism and nationalism;
  • be able to confidently deploy discipline specific research skills using primary and secondary sources and empirical data with a strong sense of research ethics and intellectual integrity;
  • have attained advanced abilities in writing and other modalities;
  • have consolidated their understanding of social and cultural diversity in the university and wider community.
  • Assignment 1 due mid-semester [50%]
  • Assignment 2 due at the end of semester [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:

A subject reader will be made available.

Recommended Texts:

Benwell, Betham and Elizabeth Stokoe (2006). Discourse and Identity. Edinburgh: Edinburgh

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 intelligibly and economically their understanding of debates within this area;
  • understand the social and cultural context of the construction of identities in and through language.
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: English Language - 200 Point Program
English Language Studies
Gender Studies
Graduate Certificate in Arts - Gender Studies
Graduate Certificate in Arts - Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
Graduate Diploma in Arts - Gender Studies
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

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