LING 5004 - Meaning as Choice

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2014

Language is a complex phenomenon learned naturally in the first years of life. It is sometimes called the most distinctive feature of humans, and whilst it can be argued that a great number of species have evolved their own distinctive communication, it is also arguable that humans alone have evolved a detailed and specific grammar with which to create meaning. The course will introduce participants to one functional linguistic tradition, namely Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL), and the framework it offers for a close of analysis and interpretation of language in use. The essential question which SFL aims to inform is, `How is language working here?' (here meaning in this context).The model aligns language in use very closely with its context and, accordingly, the notion of context is also theorised. SFL is an `appliable' linguistics and students will apply their understanding of the relationship between grammar, meaning and text to investigate how language works in different contexts. These contexts may include the workplaces of participants, as well as other domains of public interest, for example the media, politics, education, health and sport.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code LING 5004
    Course Meaning as Choice
    Coordinating Unit Linguistics
    Term Semester 1
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 6
    Restrictions Postgraduate Applied Linguistics students
    Course Description Language is a complex phenomenon learned naturally in the first years of life. It is sometimes called the most distinctive feature of humans, and whilst it can be argued that a great number of species have evolved their own distinctive communication, it is also arguable that humans alone have evolved a detailed and specific grammar with which to create meaning.

    The course will introduce participants to one functional linguistic tradition, namely Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL), and the framework it offers for a close of analysis and interpretation of language in use. The essential question which SFL aims to inform is, `How is language working here?' (here meaning in this context).The model aligns language in use very closely with its context and, accordingly, the notion of context is also theorised. SFL is an `appliable' linguistics and students will apply their understanding of the relationship between grammar, meaning and text to investigate how language works in different contexts. These contexts may include the workplaces of participants, as well as other domains of public interest, for example the media, politics, education, health and sport.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr John Walsh

    Course Coordinator: Dr John Walsh
    Phone: 08 8303 5196 Email: john.walsh@adelaide.edu.au
    Campus: North Terrace Room: Napier Building, Room 924

    Course Tutor: Ms. Evita Ratcliffe
    Phone: 08 8313 1403Email: evita.ratcliffe@student.adelaide.edu.au
    Campus: North Terrace Room: Napier Building, Room 912

    Communication: Please make initial inquiries for appointments with John and Evita via email.
    Consultation: John Walsh, Monday 2.00 – 4.00pm
    Evita Ratcliffe, Thursday 12.00 – 1.00pm
    Course Timetable

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

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    1 demonstrate a knowledge of the key elements of Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL)
    2 analyse how language constitutes particular theories of reality, both experiential and interpersonal
    3 analyse texts with confidence through understanding and applying grammatical resources from SFL
    4 understand how language works in relation to its context of use
    5 confidently engage with technical discourse and metalanguage
    6 articulate the processes of how language is used to ‘get things done’ in human life
    7 apply their knowledge about language to particular domains of professional and personal life
    8 critically respond to texts used within the course and those which appear out in the world, for example in the media, including contemporary technologies
    9 use new knowledge to better prepare and deliver coherently and logically argued written material
    10 engage 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)
    Knowledge and understanding of the content and techniques of a chosen discipline at advanced levels that are internationally recognised. 1,2,3
    The ability to locate, analyse, evaluate and synthesise information from a wide variety of sources in a planned and timely manner. 2,4,7,9
    An ability to apply effective, creative and innovative solutions, both independently and cooperatively, to current and future problems. 1,5,6,9
    Skills of a high order in interpersonal understanding, teamwork and communication. 4,6,7,10
    A proficiency in the appropriate use of contemporary technologies. 3,5,7
    A commitment to continuous learning and the capacity to maintain intellectual curiosity throughout life. 1,2,6
    A commitment to the highest standards of professional endeavour and the ability to take a leadership role in the community. 8,9,10
    An awareness of ethical, social and cultural issues within a global context and their importance in the exercise of professional skills and responsibilities. 1,2,4,6,7,8
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources

    Set text: Eggins S. An Introduction to Systemic Functional Linguistics (continuum, 2007) 

    Recommended Resources

    The Linguistics homepage on the Barr Smith Library site has a good section on resources for studies in linguistics and is well stocked with resources particular to Systemic Functional Linguistics. 

    Online Learning

    Additional course-related material is available through MyUni. The following documents will be available via MyUni:

    • Course Outlines
    • Lecture Content
    • Description of assessment tasks
    • Seminar related materials
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes

    The method of delivery is 1 x 2 hour meeting per week. Each meeting will also be used to engage the students in practice with the grammar as it is introduced each week, in applying the grammar to text analysis, and also in addressing the theory which underpins the SFL tradition. The meetings will combine input and group based activities to provide the opportunity to practise and gain greater control of the grammar. The classes will cover the full range of topics appropriate to an introduction to Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL) and how it theorises about the relationship between text and context, drawing on the grammar as a resource for making meanings. Students will be encouraged to analyse and interpret texts from their professional and workplace perspectives in a workshop environment. These periods will consolidate and extend the lecture content, and develop student skills and autonomy in text analysis and their understanding of the overarching SFL framework. 

    Workload

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

    1 x 1 hour lecture per week 12 hours per semester
    1 x 1 hour tutorial per week 12 hours per semester
    10 hours reading/research per week 120 hours per semester
    7 hours class preparation per week 84 hours per semester
    7 hours assignment preparation per week 84 hours per semester
    TOTAL 312 hours per semester
    Learning Activities Summary
    Schedule
    Week 1 Introduction: Language as a Semiotic System: Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL)
    Week 2 The constituents of language: words, phrases, groups, clauses
    Week 3 Identifying groups and clauses
    Week 4 The grammar of experiential meaning 1 – Transitivity, Participants and Nominal Groups
    Week 5 The grammar of experiential meaning 2 – Transitivity, Processes and Verbal Groups
    Week 6 The grammar of experiential meaning 3 – Transitivity, Circumstances and Adverbial Groups
    Week 7 The grammar of experiential meaning 4 – Nominalisation
    Week 8 The grammar of interpersonal meaning 1 – Speech function, Mood [Part 1]
    Week 9 The grammar of interpersonal meaning 2 – Mood [Part 2]
    Week 10 The grammar of interpersonal meaning 3 - Modality
    Week 11 The grammar of textual meaning 1 – Theme and Rheme
    Week 12 The grammar of textual meaning 2 – Theme and thematic progression
  • 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 Assessment type Weighting Course Learning Outcomes
    Participation in weekly meetings Formative & summative 10% 4,6,10
    Grammar test 1 Formative & summative 20% 1-5
    Grammar test 2 Formative & summative 20% 1-5
    Grammar test 3 Formative & summative 20% 1-5
    Review of literature Summative 30% 1-9
    Assessment Detail
    Grammar test (Week 5)
    Students will do a test based on content which has been covered in the initial weeks of the course.

    Grammar test (Week 8)
    Students will do a test based on content which has been covered in the previous weeks of the course.

    Grammar test (Week 11)
    Students will do a test based on content which has been covered in the course to this time.

    Text analysis (Week 13)
    Students will write a review of papers and chapters which introduce the theory and/or the practice of SFL. The readings will be provided to the students. Written response: 2000 words, in which students will demonstrate their understanding of the tradition of SFL, the key aspects of the theory and its relationship to different theories of language, and a critique of the different presentations made about SFL in the readings presented.

    Participation and attendance
    Students will engage in supportive peer interaction in class activities, and in the co-operative sharing of materials and information.
    Submission
    Information available on enrolment.
    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

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    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 (http://www.adelaide.edu.au/policies/101/) 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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