• Class Number 5115
  • Term Code 3160
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Catherine Travis
    • Dr Minna Korhonen
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 26/07/2021
  • Class End Date 29/10/2021
  • Census Date 14/09/2021
  • Last Date to Enrol 02/08/2021
    • Elena Sheard
SELT Survey Results

Do we see our world through the language we speak or does everyone see the world in the same way? Are all languages equal? What does it mean to speak a dialect of a language? What is language variation? How do we show our identity through language? This course surveys the main concepts and methods used to analyse language within different social settings. Concepts will be illustrated by current and topical examples. Students will also have an opportunity to observe language in its social context.

Language and Society (LING6002) is important for anyone who wants to understand the way in which languages function in society. It is an introductory course designed to enable students to acquire an understanding of the different concepts and methods used to analyse language within different social settings. It provides students with the basic skills for carrying out research into language in society. Issues covered will include collecting, describing and interpreting sociolinguistic data and reporting research findings. Students will be given an opportunity to carry out their own sociolinguistic survey.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. understand the key drivers in language variation and change, in particular social factors such as age, gender, ethnicity, network and socio-economic status;
  2. critically evaluate various sociolinguistic theories and research;
  3. think about, write and present an argument using evidence and results from sociolinguistic research; and
  4. critically evaluate recent articles in contemporary sociolinguistic journals.

Research-Led Teaching

The three staff involved in this course are all engaged in sociolinguistic research, and elements of their research will be incorporated throughout the course.

Catherine Travis leads the Sydney Speaks project, examining variation and change in Australian English and looking at the impact of age, gender, social class and ethnicity on patterns of language use, at the phonetic, morphosyntactic and discourse levels.

Minna Korhonen is a sociolinguist, with two main areas of research: language variation and change in regional Australian English in real and apparent time, and corpus-based studies of parliamentary discourse in varieties of English in the Pacific.

Elena Sheard is currently completing her PhD on the Sydney Speaks project, conducting a lifespan study - examining the speech of teenagers recorded in the 1970s and then re-recorded as adults in the 2010s, to study how that has changed over time in relation to changes in Australian English more broadly.

Required Resources

Text book: Introducing sociolinguistics. Meyerhoff, Miriam. 2015 (3rd edition) Oxon/New York: Routledge.

(Available as an ebook, through the ANU library)

Other reading will be made available through the Wattle site.

Staff Feedback

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

  • written comments
  • verbal comments
  • feedback to whole class, groups, individuals.

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
2 Variation and Change / Style
3 Real and apparent time
4 Gender and social class
5 Language variation and change in Australia Assessment task 1: In class quiz
6 Attitudes
7 Networks and communities of practice
8 Interaction
9 Politeness Assessment task 2: Report on language perceptions survey
10 Multilingualism and language choice
11 Language contact
12 Summary

Tutorial Registration

It will be necessary to sign up for tutorials; signup will be available on the Wattle site from Monday 19 July.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
In-class quiz 10 % 24/08/2021 31/08/2021 1
Report on language perceptions survey 30 % 04/10/2021 18/10/2021 1, 3, 4
Essay 40 % 08/11/2021 22/11/2021 1, 2, 3, 4
Tutorial participation 20 % * * 1, 2

* 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 Academic Integrity . 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.


Students must attend or listen online to the lectures.

Students must attend and participate in the tutorials (in person for the in-person tutorials and on-line for the on-line tutorials). Participation includes speaking in small groups and to the whole class group regularly.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 24/08/2021
Return of Assessment: 31/08/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1

In-class quiz

Online quiz on Wattle; 20 multiple-choice questions, based on lectures and reading from weeks 1–4; conducted during the tutorial in Week 5.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 04/10/2021
Return of Assessment: 18/10/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1, 3, 4

Report on language perceptions survey

A report to a sociolinguistic survey (available through the Sydney Speaks App), based on responses you have collected combined with those of your classmates summarising relevant patterns observed (1,500 words).

Assessment Task 3

Value: 40 %
Due Date: 08/11/2021
Return of Assessment: 22/11/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4


An essay on one of the topics covered in this course, drawing on relevant literature and providing illustrative examples (2,200 words); due during the exam period.

Assessment Task 4

Value: 20 %
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2

Tutorial participation

Tutorial tasks consisting of: (1) general preparation for, and engagement in, tutorial discussion; (2) posting comments and leading a class discussion on your post; and (3) preparing a written summary from that class discussion (1,000 words).

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

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, 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 on the Wattle site.

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).

Catherine Travis

Research Interests

Sociolinguistics, language variation and change, language contact, bilingualism, Spanish, Australian English

Catherine Travis

By Appointment
Dr Minna Korhonen

Research Interests

Dr Minna Korhonen

By Appointment
Elena Sheard

Research Interests

Elena Sheard

By Appointment

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