Students

LING7701 – Modern Theories of Linguistics in the History of Human Sciences

2021 – Session 1, Special circumstances

Notice

As part of Phase 3 of our return to campus plan, most units will now run tutorials, seminars and other small group activities on campus, and most will keep an online version available to those students unable to return or those who choose to continue their studies online.

To check the availability of face-to-face and online activities for your unit, please go to timetable viewer. To check detailed information on unit assessments visit your unit's iLearn space or consult your unit convenor.

General Information

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Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit convenor and teaching staff
Margaret Wood
Convenor
Annabelle Lukin
12SW507
Credit points Credit points
10
Prerequisites Prerequisites
Admission to MRes
Corequisites Corequisites
Co-badged status Co-badged status
Unit description Unit description

Language, along with the night sky and the 'signs' of illness, has been one of the longest studied objects of human enquiry. This unit examines the contemporary theories produced in that sustained human effort. In particular, we investigate the claims that twentieth century linguistics makes to being a science; and we look closely at the current ways in which linguistic theories are extended by the techniques of twenty-first century sciences: genetics and evolutionary theory; language corpora; neurosciences and medicine; complexity and computational modelling; and electronic translation tools. The unit gives prominence to scholars concerned with the special conditions that pertain to the study of sign systems, of syntax, and of meaning: for example, Saussure; Chomsky; and various theorists across disciplines who offer methodical accounts for the study of meaning. Students in the unit can choose a strand of specialisation in their readings and assignments: one can choose by the level of language (from phonetics up to context), by the orientation to theory (eg, functionalist, structuralist, generative, or other), and by era (1900-1950, 1950- 2010, or classical and other). All students will be encouraged to place their own research interests in the context of historical developments in the subject.

Important Academic Dates

Information about important academic dates including deadlines for withdrawing from units are available at https://www.mq.edu.au/study/calendar-of-dates

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:

  • ULO1: Understand selected key linguistic theories in their historical context, and in relation to the motivations of the communities of scholars responsible for their development
  • ULO2: Describe the distinguishing concepts of major linguistic theories and theorists
  • ULO4: Understand and relate forms of evidence to different kinds of linguistic theory
  • ULO3: Present and evaluate claims and assumptions of different linguistic theories
  • ULO5: Explain the ramifications of linguistic theory for other forms of intellectual enquiry, in particular how linguistics plays a role in the direction of the human sciences
  • ULO6: Construct clear and cogent arguments about how linguistics may develop in the particular sub-discipline most relevant to your domain

General Assessment Information

General Assessment Information

Late Assessment Procedure

  • Late submissions without an extension will receive a penalty of 3% of the total mark available for the assessment task per day including weekend days (i.e. this is 3% of the total marks possible for the task – NOT 3% of the marks the student received. For example, if the assessment task is worth 100 marks and the student is two days late their mark for the task is reduced by 6 marks.)
  • Late submission of an assessment task without an extension will not be accepted at all after the date on which marked assessment tasks have been released to the rest of the class. Any student with unsubmitted work at this date will receive a mark of 0 for the assessment task.
  • Extensions will only be given in special circumstances, and can be requested by completing the Special Consideration request at ask.mq.edu.au and providing the requisite supporting documentation.
  • Extensions that will result in submissions after the assessment task has been returned to the class will require a separate assessment task to be completed at the unit convenor's discretion.
  • For more information on Special Consideration, see the university website https://students.mq.edu.au/study/my-study-program/special-consideration\
  • If a student fails the unit due to non-submission of an assignment or non-attendance at an exam, an FA grade will be applied in accordance with the University's Assessment Policy.
  • Unit convenors have the discretion to determine whether or not students should fail a unit on the basis of lateness penalties alone if other learning outcomes of the unit have been met.

Assessment Tasks

Name Weighting Hurdle Due
Seminar presentation 20% No Students choose date
Short profile 20% No 16/4/21
Major essay 40% No 04/06/21
Seminar participation 20% No Ongoing

Seminar presentation

Assessment Type 1: Presentation
Indicative Time on Task 2: 16 hours
Due: Students choose date
Weighting: 20%

Individual presentation on a key theory/school, its major conceptual contributions and its mode of argumentation (min 5mins - max 10mins)


On successful completion you will be able to:
  • Understand selected key linguistic theories in their historical context, and in relation to the motivations of the communities of scholars responsible for their development
  • Describe the distinguishing concepts of major linguistic theories and theorists
  • Understand and relate forms of evidence to different kinds of linguistic theory

Short profile

Assessment Type 1: Essay
Indicative Time on Task 2: 16 hours
Due: 16/4/21
Weighting: 20%

Written profile on a key theory/school, its major conceptual contributions and its mode of argumentation (1500 words)


On successful completion you will be able to:
  • Understand selected key linguistic theories in their historical context, and in relation to the motivations of the communities of scholars responsible for their development
  • Describe the distinguishing concepts of major linguistic theories and theorists
  • Understand and relate forms of evidence to different kinds of linguistic theory
  • Present and evaluate claims and assumptions of different linguistic theories

Major essay

Assessment Type 1: Essay
Indicative Time on Task 2: 40 hours
Due: 04/06/21
Weighting: 40%

Essay presentation on a key theory/theorists of 20th century linguistics (3000 words)


On successful completion you will be able to:
  • Understand selected key linguistic theories in their historical context, and in relation to the motivations of the communities of scholars responsible for their development
  • Describe the distinguishing concepts of major linguistic theories and theorists
  • Understand and relate forms of evidence to different kinds of linguistic theory
  • Present and evaluate claims and assumptions of different linguistic theories
  • Explain the ramifications of linguistic theory for other forms of intellectual enquiry, in particular how linguistics plays a role in the direction of the human sciences
  • Construct clear and cogent arguments about how linguistics may develop in the particular sub-discipline most relevant to your domain

Seminar participation

Assessment Type 1: Participatory task
Indicative Time on Task 2: 39 hours
Due: Ongoing
Weighting: 20%

Weekly preparation for seminar and contributions to discussion


On successful completion you will be able to:
  • Understand selected key linguistic theories in their historical context, and in relation to the motivations of the communities of scholars responsible for their development
  • Describe the distinguishing concepts of major linguistic theories and theorists

1 If you need help with your assignment, please contact:

  • the academic teaching staff in your unit for guidance in understanding or completing this type of assessment
  • the Writing Centre for academic skills support.

2 Indicative time-on-task is an estimate of the time required for completion of the assessment task and is subject to individual variation

Delivery and Resources

Please note that this unit has been altered to accommodate our delivery provisions in compliance with current COVID-19 requirements (Special Circumstance delivery). Learning activities (such as tutorials and other small group learning activities) will be offered on-campus while keeping an online version available for those students who choose to continue their studies online (selected via eStudent). Learning activities for this unit will be delivered as follows:

The unit is delivered via a 3 hour seminar. These will be given F2F, with option of participants joining via Zoom.

Unit Schedule

 

Week/

Presenter 

Topic

1

A/Prof David Butt

Pre-modern to modern theories: What concepts do we need to describe a language? Are these sufficient for the description of language as a phenomenon?

Readings:

Van Valin Jnr, R.D. and La Polla, R.J. 1997. Syntax: Structure, Meaning, and Function, Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Uni. Press. [Chapter 1: The goals of linguistic theory, pp 1-16].

2

A/Prof David Butt

From pre-modern to post-modern approaches to the linguistic sign.

Readings:

de Saussure, F. (1974). Course in General Linguistics (W. B. Baskin, Trans.). London: Fontana/Collins. [Part II: Synchronic Linguistics, pp 101-127].

Harris, R., and Taylor, T.J. 1997. Landmarks in Linguistic Thought I: The Western Tradition from Socrates to Saussure. 2nd Ed. London and New York: Routledge

[Ch.2 Aristotle on Metaphor, pp 20-35].

3

Dr Nick Wilson

Language change, evolution and variation

Readings:

Sapir, E. (1970). Language. An Introduction to the Study of Speech. London: Rupert Hart-Davis. [Chapter 7: Language as a historical product: Drift, pp 147-170].

Joseph, J.E.; Love, N.; Taylor, T.J. (2001) Landmarks in Linguistic Thought II: The Western Tradition in the Twentieth Century. London and New York: Routledge. [Ch.1 Sapir on language, culture and personality, pp 1-16].

Bickerton, D. 2007 Language evolution: A brief guide for linguists. Lingua. 117(3). pp510-526.

4

A/Prof David Butt

Theories of syntax and meaning: a first survey from classical to contemporary eras.

 

Readings:

Allan, Keith, 2010. The Western Classical Tradition in Linguistics: London: Equinox. [Ch 6: Appolonius and Priscian, the great grammarians among the ancients, pp 101-127].

Chomsky. N. 1965. Aspects of a Theory of Syntax. Cambridge Massachusetts: MIT Press. [Ch1: Methodological Preliminaries pp 3-62].

Janson, T. (2004) A Natural History of Latin: The story of the world’s most successful language. Oxford UK: Oxford Uni. Press. [Part III: About the Grammar pp 179-211].

Winograd, T. Language as Cognitive Process 1: Syntax. Massachusetts: Addison-Wesley Publishing Co. [Appendix B: An Outline of English Syntax, pp 465-549].

5 A/Prof Annabelle Lukin

Language and thinking: paradigms in linguistic theory

Readings:

Whorf. B. L. 1936. The Relation of Habitual Thought and Behaviour to Language. Language, Thought and Reality. Cambridge Massachusetts: MIT Press. pp 134-159

Ellis, J.M. (1993) Language, Thought, and Logic. Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern University Press. [Ch.5: Language and Thought, pp 55-66].

Geeraerts, D and Cuyckens. 2007. Introducing Cognitive Linguistics. In Geeraerts, D and Cuyckens (eds),  Oxford Handbook of Cognitive Linguistics pp 3-21. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

6 A/Prof Annabelle Lukin

 

The study of language in relation to context

Readings:

Malinowski, B. (1923). The problem of meaning in primitive languages. In C. K. Ogden & I. A. Richards (Eds.), The Meaning of Meaning. New York: Harcourt, Brace & Co. pp 296-336.

Hasan, R. (2016). Wherefore context?: The ontogenesis of meaning exchange. In J. J. Webster (Ed.), Context in the System and Process of Language. Volume 4 in the Collected Works of Ruqaiya Hasan (pp. 95-126). London: Equinox.

7

Dr Francesco Possmato

Approaches to interaction: conversation analysis

Readings:

Enfield, N.J., Sidnell, J. 2017. On the concept of action in the study of interaction. Discourse Studies. Vol 19 (5) 515-535.

Maynard, D. W. 2013. Everyone and no-one to turn to: Intellectual roots and contexts for conversation analysis. In J. Sidnell & T. Stivers (Eds.), The Handbook of Conversation Analysis, pp. 11-31. Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.

 

Mazeland, H. 2013. Grammar in conversation. In J. Sidnell & T. Stivers (Eds.), The Handbook of Conversation Analysis, pp 475-491. Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.

 

MID SEMESTER RECESS

8

 (TBC)

Genetic relationships between languages: typological findings and debating language universals 

Readings:

Comrie, Bernard. 1989. Language Universals and Linguistic Typology. 2ndEdition. Basil Blackwell: Oxford. [Chapter 2: Language Typology pp 30-50].

 

Matthiessen, C.M.I.M. 2004. Descriptive motifs and generalizations. In Cafferel, A, et. Al (eds). Language Typology: a Functional Perspective. Amsterdam: Benjamins. pp 637-673.

9

A/Prof Annabelle Lukin

The study of ideology in linguistics and the human sciences

 

Readings:

 

V. S. Volosinov. 1973 [1929]. Marxism and the Philosophy of Language. New York: Seminar Press. [Chapters 1-2, pp 9-24]

van Dijk, T. (1998). Ideology: A Multidisciplinary Approach. London: Sage. [Introduction: pp 1-14]

Wodak, R., & Meyer, M. (2016). Methods of Critical Discourse Studies, Third Edition. London: Sage. [Chapter 1: Critical Discourse Studies: history, agenda, theory and methodology, pp1-22].

10

Dr Nick Wilson 

Issues of Identity and Power in Language Variation

Readings:

Eckert, P., & Wenger, E. (2005). Communities of practice in sociolinguistics. Journal of Sociolinguistics9(4), 582–589.

Kiesling, Scott Fabius. 1998. Men's Identities and Sociolinguistic Variation: The Case of Fraternity Men. Journal of Sociolinguistics. 2(1). pp69-99.

11

Dr Titia Benders 

A History of the Study of Sound and Sound/Acquisition

Readings

TBC

12

A/Prof Annabelle Lukin

Pedagogical Grammars in the History of Linguistics and the Human Sciences

Readings:

Luhtala, Anneli. 2013. Pedagogical Grammars before the Eighteenth Century. In Allan, Keith (ed). The Oxford Handbook of the History of Linguistics. Oxford: Oxford University Press. [Chapter 14 pp 341-358]

Hasan, R. (2011). Literacy, everyday talk and society. In J. J. Webster (Ed.), Language and Education: Learning and Teaching in Society. Volume 3 in the Collected Works of Ruqaiya Hasan, pp 169-206. London: Equinox.

 

NSW Syllabus for the Australian Curriculum: English K-10

13

A/Prof Annabelle Lukin

The History of Corpus Linguistics

Readings:

McEnery, T and Hardie, A. 2013. “The History of Corpus Linguistics”.

In Allan, Keith (ed). The Oxford Handbook of the History of Linguistics. Oxford: Oxford University Press. [Chapter 33 pp 727-746].

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