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Monash University

Monash University Handbook 2011 Undergraduate - Unit

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.

FacultyFaculty of Arts
OfferedClayton First semester 2011 (Day)
Clayton First semester 2011 (Off-campus)
Coordinator(s)Dr Simon Musgrave


Previously coded LIN2030


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:

  1. gained familiarity with the significant aspects of the rapidly growing field of language endangerment research and practice;
  2. 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
  3. developed the ability to critically evaluate assessments of language endangerment.

Students should be able to:
  1. demonstrate an understanding of the historical development of language endangerment research;
  2. analyse the key factors in assessing language endangerment and speaker fluency;
  3. evaluate alternative explanations for language variation;
  4. interpret theoretical frameworks developed and utilised by researchers in the field, and
  5. apply key concepts to new sets of data.

They should also be able to:
  1. formulate research questions;
  2. utilise appropriate methodologies to conduct independent research;
  3. present their results in discussion forums in small groups (on campus)/online discussion (off campus), and in written exposition (including planning, arguing on the basis of evidence, and documenting), and
  4. 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

One 2-hour lecture per week

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study