Faculty of Arts

Monash University

Postgraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2015 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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12 points, SCA Band 1, 0.250 EFTSL

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

FacultyFaculty of Arts
Organisational UnitLinguistics
OfferedClayton First semester 2015 (Day)
Clayton Second semester 2015 (Online)
Coordinator(s)Dr Melanie Burns (Semester 1); Dr Louisa Willoughby (Semester 2)


Explore the role of language in society by examining language variation and change, multilingualism and how individuals adjust their speech to the situations they find themselves in. In this introductory unit, you will explore regional and social variation in language as well as topics such as language and gender, language and power and language policy. A key focus of this unit is the different methods of inquiry used in sociolinguistics. Students apply their insights to a range of practical situations, including surveying speakers about their language use and examining language policies in schools and workplaces.


On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  1. Understand and be able to apply key terms and concepts used in sociolinguistics.
  2. Reflect on their own sociolinguistic repertoire.
  3. Apply sociolinguistic insights to their own professional context.
  4. Describe the main data gathering methods used in sociolinguistics, and select appropriate methods for a range of research questions.
  5. Engage in informed debate on matters of theoretical and practical significance in the areas of language and society, language education, language purism and language planning.


Within semester assessment: 100%

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this unit is 288 hours per semester typically comprising a mixture of scheduled learning activities and independent study. A unit requires on average three/four hours of scheduled activities per week. Scheduled activities may include a combination of teacher directed learning, peer directed learning and online engagement.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

Dr Melanie Burns (Semester 1); Dr Louisa Willoughby (Semester 2)

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