JCU Australia logo

Subject Search

AN2009 - Anthropological Linguistics

Credit points: 03
Year: 2011
Student Contribution Band: Band 1
Administered by: School of Arts & Social Sciences

This subject focuses on the place of language in wider social and cultural contexts, and the role of language in shaping and sustaining cultural practices and social structures. It addresses basic structural features of language, both human language and animal communication. It encompasses cultural linguistics, which is presented in a general, cognitive model that can both serve as an ethnographic tool and encompass the great range of linguistic phenomena that anthropologists commonly encounter during fieldwork. Further issues include: linguistic relativity (language and worldview); language and identity; language ideologies, linguistic racism and ethnography of communication; language contact, change, and societal multilingualism; various issues in sociolinguistics; linguistic methods used in anthropology; language and nationalism; language, ecology and environment; and language politics in Australia and elsewhere. Students also receive a foundation in descriptive linguistics and documenting languages, with an emphasis on working with language communities.

Learning Outcomes

  • have a clear understanding and knowledge of basic linguistic concepts as relevant to anthropological research;
  • acquire ability to present ideas and arguments concerning issues of interrelation between language and culture, language ideologies and language policies;
  • gain knowledge of practices of language description and documentation;
  • develop knowledge and understanding of interrelations between language, ecology and environment.

Graduate Qualities

  • The ability to think critically, to analyse and evaluate claims, evidence and arguments, and to reason and deploy evidence clearly and logically;
  • The ability to speak and write clearly, coherently and creatively;
  • The ability to communicate effectively with a range of audiences;
  • The ability to work with people of different gender, age, ethnicity, culture, religion and political persuasion.
To undertake this subject, students must have successfully completed 12 credit points (four subjects) of level 1 study at tertiary level


Cairns, Internal, Study Period 1
Census Date 24-Mar-2011
Coordinator: Professor Alexandra Aikhenvald
Lecturers: Professor Robert Dixon, Professor Alexandra Aikhenvald.
Contact hours:
  • 26 hours lectures
  • 12 hours tutorials
    Assessment: presentations (40%); tutorial attendance and participation (20%); assignments (40%).

    Note: Minor variations might occur due to the continuous Subject quality improvement process, and in case of minor variation(s) in assessment details, the Subject Outline represents the latest official information.