Linguistics is the study of language in all its aspects, including its structure and diversity, how it changes and evolves, how people learn and make use of it to communicate, and how it is implicated in relations of power.
This major will give you an insight into the most fundamental of all human faculties, develops strong analytical skills and provides a foundation for work in many areas.
- Language assessment
- Translation and interpretation
Subjects you could take in this major
This subject involves the main components of communicative events across cultures, the main linguistic approaches to analysing them, how they vary in a range of cultures from around the world, and the difficulties and misunderstandings these differences create in inter-cultural communication. Specific topics include language and culture, ethnography of communication, greetings and address terms, conversation analysis, language and identity, socialization, narrative enquiry and body language. Topics will be illustrated with case studies of different speech communities from around the world, such as French, Russian, Japanese, Chinese, Anglo-Australian and Aboriginal Australian.
Have you ever wondered how language actually works? Or how it can be that a 6 year-old child can know more about their native language than the most sophisticated computers? This subject is a practical introduction to the nature of human language which gives a conceptual framework for discussing language and provides the tools required to analyse and describe all of the world's 6000+ languages. Central areas of linguistics will be covered using data from languages from all over the world, including speech sounds, word structure, sentence structure, meaning, language learning, and language change.
This subject is a detailed examination of the major elements of English grammar using principles of linguistic analysis. Students learn to identify and describe the main morphological and syntactic constructions in English including parts of speech, basic sentence structure, tense, aspect, clause type, negation, complex sentences, thematic systems, ellipsis, coordination, and the relations between sentences in discourse.
This subject examines the role of language in media texts using approaches developed through the field of linguistics and applied linguistics. Using digitised video clips, the subject explores the relationships between aural and visual elements in media texts using a variety of analytical techniques. Semiotics is a major focus of the subject, and other topics include the role of media in discourse, media literacy and cross-cultural communication.
This subject develops an appreciation of the role of language in Aboriginal Australia, traditionally and today. On completion of the subject, students should have a general knowledge of the linguistic features which characterise Australian Aboriginal languages, including characteristics of grammar and pronunciation, and understand the ways in which social factors affect language structure and use in Aboriginal Australia.
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.
This subject involves the study of the sound distinctions occurring in human languages, such as basic articulatory, acoustic and auditory phonetics. Students should develop skills in perceiving, articulating, and transcribing speech sounds. Students should also learn how to interpret sound spectrograms and how acoustic phonetic techniques can be used to supplement traditional phonetic transcription.
This subject considers how a second language is acquired, what factors explain why only some learners are successful in learning a second language, and how to best teach a second language. We begin by looking at a range of theories which present different perspectives on the process of second language acquisition. We then consider individual factors that may affect success in second language acquisition. These factors include age, aptitude, motivation and learning strategies. We examine approaches to second language instruction, focusing on the four macro skills of speaking, listening, reading and writing. Students are encouraged to reflect upon their own language learning experiences and explain these experiences by reference to the topics covered in the subject.
This subject is an introduction to basic concepts and methods of syntactic analysis and description. Emphasis is on practical analysis and description of a wide range of phenomena from a variety of languages. Students should become familiar with topics such as constituent structure, syntactic categories, grammatical functions (interface with morphology), thematic relations (interface with semantics), word order, multi-clausal constructions, including complement clauses, relative clauses and clause linking, and unbounded dependencies.
This subject examines the role of language in computer-mediated communication (CMC). It introduces students to a range of theoretical issues, with reference to both interpersonal and group interactions, and discusses distinctive research methodologies that are associated with CMC. In this subject, we see the Internet as an interactive medium of communication as we explore how CMC operates in diverse social, cultural and linguistic areas. We cover topics that include language expression, online relationships, virtual worlds, CMC discourse and second language learning.
This subject involves the study of language from pragmatic and discourse analytic perspectives. It will include topics such as: the collection and transcription of spoken language data, speech act theory, conversational implicature, deixis and perspective, conversation analysis and other approaches to discourse analysis such as interactional sociolinguistics, critical discourse analysis, and discourse and grammar. Students will learn how to design a small research project in discourse analysis and will have many opportunities to study samples of real-life language use from different perspectives.
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.
This subject is an overview of some principal issues in first language acquisition, including children's language development (from pre-speech onwards), grammatical, semantic and pragmatic development, and the continued development of language through the school years. The variability and individual differences in relation to current theoretical models of language acquisition and cognitive and social development will also be examined. Focus is on the acquisition of English, but cross-cultural material will be included for comparison.
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.
This subject examines the relationship between language and society in Europe. It focuses on issues of relevance in an increasingly integrated Europe in which European and other languages are in contact through migration, travel, business, and mass media, and in which English is taking on an important role as a lingua franca. The topics to be covered include: the relationship between majority and minority languages, dialects and the standard language; bilingualism and multilingualism; semi-communication; language planning at state and European levels; politeness and forms of address; and the status and influence of English.
Morphology is the study of word structure and word formation. We examine the nature of this area by looking at the diversity and uniformity found in the morphological systems of a wide variety of the world's languages. Theories of morphology are critically discussed and compared. We also consider the interface relationships between morphology and other areas of grammar, in particular syntax and phonology.
This subject is an introduction to descriptive and theoretical approaches to the analysis of sound systems across languages. and different approaches to phonology, training in formal phonological analysis, and the development of phonological theory until the present.
This subject is an introduction to the study of meaning, looking at the main linguistic approaches to the study of meaning, techniques of semantic analysis and argumentation, and problems of accounting for some selected areas of linguistic meaning. Topics include classical approaches to meaning, prototype semantics, cognitive linguistics, formal semantics and linguistic categorisation across languages.