LING 1102 - Introduction to Language in Culture and Society

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2024

This course looks at the use of language in society and its relationship to the culture(s) of its speakers. Students are introduced to the broad fields of socio-linguistics and anthropological linguistics. The course studies language variation across regions, ethnicity, social class, gender, age, religion, level of education etc. The course also looks at language as a window into the culture of its speakers, thus serving as a useful tool for anthropologists in coming to understand cultural institutions and the world-view of speakers. A major focus will be on how different languages and language varieties co-exist, complement or replace other languages and language varieties or even result in new languages. The course will be activity-based and will encourage students to observe language as it is used around them. They may be required to collect and analyse authentic language data in use within the community.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code LING 1102
    Course Introduction to Language in Culture and Society
    Coordinating Unit European Languages, and Linguistics
    Term Semester 2
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 3 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Assessment Practical task 20%, oral presentation 20%, essay 50%, reflective journal 10%
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Ian Green

    This information will be made available to students later in Semester 1.

    Course Timetable

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


    Thursdays: 10.10pm - 12 noon: Napier G03; or via Echo 360, embedded within MyUni.



    Tutorials will begin in Week 2. 


  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    On completing this course students will:

    1 Understand the theoretical & methodological underpinnings of Sociolinguistics, Anthropological Linguistics & the Ethnography of Communication.
    2 Understand different perspectives on social and cultural context, including identities, social institutions, cultural values and their relationships with language
    3 Be fluent in the essential technical discourse and metalanguage of the targeted fields
    4 Be able to provide accounts of linguistic variation that reference the social and cultural contexts of language use
    5 Be able to link theory to the practical reality of language variation in the community
    6 Understand how some varieties of language attain prestige status, & what social consequences follow
    7 Understand the basic principles of primary data collection in anthropological linguistics and sociolinguistics 
    8 Be able to generate, collate and analyse samples of authentic language use
    9 Be able to ndertake small-scale linguistic research, focusing on language variation in the community
    10 Display a capacity to work productively and respectfully with their peers

    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.


    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.


    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.


    Attribute 4: Professionalism and leadership readiness

    Graduates engage in professional behaviour and have the potential to be entrepreneurial and take leadership roles in their chosen occupations or careers and communities.


    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.


    Attribute 6: Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural competency

    Graduates have an understanding of, and respect for, Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander values, culture and knowledge.


    Attribute 7: Digital capabilities

    Graduates are well prepared for living, learning and working in a digital society.


    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.

  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources

    The course is based around the following introductory texts, both available through the Barr Smith Library:

    Romaine, S 2023, Language in society: an introduction to sociolinguistics, 2nd ed., Oxford University Press, Oxford.

    Saville-Troike, M 2003, The ethnography of communication: an introduction, 3rd ed., Blackwell, Oxford.

    Recommended Resources

    For a more extensive - though sometimes complex - treatment of key course topics the following texts are also recommended:

    Wardhaugh, R & Fuller, JM 2015, An introduction to sociolinguistics, Seventh edition., John Wiley & Sons, West Sussex, England.

    Foley, WA 1997, Anthropological linguistics: an introduction, Blackwell Publishers, Cambridge, MA.

    Further specific readings will be set as we proceed through the weekly topics.

    Online Learning
    Various online learning resources will be recommended as we proceed through the weekly topics.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes

    The method of delivery is a two hour lecture per week with a one hour tutorial linked to the lecture. 

    Students are expected to:

    • attend lectures or review them online
    • undertake associated reading, language research and reflection
    • prepare for tutorials, & engage proactively in them
    • apply course concepts to the language variation evident in their own cultural and social contexts

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

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

    1 x 2 hour lecture per week (24 weeks) = 12 hours

    1 x 1 hour tutorial per week (12 weeks) = 12 hours

    4 hours course reading per week (12 weeks) = 48 hours

    3.5 hours research per week (12 weeks) = 42 hours

    3.5 hours course preparation per week (12 weeks) = 42 hours

    Total = 156 hours

    Learning Activities Summary

    Week 1: Overview 1 - researching the connection between language and culture

    Week 2: Varieties of Language

    Week 3: Analysing Communicative Events

    Week 4: Perspectives on Politeness

    Week 5: Language & Culture in Indigenous Australian languages

    Week 6: Relativism

    Week 7: Overview 2 - exploring the social parameters of language variation 

    Week 8: Networks, identity & stratification

    Week 9: Sociophonetic investigations

    Week 10: Language & Gender

    Week 11: Contemporary approaches to sociolinguistic variation

    Week 12: Identity, Shift, Loss & Revival

    Specific Course Requirements
    Students are expected to come to tutorials having reviewed the lectures & readings, and prepared to engage actively in class discussion.

  • 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 Due Date Weight
    Practical 1 : analysing cultural variation Week 5 30% [1,000 words including data transcription]
    Practical 2 : analysing social variation Week 9 30% [1,000 words including data transcription
    Essay Week 12 30% [1,500 words plus any data transcription]
    Reflective Journal Weekly 10% [10 weekly entries, minimum 100 words]
    Assessment Related Requirements
    Assessment Detail
    Instructions for, and methods pertinent to, each assignment will be discussed in lectures and/or tutorials, and details will be provided on MyUni.



    The Department of European Languages, and Linguistics operates within the School of Humanities policy in regard to student assignments.

    The deadline for submission of assignments is specified in MyUni. Students will need to follow the School's assessment policy to make arrangements for alternative submission dates.

    Assignments are to be submitted online, and plagiarism checks will be required for essays and other assignments, as specified on MyUni.

    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.

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