LING 2014 - Australian Indigenous Languages

North Terrace Campus - Summer - 2023

There were 250 or more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages spoken in Australia at the time of first contact with Europeans. Now, according to the latest National Indigenous Languages Survey (NILS II), only 13 of these languages are transmitted by normal means from one generation to the next. Australia has arguably the worst rate of language loss in the world. These languages are Australia's unique and complex linguistic heritage, which at times challenge established linguistic doctrines and provide interesting lenses through which to view and categorise the world. This course will provide an introduction to Australia's Indigenous languages (including Aboriginal English varieties, koines and creoles), with a particular focus on the Indigenous languages of South Australia. It will investigate structural features of Australian languages (for example, sounds, spellings, vocabularies, grammars, semantics) as well as their place within Australian society. Particular emphasis will be given to attempts to maintain and revive Australia's unique linguistic heritage and the linguistic tools needed for language work. The course will also investigate a range of topics of social importance including interpreting and translation, language and the law, language and health, language and education, language and identity which are at the heart of Indigenous rights and the very survival of Indigenous peoples. Students will gain an awareness of Australia's Indigenous linguistic heritage, whilst at the same time extending and consolidating their understanding of linguistics, linguistic analysis and the tools it provides for language work.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code LING 2014
    Course Australian Indigenous Languages
    Coordinating Unit Linguistics
    Term Summer
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 15 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Prerequisites At least 12 units of Level I undergraduate study
    Incompatible LING 2009 and 3009
    Assessment Essay/practical investigation (25%), linguistic problems (50%), test (25%)
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Ian Green

    m: 0438 756 936
    student consultations: in-person or zoom, by appointment

    Welcome to Australian Indigenous Languages, a study of Australia's unique linguistic heritage.

    I will be your Course Coordinator, Lecturer and Tutor. I come with more than 40 years exposure to and engagement with Australian Indigenous languages, beginning with Marrithiyel (Daly River region, Northern Territory) in 1980. I have experience working across a range of the structurally complex languages of far northern Australia - the so-called 'non Pama-Nyungan' languages - as well as the distinctively different languages across the bulk of mainland Australia (the so-called 'Pama-Nyungan' languages), with a particular focus on the dialects of the Western Desert language of Central Australia.

    I have lived in, and have undertaken extensive field work in, remote Australia, and have worked in language documentation and language maintenance and revival programs. I'm interested generally in how Indigenous Australian languages work, and how they are different / similar to languages spoken elsewhere in the world, and my particular research focus is exploring their prehistory; that is, how have they developed and changed over time, was there just one ancestral language from which all the modern ones have developed etc etc?

    A summer course allows us to focus intensively on the topic. I am sure that you will find it an interesting and worthwhile course, as students have found in past years. This area of study is rapidly changing with advances in research, implementation of programs and technological innovation and so this course is evolving to accommodate those changes.

    I look forward to working with you as we explore Australian Indigenous languages from a range of different perspectives.
    See you soon


    Course Timetable

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

    The AIL Summer School will be taught face-to-face over 3 weeks from 16th January till 1st February

    Mornings: WORKSHOPS

    Mondays 10am - 1pm (Barr Smith South 1062)

    Tuesdays 10am - 1pm (Barr Smith South 1062)

    Wednesdays 10am - 1pm (Barr Smith South 1062)

    Afternoons: SEMINARS

    Mondays 2pm - 4pm (Barr Smith South 1062)

    Tuesdays 2pm – 4pm (Barr Smith South 1062)

    Wednesdays 2pm - 4pm (Barr Smith South 1062)

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    1 Know where to access accurate, reliable and up-to-date information on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages.
    2 Pronounce Aboriginal words written in established orthographies with confidence.
    3 Engage with, read and make sense of the grammar of an Australian language.
    4 Understand the nature of the relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages.
    5 Apply linguistic analytical techniques and problem solving approaches to a body of language data drawn from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages, thereby strengthening and developing linguistic skills and understandings.
    6 Have a good linguistic foundation upon which to proceed with the learning and/or documentation of an Australian language.
    7 Contribute to promoting understandings and appreciation of Australia’s unique linguistic heritage.
    8 Understand the underlying causes of language loss in Australia and efforts to maintain and revive them.
    9 Reflect on and write coherently about a range of issues confronting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages.
    10 Appreciate the significance of Indigenous languages to their owners, speakers and custodians and implications for healing, health and well-being.
    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.

    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.

    3, 4, 5, 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, 5, 9

    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.

    1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 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.

    2, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

    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.

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

    Attribute 7: Digital capabilities

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

    1, 6

    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.

    2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    No textbook is required. 

    Students will be directed to holdings in the Barr Smith Library, as well as a range of online readings and resources, during the course.
    Recommended Resources

    Highly Recommended:
    Bowern, Claire (ed.) (forthcoming) The Oxford Guide to Australian Languages. Oxford University Press.

    Koch, Harold & Rachel Nordlinger eds. (2014) The Languages and Linguistics of Australia: A Comprehensive Guide. De Gruyter – Mouton, Berlin. BSL:499.15 K762l (also available Online)

    Maia Ponsonnet, Dorothea Hoffmann & Isabel O'Keeffe (eds.) (2020) Emotion, Body and Mind Across a Continent. Figurative representations of emotions in Australian Aboriginal languages. Special issue of Pragmatics and Cognition. 27(1).

    Meakins, Felicity & Carmel O’Shannessy (eds) (2016) Loss and Renewal: Australian Languages Since Colonisation. De Gruyter – Mouton, Berlin.

    Hobson, John, Kevin Lowe, Susan Poetsch & Michael Walsh (eds) (2010) Re-awakening Languages. Theory and practice in the revitalisation of Australia’s Indigenous Languages. Sydney University Press.

    McGregor, William B. ed. (2008) Encountering Aboriginal Languages. Studies in the history of Australian linguistics. Pacific Linguistics, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, ANU Canberra.

    Walsh, Michael & Colin Yallop (1993) Language and Culture in Aboriginal Australia. Aboriginal Studies Press, Canberra.

    Dixon, R.M.W. (2011) The Languages of Australia. Cambridge University Press.

    Dixon, R.M.W. (2002) Australian Languages: Their nature and development. Cambridge University Press.

    Bowern, Clare & Harold Koch (2014) Australian Languages and the Comparative Method. BSL: 410.5 A528.4

    National Indigenous Languages Survey (NILS) Report I (2005)

    National Indigenous Languages Survey (NILS) II (2014)

    Commonwealth of Australia (2020) National Indigenous Languages Report.

    UNESCO IDIL2022-2032 Secretariat (2021) 2022-2032 International Decade of Indigenous Languages Global Action Plan DRAFT VERSION 21 Sept. 2021

    Some More Good Books and Articles
    Amery, Rob (2016) Warraparna Kaurna! Reclaiming an Australian Language. Universdity of Adelaide Press. Free Download Paperback: PRICE $55

    Amery, Rob & Mary-Anne Gale (2008) “But our language was just asleep: A history of language revival in Australia. In William McGregor (ed.) Encountering Aboriginal Languages. Studies in the history of Australian linguistics. pp. 339-382.

    Blake, Barry (1977) Case Marking in Australian Languages. Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies, Canberra.

    Blake, Barry (1987) Australian Aboriginal Grammar. Croom Helm, London.

    Blythe, Joe & R. McKenna Brown eds. (2003) Maintaining the Links. Language, Identity and the Land. Proceedings of the seventh conference presented by the Foundation for Endangered Languages, Broome, 22-24 Sept. 2003. Foundation for Endangered Languages, Bath, UK.

    Calma, Tom (2009) Social Justice Report 2009. Australian Human Rights Commission, Sydney. On-line at

    Clendon, Mark (2014) Worrorra a language of the north-west Kimberley coast. University of Adelaide Press.

    Dixon, R.M.W. (1980) The Languages of Australia. Cambridge University Press.

    Dixon, R.M.W., W.S. Ramson & Mandy Thomas (1990) Australian Aboriginal Words in English. Their origin and meaning. Oxford University Press, Melbourne.

    Eades, Diana ed. (1995) Language in Evidence. Issues confronting Aboriginal and multicultural Australia. UNSW Press, Sydney.

    Evans, Nicholas (2003) The Non-Pama-Nyungan Languages of Northern Australia. Comparative studies of the continent’s most linguistically complex region. Pacific Linguistics 552.[BSL 499.05 P1171552]

    Evans, Nicholas (2010) Dying Words. Endangered Languages and What They Have To Tell Us. Wiley-Blackwell, Malden, MA.

    First Languages Australia (2020) Yakilla: Training Tracks. Professional learning opportunities in the first languages field. Online
    knowledge bank.

    First Languages Australia (2019) Jarrak: Our Languages Journey. Online knowledge bank.

    First Languages Australia (2019) Yaale: Tools for Language Work.

    First Languages Australia (2019) Gambay: Australian First Languages Map. Access here:

    First Languages Australia (2018) Nintiringanyi: National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Language Teaching and Employment

    First Languages Australia (2018) Global Lessons: Indigenous languages and multilingualism in school programs.

    First Languages Australia (2015) Warra. Building teams, building resources.

    First Languages Australia (2015) Angkety map. Digital resource report.

    First Languages Australia (2015) National Indigenous Languages Collection Strategy.

    First Languages Australia (2015) Junyirri. A framework for planning community language projects.

    Gale, Mary-Anne (1997) DhaÅ‹um Djorra’wuy Dhäwu. A history of writing in Aboriginal languages. Aboriginal Research Institute, UniSA.

    Green, Jenny (2014) Drawn from the Ground: Sound, Sign and Inscription in Central Australian Sand Stories, Cambridge University Press.

    Grimes, Charles E. (2009) Indigenous languages in education: what the research actually shows. Australian Society for Indigenous Languages. Palmerston NT.

    Harkins, Jean (1994) Bridging Two Worlds. Aboriginal English and Crosscultural Understanding.
    University of Queensland Press, St Lucia.

    Hartman, Deborah & John Henderson eds. (1994) Aboriginal Languages in Education. Alice Springs, IAD Press.

    Henderson, John & David Nash eds. (2002) Language in Native Title. Aboriginal Studies Press, Canberra.

    Hercus, Luise, Flavia Hodges & Jane Simpson eds. (2002) The Land is a Map. Placenames of Indigenous Origin in Australia. Pandanus Books, ANU Canberra.

    Hercus, Luise & Harold Koch eds. (2009) Aboriginal Placenames: naming and re-naming the Australian landscape. ANU e-Press, Canberra.

    Hinton, Leanne ed. (2013) Bringing our Languages Home. Language Revitalization for Families. Heydey Books, Berkeley, California. [BSL 418 H6664b]

    Hinton, Leanne ed. (2002) How to Keep your Language Alive: a commonsense approach to one-on-one language learning. Heydey Books, Berkeley, California. [BSL 418.0071 H6664h]

    Hinton, Leanne (1994) Flutes of Fire: Essays on Californian Indian Languages. Heydey Books, Berkeley, California.

    Hinton, Leanne, Ken Hale & Steven N. Austad eds.(2001) Green Book of Language Revitalisation in Practice. Academic Press. [BSL 408.9 H6664g]

    Hinton, Leanne, Leena Huss & Gerald Roche eds. (2018) The Routledge Handbook of Language Revitalization. Routledge, New York & London.

    House of Representatives (1992) A Matter of Survival. Report of the Inquiry into Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Language Maintenance.  AGPS, Canberra.

    Kendon, Adam (1988) Sign Languages of Aboriginal Australia. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

    Koch, Harold & Luise Hercus eds. (2009) Aboriginal Placenames. Naming and Re-Naming the Australian Landscape. Aboriginal History Monograph 19. ANU E Press, Canberra.

    McConvell, Patrick, Rob Amery, Mary-Anne Gale, Christine Nicholls, Jonathan Nicholls, Lester Irabinna Rigney and Simone Ulalka Tur (2002) “Keep that Language Going!” A Needs-Based Review of the Status of Indigenous Languages in South Australia. A consultancy carried out by the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
    Commission, South Australia.

    McConvell, Patrick & Nicholas Evans eds. (1997) Archaeology and Linguistics. Aboriginal Australia in a global perspective. Oxford University Press, Melbourne.

    McConvell, Patrick & Nicholas Thieberger (2001) The State of Indigenous Languages in Australia - 2001. Second Technical Paper Series No. 2. A report compiled for Environment Australia, Department of Environment and Heritage, Canberra.

    McKay, Graham (1996) The Land Still Speaks. NBEET, AGPS Canberra.

    Meakins, Felicity (2014) A Grammar of Bilinara: An Australian Aboriginal Language of the Northern Territory. De Gruyter – Mouton, Berlin.

    Mühlhäusler, Peter (2008) History of research into Australian pidgins and creoles. In William McGregor (ed.) Encountering Aboriginal Languages. Studies in the history of Australian linguistics. pp. 437-457.

    Purdie, Nola, Tracey Frigo, Clare Ozolins, Geoff Noblett, Nick Thieberger, Janet Sharp (2008)
    Indigenous Languages Programmes in Australian Schools. A Way Forward. ACER Report. Department of Education,Employment and Workplace Relations, Canberra. On-line at:

    Romaine, Suzanne (1991) Language in Australia. Cambridge University Press.

    Schmidt, Annette (1990) The Loss of Australia's Aboriginal Language Heritage. Aboriginal Studies Press, Canberra.

    Shnukal, Anna (1988) Broken. An introduction to the Creole language of Torres Strait. Pacific Linguistics, ANU Canberra.

    Simpson, Jane, Mary-Anne Gale and Rob Amery (2008) I could have saved you linguists a lot of time and trouble: 178 years of Research and Documentation of South Australia’s Indigenous Languages. In William McGregor (ed.) Encountering Aboriginal Languages. Studies in the history of Australian linguistics. pp. 85-144.

    Simpson, Jane, David Nash, Mary Laughren, Peter Austin & Barry Alpher eds. (2001) Forty Years On. Ken Hale and Australian Languages. Pacific Linguistics.

    Simpson, J. and G. Wigglesworth (2008) Children's language and multilingualism: Indigenous language use at home and school. Continuum International Press, London.

    Sutton, Peter & Michael Walsh (1979) Revised Linguistic Fieldwork Manual for Australia. Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies, Canberra.

    Thieberger, Nicholas (ed.) (1995) Paper and Talk: A manual for reconstituting materials in Australian Indigenous languages from historical sources.  Aboriginal Studies Press, Canberra.

    Thieberger, Nicholas & William McGregor eds. (1994) Macquarie Aboriginal Words. Macquarie Library, Sydney.

    Tunstill, Guy (2004) Adnyamathanha R to 10. A teaching framework for revival and second language learning in years reception to ten. Department of Education and Children’s Services, Adelaide.

    Wilkins, David (2008) ‘W(h)ither language, culture and education in remote Indigenous communities of the Northern Territory?’ Australian Review of Public Affairs. October 2008.
    On-line at:

    Wilson, Greg (2004) Arabana Years R to 10. An Arabana teaching framework for reception to year 10. Language revitalisation and second language learning. Department of Education and Children’s Services, Adelaide.


    Voice of the Land


    Australian Journal of Linguistics (AJL)

    Australian Aboriginal Studies (AAS)

    Language Documentation and Conservation (LD&C)

    New Internationalist (NI 473 June 2014 edition ‘The Politics of Language Loss’)

    Online Learning
    Additional course-related material will be posted on MyUni, including Lecture Content, Announcements and other resources.

    Useful Programs and Applications
    Fieldworks Language Explorer (FLEx) 

    ELAN annotation tool for audio and video recordings 

    Useful Websites
    First Languages Australia

    Mobile Language Team (MLT) based at the University of Adelaide

    Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) website

    Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) – 1996 Statistics

    Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) – Indigenous Language and Culture

    Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education

    David Nash’s Australian Languages pages

    David Nathan’s Aboriginal Languages of Australia Virtual Library

    Department of Prime Minister & Cabinet, Office of the Arts: Indigenous Languages Support (ILS)

    Department for Education and Child Development (DECD)

    Federation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Languages and Cultures (FATSILC)

    Kaurna Warra Pintyanthi

    Pitjantjatjara Language course at the University of South Australia

    Yolngu Languages courses at Charles Darwin University

    Centre for Australian Languages and Linguistics (CALL) Batchelor Institute for Indigenous Tertiary Education (BIITE)

    Australian Human Rights Commission

    Transient Languages & Cultures Blog

    Iltyem-iltyem: Sign Languages in Central Australia

    Centre of Excellence of the Dynamics of Language
    International Web Sites:
    Foundation for Endangered Languages (FEL)

    The Hans Rausing Endangered Languages Project, SOAS

    First Voices web pages (British Columbia) at

    Kualono, University of Hawai’i webpages at

    Māori Language Commission pages at

    Advocates for Indigenous California Language Survival

    Linguistics, University of California at Berkeley

    Manx Heritage Foundation

    Language Documentation & Conservation

  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes

    This course is delivered through an intensive Summer School. Workshop/Seminar sessions - with 5 hours class contact per day - will be held on Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday over a 3-week period, leaving plenty of time for students to pursue their own reading, research and assignment preparation.

    The Summer School will present material through a combination of lecture, tutorial, seminar, practical exercises and group discussion modes. There will be a focus on hands-on engagement with specific language data and problem-solving. Formative work will be undertaken in workshop mode and in small groups to prepare students for the completion of summative assessment tasks.


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

    15 hours lecture/workshop per week (x 3) 45 hours
    Reading 36 hours
    Research 36 hours
    Assignment Preparation 36 hours
    TOTAL: 156 hours
    Learning Activities Summary
    Week 1 Lecture/
    Workshop Content
    Associated Readings Associated Assignments
    Day 1
    12 Jan.
    Overview; Key Issues Text Ch.1; Evans (2010); McConvell & Thieberger (2001); Calma (2009); Elkin (1970); Walsh (1997); Rigney (2002) Essay
    topic #1
    Day 1
    12 Jan.
    Language, Land and Identity Text Ch.2; Bell (2002); Henderson (2002); Sutton (1979); Hercus & Simpson (2002) Essay
    topic #1
    Day 2
    13 Jan.
    The Distribution of Australia’s
    South Australia’s Indigenous Languages
    Text Ch.3; DECS (2009); Simpson et al (2008); McConvell et al (2002); Schmidt (1990) Essay
    topic #1
    Day 3
    14 Jan.
    Sound Systems and Writing Systems Text Ch.5; Gale (1998); Thieberger (1995); Schebeck (2004); Fletcher & Butcher (2014) Assign #1
    DUE 25 Jan. 2022
    Essay topic #2
    Week 2
    Workshop Content
    Associated Readings Associated Assignments
    Day 4
    19 Jan
    Lexicon, Semantics & Metaphor
    Indigenous taxonomies
    Text. Ch.6; Hansen (1984); Walsh (1992); Goddard (1993); McConvell (2000); Amery (1993). Essay topic #3
    Day 4
    19 Jan
    Language & Culture
    Linguistic etiquette
    Text Ch.4; Walsh & Yallop (1993); Ways of Thinking video Essay topic #7
    Day 5
    20 Jan
    Australian Aboriginal Grammars Text Ch.7; Green (1994); Blake (1989); Evans (2003); Dixon (1982); Nordlinger (2014) Essay topic #4
    Day 6
    21 Jan
    Language Connections Text Ch.8; Koch (2014); Bowern & Koch (2014); Pensalfini
    (2001); Evans (2003); Dixon (2002);
    Assign #2
    DUE 11 Feb. 2022
    Week 3
    Workshop Content
    Associated Readings Associated Assignments
    Day 7
    25 Jan.
    Aboriginal Languages in Education Grimes (2009); Devlin (2009); Walsh (2003);
    Wilkins (2008); Simpson et al (2009); Mühlhäusler et al (2004); Purdie et al (2008)
    Essay topic #5
    Day 8
    27 Jan.
    Language Maintenance and Language Revival Text Ch. 9; Amery & Gale (2008); Walsh in Hobson et al (eds) (2010); NILS I and II Reports; First Languages Australia (2015)    Essay topic #1
    Essay topic #4
    Essay topic #8
    Day 8
    27 Jan.
    Aboriginal English; Australian Creales and Koines Text Ch.10; DEET (1995); Harkins (1994); Sandefur (1985); Urry & Walsh (1981); McConvell (2008); Eades (1995); Amery (1993)
    Day 9
    28 Jan.
    Language and the Law
    Language and Health
    Interpreting and Translation
    Future Prospects
    Eades (1988)
    Cooke (1995)
    Trudgen (2000)
    Cass et al (2002)
    ARDS (2009)
    Essay topic #6
    Essay topic #1
    Essay topic #8

    ESSAY DUE 21 Feb 2022

    Specific Course Requirements
    Attendance of all 9 days of the Summer School is compulsory. Students will be expected to complete additional exercises and
    small-scale investigations working within small groups and overnight between teaching sessions. Application to these tasks will contribute to the 10% awarded to attendance and participation.

  • 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 Weighting Course Learning Objectives
    Due Date
    Practical Investigation #1 25% 2, 5, 6 Due 23 Jan. 2023
    Practical Investigation #2 25% 3, 4, 5, 6 Due 30 Jan. 2023
    Essay (2,000 words) 40% 1, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 Due 16 Feb. 2023
    Attendance & Participation 10% 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10
    Assessment Related Requirements

    Attendance of all 9 days of the Summer School is compulsory. Students will be expected to complete additional exercises and
    small-scale investigations working within small groups and overnight between teaching sessions. Application to these tasks will contribute to the 10% awarded to attendance and participation.

    Assessment Detail

    Assignment 1: Practical Investigation - phonological and grammatical comparison

    Word Count Equivalence: 1,000 words
    Due Date: 23 Jan. 2023

    Prepare a report on one of the following:
    1. Compare and contrast the sound systems and orthographies of 4 Australian Indigenous languages.
      What are the commonalities and differences between the sound systems of these 4 languages?
      Compare and contrast the orthographies employed.

    2. Compare and contrast the core grammatical systems of 4 Australian Indigenous languages.
      (We will work through in class what we mean by 'core grammatical system'.)
      What are the commonalities and differences between these systems?

    Assignment 2: Practical Investigation - grammar review

    Word Count Equivalence: 1,000 words
    Due Date: 30 Feb. 2023

    Prepare a report on a published grammar, or an unpublished PhD thesis, of an Australian language. Summarise the key features of that language. Discuss what you see as particularly distinctive or interesting about the language, that is, in comparison with the languages in its immediate geographic region, and in the context of Australian languages generally. Feel free to focus on whatever aspect of the language strikes you as noteworthy, whether that be in terms of phonology, morphology, vocabulary, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, typology, genetic status, language maintenance etc etc.

    Assignment 3: Essay

    Word Count: 2,000 words (Level 2)
    Due Date: 16 Feb. 2023

    Select one of the following topics

    Essay Topics

    1. With no more than a few thousand speakers at most, by world standards Australian Indigenous languages are small. Their use within mainstream Australia is very limited. So why should Australian Indigenous languages be of importance to all Australians? Discuss the current position of Indigenous languages in Australian society and prospects for the future.

    2. The public (and indeed many Indigenous people) often want a ‘pronunciation guide’ which entails spelling Indigenous words using English conventions (eg Pitjantjatjara “(pronounced as pigeon-jarrah)” or “pit-jan-jah-jarra” and “anangu (pronounced arn-ahng-oo” ). See also Is this a good idea? What problems are introduced? Be sure to discuss with copious reference to specific examples.

    3. Discuss the role that body part metaphors play in Australian Indigenous languages. What similarities exist between their use in Australian Indigenous languages and in English and/or other languages with which you are familiar? How do they differ? Be sure to provide copious examples in your discussion.

    4. What is a ‘revival grammar’ or a ‘recovery grammar’ (see for instance John Giacon’s (2017) Yaluu. A Recovery Grammar of Yuwaalaraay and Gamilaraay and how does it differ to a ‘regular’ grammar of an Aboriginal language (eg Felicity Meakins & Rachel Nordlinger’s A Grammar of Bilinarra An Australian Aboriginal Language of the Northern Territory; 2013)?

    5. The demand for Aboriginal languages in schools is stronger than ever, but the capacity to deliver Aboriginal language programs is limited. What are the main limitations or barriers? How can these be overcome?

    6. Specialist interpreters (eg medical, legal, social security etc) are needed in Aboriginal Australia. Explain how interpreting in Yolngu Matha or Pitjantjatjara is different to interpreting for French or Japanese speakers in Australia.

    7. What role does sign language play in Aboriginal society? Provide a comprehensive overview of contemporary research in this area. Discuss the role of technology within this area of research.

    8. Discuss the role that Australian Indigenous languages have played/are playing in relation to messaging during the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Has this messaging been effective? How could it be improved? Be sure to introduce specific examples in your discussion.


    Be sure to draw on reputable published print-based references or online articles that are peer reviewed, though of course you may complement these with sources accessed from the internet, popular press or other ephemeral material. Wherever possible, relate your own experience to issues discussed in the literature.
    1 Assignments to be submitted via MyUni.
    2 All assignments must be accompanied by a signed cover sheet (includes plagiarism declaration)
    3 Ensure that your Course Coordinator’s Name, Course Title (including Level II or III) and Assignment Title appear on the cover sheet.
    4 All assignments must be in grammatical English.
    5 Phonetic transcription may be hand-written legibly, though use of electronic IPA symbols is preferred. 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 Assignments submitted late require a doctor’s certificate, counsellor’s certificate or similar proof/documentation.
    8 Extensions (normally up to one week)  MUST be organised prior to the due date.
    9 Penalty with no extension is 2% per day up to 7 working days.
    10 Unless an extension has been approved, late assignments 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.