• Class Number 4061
  • Term Code 3230
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In-Person and Online
    • Dr Bethwyn Evans
    • Dr Bethwyn Evans
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 21/02/2022
  • Class End Date 27/05/2022
  • Census Date 31/03/2022
  • Last Date to Enrol 28/02/2022
SELT Survey Results

This course is an introduction to historical linguistics, and how the study of linguistic histories informs our more general understanding of the history of Asia and the Pacific – particularly when we go back beyond the reach of written records. Asia and the Pacific form the linguistically most diverse area in the world, and past and present societies across the two regions are typically identified by the kind of languages they speak. The course explores the status and internal diversity of a number of different language groupings, including language families such as Sino-Tibetan, Austroasiatic, Tai-Kadai and Austronesian, linguistic areas such as India and Mainland Southeast Asia, and languages whose historical connections remain debated, such as Japanese and Korean, and it considers what language histories can tell us about the non-linguistic histories of Asia-Pacific societies. The course aims to introduce students to the basic principles and methods of historical linguistics, including processes of language change and language contact, as well as the ways in which linguistic development reflects socio-cultural change. We will use language history as a starting point for broader discussions that incorporate research from anthropology, archaeology and population genetics, asking how the different disciplines tell similar or different stories about the Asia-Pacific past.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of and evaluate current models and theories of using language to recover the past
  2. Analyse linguistic data using methods of historical linguistics
  3. Critically assess and evaluate research on specific language history scenarios
  4. Reflect on and articulate how language histories interact with research from related disciplines
  5. Construct well-supported arguments in support of different perspectives on language histories.

Staff Feedback

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

  • Written comments in individual assessment items
  • Verbal comments in classes to the whole class, small group and 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 Perspectives on the Asia-Pacific past weeks 1-4
2 Case study 1: Island Southeast Asia weeks 5
3 Case Study 2: The Pacific week 6
4 Case Study 3: New Guinea week 7
5 Case Study 4: Wallacea Week 8
6 Case Study 5: Mainland Southeast Asia week 9
7 Case Study 6: East Asia week 10
8 Case Study 7: South Asia week 11
9 Windows on the human past week 12

Tutorial Registration

This course has a single tutorial time, and so there is no need to register for tutorials.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Online quizzes 5 % * * 1, 3, 4
Tutorial Participation 10 % * * 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Assignment 1 15 % 09/03/2022 21/03/2022 1, 3, 4, 5
Assignment 2 15 % 30/03/2022 11/04/2022 1, 2, 3
Research Project 55 % 08/06/2022 30/06/2022 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

* 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.


Students are expected to participate in seminar and tutorial classes, the content of which are aimed at preparing students for the different assessment items. Students are specifically assessed on tutorial participation, which is based on in-class participation and submitted preparation for tutorial classes. Further details are provided on the course Wattle site.


This course does not have an exam.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 5 %
Learning Outcomes: 1, 3, 4

Online quizzes

Students are expected to complete a short online quiz each week that relates to the week's course reading. Quizzes are to be completed by Tuesday 12:30pm each week. See the course Wattle site for more details.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 10 %
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Tutorial Participation

Students are expected to prepare for all tutorials, following the instructions for each tutorial task which can be found under the relevant week on the course Wattle site. Tutorial participation marks are based on students' in-class participation and the submission of tutorial preparation; further details of this are provided on the course Wattle site.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 15 %
Due Date: 09/03/2022
Return of Assessment: 21/03/2022
Learning Outcomes: 1, 3, 4, 5

Assignment 1

Assignment 1 is 500-word critical assessment of an academic article. Detailed instructions are on the Wattle site.

Assessment Task 4

Value: 15 %
Due Date: 30/03/2022
Return of Assessment: 11/04/2022
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3

Assignment 2

Assignment 2 involves historical analysis of lingusitic data using methods learnt in classes. Detailed instructions are on the Wattle site.

Assessment Task 5

Value: 55 %
Due Date: 08/06/2022
Return of Assessment: 30/06/2022
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Research Project

The Research Project is to be completed in three parts over the course of the semester. Part 1, a topic proposal and annotated bibliography, is worth 5% and due in week 7. Part 2 is to participate in round-table discussion based on an 800-word article critique, which is worth 20% and due in week 11. Part 3 is a 3,000-word essay worth 30% and due in the exam period. Detailed instructions are on the Wattle site.

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

The ANU uses 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. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) submission must be through Turnitin. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.

All assessment items for this course are to be submitted electronically. Please keep a copy of your assessment items for your records.

Hardcopy Submission

None of the assessment for this course is to be submitted as hard copies.

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.

Extensions must be requested in writing with appropriate supporting documentation 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.

Late submission is not accepted for the online quizzes or submitted tutorial preparation.

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

For online quizzes, marks and feedback are provided online after the quiz deadline, and further feedback is provided verbally in the associated class. For submitted tutorial preparation marks are provided through Turnitin, and feedback is provided in the associated class. For all other assessment items marks and feedback are provided through Turnitin, and additional verbal feedback may be given in associated classes.

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

Resubmission of assessment items is not accepted.

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 Bethwyn Evans
02 6125 3207

Research Interests

  • Historical linguistics and the ways in which language can be used as one way to investigate the human past
  • Austronesian and Papuan languages of New Guinea and Island Melanesia

Dr Bethwyn Evans

By Appointment
By Appointment
Dr Bethwyn Evans
02 6125 3207

Research Interests

Dr Bethwyn Evans

By Appointment
By Appointment

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