LIN5000 The Nature of Language

Subject Cat-nbr Term Mode Description Units Campus
LIN 5000 2, 2010 WEB The Nature of Language 1 Toowoomba

Academic group: FOEDU
Academic org: FOE002
Student contribution band: National Priority Teaching
ASCED code: 070115



Examiner: Kerry Taylor-Leech
Moderator: Ann Dashwood


To be able to teach languages, instructors need to be aware of what language is, how it can be described in terms of phonology, semantics and syntax, and how the meaning potential of language is realised in actual usage. Teachers also need to be aware of some recent theories of language as well as an understanding that language operates in a social domain that determines how it is used and how it positions the users.


Students will be introduced to what language is, how it can be described in terms of phonology, semantics and syntax, and how the meaning is realised in actual usage. They will be also introduced to some recent theories of language as well as how language operates in a social domain. NOTE: Minimum enrolment numbers apply to this offering. Should enrolments not reach the minimum number required for on-campus study, students may be transferred to the EXT or WEB offering and advised of this change before semester commences.


The course objectives define the student learning outcomes for a course. The assessment item(s) that may be used to assess student achievement of an objective are shown in parenthesis. At the end of the course students will show an understanding of:

the relationships between language, society and culture by describing how language varieties and language use are intertwined with social and cultural factors (Essay);
grammatical terms, phonology, phrase structure, aspects of grammar and discourse (Take-home test);
systemic functional linguistics and other theories of language (Essay and Discussion Board Journal)
demonstrate competence in scholarly writing including correct spelling, grammar, punctuation and bibliographic referencing. (Essay)


Description Weighting (%)
1. What is language?
2. Language and society - social dialects, occupation, age, sex, ethnic background
3. Phonetics - the sounds of language
4. Phonology - sound patterns of language
5. Morphology
6. Syntax and grammar
7. Semantics - the description of word and sentence meaning
8. Processing language
9. What is linguistics?
10. Dead, dying, reviving and language change

TEXT and MATERIALS required to be PURCHASED or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials are available for purchase from USQ BOOKSHOP (unless otherwise stated). Orders may be placed via secure internet, free fax 1800642453, phone 07 46312742 (within Australia), or mail. Overseas students should fax +61 7 46311743, or phone +61 7 46312742. For costs, further details, and internet ordering, use the 'Textbook Search' facility at click 'Semester', then enter your 'Course Code' (no spaces).

Fromkin, V, Rodman, R & Hyams, N 2007, An introduction to language, 8th edn, Thomson Wadsworth, Boston, Mass.


Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.

Yule, G 2006, The study of language, 3rd edn, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.


Directed Study 82.00
Independent Study 83.00


Description Marks out of Wtg(%) Due date
ESSAY 30 30 24 Sep 2010
TAKE HOME TEST 50 50 29 Oct 2010


  1. Attendance requirements:
    There are no attendance requirements for this course. However, it is the students' responsibility to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration.
  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To satisfactorily complete an individual assessment item a student must achieve at least 50% of the marks. (Depending upon the requirements in Statement 4 below, students may not have to satisfactorily complete each assessment item to receive a passing grade in this course.)
  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    If students submit assignments after the due date without (prior) approval of the examiner then a penalty of 5% of the total marks gained by the student for the assignment may apply for each working day late up to ten working days at which time a mark of zero may be recorded. No assignments will be accepted after model answers have been posted.
  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course.
  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the aggregate of the weighted marks obtained for each of the summative assessment items in the course.
  6. Examination information:
    There is no examination in this course.
  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    As there are no examinations in this course, there will be no deferred or supplementary examinations.
  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These polices can be found at the URL


1. APA style is the referencing system required in this course. Students should use APA style in their assignments to format details of the information sources they have cited in their work. The APA style to be used is defined by the USQ Library's referencing guide.


  1. Students must submit the assignment, journal and take-home test.

This version produced 17 May 2011.