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LIN4030 - Issues in Language Endangerment

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Postgraduate Faculty of Arts

Leader: Dr Simon Musgrave


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


This unit introduces students to the key issues in language endangerment. It examines historical and contemporary assessments of linguistic diversity and language endangerment within the broader framework of the loss of biological and cultural diversity. It reflects on a wide range of issues, including factors in assessing speaker fluency and the degree of endangerment, symptoms and causes of language shift, and changes in domains of language use and patterns of language transmission. General principles and issues are embedded within case studies from a range of regions and language families. The seminar combines lectures with group discussion of key concepts guided by focus questions.


On completion of this unit students should have gained familiarity with the significant aspects of the rapidly growing field of language endangerment research and practice; have an understanding of, and an ability to apply, key terms, concepts and theoretical models relevant to a wide range of language endangerment settings; and developed the ability to critically evaluate assessments of language endangerment. Students should be able to demonstrate an understanding of the historical development of language endangerment research, analyse the key factors in assessing language endangerment and speaker fluency, evaluate alternative explanations for language variation, interpret theoretical frameworks developed and utilised by researchers in the field, and apply key concepts to new sets of data. They should have developed an in-depth and critical knowledge of the literature in this field; be able to draw upon their knowledge to formulate research questions which attempt to explore aspects of language variation, shift and obsolescence in various socio-cultural contexts; and evaluate and apply appropriate methodologies to implement research questions. Students should be able to present their results in discussion forums in small groups (on campus)/on line discussion (off campus) and and demonstrate advanced skills in research essay writing (including planning, arguing on the basis of evidence, and documenting), and engage in team work and critical academic discussion of information and argument.


Research essay proposal 500 words 15%, Research essay 3000 words 45%, Take home test 1 hour 30%,
Group/Online participation 10%

Contact hours

2 hour seminar per week


LIN 3030