• Offered by School of Culture History and Language
  • ANU College ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
  • Classification Transitional
  • Course subject Pacific Studies
  • Areas of interest Anthropology, Asian Languages, Linguistics and Applied Linguistics, Pacific Studies
  • Academic career PGRD
  • 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 te 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 a suitably 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


Other Information

The course is offered in semi-itensive mode and runs over 9 weeks, from week 5 of second semester.

Indicative Assessment

Specific language profile for one “adopted” language (30%) [2000 words]

Two transcription and analysis problems (30%) [1500 words equiv.]

Final Essay [individual or group options] (30%) [2000 words]

Final Quiz (10%)

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


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

Requisite and Incompatibility

You may not enrol in this course if you have previously completed PASI2020.

You will need to contact the School of Culture History and Language to request a permission code to enrol in this course.

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 $1218
2014 $2808
2013 $2808
2012 $2808
2011 $2778
2010 $2718
2009 $2670
2008 $2592
2007 $2298
2006 $2190
2005 $2190
2004 $1926
International fee paying students
Year Fee
1994-2003 $3402
2014 $3942
2013 $3942
2012 $3942
2011 $3942
2010 $3942
2009 $3816
2008 $3816
2007 $3816
2006 $3816
2005 $3816
2004 $3816
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

There are no current offerings for this course.

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions