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LIN3060 - Working with Linguistic Archival Materials

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate Faculty of Arts

Leader: Dr Heather Bowe


Clayton Second semester 2007 (Day)
Clayton Second semester 2007 (Off-campus)


This unit aims to advance students' understanding of the processes necessary for locating, identifying, and analysing historical/archival material to establish the original pronunciation of words, to describe the phonological system and to propose an appropriate spelling system for the language as a whole and for individual words, and to reconstitute aspects of grammar. Such work needs to be undertaken by analysis of the historical/archived texts and audio recordings, drawing comparison from documentation of languages of the same or closeley related language families for which there may be relevant extant material.


On completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. demonstrate an understanding of the context in which historical archival materials might have been written down and named;
  2. understand general principles for evaluating different naming practices for languages and language varieties;
  3. analyse historical archival material in terms of the sound system, aspects of the grammatical system including word building, as revealed by notes and translations provided;
  4. consider word meaning and pragmatics of language use by reference to general principles as well as the systems evident in the material being analysed;
  5. apply theoretical frameworks utilised by historical researchers in the analysis of phonology, syntax, language relatedness and historical change; and in the design of practical orthologies;
  6. apply key concepts to new sets of data;
  7. demonstrate competence in the following skills: i) obtaining access to source materials and secondary writings through the library and other resources (including publications produced by community and non-government organisations); ii) analysis and interpretation of texts and audio resources, including the application of appropriate terms, concepts and theoretical frameworks for the discussion of their content and form; iii) assimilation of information and opinion from various sources for purposes of forming independent judgments; iv) small group work (on-campus) /on line discussion (off-campus)
  8. be able to formulate research questions associated with the documentation and classification of languages, and the social contexts of language relatedness, particularly in on-literate societies;
  9. be able to evaluate and apply appropriate methodologies to implement research questions;
  10. have acquired advanced skills in research essay writing.


Analytic exercises (1,350 words) 30%; Research project proposal (450 words) 10%; Written research project (2,250 words) 50%; Group/on-line participation (450 words) 10%

Contact hours

1 two hour seminar per week


LIN 3060 or LIN 4060