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

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2023

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)
    Phones: 08 8313 5247; 0423 901 808 (emails read regularly)

    Tutor and Assessor: Dr Eve Afifa KHEIR, Ph.D. (Adelaide) (emails read regularly)

    PASS Leader:Fatemeh ASKARI GAZLACHEH (emails read regularly)

    Student Consultations:
    • Professor Zuckermann: (1) Thursdays 2pm (following the lecture; please meet me there or contact me thereafter at 0423 901 808) or (2) by appointment.
    • Dr Kheir: Office 912a, Napier Building: by appointment

    Barr Smith Library
    08 8313 5345
    There is a good collection of linguistics books and journals in the Barr Smith Library. Almost all the readings for this course are available online.

    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.


    Thursdays, from 12.10pm until 2pm; Napier G03 or via Echo360


    Thursdays and Fridays

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

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

    Attendance of lectures *IN REAL TIME* 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)

    Attribute 1: Deep discipline knowledge and intellectual breadth

    Graduates have comprehensive knowledge and understanding of their subject area, the ability to engage with different traditions of thought, and the ability to apply their knowledge in practice including in multi-disciplinary or multi-professional contexts.

    1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

    Attribute 2: Creative and critical thinking, and problem solving

    Graduates are effective problems-solvers, able to apply critical, creative and evidence-based thinking to conceive innovative responses to future challenges.

    1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

    Attribute 3: Teamwork and communication skills

    Graduates convey ideas and information effectively to a range of audiences for a variety of purposes and contribute in a positive and collaborative manner to achieving common goals.

    1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 9, 10

    Attribute 5: Intercultural and ethical competency

    Graduates are responsible and effective global citizens whose personal values and practices are consistent with their roles as responsible members of society.

    6, 8, 9

    Attribute 8: Self-awareness and emotional intelligence

    Graduates are self-aware and reflective; they are flexible and resilient and have the capacity to accept and give constructive feedback; they act with integrity and take responsibility for their actions.

    6, 7, 8, 9
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Course textbook:

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

    (Available at the Barr Smith Library)

    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 available at the Barr Smith Library)
    * Zuckermann, Ghil'ad (2003). Language Contact and Lexical Enrichment in Israeli Hebrew. Palgrave Macmillan (Available at the Barr Smith Library)
    * Zuckermann, Ghil‘ad (2020). Revivalistics: From the Genesis of Israeli to Language Reclamation in Australia and Beyond. Oxford University Press, 2020, ISBN 9780199812790 (pbk), ISBN 9780199812776 (hbk), (Special 30% Discount Promo Code: AAFLYG6) (Available at the Barr Smith Library, as well as at Dymocks, Rundle Mall)

    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
    ‘The Wonder of Language’ 
    The Four Linguistic Revolutions
    Introducing the course and its syllabus.
    Introducing the professor, tutor/assessor and PASS leader.
    Homework: Academic Integrity.
    Homework: How to conduct research at the library.
    Textbook: Preface

    Week 2
    LANGUAGE and Reality
    What is language?
    What is grammar?
    Languages Globally.
    Linguistic Diversity.
    Textbook: Introduction

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

    Week 4
    How WORDS Emerge
    Lexicology; Metaphor versus Metonymy.
    Textbook: Chapter 4 'Lexicon'

    Week 5
    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
    Phonetics and Phonology
    International Phonetic Alphabet.
    PHONEMES versus Allophones.
    Textbook: Chapter 2 'Sounds of a Language: Phonetics and Phonology'

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

    Week 9
    Unique Languages: AusLan, Klingon
    Homework: Revision
    Homework: Watch Star Trek

    Week 10
    Language Loss and Revival.
    Linguicide and Native Tongue Title.

    Week 11
    Language and the Brain
    Texbook: Chapter 9 'Psycholinguistics’
    Homework: Revision

    Week 12
    Conclusions and Implications
    What can one do with linguistics? Examples of actual careers.
    Homework: Preparation for the Final Quiz

    Week 13
    Final Quiz
  • 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 Hurdle Learning Outcome
    Semantics Prac (#1) Formative  15% Y 5, 8
    Lexicology & Morphology Prac (#2) Formative  15% Y 3, 4, 5
    Phonetics & Phonology Prac (#3) Formative 10% Y 1, 8 
    Language Change & Syntax Prac (#4) Formative  15% Y 3, 5, 7, 8
    Reflective Journal and Positive Contribution Formative 15% Y 1, 5, 6, 7, 8
    Final Quiz Summative 30% Y 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10

    In accordance with the Assessment for Coursework Programs Policy, Procedure 1b: An exemption from the stated hurdle requirements has been granted.

    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

    The assessment in this course consists of 6 components: 

    A. Reflective Journal:
    FIRST SUBMISSION DEADLINE: WEEK 3, end, Friday [17 March 2023]
    SECOND SUBMISSION DEADLINE: WEEK 12, end, Sunday [4 June 2023]

    B. Linguistic Practicals (These will be distributed in the tutorials):
    Practical #1 – Semantics (DEADLINE: WEEK 4, end, Sunday) [26 March 2023] 
    Practical #2 – Lexicology & Morphology (DEADLINE: WEEK 6, end, Sunday) [9 April 2023]
    Practical #3 – Phonetics & Phonology (DEADLINE: WEEK 9, end, Friday) [12 May 2023]
    Practical #4 – Language Change & Syntax (DEADLINE: WEEK 11, end, Sunday) [28 May 2023]

    C. Final Quiz Online (WEEK 13, in the lecture slot, at the same room at the lecture) [Thursday, 8 June 2022, 12:10pm]
    The final quiz will cover the content of the lectures and a number of set chapters of the textbook.

    Further particulars about the REFLECTIVE JOURNAL:

    Students will maintain a journal with entries each week that reflect personally 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 3 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.
    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.

    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.

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    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.

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