Exploring Linguistic Diversity

Subject LING30001 (2012)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2012.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 3 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2012:

Semester 2, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 2 x 1 hour lectures and 1 x 1 hour tutorial per week
Total Time Commitment:

3 contact hours/week, 5.5 additional hours/week. Total of 8.5 hours per week.


Completion of at least 37.5 points in Linguistics and Applied Linguistics at second year. This subject is only available to students completing the final year of a major in Linguistics and Applied Linguistics, or those in the Graduate Diploma in Arts (Linguistics and Applied Linguistics) who have obtained approval from the course coordinator.

Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects:

Previously available as 175-405 Study of a Language Family. Students who have completed 175-405 are not eligible to enrol in this subject.

Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Objectives, 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 the Disability Liaison Unit: http://www.services.unimelb.edu.au/disability/


Assoc Prof Lesley Stirling



Subject Overview:

This subject explores the diversity and the essential characteristics of the world's languages. It draws on the concepts and methods that students have acquired in their linguistic studies so far to tackle a number of fundamental questions in linguistics: How much to languages differ? What factors underlie these differences? What descriptive systems and analytic tools do we need if we are to do justice to any human language we are interested in understanding and describing? What universals, if any, lie underneath the astounding differences in how languages are organized? How do linguistic systems evolve, and what forces shape the historical changes from one system to another? We will study these questions across a range of linguistic subsystems - e.g., phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, discourse - drawing on case studies from languages around the world and also on complementary evidence from related fields of study. Students will have the opportunity to explore current issues and debates and to address these within a specific language or set of languages.

  • develop an understanding of the diversity of the world's languages;
  • develop skills for the description, analysis and cross-linguistic comparison of the world's languages;
  • develop an appreciation of the key issues in typological research
  • become aware of major controversies and debates concerning language origins, development and diversity

Two assignments 50% (due during the semester) and a final essay or project 50% (due end of semester). The final essay may, by arrangement, be undertaken in groups of up to three.

This subject has the following hurdle requirements:

  • Regular participation in tutorials is required with a minimum of 75% attendance.
  • All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject.

Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10% per day and in-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked.

Prescribed Texts:

A package of readings will be available.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • be able to decipher and master communicative systems very different from their own native system.
  • be able to communicate knowledge intelligibly and economically.
  • have highly developed skills in logical analysis and hypothesis-testing.
Related Course(s): Bachelor of Arts
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
Linguistics and Applied Linguistics

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