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LIN8015 Introduction to Sociolinguistics

Semester 2, 2019 Online
Short Description: Intro to Sociolinguistics
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts
School or Department : School of Education
Student contribution band : Band 1
ASCED code : 091521 - Linguistics
Grading basis : Graded


Examiner: Gavin Austin


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.


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 successful completion of this course students should be able to:

  1. demonstrate an understanding of the scope of sociolinguistics and the sociology of language (Assignments 1, 2, 3 & 4)
  2. compare different language varieties, demonstrate an understanding of societal attitudes towards languages and discuss the implications for education and society as a whole (Assignments 1, 2, 3 & 4)
  3. discuss the factors influencing the choice of different languages for communication in various contexts (Assignments 1, 2, 3 & 4
  4. discuss and describe the interrelationship between language and culture and how culture affects our everyday communication (Assignments 1, 2, 3 & 4)
  5. demonstrate cross-cultural sensitivity and the ability to apply culturally sensitive and appropriate approaches in educational practices (Assignments 1, 2, 3 & 4)
  6. compare the gender-specific characteristics of speech and understand language-related stereotypes (Assignments 1, 2, 3 & 4).


Description Weighting(%)
1. Introduction to sociolinguistics 10.00
2. Languages, dialects and varieties 10.00
3. Languages in contact: multilingual societies and multilingual discourse 10.00
4. Contact languages: structural consequences of social factors 10.00
5. Language variation 10.00
6. Language variation and change 10.00
7. Ethnographic approaches to sociolinguistics 10.00
8. Pragmatics 10.00
9. Language, gender and sexuality 10.00
10. Sociolinguistics and education. 10.00

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. (

Wardaugh, R & Fuller, J 2015, An introduction to sociolinguistics, 7th edn, Wiley-Blackwell, 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.
Meyerhoff, M 2011, Introducing sociolinguistics, 2nd edn, Routledge, Abingdon, Oxon.
Whether you are on, or off campus, the USQ Library is an excellent source of information

Student workload expectations

Activity Hours
Directed Study 80.00
Independent Study 85.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
CRITICAL REVIEW 20 20 09 Oct 2019
ESSAY 40 40 23 Oct 2019

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:
    Students should refer to the Assessment Procedure (point 4.2.4)

  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:
    Not applicable.

  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 at

Other requirements

  1. Students must submit both assignments.

  2. Students will need reliable access to the internet.