LIN8015 Introduction to Sociolinguistics

Subject Cat-nbr Term Mode Description Units Campus
LIN 8015 2, 2010 ONC Introduction to Sociolinguistics 1 Toowoomba

Academic group: FOEDU
Academic org: FOE002
Student contribution band: 1
ASCED code: 091521



Examiner: Kerry Taylor-Leech
Moderator: Henriette van Rensburg


Sociolinguistics is a diverse and dynamically growing area of linguistics and its scope is highly relevant to all educational contexts. Some of the key contexts include the education of minority children and speakers of non-standard language varieties as well as all contexts of foreign language education.


Language is inextricable from the society in which it is used. This course provides students with an overview of the most relevant topics concerned with the language and society, as well as language and culture. It provides educators, applied linguists and language teachers with an understanding of the social aspects of language, including the most topical issues of language planning and policy, societal aspects of language use, attitudes towards social dialects and other language varieties. This course is useful not only for teachers and educators but also for those who take advocacy in maintaining native and community languages, including language program managers at institutional as well as national levels. 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. On completion of this course students will be able to:

demonstrate an understanding of the scope of sociolinguistics and identify language related issues as part of the field; (Essay and Discussion Board Journal)
compare different language varieties, demonstrate an understanding of societal attitudes towards them and discuss their implications for education and the society as a whole; (Presentation, Essay and Discussion Board Journal)
discuss the factors influencing the choice of different languages used as a means of communication in various contexts; (Presentation and Discussion Board Journal)
discuss and describe the interrelationship between language and culture and how culture affects our everyday communication; (Presentation, Discussion Board Journal and Essay)
demonstrate cross-cultural sensitivity and the ability to apply culturally sensitive and appropriate approaches in educational practices; (Presentation and Discussion Board Journal)
compare the gender-specific characteristics of speech and develop a sensitivity to language related stereotypes; (Presentation and Discussion Board Journal)
identify and describe factors that contribute to language death and demonstrate the ability to critically analyse and suggest ways of language revitalisation; (Presentation, Discussion Board Journal and Essay)
suggest ways of reversing language shift and propose ways of promoting minority languages; (Presentation, Discussion Board Journal and Essay)
discuss language policy documents of international significance; (Presentation, Discussion Board Journal and Essay)
critically analyse language policies and language planning in the Australian context as well as in the learners' own context and offer alternative solutions. (Presentation, Discussion Board Journal and Essay)


Description Weighting (%)
1. Introduction: Definition of sociolinguistics and the sociology of language
2. Language, Dialects and Varities: language varieties and dialects pidgins and creoles, and language and gender
3. Choosing a code: Diglossia Code switching
4. Language and culture: Language, culture and thought, linguistic etiquette in a cross-cultural perspective
5. Multilingualism and language policy: Multilingualism and multiculturalism language maintenance and shift language death - language rights, and language policy and planning

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).

Wardhaugh, R 2006, An introduction to sociolinguistics, 6th edn, Blackwell Publishers Ltd, Oxford.


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.

Holmes, J 2008, An introduction to sociolinguistics, 3rd edn, Longman, London.


Directed Study 82.00
Independent Study 83.00


Description Marks out of Wtg(%) Due date Notes
ESSAY (3000 WORDS) 40 40 08 Oct 2010  
PRESENTATION (1000 WORDS) 30 30 15 Oct 2010 (see note 1)
DISCUSSION BOARD JOURNAL 30 30 29 Oct 2010 (see note 2)
1000 Words.
Discussion Board entries should be submitted by due date and need to reflect a continuous engagement with the course. 1000 words.


  1. Attendance requirements:
    It is the students' responsibility to attend and participate appropriately in all activities (such as lectures, tutorials, laboratories and practical work) scheduled for them, and 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 complete each of the assessment items satisfactorily, students must obtain at least 50% of the marks available or a grade of at least C-. (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 weighted aggregate of the 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 both assignments and the journal/discussion board entries.
  2. IMPORTANT NOTE: Working with Children: State law in Queensland requires that all adults (including university students, pre-service educators, trainers, vocational teachers, industry educators) working with children under the age of 18, in the state of Queensland*, obtain approval before commencing such work. Many education courses include a practical component (professional experience, project work, research, assessment etc.) that may require engagement with children under the age of 18. It is your responsibility to ensure that you possess a current suitability card (Blue Card) before commencing any practical components of this course. DO NOT PARTICIPATE IN ANY PRACTICAL EXPERIENCE WITH CHILDREN UNDER 18 UNLESS YOU POSSESS A CURRENT 'BLUE CARD'. For further information: *If you are undertaking practical experience outside the state of Queensland, Australia you should check local requirements.

This version produced 17 May 2011.