• Offered by School of Culture History and Language
  • ANU College ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
  • Course subject Pacific Studies
  • Areas of interest Asian Languages, Pacific Studies
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Mode of delivery Online or In Person
  • Co-taught Course
Talking the Pacific: Melanesian pidgins and creoles in social context (PASI1010)

This course introduces students to Melanesian Pidgins and Creoles and the social and political contexts in which they are embedded. The three varieties, which are closely related, are – Tok Pisin (PNG), Pijin (Solomon Islands) and Bislama (Vanuatu) – each is the primary vehicle of communication in the relevant country.  Though generations of recent linguistic evolution have moulded each to the cultural and grammatical cast of local languages, their relatively simple grammars and sound systems makes it possible to attain a good level of fluency in the space of a single-semester course. The course consists of three parts: firstly a strong focus on learning one of the varieties well (the choice may vary from year to year, but will normally be Tok Pisin, the variety with the most speakers) so that by the end of the semester students will have acquired a good level of proficiency in communication, written and other usages of the language; secondly, an understanding of the similarities and differences of the sound systems, vocabularies and grammars of each of the languages; thirdly, an exploration of the emergence and status of Pidgins in Melanesia, the ways in which they are embedded and deployed in contemporary Pacific societies, and their instrumental value in understanding the culture of these societies. As Melanesian pidgins and creoles are primarily oral rather than written languages there is an emphasis on demonstrating oral competency in this course. 

Learning Outcomes

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

1. Demonstrate a good level of oral communication proficiency in the language focussed on: this will be sufficient to discuss topical issues and everyday conversations, and to have a good level of understanding of broadcasts and comparable media

2. Demonstrate proficiency in the grammar and vocabulary of the focussed-on language.

3. Identify differences among the Melanesian pidgins, and in particular in their sound systems through reading and oral comprehension exercises, and be able to use this comparative knowledge as a base to extend their understanding of all three languages

4. Demonstrate an understanding of the emergence of pidgins and creoles, their semantic and conversational embedding in Melanesian culture,  their social and political status and cultural differences in the South West Pacific through exercises in writing and translation, and a final oral and multimedia presentation.

Indicative Assessment

Oral Communication Mid term 10% Final 20% (LO1, 3, 4)

Grammar and vocabulary Mid term 10% Final 10% (LO2, 3, 4)

Reading/Comprehension Mid term 10% Final 10% (LO2, 3)

Writing & Translation Mid term 10% Final 10% (LO2, 4)

Oral Class Presentation 10% (LO1, 4)

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Three hours class time per week and seven hours study and reading time.

Requisite and Incompatibility

You may not enrol in this course if you have previously completed PASI2010 or PASI6010.

Prescribed Texts

Provided on Wattle.



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
2017 $2856
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2017 $4080
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

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