Subject MULT10015 (2012)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2012.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 1 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2012:

Semester 1, 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: Two 1-hour lectures and a 1-hour tutorial per week; and a 1-hour skills workshop in each of weeks 2, 3, 4 and 6, 7, 8.
Total Time Commitment:

Total Time Commitment: 3 contact hours/week, 5 additional hours/week. Total of 8 hours per week.

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 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:


Prof Tim Mcnamara


Subject Overview:

This subject provides students with a cross-disciplinary introduction to human language which allows for reflection on its nature and myriad aspects from a range of perspectives. It explores a number of paradoxes involved in language, including the following: languages create representations of the world, and creative uses of language form new and unexpected insights (e.g. in poetry and in scientific hypotheses), but language can also be used to prevent understanding (e.g. in propaganda); language makes thinking possible, but also constrains it; language is an intricately complex system, yet children acquire it rapidly; languages bind social and cultural groups, but they also divide them; each language has its own specialised machinery, but translation is possible; language is an important factor in identity, and plays a role in the history of groups and nations, but this complicates our learning of new languages and our interaction with different groups; language is the major vehicle of every situation of learning, formal or informal, but it is also the means of analysis and critique. The subject will allow students to develop insights into these paradoxical features of language, and how they constrain and enable individual consciousness, face-to-face interaction, and social life more broadly.

  • Develop a general understanding of the nature of human language;
  • Have begun to develop skills for describing and analyzing languages;
  • Have gained a conceptual framework for thinking about and discussing language and its intricacies within different cultures and societies.


A Bibliographic Exercise due in Week 4 (250 words, 10%), a Critical Analysis Exercise due in Week 6 (750 words, 20%) an Essay due in Week 9 (1500 words, 35%) and an Exam during the Examination Period (1.5 hours, 35%).

This subject has a minimum hurdle requirement of 75% tutorial attendance and 75% skills workshop attendance. Regular participation in tutorials is required. Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10% per day. All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject.

Prescribed Texts:


Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • Critical thinking and analysis through recommended reading, essay writing and tutorial discussion.
  • Research through competent use of the library and other information sources, and the definition of areas of inquiry and methods of research.
  • Engagement with the methodologies of the humanities and social sciences.
  • Critical self-awareness, being open to new ideas and possibilities through learning how to construct an argument.
  • Communicating knowledge and arguments intelligibly and economically through essay writing and tutorial discussion.
  • Ability to assess the strength of an argument through recommended reading, essay writing and tutorial discussion.
  • Time management and planning through managing and organising workloads for recommended reading, essay and assignment completion.

Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Arts Foundation Subjects

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