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Handbooks Courses Units

LIN4050 - Issues in Language Endangerment and Language Maintenance

12 points, SCA Band 1, 0.250 EFTSL

Postgraduate Faculty of Arts

Leader: Dr Margaret Florey


Clayton First semester 2008 (Day)
Clayton First semester 2008 (Off-campus)


This unit introduces students to key issues in language endangerment and provides them with the skills to develop and implement language maintenance programs. It examines assessments of linguistic diversity and language endangerment and reflects on a range of issues via case studies from various regions, including symptoms and causes of language shift, and changes in patterns of language use and transmission. Students examine language maintenance and revitalisation programs developed within communities and in institutional settings, and acquire an awareness of socio-political issues through locating such activities within the framework of language planning and language policy processes.


On completion of this unit students should have:

  1. gained familiarity with the significant aspects of the rapidly growing field of language endangerment research and practice; ii. have an understanding of, and an ability to apply, key terms, concepts and theoretical models relevant to a wide range of language endangerment settings; iii. developed the ability to critically evaluate assessments of language endangerment; iv. acquired the skills in curriculum development necessary to establish language programs; v. gained familiarity with the range of language maintenance programs in use internationally; vi. gained an understanding of language policy and language planning processes.

Students should be able to: vii. demonstrate an understanding of the historical development of language endangerment research; viii. analyse the key factors in assessing language endangerment and speaker fluency; ix. evaluate alternative explanations for language variation; x. interpret theoretical frameworks developed and utilised by researchers in the field; xi. apply key concepts to new sets of data; xii. to evaluate language programs appropriate to particular language endangerment settings internationally; xiii. demonstrate an understanding of the stages in curriculum development; xiv. apply knowledge of programs to new situations to select an appropriate model.

Students should also be able to:
  • formulate research questions; xvi.utilise appropriate methodologies to conduct independent research; xvii. access appropriate source materials; xviii.analyse and interpret texts; xix. and utilise their knowledge to formulate a proposal to develop a language maintenance program; present their results orally and in written exposition (including planning, arguing on the basis of evidence, and documenting);

  • engage in team work and critical academic discussion of information and argument.

  • Assessment

    Research proposal and bibliography (1000 words): 10%; Critical review (1500 words): 15; Research essay(5000 words): 50%; Take-home test(1 hour): 20%; Group/online participation (500 words equivalent): 5%

    Contact hours

    1 hour lecture + 2 hour seminar per week



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