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Unit of study_

LNGS3704: Theory and typology of grammar

What are the sets of categories and constructions found in the world’s languages? Are they the same or different, and in either case: why? Where does linguistic diversity come from, how significant is it, and what sort of linguistic theory (or theories) are able to explain it? In this unit, we will address these questions through analysis of a wide range of grammatical phenomena from a diverse set of (mostly non-European) languages.


Academic unit Linguistics
Unit code LNGS3704
Unit name Theory and typology of grammar
Session, year
Semester 1, 2021
Attendance mode Normal day
Location Remote
Credit points 6

Enrolment rules

12 credit points at 1000 level in the Linguistics major, and LNGS2624
Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff and contact details

Coordinator Mark Post,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Assignment Problem Set 1
Problem Set
15% Week 03
Due date: 15 Mar 2021 at 09:00
500 wds
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Assignment Language Report 1
Language Report
15% Week 05
Due date: 29 Mar 2021 at 09:00
500 wds
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO4 LO3 LO2
Assignment Problem Set 2
Problem Set
15% Week 07
Due date: 19 Apr 2021 at 09:00
500 wds
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Assignment Language Report 2
Language Report
15% Week 09
Due date: 03 May 2021 at 09:00
500 wds
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Assignment Essay
40% Week 13
Due date: 07 Jun 2021 at 09:00
4000 wds
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4


Assessment criteria


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 policy

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 Foundations 1 Online class (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 02 Foundations 2 Online class (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 03 Categories Online class (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 04 Constituency Online class (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 05 Clauses Online class (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 06 Grammatical relations Online class (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 07 Valence manipulation Online class (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 08 Grammars of time and mind Online class (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 09 Information status and reference Online class (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 10 Syntactic complexity 1 Online class (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 11 Syntactic complexity 2 Online class (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 12 Speech acts Online class (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 13 Recapitulation Online class (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4

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. develop a detailed understanding of the types of grammatical structures found in the world’s languages, their distribution in the world’s languages, and their communicative functions
  • LO2. develop approaches to explaining both the forms of grammatical structures and their typological distributions on the basis of theories concerning cognition, communicative function, discourse frequency, and/or grammaticalisation
  • LO3. develop approaches to analysing less-familiar grammatical structures using distributional methods
  • LO4. develop an understanding of the inter-coherence of grammatical subsystems through detailed analysis of a less-familiar 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
This is the first time this unit has been offered.


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