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Unit of study_

LNGS3610: Language Change and Variation

Through the study of seminal research in sociolinguistics the student is introduced to the methodology and tools used for the study of linguistic variation. The unit looks at variation and change across all the primary areas of the grammar: phonetic and phonological, lexical, syntactic semantic change and variation looking at the seminal research in each areas. Students will undertake an independent research project into a topic of variation observed in Australian English.


Academic unit Linguistics
Unit code LNGS3610
Unit name Language Change and Variation
Session, year
Semester 1, 2021
Attendance mode Normal day
Location Remote
Credit points 6

Enrolment rules

12 credit points at 2000 level in Linguistics
Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff and contact details

Coordinator Gwendolyn Hyslop,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Assignment Staged research task
60% -
Due date: 12 Jun 2021 at 23:00

Closing date: 15 Jun 2021
4000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Assignment Problem set 1
20% Week 05 1000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2
Assignment Problem set 2
20% Week 10 1000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a High distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a Distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100



75 - 84



65 - 74



50 - 64



0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see

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.

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 Introduction Seminar (2 hr)  
Week 02 Hooked on classics Seminar (2 hr)  
Week 03 Early records and revelations of variation Seminar (2 hr)  
Week 04 Language ecology and founder populations Seminar (2 hr)  
Week 05 Creole evolution and change towards complexity Seminar (2 hr)  
Week 06 Doing dual (subdisciplinary) duty Seminar (2 hr)  
Week 07 Multicultural centres and innovation Seminar (2 hr)  
Week 08 Global mobility and local identities Seminar (2 hr)  
Week 09 Translanguaging Seminar (2 hr)  
Week 10 Commodification Seminar (2 hr)  
Week 11 Authenticity Seminar (2 hr)  
Week 12 Presentations Seminar (2 hr)  
Week 13 Rounding up and reflection Seminar (2 hr)  

Attendance and class requirements

  • Attendance: According to Faculty Board Resolutions, students in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences are expected to attend 90% of their classes. If you attend less than 50% of classes, regardless of the reasons, you may be referred to the Examiner’s Board. The Examiner’s Board will decide whether you should pass or fail the unit of study if your attendance falls below this threshold.

  • Lecture recording: Most lectures (in recording-equipped venues) will be recorded and may be made available to students on the LMS. However, you should not rely on lecture recording to substitute your classroom learning experience.

  • Preparation: Students should commit to spend approximately three hours’ preparation time (reading, studying, homework, essays, etc.) for every hour of scheduled instruction.

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.

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. identify and critique relevant issues relating to language change and variation, and apply theoretical knowledge to real-world social and linguistic data
  • LO2. critically and creatively evaluate established knowledge and apply it to novel contexts in Australia and beyond
  • LO3. appreciate and engage in interdisciplinary explorations and cross-cultural perspectives in the study of language change and variation
  • LO4. critically assess one's own and others’ viewpoints and communicative practices in discussions, presentations, and peer feedback for productive, collaborative exchange in diverse groups
  • LO5. communicate issues of language change and variation not only in academic contexts but also on public platforms for the intelligent layperson in an accessible and engaging manner
  • LO6. recognise and advocate social and political issues in the area of language change and variation in order to be able to make intelligent, significant and responsible contributions to society for sustainability and the advancement of the human condition

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
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