• 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

Comparative study of a selected language family (to vary each year): features of the grammar of selected languages of the family; comparative phonology, morphology, syntax, vocabulary; reconstruction of aspects of the proto-language; subgrouping; language change and cultural history. Recent developments and current issues in the historical study of the language family. Methodological issues in describing language change, establishing genetic relation, and reconstructing language prehistory.

The course will serve both to initiate students into the descriptive and comparative study of a particular language family and to consolidate and advance their understanding of the principles of language change and the practice of linguistic reconstruction.

Learning Outcomes

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

On successful completion of this course students should be able to:

  1. identify varieties of the language family based on aspects of their phonology, morphology, and syntax;
  2. assess arguments pertaining to the history and development of the varieties of the language family;
  3. explain the complex attitudes people have to varieties of the languages;
  4. analyse raw linguistic data;
  5. collaborate with other students in the selection and analysis of data for a project on a given variety;
  6. research, present and justify the results of your collaboration with other students with respect to the projects;
  7. reflect on and articulate how your own understanding of language variety and change have developed over the course of the semester.

Other Information

In 2014 the course will examine the so-called Papuan languages, which are the 800 or so languages of Melanesia and surrounding areas (from Timor to the Solomon Islands) which do not belong to the Austronesian family – and which are famed as coming from the most linguistically diverse region on earth. These 800 languages belong to perhaps 45 distinct language families and, in around 1% of the world's land area, exhibit a degree of genetic and typological diversity found for the whole of Eurasia.

This class starts in Week 2.  Assessment and timetabling will be discussed with students.

Indicative Assessment

one 2500-3000 word essay (30%), short critical summaries of 1000 words (20%), presentations (20%), problem sets (10%), group project (20%).

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.


32 contact hours (lectures/tutorials) over the course of the semester.

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have successfully completed LING1001 or LING2001 and either LING1010 or LING2020 or LING2003. Alternatively you may gain permission of the Course Convener to enrol in this course.




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
2016 $2718
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2016 $3876
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.

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
9828 24 Jul 2017 31 Jul 2017 31 Aug 2017 27 Oct 2017 In Person N/A

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