Language and Society


Languages are variable and constantly changing, in response to the social lives and social environments of their speakers. This course explores the interrelatedness of language with social structure, and what influences how people speak in different social environments and situations. Students will learn about how language varies in relation to geographical region, social groupings, gender, age, and situational context. They will learn and practise scientific methods for studying and understanding such variation, and expand their own communication skills by gaining a deeper understanding of the social meanings expressed through language.



  • Semester 1 - 2016

Learning Outcomes

1. Discuss the range of social variation in language.

2. Describe key concepts and principles for the analysis of language variation.

3. Apply principles for the systematic collection of language data.

4. Present, discuss, and evaluate analyses of original data.


The course explores ways in which language embodies social variation, and investigates problems and principles in the study of social variation. Topics include:

  1. Linguistic varieties spoken in Australia, including standard and non-standard varieties of English
  2. Social variation in language use.
  3. The social meaning of language choice.
  4. Principles of linguistic analysis

Assumed Knowledge

Ling1111 or equivalent

Assessment Items

Written Assignment: Take Home Written Assignment

Written Assignment: Written Assignment - Review

Presentation: Individual Presentations

Case Study / Problem Based Learning: Case Study

Contact Hours



Face to Face On Campus 2 hour(s) per Week for Full Term