• Offered by School of Culture History and Language
  • ANU College ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
  • Course subject Pacific Studies
  • Areas of interest Anthropology, Asian Languages, Linguistics and Applied Linguistics, Pacific Studies
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Mode of delivery In Person

This course provides an introductory overview to the languages of the Pacific, extending from Timor in the west through the island of New Guinea out through Melanesia into Pacific Polynesia. It deals equally with the Austronesian languages which have arrived in the region some three millennia ago and the many Papuan languages whose presence in the region goes back much further in time and which are geographically centred on the island of New Guinea with outliers in Timor, the Moluccas, and the Solomon Islands.

The emphasis is on giving an understanding of these very diverse language structures, an appreciation of the astounding linguistic diversity of the region (containing around a fifth of the world's languages), the way linguistic evidence can help us understand the deep history of the region, the cultural context of language function and structure, and the continuities between traditional languages and the emergent pidgins and creoles of the region (e.g. Tok Pisin, Bislama, Solomons Pijin and Melayu Papua). No previous exposure to linguistics or to Pacific languages is assumed.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

Students completing this course will have:

a) Gained an appreciation of the indigenous languages of the Pacific, their diversity, significance, and cultural embedding, with exposure to both Austronesian and Papuan languages.

b) Have acquired asuitably flexible conceptual framework for the analysis of languages of a very different type to their own, and a basic understanding of the methods linguists use to analyse them

c)The ability to communicate clearly and concisely about linguistic structures and conceptual systems  different from those found in English


Indicative Assessment


Specific language profile for one “adopted” language (30%) [1500 words]

Two transcription and analysis problem/s (30%)  [1500 words equiv.]

Final Essay [individual or group options] (30%)  [1500 words]

 Final Quiz (10%)

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One three- hour meeting per week, taught in mixed lecture/ tutorial mode ( with coffee break in the middle)

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have successfully completed 36 units of any courses.

Preliminary Reading

Evans, Nicholas. 2010. Dying Words. Endangered Languages and What They Have to Tell Us . Wiley Blackwell

Lynch, John. 1998. Pacific Languages: an Introduction, University of Hawaii Press is recommended.




Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Students continuing in their current program of study will have their tuition fees indexed annually from the year in which you commenced your program. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee Description
1994-2003 $1164
2014 $2478
2013 $2472
2012 $2472
2011 $2424
2010 $2358
2009 $2286
2008 $2286
2007 $2286
2006 $2190
2005 $2190
2004 $1926
International fee paying students
Year Fee
1994-2003 $2574
2014 $3246
2013 $3240
2012 $3240
2011 $3240
2010 $3240
2009 $3240
2008 $3240
2007 $3240
2006 $3240
2005 $3234
2004 $2916
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

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There are no current offerings for this course.

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