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LIN8015 Introduction to Sociolinguistics

Semester 2, 2012 Online Toowoomba
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Education
School or Department : Education
Version produced : 30 December 2013

Contents on this page


Examiner: Warren Midgley
Moderator: Jeong-Bae Son


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 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 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:

  1. demonstrate an understanding of the scope of sociolinguistics and the sociology of language (Essay and Discussion Board Journal)
  2. compare different language varieties, demonstrate an understanding of societal attitudes towards languages and discuss the implications for education and society as a whole (Presentation, Essay and Discussion Board Journal)
  3. discuss the factors influencing the choice of different languages for communication in various contexts (Presentation and Discussion Board Journal)
  4. discuss and describe the interrelationship between language and culture and how culture affects our everyday communication (Presentation, Discussion Board Journal and Essay)
  5. demonstrate cross-cultural sensitivity and the ability to apply culturally sensitive and appropriate approaches in educational practices (Presentation and Discussion Board Journal)
  6. compare the gender-specific characteristics of speech and understand language-related stereotypes (Presentation and Discussion Board Journal)
  7. identify and describe factors that contribute to language shift, death and revival (Presention, Discussion Board Journal and Essay)
  8. suggest ways of reversing language shift and propose ways of maintaining minority languages (Presentation, Discussion Board Journal and Essay)
  9. discuss language policy documents of national and international significance (Presentation, Discussion Board Journal and Essay)
  10. critically analyse language policies and language planning in Australian and international contexts (Presentation, Discussion Board Journal and Essay)


Description Weighting(%)
1. Definition of sociolinguistics and the sociology of language. 5.00
2. Language varieties and dialects; pidgins and creoles; language and gender. 15.00
3. Choosing a code: Diglossia and code switching. 15.00
4. Language, culture and thought; linguistic etiquette. 25.00
5. Multilingualism and multiculturalism; language maintenance and shift; language death; language rights; language policy and planning. 40.00

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. (

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

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.

Student workload requirements

Activity Hours
Directed Study 82.00
Independent Study 83.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
ESSAY 40 40 10 Oct 2012
PRESENTATION 40 40 17 Oct 2012 (see note 1)

  1. .

Important assessment information

  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 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 must submit both assignments and the journal/discussion board entries.