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Unit outline_

SLCS4201: Languages, Societies, Institutions

Semester 1, 2022 [Normal day] - Remote

What is the relationship between language, society and institutions? How does understanding language help us understand the working of institutions? This unit equips students with knowledge and skills to address these questions by focusing on language use in institutions such as the workplace, family, media, and religion in different societies.

Unit details and rules

Academic unit Languages and Cultures
Credit points 6
ARBC3998 or ARBC3999 or ASNS3998 or ASNS3999 or CHNS3998 or CHNS3999 or EUST3998 or EUST3999 or FRNC3998 or FRNC3999 or GRMN3998 or GRMN3999 or BBCL3998 or BBCL3999 or HBRW3998 or HBRW3999 or JCTC3998 or JCTC3999 or INMS3998 or INMS3999 or ICLS3998 or ICLS3999 or ITLN3998 or ITLN3999 or JPNS3998 or JPNS3999 or KRNS3998 or KRNS3999 or MGRK3998 or MGRK3999 or SPAN3998 or SPAN3999
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Antonia Rubino,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Presentation Oral Presentation
Present a persuasive argument concerning a theory or a model
25% Multiple weeks Equivalent to 1500wds
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO5 LO3 LO2
Assignment Online Quizzes
Complete online quizzes about key concepts
10% Multiple weeks Equivalent to 800wds
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2
Assignment Research Assignment
Apply theoretical concepts to real examples of institutional language
40% Multiple weeks 2500wds
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Assignment Annotated bibliography
Write annotated bibliography on literature relevant to research project
20% Multiple weeks 1200wds
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO3 LO5
Participation Participation
Prepare well and be ready to participate
5% Ongoing ongoing
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO6 LO3 LO2

Assessment summary

  • Class participation
    Make sure that you read any material assigned and complete any online or other preparation activities before coming to class. Be well prepared to participate in all class learning activities.
  • Online quizzes
    Complete these quizzes to help you focus on key concepts presented in the unit and be sure you understand them.
  • Annotated bibliography
    Familiarise yourself with the scholarly literature relevant to a particular theoretical approach to the relationships between language, society, and institutions and practise writing in an appropriate scholarly way. This will help you prepare for your Research Assignment.
  • Research assignment
    Collect real examples of institutional language and analyse them by applying the theoretical concepts covered in the unit.
  • Oral presentation
    Present a persuasive argument, in the form of an oral presentation, concernng a theoretical approach to the relationship between language, society, and a particular institution.

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100

Work that meets the learning outcomes of the unit to an exceptional standard


75 - 84

Work that meets the learning outcomes of the unit to a very high standard


65 - 74

Work that meets the learning outcomes of the unit to a good standard


50 - 64

Work that meets the learning outcomes of the unit to an acceptable standard


0 - 49

Work that does not meet the learning outcomes of the unit to an acceptable standard.

For more information see guide to grades.

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.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity 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 integrity breaches seriously.  

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

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Introduction and preparation for major assessment tasks A and B Seminar (2 hr) LO6
Week 02 Introduction to Research Methodologies Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO6
Week 03 Module A - Education as institution and relation to language; Language policy Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO6
Week 04 Module A - Education in relation to L2: language ideologies, curriculum, textbooks Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO6
Week 05 Module A - Education in relation to L2: teachers' attitudes, beliefs and ideologies Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO6
Week 06 Module A - Education in relation to maintenance of home language Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO6
Week 07 Module A - Oral Presentations Seminar (2 hr) LO3 LO5 LO6
Week 08 Module B - Family: Family as an institution and its dynamics Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO6
Week 09 Module B - Multilingual families: Exploring Family Language Policy Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO6
Week 10 Module B - Speech events in the family across cultures Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO6
Week 11 Module B - Terms of address in the family across cultures Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO6
Week 12 Module B - Multilingual families: Maintaining the home language Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO6
Week 13 Module B - Oral Presentations Seminar (2 hr) LO3 LO5 LO6

Attendance and class requirements

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.

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

All prescribed readings for this unit can be accessed 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. demonstrate advanced knowledge of theoretical approaches to researching language use in institutional contexts in different societies
  • LO2. apply appropriate theoretical approaches to analysing language in real-world institutional contexts
  • LO3. analyse critically and evaluate existing scholarship, and apply the understandings gained for academic purposes
  • LO4. demonstrate advanced technical skills and well-developed ethical judgements in gathering and analysing natural language data
  • LO5. demonstrate advanced skills in transmitting ideas effectively and persuasively, orally and in writing
  • LO6. work responsibly and adaptably in diverse groups

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 section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

This Unit was taught for the first time in Semester 2, 2021, with a small group of students. Feedback on the unit was gathered throughout the semester, and adjustments made. For 2022, we have focused the two Modules on Education and Family as institutions, and have revised the readings accordingly.


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.