Historical Linguistics

Subject 175-017 (2008)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2008.Search for this in the current handbook

Credit Points: 12.500
Level: Undergraduate
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2008.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 34 hours in total. Consisting of two 1 hour lectures per week and a 1 hour tutorial. There will be no tutorials in the first and last week of semester.
Total Time Commitment: Not available
Prerequisites: Completion of or or approval of the coordinator.
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: http://services.unimelb.edu.au/disability


Dr Janet Sharp
Subject Overview:

This subject examines the ways in which languages change over time, and the techniques used to infer what these changes have been. Specific topics include the nature of language change, the comparative method and linguistic reconstruction in phonology and morphology, the family-tree model of language change, effects of language contact, sociolinguistic aspects of language change, grammaticalisation, semantic change, language and prehistory, synthetic models based on historical linguistics, archaeology, genetics and diachronic anthropology. The focus will be on the languages of Europe, Australia and the western Pacific.

Assessment: Problem-solving assignments totalling 2000 words 50% (due throughout the semester) and an essay of 2000 words 50% (end of semester).
Prescribed Texts: Prescribed Texts:Historical Linguistics (T Crowley), (3rd ed)
Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • be able to analyse unfamiliar systems;

  • be able to present clear analyses of complex data.


Formerly available as 175-213/313. Students who have completed 175-213 or 175-313 are not eligible to enrol in this subject.

Related Course(s): Bachelor of Arts
Diploma in Arts (English Language)
Diploma in Arts (Linguistics)
Graduate Certificate in Arts (English Language Studies)
Graduate Certificate in Arts (Linguistics & Applied Linguistics)
Graduate Diploma in Arts (English Language Studies)
Graduate Diploma in Arts (Linguistics & Applied Linguistics)

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