Faculty of Arts

Monash University

Undergraduate - 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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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
Organisational UnitLinguistics
OfferedClayton Second semester 2015 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Dr Simon Musgrave


The 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 the 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
  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
  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)/on line 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.


Within semester assessment: 65%
Exam: 35%

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this unit is 144 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)

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


12 credit points in Linguistics at level 2 units