LING 1053 - Australian Indigenous Languages (Kaurna focus) I

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2024

This course provides an introduction to the Indigenous languages of Australia with a particular focus on Kaurna, the language of the Adelaide Plains. Australia has arguably suffered the worst rate of language loss and extinction in the world with now only 12 of the original 250 to 300 languages being transmitted by natural means to the next generation. Kaurna is one of the few Indigenous languages which is reversing the trends and making a remarkable comeback. While focussing on the Kaurna language, the course covers a wide range of topics essential to understand Australian Indigenous languages, not only linguistically, but also culturally and sociologically. The sounds and spelling systems are introduced and their structure explored with a view to uncovering something of their genius and unique contribution to the rich tapestry of the world's languages. The interplay between linguistic and cultural meanings of Kaurna greetings, kinship and emotions will be explained in detail. In addition, the course will look at the use of Indigenous languages in the public sphere of Australian society, including education, law and health, making the course highly relevant to students who aim to gain highly specialised skills to work in such fields.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code LING 1053
    Course Australian Indigenous Languages (Kaurna focus) I
    Coordinating Unit European Languages, and 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
    Incompatible LING 2053, LING 2053, LING 7053, (LING 2039 or LING 3015), (LING 2014 or LING 3013) (One is allowed)
    Assessment Spelling & Pronunciation Quiz, Constructing a Kaurna Text, Research Essay, Class activities
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Corey Theatre

    Lecturer : Assoc. Prof. Rob Amery; Ms Taylor Power-Smith

    Tutors: Mrs Susie Greenwood; Mr Kieran Smith
    Course Timetable

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

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes

    1 Know where to access accurate, reliable and up-to-date information on Australian Indigenous Languages.
    2 Pronounce Aboriginal words written in established orthographies with confidence.
    3 Understand the nature of the relationships between Aborginal and Torres Strait Islander languages.
    4 Promote understanding of and appreciation for Australia’s unique linguistic heritage and of the Kaurna language in particular.
    5 Introduce oneself (and one’s family) in the Kaurna language.
    6 Reflect on and write coherently about a range of issues confronting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages.
    7 Appreciate the significance of Indigenous languages to their owners, speakers and custodians and implications for healing, health and well-being.
    8 Build language and cultural skills that would be useful to work with Indigenous peoples of Australia in the public sphere including education, health, law, and social work.
    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

    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, 5, 6, 7

    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.

    2, 4, 5, 6, 8

    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.

    2, 8

    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, 7, 8

    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

    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.

    4, 5, 6, 7
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    • Bowern, Claire (ed) (forthcoming) The Oxford Guide to Australian Languages. Oxford University Press.
    • Amery, Rob (2016) Warraparna Kaurna! Reclaiming an Australian Language. University of Adelaide Press.  
    • Amery, Rob & Jane Simpson (2013) Kulurdu Marni Ngathaitya! Sounds good to me! Kaurna Learner’s Guide. Wakefield Press.
    • Amery, Rob (2020) Emotion metaphors in an awakening language: Kaurna, the language of the Adelaide Plains. Pragmatics and Cognition 27(1): 272-312. Special issue edited by Maïa Ponsonnet, Dorothea Hoffmann & Isabel O’Keeffe.
    Recommended Resources
    Amery, R, Greenwood, S & Morley, J 2021, Kaurna warrapiipa - Kaurna dictionary : Kaurna to English, English to Kaurna. Wakefield Press, Adelaide.

    Amery, R, Simpson, J, & Best, A 2021, Kulurdu marni ngathaitya! Sounds good to me! : A Kaurna learner’s guide, 2nd edn, Wakefield Press, Adelaide.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes

    No information currently available.


    No information currently available.

    Learning Activities Summary
    Week      Seminar Topics
    1 Introduction: Distribution and status of AILs; Typology & genetic relationships.
    2 Why learn an Australian Indigenous language? Strong languages vs revival languages.
    3 Sound systems: Pronunciation and spelling of AILs.
    4 Morphology and syntax of AILs.
    5 Introduction to Kaurna, the language of the Adelaide Plains.
    6 Re-introducing a sleeping language: Approaches and methods.
    7 Kaurna greetings, introductions, welcomes vs acknowledgements.
    8 Kaurna kinship: Talking about family.
    9 Kaurna emotions: Talking about feelings.
    10 Indigenous languages in education.
    11 Indigenous languages in the public domain.
    12 Language and the law; language and health; interpreting and translation.
  • 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 %
    Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Spelling and Pronunciation Quiz Summative 20% 2
    Constructing a Kaurna Text Formative & Summative 30% 5
    Research Essay (1,500 words) Summative 40% 1, 3, 4, 6, 7
    Class Activities Formative 10% 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6,  7
    Assessment Related Requirements
    Attendance of tutorials is compulsory.
    All assessment tasks must be attempted in order to pass the course.
    Assessment Detail
    Assignment 1: Spelling and Pronunciation Quiz (20%)
    Students will be given 18 high profile Indigenous names, placenames, words or expressions written in established orthographies to pronounce.

    Assignment 2: Constructing a Kaurna Text (30%)
    Using the Kaurna dictionary, learner’s guide, and example templates presented in seminars, students will construct their own 80 word text acknowledging Kaurna land/people/culture and introducing themselves and their family or friends in the Kaurna language. 

    Assignment 3: Research Essay (40%)
    Students will research and write a 1,500 word research essay.

    Assignment 4: Class Activities (10%)
    Students actively engage in class activities to learn to speak, understand, read and write the Kaurna language and to discuss Indigenous language issues.

    No information currently available.

    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
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