• Offered by School of Literature, Languages and Linguistics
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject Linguistics
  • Areas of interest Asian Languages, European Languages, Linguistics and Applied Linguistics, Translation Studies, Language Studies
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course

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 apply the knowledge acquired to a range of professional settings and contexts. A wide range of semantic domains are explored across a diverse range of languages, including indigenous languages of Australia and the Pacific, as well as Asian and European Languages. 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:

  1. explain general issues in linguistic typology, and basic methodological issues in comparing meaning across languages;
  2. critically evaluate data, tools, methods and findings in research on semantic typology;
  3. systematically compare lexical, phrasal and grammatical meanings across different languages and domains; and
  4. relate semantic typology to research in other disciplines, such as psychology, anthropology and philosophy.

Other Information

The course is typically offered in every second year.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Critique of a selected publication, 1000 words (20) [LO 1,2]
  2. Data Analysis, 1000 words (excluding data) (20) [LO 3]
  3. Research Project, 2500 words (50) [LO 1,2,3,4]
  4. Class Participation (10) [LO 1,2,3,4]

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 LING2008 OR 24 units of Linguistics (LING) courses OR have permission of the convenor

Prescribed Texts

There are no prescribed texts. Readings will be available on Wattle.


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
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.

There are no current offerings for this course.

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