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LIN5000 The Nature of Language

Semester 1, 2012 On-campus Toowoomba
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Education
School or Department : Education
Version produced : 30 December 2013

Contents on this page


Examiner: Jeong-Bae Son
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. 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 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:

  1. the roles of phonology, semantics, syntax and pragmatics in the production of meaning (Essay, Discussion Board Journal, Test).
  2. the relationship between language, society and culture (Essay, Discussion Board Journal).
  3. Theories of language (Essay, Discussion Board Journal, Test).
  4. universal grammar and systemic functional grammar (Essay, Discussion Board Journal).
  5. demonstrate competence in scholarly writing including correct spelling, grammar, punctuation and bibliographic referencing. (Essay, Discussion Board Journal).


Description Weighting(%)
1. What is language? What is linguistics? 10.00
2. Systemic Functional grammar and genre - a brief introduction 15.00
3. Phonetics - the sounds of language 10.00
4. Phonology - sound patterns of language 10.00
5. Morphology 10.00
6. Syntax and grammar 10.00
7. Semantics - the description of word and sentence meaning 10.00
8. Language and society - dialect and language variation 10.00
9. Processing language 5.00
10. Language change and death 5.00
11. World Englishes 5.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

  • Fromkin, V., Rodman, R., Hyams, N., Collins, P., Amberber, M., & Harvey, M 2009, An introduction to language, 6th (Australasian ) edn, Cengage Learning, Australia Pty. Ltd, Australia.
  • LIN5000 study package available from USQ bookshop.

Reference materials

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.
  • Behrens, Susan J., & Parker, Judith A 2010, Language in the real world, Routledge, London and New York.
  • McCabe, A 2011, An introduction to linguistics and language studies, Equinox Publishing Ltd, London, UK.
  • Whether you are on, or off campus, the USQ Library is an excellent source of information

Student workload requirements

Activity Hours
Directed Study 82.00
Independent Study 83.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
ESSAY 30 30 25 Apr 2012
TEST 40 40 13 Jun 2012

Important assessment information

  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 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 policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  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.

Other requirements

  1. Students will require access to e-mail and Internet access to UConnect for this course.