LING 1101 - The Wonder of Language: an intro to Linguistics

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2021

Language makes us human. Language allows humans to accumulate knowledge and transmit knowledge from one generation to the next and to communicate from one part of the world to the other. Language enables us to think, to analyse and to reflect. Different languages allow us to view the world in different ways. Language is much more than communication. Linguistics is the study of human language, its nature, its origins and its uses. This course will give students an overview of the field of modern linguistics and basic skills in linguistic analysis. The Wonder of Language develops understandings of the various subsystems of language including phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics and the lexicon. It also investigates how languages are learned and how they change over time. As language is involved in a large number of human activities, linguistics contributes to many other fields of inquiry, including anthropology, psychology, philosophy, law and the natural sciences.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code LING 1101
    Course The Wonder of Language: an intro to Linguistics
    Coordinating Unit Linguistics
    Term Semester 1
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 3 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Assessment 4 x Practicals 15% each,Test 30%, Participation engagement (reflection journal) 10%
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Professor Ghil'ad Zuckermann

    Course Coordinator and Lecturer: Professor Ghil‘ad ZUCKERMANN, D.Phil. (Oxford), Ph.D. (Cambridge), Napier 918
    Tel: 08 8313 5247 (Office); 0423 901 808 (Mobile) (emails read regularly)

    Tutor and Assessor: Mr Mario PILLA, B.A. (Hons)
    Tel: 0422 888 810 (emails read regularly)

    PASS Leader: Mr Kieran SMITH (emails read regularly)

    Student Consultations:
    • Professor Zuckermann: (1) Mondays 1pm (following the lecture; please meet me there or contact me thereafter at 0423 901 808) or (2) by appointment.
    • Mr Pilla: By appointment.

    Course Librarian: Ms Allison Cox, Barr Smith Library:

    Further particulars about the convener of the course can be found in the following websites:

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.


    Mondays: 11.10am till 1pm, ONLINE


    There will be no tutorials in Week 1 and Week 12.

    Attendance at tutorials is compulsory and will count towards the final mark.

    Attendance ONLINE *IN REAL TIME* at lectures is extremely beneficial and highly recommended.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    1 Be able to use the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) to transcribe English
    2 Understand the relationship between written and spoken language (ie the relationship
    between sound and spelling)
    3 Perform a phonemic analysis to determine the phonemes and allophones of any given
    4 Perform a morphological analysis to identify the morphemes and allomorphs in any given
    5 Identify basic constituent structure.
    6 Articulate understandings of the nature of language.
    7 Understand the difference between the abilities of machines and the brain to process
    8 Undertake an investigation through primary observation.
    9 Write a coherent and logically argued essay drawing on a range of perspectives and
    source material in answer to a question posed.
    10 Confidently approach analysis of a data set drawn from an unknown language.
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 9, 10
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    6, 8, 9
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
    6, 7, 8, 9
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Course text book:

    McGregor, William (2015). Linguistics: an Introduction. Bloomsbury.

    Orders have been placed with the Co-op Bookshop.
    Recommended Resources
    Highly Recommended:

    * Burridge, Kate & Tonya N. Stebbins (2016) For the Love of Language: an introduction to linguistics. Cambridge University
    * Fromkin, Victoria, Robert Rodman, Nina Hyams, Mengistu Amberber, Felicity Cox & Rosalind Thornton (2018) An Introduction to Language. Australia and New Zealand 9th Edition. Cengage Learning, South Melbourne.
    * Yule, G.  (2006) The Study of Language (Third Edition).  Cambridge University Press: Cambridge.
    * Comrie, B. (1981)  Language universals and linguistic typology. Blackwell Publishers: Oxford. [BSL 415 C738l] (2 copies in BSL)
    * Lakoff, G. & Johnson, M. (1980) Metaphors We Live By. University of Chicago Press: Chicago. [BSL 401 L192m] (7 copies in BSL)
    * Lightbown, P. (1999) How Languages are Learned. Oxford University Press: Oxford. [BSL 401.93 L723h] (3 copies in BSL)
    * Beebe, L. M. (ed.) Issues in Second Language Acquisition: Multiple Perspectives. Newbury House Publishers: New York. [BSL 404.2019 B414i] (2 copies in BSL)
    * Zuckermann, Ghil'ad (2020). Revivalistics: From the Genesis of Israeli to Language Reclamation in Australia and Beyond. Oxford University Press, New York.
    * Zuckermann, Ghil'ad (2003). Language Contact and Lexical Enrichment in Israeli Hebrew. Palgrave Macmillan

    Some More Good Books:

    ·          Parkvall, M. (2006) Limits of Language. Battlebridge Publications: London.
    ·          Crystal, D. (1997) The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language 2nd Edition. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge. [BSL 403 C957c.2]
    ·          Burling, R. (1970) Man’s Many Voices. Language in Its Cultural Context.  Holt,
    Rinehart & Winston, Inc: New York.
    ·          Crowley, T., Lynch, J., Siegel, J. & Piau, J. (1995) The design of language: an introduction to descriptive linguistics. Longman Paul: Auckland. [BSL 410 C953d]
    ·          Finegan, E., Besnier, N., Blair, D., & Collins, P. (1992) Language: Its Structure and Use. (Australian Edition). Harcourt Brace Jovanovich: Sydney.

    Online Learning


    Online Resources:

    Linguistics – Research:

    Barr Smith Library:

    Finding Articles (BSL):

    Linguistics & Databases (BSL) :

    Dictionaries online: Oxford English Dictionary online (free access through BSL website):

    World Atlas of Linguistic Structures (WALS):

    Academic and other Student Resources:

    ITS student support:

    Academic Learning and Language:

    Student Centre with links to resources:

    International students:


  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    Lectures supported by problem-solving tutorials developing material covered in lectures.


    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    2 x 1-hour lecture/workshop (or equivalent) per week 24 hours per semester
    1 x 1-hour tutorial (or equivalent) per week
    (No tutorials in Weeks 1 and 5
    10 hours per semester
    4 hours reading per week 48 hours per semester
    4 hours assignment preparation per week 48 hours per semester
    2 hours research per week 26 hours per semester
    TOTAL WORKLOAD 156 hours per semester
    Learning Activities Summary

    Fuller details will be given during the semester.

    Week -- Date -- Lecture Theme -- Texbook/Homework

    Week 1
    1 March 2021
    ‘The Wonder of Language’ 
    Introducing the course and its syllabus.
    Introducing the professor and the tutor.
    How to conduct research at the library (Helen Attar).
    Textbook: Preface

    Week 2
    What is language?
    The Four Linguistic Revolutions
    Languages Globally.
    Linguistic Diversity.
    What can one do with linguistics? An example of actual career. 
    Textbook: Introduction

    Week 3
    15 March 2021
    Semantics versus Pragmatics. Sense vs Reference.
    Textbook: Chapter 6: Meaning 

    Week 4
    22 March 2021
    How words Emerge
    Lexicology; Metaphor versus Metonymy.
    Textbook: Chapter 4 'Lexicon'

    Week 5
    29 March 2021 
    The Structure of Words: Morphology; Morphemes versus Allomorphs; Parts of Speech.
    Textbook: Chapter 3 'Structure of Words: Morphology'

    Week 6
    Word Origins 
    Etymology vs Etymythology, e.g. Phono-Semantic Matching.
    Textbook: revision


    Week 7
    26 April 2021 
    Sounds: Phonetics and Phonology
    International Phonetic Alphabet.
    Phonemes versus Allophones.
    Textbook: Chapter 2 'Sounds of a Language: Phonetics and Phonology'

    Week 8
    3 May 2021 
    Shift Happens
    Language Change; Historical Linguistics; Comparative Method, Syntax.
    Texbook: Chapter 15 'Language Change'; Chapter 5 'Structure of Sentences'

    Week 9
    10 May 2021
    Language and the Brain
    Texbook: Chapter 9 'Psycholinguistics’

    Week 10
    17 May 2021 
    Language Loss and Revival
    Homework: revision

    Week 11
    24 May 2021 
    Unique Languages: AusLan, Klingon Revision
    Homework: Revision
    Homework: Watch Star Trek

    Week 12
    31 May 2021 
    Conclusions and Implications
    Final Quiz

    Small Group Discovery Experience
    Tutorials in weeks 3-8 in particular will focus on problems and practical application of linguistic analytical techniques. Some of these problems will be done in pairs or small groups (eg phonetic transcription).

  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Task Task Type Weighting Learning Outcome
    Semantics Prac (#1) Formative  15% 5, 8
    Lexicology & Morphology Prac (#2) Formative  15% 3, 4, 5
    Phonetics & Phonology Prac (#3) Formative 10% 1, 8 
    Language Change & Syntax Prac (#4) Formative  15% 3, 5, 7, 8
    Reflective Journal and Positive Contribution Formative 15% 1, 5, 6, 7, 8
    Final Quiz Summative 30% 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10

    Assessment Related Requirements

    ·          Attendance at lectures is an essential component of the course. Some lectures will include
    short exercises for completion during the lecture. These will be self-corrected.

    ·          Attendance at tutorials is compulsory and will count towards the final mark.

    ·          All assessment components must be completed to qualify for a final result.

    Assessment Detail

    Linguistic Practicals

    These will be distributed in the tutorials.

    Practical #1 – Semantics
    Practical #2 – Lexicology & Morphology
    Practical #3 – Phonetics & Phonology
    Practical #4 – Language Change & Syntax
    Final Quiz - Online

    The final quiz will cover the content of the lectures and a number of set chapters of the textbook. The quiz will take place online at the end of the course.

    Reflective Journal

    Students will maintain a journal with entries each week that reflect on observations of language and linguistics as related to the content of this course. For example, in week 7 the journal might reflect on phonetic features of the students’ own speech that differ from the phonetic transcription that is provided in a dictionary. Students will have an opportunity to share their observations in the first 5 or 10 minutes of the tutorial that week.

    Journals will be submitted online at the end of Week 5 and, again, at the end of Week 12. They will be read by the tutor and will contribute towards the final mark. Maintenance of the journal is not meant to be an onerous task. It does not matter if for one or other week there is nothing to report, but we do want to see that you have applied what you have learnt in this course to the world around you and that you are observing language. Entries are required for a minimum of 8 of the 12 weeks. Entries should consist of the observation(s) itself plus reflection or linguistic explanation to account for the observation.


    1. All assignments should be submitted by midday (12 noon) on the due date.
    2. Practical assignments 1, 2, 3 and 4 are to be submitted via MyUni/Canvas.
    3. Ensure that your Tutor’s Name, Tutorial Group, Course Title and Assignment Title & Topic appear on the cover sheet.
    4. All assignments must be in grammatical English.
    5. Practicals may be hand-written legibly. Typed assignments must be double-spaced with a minimum 10 font.
    6. Always keep a copy of your work. (Just occasionally things do go astray)
    7. Extensions (normally up to one week) must be submitted through the Faculty of Arts office and this MUST be organised prior to the
    due date. Go to fill out, and submit the form.
    8. Assignments submitted late require a doctor’s certificate, counsellor’s certificate or similar proof/documentation.
    9. Penalty with no extension is 2% per day up to 7 days.
    10. Assignments submitted without an approved extension will not be accepted more than 7 days after the due date.


    1. All assignments to be submitted by midday on the due date.

    2. Assignment #1 (Phonetic transcription) will be collected during class.

    3. Practical assignments 2, 3, 4 and 5 are to be submitted via MyUni/Canvas.

    4. Ensure that your Tutor’s Name, Tutorial Group, Course Title and Assignment Title & Topic appear on the cover sheet.

    5. All assignments must be in grammatical English.

    6. Practicals may be hand-written legibly. Typed assignments must be double-spaced with a minimum 10 font.

    7. Always keep a copy of your work. (Just occasionally things do go astray)

    8. Assignments submitted late require a doctor’s certificate, counsellor’s certificate or similar proof/documentation.

    9. Extensions (normally up to one week) may be negotiated through the Course Coordinator, but this MUST be organised prior to the due date.

    10. Penalty with no extension is 2% per day up to 7 working days.

    11. Assignments submitted without an approved extension will not be accepted more than 7 days after the due date.

    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.