• Class Number 4328
  • Term Code 2930
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Dr Carmel O'Shannessy
    • Dr Carmel O'Shannessy
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 25/02/2019
  • Class End Date 31/05/2019
  • Census Date 31/03/2019
  • Last Date to Enrol 04/03/2019
SELT Survey Results

One of the most remarkable properties of humans is that we acquire a very complex linguistic interactional system early in life. Along the way, children make adjustments to how they produce utterances and interpret what they hear. Understanding out how we do this takes us on a fascinating journey, visiting research highlights that speak to the core of human cognition and social interaction. What psycholinguistic processes explain an utterance such as "Nail polish me!" or "We holded the baby  rabbits"? What conclusions can we draw about what is universal in language development versus what is language or culture specific? Do children always imitate their care-givers or do they bring innovations into a language? We will explore the development of language abilities from several perspectives, including unilingual and multilingual contexts, and across languages of different types, drawing on differing theoretical approaches.

Learning Outcomes

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

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. assess the level of language ability for a young child by listening to naturally occurring examples of young children talking;
  2. explain, and argue for, how children learn their first language in terms of phonology, morphosyntax, semantics, interaction and caretaker’s input;
  3. critically evaluate various language acquisition theories;
  4. think about, write and present an argument using evidence and results from previous child language research; and
  5. critically summarise child language acquisition readings.

Required Resources

Required textbook:

For sale in the Bookshop, on reserve in the Chifley library and available as an e-book.

Rowland, Caroline (2014) Understanding child language acquisition. London and New York: Routledge

References for required readings:

See Wattle for detail

Useful electronic library resources:



  • Clark, Eve. (2003, 2010). First Language Acquisition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Hoff, Erika. (2005, 2009). Language Development. Wadsworth: Cengage Learning.
  • Owens, Robert E. (2008 (1996)). Language development. Boston / New York: Pearson.
  • Tessier, Anne-Michelle. (2015). Phonological acquisition: Child language and constraint-based grammar: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • de Houwer, Annick. (2009). Bilingual first language acquisition. Bristol / Buffalo / Toronto: Multilingual Matters.
  • Paradis, Johanne, Genesee, Fred, & Crago, Martha. (2011). Dual language development and disorders: A handbook on bilingualism and second language learning. Baltimore: Paul Brooks Publishing.

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:

  • Written comments
  • Verbal comments
  • Feedback to the whole class

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Other Information

Reading for the course:

See Wattle for week by week detail.

Referencing requirements:

Use APA referencing for coursework. An online guide is available here.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Lecture: See Wattle for week by week detail See details on Wattle

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Tutorial tasks 10 % 31/05/2019 21/06/2019 1, 2
Phonological analysis of a child’s language production 20 % 25/03/2019 16/04/2019 1, 2, 4
Morphosyntactic analysis of a child’s language production 20 % 29/04/2019 20/05/2019 1, 2, 4
Major essay 50 % 03/06/2019 24/06/2019 2, 3, 4

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using 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. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website. Students may choose not to submit assessment items through Turnitin. In this instance you will be required to submit, alongside the assessment item itself, hard copies of all references included in the assessment item.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.


There is no examination for this course.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 31/05/2019
Return of Assessment: 21/06/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2

Tutorial tasks

Assessment Task 1: Tutorial tasks

Details of task: See assignment handout on Wattle; and participate in tutorial discussions

Assessment rubric & criteria for assessment: See assignment handout on Wattle

Word limit: 200 - 300 words per wiki post

Value: 10%

Submission of post and in-class discussion: In tutorial, as signed up

Estimated return date: Approximately 3 weeks following submission

Assessment Task 2

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 25/03/2019
Return of Assessment: 16/04/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 4

Phonological analysis of a child’s language production

Assessment Task 2: Phonological analysis of a child’s language production

Details of task: See assignment handout on Wattle

Assessment rubric & criteria for assessment: See assignment handout on Wattle

Word limit LING6521: 750 words

Value LING6521: 20%

Submission: Monday, March 25, 9am - Submit via Turnitin link

Estimated return date: Approximately 3 weeks following submission

Assessment Task 3

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 29/04/2019
Return of Assessment: 20/05/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 4

Morphosyntactic analysis of a child’s language production

Assessment Task 3: Morphosyntactic analysis of a child’s language production

Details of task: See assignment handout on Wattle

Assessment rubric & criteria for assessment: See assignment handout on Wattle

Word limit LING6521: 750 words

Value LING6521: 20%

Submission: Monday, April 29, 9am - Submit via Turnitin link

Estimated return date: Approximately 3 weeks following submission

Assessment Task 4

Value: 50 %
Due Date: 03/06/2019
Return of Assessment: 24/06/2019
Learning Outcomes: 2, 3, 4

Major essay

Assessment Task 4: Major essay

Details of task: See assignment handout on Wattle

Assessment rubric & criteria for assessment: See assignment handout on Wattle

Word limit LING6521: 3000 words

Value LING6521: 50%

Submission: Major essay due Monday, June 3, 9am

Estimated return date: With release of final results

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of our culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically. This means that all members of the community commit to honest and responsible scholarly practice and to upholding these values with respect and fairness. The Australian National University commits to embedding the values of academic integrity in our teaching and learning. We ensure that all members of our community understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with. The University has policies and procedures in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Visit the following Academic honesty & plagiarism website for more information about academic integrity and what the ANU considers academic misconduct. The ANU offers a number of services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. The Academic Skills and Learning Centre offers a number of workshops and seminars that you may find useful for your studies.

Online Submission

You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) as submission must be through Turnitin.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Returning Assignments

Assignments will be returned via Turnitin.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. The Course Convener may grant extensions for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Resubmission of Assignments

Students may not resubmit assignments.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information.
In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service – including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy.
If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes.

Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).

Dr Carmel O'Shannessy

Research Interests

Child language acquisition, language contact, mixed languages, language creation, Australian languages, endangered languages, sociolinguistics, bilingualism, Warlpiri, Light Warlpiri

Dr Carmel O'Shannessy

Thursday 14:00 15:00
Thursday 14:00 15:00
Dr Carmel O'Shannessy

Research Interests

Dr Carmel O'Shannessy

Thursday 14:00 15:00
Thursday 14:00 15:00

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