Available in 2022
Course code



10 units


2000 level

Course handbook


This course explores the indigenous languages, language families, and language types found in Australia, New Guinea, island southeast Asia and the Pacific. It introduces the basic principles of linguistic typology, using languages of the Australia-Pacific region to illustrate general typological phenomena, and explores the structural nature of the languages of the Australia-Pacific region. Students will learn and practise methods of typological analysis.



  • Semester 1 - 2022

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Describe the distribution of the indigenous language families and language types of Australia and the Pacific region.

2. Describe the key concepts and principles of linguistic typology.

3. Describe the main typological characteristics of the indigenous language types of Australia and the Pacific region.

4. Apply principles of typological analysis


The course explores the indigenous languages of Australia, New Guinea, island southeast Asia and the Pacific. Topics include:

  • Phylogenetic and geographic distribution of the Australian, Austronesian and Papuan language families
  • Word order typology, including clause order, genitive noun order, and right-headed vs left-headed typology
  • Noun typology, including noun classes and nominal classification systems, and possession
  • The typology of tense, aspect, modality and evidentiality
  • The typological characteristics of Australian Aboriginal languages
  • The typological characteristics of Austronesian languages
  • The typological characteristics of Papuan languages
  • Case studies of one Australian, one Austronesian, and one Papuan language
  • Language endangerment in Australia and the Pacific
  • Linguistic fieldwork and documentation practice in Australia and the Pacific


This course replaces LING3430. If you have successfully completed LING3430 you cannot enrol in this course.

Assumed knowledge

LING1111 and LING1112

Assessment items

Report: Research Project Report / Essay (40%)

Presentation: Oral Presentation of Research Proposal (15%)

Written Assignment: Written Assignments (3 x 15% = 45%)

Contact hours



Face to Face On Campus 2 hour(s) per Week for 12 Weeks starting in week 1

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.