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.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
On successful completion of this course students should be able to:
- identify varieties of the language family based on aspects of their phonology, morphology, and syntax;
- assess arguments pertaining to the history and development of the varieties of the language family;
- explain the complex attitudes people have to varieties of the languages;
- analyse raw linguistic data;
- collaborate with other students in the selection and analysis of data for a project on a given variety;
- research, present and justify the results of your collaboration with other students with respect to the projects;
- reflect on and articulate how your own understanding of language variety and change have developed over the course of the semester.
This is an advanced linguistic course focusing on the Austronesian (AN) language family, with a particular focus on its Oceanic subgroup. Austronesian is the world's largest language family in terms of geographical spread, spanning more than half the globe: from Madagascar to Easter Island, and from Taiwan to New Zealand. This vast and diverse language family is also one of the best documented. It includes both major world languages with millions of speakers, like Indonesian and Tagalog, and tiny Oceanic languages spoken on a remote island with only a couple of hundred speakers. During the course students will learn about features of the grammars 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.
This is a co-taught course. Any cap on enrolments in one course applies to both courses combined.
one 2500-3000 word essay (30%), short critical summaries of 1000 words (20%), presentations (20%), problem sets (10%), group project (20%).
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32 contact hours (lectures/tutorials) over the course of the semester.
Requisite and Incompatibility
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- 6 units
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