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Unit of study_

LNGS3605: Describing a Language

A language other than English is chosen for analysis (phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics and discourse), and for description of the ways it is used (ethnography of speaking including speech acts, speech events, registers and genres). It is examined in its areal, genetic, historical, social and typological context. We also examine sources of data and their reliability, and the way findings are presented (reference and teaching grammars and linguistic papers).


Academic unit Linguistics
Unit code LNGS3605
Unit name Describing a Language
Session, year
Semester 2, 2022
Attendance mode Normal day
Location Remote
Credit points 6

Enrolment rules

(LNGS2601 and LNGS2624) or 12 credit points at 2000 level in Linguistics
Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff and contact details

Coordinator Lila San Roque,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Assignment Assignment 1
Short essay
20% Week 04
Due date: 26 Aug 2022 at 23:59
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Assignment Assignment 2
Short essay
15% Week 07
Due date: 16 Sep 2022 at 23:59
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO3 LO4
Assignment group assignment Assignment 3
Data submission
15% Week 13
Due date: 04 Nov 2022 at 23:59
1000wd equivalent
Outcomes assessed: LO3 LO5
Assignment Assignment 4
Final essay
50% Week 13
Due date: 04 Nov 2022 at 23:59
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
group assignment = group assignment ?

Collection, management, analysis, and description of language data.

Assessment criteria

Grading will follow department guidelines (available on Canvas).

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

This unit has an exception to the standard University policy or supplementary information has been provided by the unit coordinator. This information is displayed below:

As per Faculty guidelines.

Special consideration

If you experience short-term circumstances beyond your control, such as illness, injury or misadventure or if you have essential commitments which impact your preparation or performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website provides information on academic honesty, academic dishonesty, and the resources available to all students.

The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic dishonesty or plagiarism seriously.

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic dishonesty. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of dishonesty, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Introductions Lecture (1 hr)  
Week 02 Beginning with a new language Lecture and tutorial (2 hr)  
Week 03 Phonology; Elicitation Lecture and tutorial (2 hr)  
Week 04 Phonology; Morphosyntax; Elicitation Lecture and tutorial (2 hr)  
Week 05 Phonology; Morphosyntax; Elicitation Lecture and tutorial (2 hr)  
Week 06 Phonology; Morphosyntax; Texts; Elicitation Lecture and tutorial (2 hr)  
Week 07 Elicitation & Analysis Lecture and tutorial (2 hr)  
Week 08 Elicitation & Analysis Lecture and tutorial (2 hr)  
Week 09 Elicitation & Analysis Lecture and tutorial (2 hr)  
Week 10 Elicitation & Analysis Lecture and tutorial (2 hr)  
Week 11 Elicitation & Analysis Lecture and tutorial (2 hr)  
Week 12 Issues in language endangerment; Elicitation & Analysis Lecture and tutorial (2 hr)  
Week 13 Next steps; Elicitation & Analysis Lecture and tutorial (2 hr)  

Attendance and class requirements

Class attendance is expected. Students will also be required to schedule additional meeting times with their language consultant throughout the semester.

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

Readings for this unit will be accessible through the Library eReserve, available on Canvas

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University’s graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. A deepened knowledge and appreciation of the diversity and unity of human languages
  • LO2. The ability to reflect critically on different approaches to the study of language
  • LO3. Deepened understanding of a new language
  • LO4. Ability to collaboratively describe one large system by examination through smaller pieces
  • LO5. Appreciate the context of an endangered language

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities
No changes have been made since this unit was last offered


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