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LIN4060 - Working with Linguistic Archival Materials

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate, Postgraduate 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 language 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 the 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 closely related language families for which there may be relevant extant material .


On completion of this unit students should 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 researchers in the analysis of phonology, syntax, language relatedness and historical change; and in the design of practical orthographies
  6. apply key concepts to new sets of data;
  7. demonstrate competence in the following skills:
  • obtaining access to source materials and secondary writings through the library and other resources (including publications produced by community and non-government organisations)

  • 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,

  • assimilation of information and opinion from various sources for purposes of forming independent judgments;

  • small group work (on campus)/on line discussion (off campus learning)

    1. be able to formulate research questions associated with the documentation and classification of languages, and the social contexts of language relatedness, particularly in non-literate societies;
    2. be able to evaluate and apply appropriate methodologies to implement research questions;
    3. 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/Online participation (450 words): 10%

    Contact hours

    1 two hour seminar per week


    LIN 3060 or LIN 4060