English Language Studies
What will I study?
Your course structure
The Bachelor of Arts requires the successful completion of 24 subjects (300-points), including at least one major. Most students study eight subjects each year (usually four subjects in each semester) for three years full-time, or the part-time equivalent.
Most Arts majors require 100 points of study (usually eight subjects) for attainment. The majority of Arts minors require 75 points of study (usually 6 subjects) for attainment. This means out of the 300 point program, you have the opportunity to achieve two majors in your course as well as a minor. You will also complete breadth studies and other complimentary Arts subjects.
Completing your minor
If you are taking English Language Studies as a minor, you must complete:
- One level 1 elective subject and one level 1 Academic English subject
- One Arts Foundation subject
- One level 2 compulsory subject and 12.5 points (usually one subject) of level 2 elective subjects (usually at second year)
- 25 points (usually two subjects) of level 3 elective subjects (usually at third year)
Note: Students in the Bachelor of Arts who are recommended to complete Academic English as a result of the DELA can count these towards breadth studies.
Breadth is a unique feature of the Melbourne Model. It gives you the chance to explore subjects outside of arts, developing new perspectives and learning to collaborate with others who have different strengths and interests — just as you will in your future career.
Some of our students use breadth to explore creative interests or topics they have always been curious about. Others used breadth to improve their career prospects by complementing their major with a language, communication skills or business expertise.
Explore this major
Explore the subjects you could choose as part of this minor.
Who we are and what we do is all tangled up in our identity. This subject considers how identities are constructed and maintained through mediated processes of self and other. The subject investigates the myriad demands and devices that figure in constructing our senses of self and other (including language, leisure, beliefs and embodied practices). By exploring identity in diverse contexts, across time and place, the subject maps varying conceptions of self and other and how these conceptions are constructed and maintained. A key focus is on how these mediated conceptions of self and other are translated into material practices of inclusion, exclusion, discrimination, violence and criminalisation.
Language plays a central role in the central disciplinary areas in the humanities and social sciences. This subject gives students tools for thinking about language in a range of disciplines, including linguistics, history, sociology, politics, literary studies, anthropology, language studies, psychology and psychoanalytic theory. It shows how language can be analysed as a system, but also how language features centrally in politcal and social contexts: for example, in the processing of the claims of asylum seekers, in developing views of ethnicity, race and nation, and in colonialism; and in the construction of gendered and sexual identity. The role of language in the psyche, and the process of acquisition of languages in children and in adults, are also important topics. Knowing how to think about language, and familiarity with the main thinkers who have discussed language in a range of humanities and social science disciplines, provide an indispensable basis for study in any area of the Arts degree.
The idea of power is a way to grasp the character of social relations. Investigating power can tell us about who is in control and who may benefit from such arrangements. Power can be a zero-sum game of domination. It can also be about people acting together to enact freedom. This subject examines the diverse and subtle ways power may be exercised. It considers how power operates in different domains such as markets, political systems and other social contexts. It also examines how power may be moderated by such things as regulation and human rights. A key aim is to explore how differing perspectives portray power relations and how issues of power distribution may be characterised and addressed.
Reason, many believe, is what makes us human. Until recently, most scientists and philosophers agreed that the ability to use the mind to analyse and interpret the world is something intrinsic to the nature of our species. Reason has a long and extraordinary history. We will explore a number of inter-related themes: the nature of reason from Ancient Greece to our contemporary world; the ever shifting relationship between reason and faith; reason's place in the development of scientific experimentation and thinking; shifting perspectives about the uses of Reason and, finally, how reason relates to theories of the mind, exploring the tensions between reason, the passions and the will.
Reason will take you on a journey from Plato's cave to the neuro-scientists' lab. We will visit revolutions in science, thinking and politics. We will explore the impact of some of the great philosophers of history, including Plato, Aristotle, Hume, Bentham, Coleridge, Marx, Nietzsche, Foucault and many more besides. By the end of this subject you will have a deep understanding of the importance of the idea of reason to human history and philosophy. You might, even, be able to answer the question: 'does reason exist?'
Reason is an Arts Foundation Subject and we will argue that understanding the history and philosophy of reason provides great insights into many aspects of the humanities from political philosophy to understanding history. We will, of course, be paying particular attention to the foundational skills that will help you successfully complete your Arts major: particularly critical thinking and argument development.
This subject will provide students with an introduction to the complexity, challenges and richness of Australian Indigenous life and cultures. Drawing on a wide range of diverse and dynamic guest lecturers, this subject gives students an opportunity to encounter Australian Indigenous knowledges, histories and experiences through interdisciplinary perspectives. Across three thematic blocks - Indigenous Knowledges, Social and Political Contexts and Representation/Self-Representation - this subject engages contemporary cultural and intellectual debate. Social and political contexts will be considered through engagement with specific issues and a focus on Indigenous cultural forms, which may include literature, music, fine arts, museum exhibitions and performance, will allow students to consider self-representation as a means by which to disrupt and expand perceptions of Aboriginality.
Humans grapple with representations of themselves and their contexts. They also like to imagine other possible worlds. We use words, language, images, sounds and movement to construct narratives and stories, large and small, about the trivial and the profound, the past and the future. These representations can help us to understand worlds but they can also create worlds for us. This subject explores how different genres such as speech, writing, translation, film, theatre and art generate representations of social life, imagination and the human condition. A key aim of the subject is to develop a critical appreciation of how language, images and embodied gestures are used to construct empowering and disempowering discourses.
Level 1 Electives
- The Secret Life of Language12.5
The Secret Life of Language
Have you ever wondered how language actually works? Or how it can be that a 6 year-old child can know more about their native language than the most sophisticated computers? This subject is a practical introduction to the nature of human language which gives a conceptual framework for discussing language and provides the tools required to analyse and describe all of the world's 6000+ languages. Central areas of linguistics will be covered using data from languages from all over the world, including speech sounds, word structure, sentence structure, meaning, language learning, and language change.
- Intercultural Communication12.5
This subject involves the main components of communicative events across cultures, the main linguistic approaches to analysing them, how they vary in a range of cultures from around the world, and the difficulties and misunderstandings these differences create in inter-cultural communication. Specific topics include language and culture, ethnography of communication, greetings and address terms, conversation analysis, language and identity, socialization, narrative enquiry and body language. Topics will be illustrated with case studies of different speech communities from around the world, such as French, Russian, Japanese, Chinese, Anglo-Australian and Aboriginal Australian.
Academic English subjects
- Academic English 112.5
Academic English 1
Through the study of multiculturalism in Australian society, this subject develops students' ability to use academic English language. The subject is specifically designed for students who require intensive attention to their academic writing development. Its primary focus is on developing students' ability to structure an academic paper. The subject targets sentence structure, use of linking devices, paragraph development and effective use of citations. A range of other academic abilities are also developed such as effective reading, participation in small group work and oral presentations.
- Academic English 212.5
Academic English 2
In this subject, students will further establish their academic skills with an emphasis on critical thinking, summarising and synthesising long academic texts, and building an academic argument. The primary focus is on the development of formal oral presentation skills and an ability to write research papers that are fluent, well-organised and effectively expressed. It is assumed that students who enrol in this subject already possess a range of academic vocabulary, and an ability to accurately structure sentences, use linking devices, and develop coherent paragraphs.
- Academic English: Economics and Business12.5
Academic English: Economics and Business
This subject aims to develop ESL students' academic writing and speaking abilities through a study of topics in economics. Class exercises and assessment tasks provide students with opportunities to practice, receive feedback, and thus develop their academic language. The assessment tasks focus on the ability to synthesize information from a range of sources, communicate confidently in group work and individually, and write assignments which are well structured and use language accurately and appropriately.
- Grammar of English12.5
Grammar of English
This subject is a detailed examination of the major elements of English grammar using principles of linguistic analysis. Students learn to identify and describe the main morphological and syntactic constructions in English including parts of speech, basic sentence structure, tense, aspect, clause type, negation, complex sentences, thematic systems, ellipsis, coordination, and the relations between sentences in discourse.
This subject involves the study of the sound distinctions occurring in human languages, such as basic articulatory, acoustic and auditory phonetics. Students should develop skills in perceiving, articulating, and transcribing speech sounds. Students should also learn how to interpret sound spectrograms and how acoustic phonetic techniques can be used to supplement traditional phonetic transcription.
This subject is an introduction to basic concepts and methods of syntactic analysis and description. Emphasis is on practical analysis and description of a wide range of phenomena from a variety of languages. Students should become familiar with topics such as constituent structure, syntactic categories, grammatical functions (interface with morphology), thematic relations (interface with semantics), word order, multi-clausal constructions, including complement clauses, relative clauses and clause linking, and unbounded dependencies.
- Second Language Learning and Teaching12.5
Second Language Learning and Teaching
This subject considers how a second language is acquired, what factors explain why only some learners are successful in learning a second language, and how to best teach a second language. We begin by looking at a range of theories which present different perspectives on the process of second language acquisition. We then consider individual factors that may affect success in second language acquisition. These factors include age, aptitude, motivation and learning strategies. We examine approaches to second language instruction, focusing on the four macro skills of speaking, listening, reading and writing. Students are encouraged to reflect upon their own language learning experiences and explain these experiences by reference to the topics covered in the subject.
- Language, Society and Culture12.5
Language, Society and Culture
This subject examines how social and cultural factors influence language, and the role language plays in structuring and representing social categories across cultures. It examines how society and language shape each other: how language represents and enables social interaction, and how social interaction influences the form of language. Specific topics to be covered include socially determined variation in language styles and registers, language varieties reflecting social class, gender and ethnic group. It also examines factors affecting language choice such as, bi- and multi-lingualism, and factors of language contact and change.
- First Language Acquisition 12.5
First Language Acquisition
This subject is an overview of some principal issues in first language acquisition, including children's language development (from pre-speech onwards), grammatical, semantic and pragmatic development, and the continued development of language through the school years. The variability and individual differences in relation to current theoretical models of language acquisition and cognitive and social development will also be examined. Focus is on the acquisition of English, but cross-cultural material will be included for comparison.
- Semantics 12.5
This subject is an introduction to the study of meaning, looking at the main linguistic approaches to the study of meaning, techniques of semantic analysis and argumentation, and problems of accounting for some selected areas of linguistic meaning. Topics include classical approaches to meaning, prototype semantics, cognitive linguistics, formal semantics and linguistic categorisation across languages.
- Morphology 12.5
Morphology is the study of word structure and word formation. We examine the nature of this area by looking at the diversity and uniformity found in the morphological systems of a wide variety of the world's languages. Theories of morphology are critically discussed and compared. We also consider the interface relationships between morphology and other areas of grammar, in particular syntax and phonology.
- Discourse & Pragmatics 12.5
Discourse & Pragmatics
This subject involves the study of language from pragmatic and discourse analytic perspectives. It will include topics such as: the collection and transcription of spoken language data, non-verbal communication, speech act theory, conversational implicature, conversation analysis and other approaches to discourse analysis such as ethnographical approaches, critical discourse analysis, and discourse and grammar. In addition, specific topics in discourse analysis and pragmatics will be covered such as narrative, identity positioning and stance, and discourse and technology. Students will learn how to design a small research project in discourse analysis and will have many opportunities to study samples of real-life language use from different perspectives.
- Language and Identity 12.5
Language and Identity
This subject introduces students to the ways in which language indexes and constructs identities in social contexts. It introduces students to a range of theoretical approaches, and the distinctive research methodologies associated with each. These include language socialization. studies of language in social interaction using the techniques of Conversation Analysis and discourse analysis (including critical discourse analysis). and poststructuralist approaches to language and subjectivity. Topics covered will include gender-related language use, language and racism, language and sexuality, the negotiation and deployment of identities in face-to-face interaction, and the way language and discourse construct and maintain a sense of "otherness". On completion of the subject, students should be able to recognise ways in which language and discourse construct particular social identities of relevance to themselves, and critically analyse ways of thinking about the complex phenomenon of language and identity.