• Offered by School of Culture History and Language
  • ANU College ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
  • Course subject Linguistics
  • Areas of interest Linguistics and Applied Linguistics, Asian Studies, Asia-Pacific Studies
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • Dr Gerda Schokkin
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in First Semester 2015
    See Future Offerings

This is an advanced linguistic course focusing on the Austronesian (AN) language family: features of the grammar of selected languages of the family; comparative phonology, morphology, syntax, vocabulary; reconstruction of aspects of the proto language; language change and cultural history; and recent developments and current typological and theoretical issues in Austronesian linguistics.

The course will serve both to initiate students into the descriptive and comparative historical-typological study of the Austronesian language family, and to consolidate and advance their understanding of the principles of language analysis, linguistic theory and linguistic issues, based on data from the Austronesian languages. Besides providing a general overview of the family, the course will also explore more specifically the structures of a number of under-documented AN languages, from Taiwan to the Philippines, Indonesia and the Pacific.

The weekly sessions will therefore be organized in two strands: (a) the general comparative strand, providing typological and theoretical grounding for the analysis of the similarities and differences of the AN languages, and (b) the language-specific cases illustrating the issues and challenges relevant to a given property. The weekly reading list is also organized in these two strands.

On successful completion of this course, students should be familiar with the salient profiles of AN languages, and be able to do research on a relevant topic, presenting and justifying the analyses and results.

Learning Outcomes

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

On successful completion of the course, students will have the skills and knowledge to:
1. identify the main characteristics of the varieties of the Austronesian language family based on their grammatical/structural aspects, and tackle the most significant publications that address these issues in current typological and theoretical contexts;
2. assess arguments pertaining to the history and typology in relation to the varieties of the Austronesian language family;
3. explain the complex sociolinguistic aspects of the varieties of Austronesian languages;
4. provide an in-depth analysis showing the ability to tackle linguistic problems based on concrete data;
5. undertake research and analysis of data for a selected topic for a given project;
6. collaborate with other students in data analysis, participate in class discussions and provide peer review to fellow students’ work;
7. present and justify the research results of the project with clarity and focus, both orally and in writing.

Indicative Assessment

1. Two problem-sets illustrating linguistic analyses to concrete data (20%, LOs 1,4), with 1-2 pages of data calling for 2-3 pages of analysis.
2. A short critical summary of 1000 words of a journal article, which addresses a significant issue in Austronesian linguistics (15%; LOs 1, 2,3).
3. A 20 minute oral presentation on a selected topic, possibly developed to become a research essay topic (10%; LOs 2,3,5, 6,7).
4. Attendance and participation in class discussions (5%; LOs 6).
5. A research essay, 2000-2500 words, which can either be an original investigation and analysis of some aspect of an Austronesian language, or a comparative study of a particular property across Austronesian languages (50%, including 20% draft, 5% peer-review report, and 25% final revised version; LOs 1,2,3,4,5,6,7).

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.


The workload consists of a total of around 10 hours per week for various activities: 3 contact hours (2 hours lectures and 1 hour tutorial) and around 7 hours for weekly readings, tutorial preparation, and assessment items (problem sets, oral presentation and term paper). Since the course focuses on interactive problem solving, all students are reminded that attendance at lectures, tutorials and seminars is compulsory. The lectures provide them with the background knowledge and skills on the relevant weekly topics; the tutorials provide them with practical exercises and further discussions of problems, issues and crucial points of the lectures. They are expected to do all home assignments (usually in the form of problem sets and basic research), which are assessed to demonstrate their progress in learning and acquiring new knowledge and skills.  Half way through the semester, they will also need to dedicate at least 3 hours per week to prepare for their report writing, oral presentation and term paper.

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have completed LING2010 and LING2003

Prescribed Texts

Blust, Robert. 2013. The Austronesian languages (the revised edition). Canberra: Asia-Pacific Linguistics

Preliminary Reading

Adelaar, Alexander. 2005. The Austronesian languages of Asia and Madagascar: A historical perspective. In The Austronesian languages of Asia and Madagascar, ed. by Alexander Adelaar and Nikolaus P. Himmelmann, 1-42. London and New York: Routledge.

Himmelmann, Nikolaus P. 2005. The Austronesian languages of Asia and Madagascar: Typological characteristics. In The Austronesian languages of Asia and Madagascar, ed. by Alexander Adelaar and Nikolaus P. Himmelmann, 110-181. London and New York: Routledge

Assumed Knowledge

The course assumes that the students have basic understanding of linguistics.




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. Tuition fees are indexed annually. 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
2015 $2604
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2015 $3576
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.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

First Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
3488 16 Feb 2015 06 Mar 2015 31 Mar 2015 29 May 2015 In Person N/A

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