Language, Society and Culture

Subject LING20010 (2015)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2015.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 2 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2015:

Semester 2, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 27-Jul-2015 to 25-Oct-2015
Assessment Period End 20-Nov-2015
Last date to Self-Enrol 07-Aug-2015
Census Date 31-Aug-2015
Last date to Withdraw without fail 25-Sep-2015

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

Total of 170 hours.





Recommended Background Knowledge:

Some familiarity with the IPA and basic linguistic concepts. Contact the lecturer for recommended reading if you have no linguistics background.

Non Allowed Subjects:

Formerly available as 175-219/319, 175-019 Language & Society and 672-398 Language, Society and Culture. Students who have completed these subjects 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 Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry.The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:


Dr Peter Hurst


Subject Overview:

This subject examines how social and cultural factors influence language, and the role language plays in structuring and representing social categories across cultures. It examines how culture and language shape each other: how language represents and enables culture, and how cultures influence the form individual languages take. Specific topics to be covered include socially determined variation in language styles and registers. language varieties reflecting social class, gender and ethnic group. factors affecting language choice such as, bi- and multi-lingualism, as well as the relation between language, culture and thought and universalist versus relativist, views of language. Students will also study changes in language status over time.

Learning Outcomes:

Students who complete this subject will:

  • Attain in-depth knowledge of how social factors influence language
  • Engage with debates around sociolinguistic research methodology
  • Deepen their understanding of social and cultural diversity through problematizing language use across different social and cultural practices.
  • Broaden and apply research skills utilizing a variety of primary and electronic sources, and develop awareness of intellectual integrity and research ethics in sociolinguistic research
  • Further hone writing abilities across a variety of text types and multimodal presentation skills
  • Participate in individual and group-based data-related activities within and outside the classroom

  • Review of research article due in week 4 [20%]
  • Major Project outline + sample analysis due in week 7 [10%]
  • Test in week 9 [30%]
  • Major project due during the examination period [30%]
  • Participation and engagement throughout semester [10%]

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:
  • Textbook: Meyerhoff, Miriam. 2011. Introducing Sociolinguistics, 2nd Edition. London/New York: Routledge.
Recommended Texts:

  • Reader: Meyerhoff, Miriam & Erik Schleef. 2010. The Routledge Sociolinguistics Reader. London/New York: Routledge.
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:
  • have developed the ability to form judgments from conflicting evidence.
  • have developed an openness to new ideas and possibilities.
  • have improved their oral and written communication skills.
  • have developed their ability to step outside their own language and culture.
Related Course(s): Bachelor of Arts(Media and Communications)
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Anthropology
English Language - 200 Point Program
English Language Studies
European Studies
Language Testing - 200 Point Program
Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
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 in its social and cultural context

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