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The Secret Life of Language (LING10001)

Undergraduate level 1Points: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelUndergraduate Level 1
Subject codeLING10001
Semester 2
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

Have you ever wondered how language actually works? Or how it can be that a 6 year-old child can know more about their native language than the most sophisticated computers? This subject is a practical introduction to the nature of human language which gives a conceptual framework for discussing language and provides the tools required to analyse and describe all of the world's 6000+ languages. Central areas of linguistics will be covered using data from languages from all over the world, including speech sounds, word structure, sentence structure, meaning, language learning, and language change.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this subject, students should have:

  • explored the general nature of human language;
  • learnt how language can be described and analysed;
  • gained a conceptual framework for thinking about and discussing language;
  • developed simple analytic skills as applied to language;
  • attained a broad overview of academic approaches to the analysis of language;
  • develop foundational discipline-specific research skills in analysing and describing languages from around the world;
  • become acquainted with the use of learning and research technologies (LMS, library) to solve linguistic tasks;
  • engaged in pedagogically led interactions in the classroom around problems and tasks in Linguistics;
  • developed an understanding of linguistic, social and cultural diversity in the university and wider community.

Generic skills

At the completion of this subject, students should:

  • be able to communicate knowledge intelligibly and economically
  • have developed skill in critical thinking and analysis;
  • have gained skills in observation and attention to detail;
  • have developed skills in thinking in theoretical terms.

Eligibility and requirements





Non-allowed subjects


Core participation requirements

The University of Melbourne is committed to providing students with reasonable adjustments to assessment and participation under the Disability Standards for Education (2005), and the Assessment and Results Policy (MPF1326). Students are expected to meet the core participation requirements for their course. These can be viewed under Entry and Participation Requirements for the course outlines in the Handbook.

Further details on how to seek academic adjustments can be found on the Student Equity and Disability Support website: http://services.unimelb.edu.au/student-equity/home



  • 3 problem-solving assignments (equivalent to 2000 words total) distributed throughout the semester [50%]
  • 2-hour exam (equivalent to 2000 words) during the examination period [50%]

Hurdle Requirement: Students must attend a minimum of 75% of tutorials in order to pass this subject. All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject.

Note: Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10% per working day. In-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked.

Dates & times

  • Semester 2
    CoordinatorPeter Hurst
    Mode of deliveryOn Campus — Parkville
    Contact hours35 hours: 2 x 1 hour lecture and a 1 hour tutorial per week. There will be no tutorials in first week of semester.
    Total time commitment170 hours
    Teaching period29 July 2019 to 27 October 2019
    Last self-enrol date 9 August 2019
    Census date31 August 2019
    Last date to withdraw without fail27 September 2019
    Assessment period ends22 November 2019

    Semester 2 contact information

Time commitment details

170 hours

Further information

Last updated: 17 August 2019