• Offered by School of Literature, Languages and Linguistics
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Classification Advanced
  • Course subject Linguistics
  • Areas of interest Asian Languages, European Languages, Linguistics and Applied Linguistics, Translation Studies, Language Studies

Meaning is what language is all about, and the study of meaning across languages is a central part of linguistics. Semantic typology compares meanings expressed by words, phrases and grammatical constructions across the world's languages. Its major focus is establishing how languages differ and what they share, as well as developing frameworks for studying commonality and diversity in meaning.

Bringing together ANU's distinctive traditions in both semantics and typology, and building on its world-class standing in both areas, this advanced-level course will broaden and deepen students’ understanding of semantic diversity, semantic universals, and the challenge of studying meanings across languages, cultures and domains. By linking the study of meaning with what John Locke called “human understanding” and with an interest in peoples, languages and cultures across time and space, this course will equip students with high-level knowledge and skills to think critically about meaning, to develop precise tools for analysing cross-linguistic and cross-cultural differences in how the world is conceived, to conduct cutting-edge research in the fast-growing field of semantic typology, and to explain and translate meanings and ideas across a range of professional settings and contexts.

A wide range of semantic domains are explored. Topics include  general issues in developing comparative cross-linguistic frameworks; methodological issues in studying meaning across languages and domains; cross-linguistic semantics and lexicography; and diversity in semantics and argument structures across languages.

Learning Outcomes

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

Upon successful completion of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
  1. explain general issues in linguistic typology, and fundamental methodological issues in comparing meaning across languages;
  2. critically evaluate data, tools, methods and findings in research on semantic typology;
  3. conduct systematic and detailed comparison of lexical, phrasal and grammatical meanings across different languages and domains ;
  4. relate semantic typology to research in other disciplines, such as psychology, anthropology and philosophy; and
  5. exercise high-level critical thinking and judgement in identifying biases in approaches to cross-linguistic comparison.

Indicative Assessment

Critique of a selected publication, 1500 words (20%) Learning outcomes 1, 2, 5
Data Analysis, 1200 words (excluding data) (20%) Learning outcome 3
Research Project, 3000 words (50%) Learning outcomes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Class Participation (10%) Learning outcomes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

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. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


130 hours of total student learning time made up from:
a) 36 hours of contact over 12 weeks of seminars and seminar-like activities; and
b) 94 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have completed LING6001, and one of the following courses: LING6003, LING6008, LING6015 or LING6020, or with permission of the convener. You are not able to enrol in this course if you have previously completed LING3035.


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2022 $3840
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2022 $5700
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
8018 22 Jul 2024 29 Jul 2024 31 Aug 2024 25 Oct 2024 In Person View

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