University of Sydney Handbooks - 2013 Archive

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The Department of Linguistics is a diverse and research-active department in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, with highly qualified staff drawing on extensive research backgrounds. Its research interests are international, interdisciplinary, and wide-ranging. Once a study of language and languages, Linguistics now incorporates the study of both language and other meaning-making systems such as still or moving images. Linguistics is relevant in manifold contexts and in many other disciplines such as anthropology, education, media studies, psychology, and sociology. Linguistics also has many practical applications such as language teaching, general education, journalism, marketing, public relations, and computer science.

Our department offers a wide range of research expertise, which enables research students in Linguistics to study in many different areas – whether that concerns research into descriptions and theories of language (formal and functional), using information technologies (computers, software) in studying language or applying linguistic skills to areas such as education, discourse analysis, media discourse, and intercultural communication. There’s also a great opportunity for cross-disciplinary work – students can have supervisory teams with members from departments in languages, media, English literature, education, etc.

Departmental staff have been involved in major research projects funded by the Australian Research Council as well as other funding organizations. Recent and forthcoming book projects tackle subjects as diverse as anthropological linguistics, field linguistics in South-East Asia and the Pacifics, language use in television series, news discourse, language and evaluation, genre relations, literacy, semantics, multimodality, classroom discourse, youth justice conferencing, the phonology of language disguise, and World Englishes. The theoretical frameworks in which this research is located include social semiotics, multi-modal discourse analysis, corpus linguistics, systemic functional linguistics, optimality theory, lexical functional grammar and other lexicalist approaches to syntax. Visit the Department of Linguistics Academic Staff page for more information.

Research students will be able to join a vibrant community of researchers. The department holds regular research seminars attended by staff and leading figures in the discipline from other institutions, and organises an international conference every year (Free Linguistics Conference). Research students in functional linguistics participate in regular postgraduate research seminars where students interact with their peers and gain useful feedback as well as skills such as conference and research presentations. In addition, students are encouraged to take part in the master-classes offered at Sydney. There are also regular metropolitan research seminars in systemic functional linguistics held at the University of Sydney, at which staff and visiting scholars present papers and encourage critical engagement.

The department also incorporates the Pacific and Regional Archive for Digital Sources in Endangered Archives (PARADISEC), a facility for the digital conservation of endangered materials from the pacific region, defined broadly to include Oceania and East and Southeast Asia. The research group has developed models to ensure that the archive can provide access to interested communities, and conforms with emerging international standards for digital archiving. This offers unparalleled field linguistics resources for students.

See also: Applied Linguistics, Crosscultural Communication

Department website:

Dr Monika Bednarek

Awards and Requirements

Please refer to the degree resolutions in this Handbook and to the ‘Faculty Admissions Policy and Procedure for: Doctor of Philosophy: Pathways to admission’, for information on the specific admission requirements for different research award courses.

Master of Arts (Research)
Master of Philosophy
Doctor of Philosophy