• Class Number 4658
  • Term Code 3030
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Dr Nicholas Evans
    • Dr Bruno Olsson
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 24/02/2020
  • Class End Date 05/06/2020
  • Census Date 08/05/2020
  • Last Date to Enrol 02/03/2020
SELT Survey Results

This 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. The course will serve both to initiate students into the descriptive and comparative typological study of the Papuan languages and to consolidate and advance their understanding of the principles of language analysis and linguistic theory based on the data from the Papuan languages. It will run along two tracks: (i) a language-specific track, where we will gain in-depth familiarity with one Papuan language (choice will vary from year to year), and (ii) a broad survey of the nature of Papuan languages and the special analytic challenges that they raise for all areas of linguistic science, from phonetics/phonology through morphosyntax and semantics to studies of multilingualism, typology and the mechanisms that create linguistic diversity.

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. Recognise linguistic characteristics and analyse problems raised by Papuan languages, the most significant publications tackling these issues, and their genetic and typological diversity
2. Assess arguments pertaining to the typology, history and theoretical analysis of selected issues found in Papuan languages 
3. Analyse raw linguistic data from Papuan languages
4. Create an in-depth, synthetic analysis of how one Papuan language works, with the ability to parse, analyse and understand texts in the language with the help of a glossary
5. Evaluate their own linguistic analysis of a Papuan language within its broader typological, theoretical and/or historical context
6. Collaborate with other students in the selection and analysis of data for a project on a given variety
7. Research, present and justify the results of their collaboration with other students with respect to the project

Staff Feedback

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

  • written comments
  • verbal comments
  • feedback to whole class, groups, individuals, focus group etc

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.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Introduction to Papuan languages
2 Phonology
3 Nominals and nominal classification
4 Architecture of the verb
5 Semantics and the lexicon
6 Tense, aspect, mood
7 Papuan sign languages
8 Ritual language; language contact
9 Epistemicity and evidentiality
10 Complex syntax
11 Papuan historical linguistics
12 Diversity as a problem; prospectus for Papuanistics

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Data problem 15 % 20/03/2020 31/03/2020 1, 3, 4
Morphological analysis 15 % 03/04/2020 17/04/2020 1, 3, 4
Analysis of a Coastal Marind text 15 % 24/04/2020 08/05/2020 1, 3, 4
Class presentation 15 % * * 1, 2, 3, 5, 6
Research essay 40 % 05/06/2020 25/06/2020 1, 2, 3, 5, 6

* 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. In rare cases where online submission using Turnitin software is not technically possible; or where not using Turnitin software has been justified by the Course Convener and approved by the Associate Dean (Education) on the basis of the teaching model being employed; students shall submit assessment online via ‘Wattle’ outside of Turnitin, or failing that in hard copy, or through a combination of submission methods as approved by the Associate Dean (Education). The submission method is detailed below.

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.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 15 %
Due Date: 20/03/2020
Return of Assessment: 31/03/2020
Learning Outcomes: 1, 3, 4

Data problem

Data problem with analysis and morphemic segmentation of an unknown Papuan language.

5% penalty per working day for late submission.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 15 %
Due Date: 03/04/2020
Return of Assessment: 17/04/2020
Learning Outcomes: 1, 3, 4

Morphological analysis

Morphological analysis of data from Coastal Marind.

5% penalty per working day for late submission.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 15 %
Due Date: 24/04/2020
Return of Assessment: 08/05/2020
Learning Outcomes: 1, 3, 4

Analysis of a Coastal Marind text

Each student provides morphemic segmentation, analysis and commentary for a segment of a Coastal Marind text.

5% penalty per working day for late submission.

Assessment Task 4

Value: 15 %
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 5, 6

Class presentation

Each student will give a short presentation (ca 10 minutes) outlining the topic for their research essay (see Task 5) and any preliminary results.

Presentation slot will be made available in weeks 11 and 12 (i.e. 20/21 or 27/28 May).

Assessment Task 5

Value: 40 %
Due Date: 05/06/2020
Return of Assessment: 25/06/2020
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 5, 6

Research essay

The essay presents a small typological study using data from a sample of Papuan language. The topic should be chosen in consultation with the lecturers.

Word limit is 2,500–3,000 words, excluding bibliography and, optionally, an appendix where you list languages or provide important data that you didn't have space for in the main text. Use proper referencing, in the usual linguistics style (i.e. APA). Make sure that any examples are properly interlinearised (ideally following the Leipzig Glossing Rules), that they're not interrupted by page breaks, and that all non-standard abbreviations are listed somewhere.

5% penalty per working day for late submission.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically, committing to honest and responsible scholarly practice and upholding these values with respect and fairness.

The ANU commits to assisting all members of our community to 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 be familiar with the academic integrity principle and Academic Misconduct Rule, 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 Academic Misconduct Rule is in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Very minor breaches of the academic integrity principle may result in a reduction of marks of up to 10% of the total marks available for the assessment. The ANU offers a number of online and in person services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. Visit the Academic Skills website for more information about academic integrity, your responsibilities and for assistance with your assignments, writing skills and study.

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) 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

Individual assessment tasks may or may not allow for late submission. Policy regarding late submission is detailed below:

  • Late submission permitted. 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.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. Extensions may be granted 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.

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 Nicholas Evans
02 6125 3207

Research Interests

Dr Nicholas Evans

By Appointment
Dr Bruno Olsson

Research Interests

Dr Bruno Olsson

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions