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Faculty of Arts and Society


Linguistics, the scientific study of language, is a wide and diverse field with many areas of specialisation.
Casuarina campus bridge

Linguistics, the scientific study of language, is a wide and diverse field with many areas of specialisation. Through studying linguistics, students have the opportunity to explore the structure of languages (their sounds, words, sentences and meanings), how language shapes identity, the ways language differs depending on context, culture and society, and how languages change over time. You do not need to know a second language to excel in Linguistics – just a healthy curiosity about languages and communication.

Courses and research projects

Knowledge in areas of linguistics prepares students to undertake culturally responsive and sensitive language activities, enhance critical thinking, and develop problem-solving. Students may major in linguistics and continue into careers within the discipline or take linguistics units alongside other course offerings to enhance their study and career trajectories.

Linguistics courses at CDU

CDU offers a Languages and Linguistics major with a focus on Australian First Nations language contexts in the Diploma of Arts and Bachelor of Arts. All units are offered both face-to-face at the Casuarina Campus, and online for external students.

Flexible learning options are available for First Nations students, with the option to enrol in short 6-week semesters, including a one-week face-to-face workshop held at the Darwin Casuarina Campus.  Free travel from anywhere in Australia and catered accommodation on-campus is offered during the workshops through Away-From-Base.

CDU also offers postgraduate opportunities to study Applied Linguistics, where there is a focus on communication in context and applying linguistic theory and language pedagogy to language education contexts. Postgraduate study in the area is offered through a TESOL major in the Master of Education, Graduate Diploma of Specialist Education and Graduate Certificate of Specialist Education. All units are offered face-to-face at the Casuarina campus and online for external students.

Why study linguistics at CDU?

Linguistics graduates will be prepared for a range of professional opportunities, from careers in community development initiatives (such as language centres and at NGOs), education and language teaching, language planning and policy, translating and interpreting, journalism and broadcasting, media and communication, criminal investigations, research, and technology. Graduates may also choose to undertake further Honours or postgraduate studies and research in languages and linguistics.

CDU linguistics engages with the field across local, regional and international contexts. A focus on First Nations language contexts is applied to many offerings, which is complemented by close collaboration with the First Nations Sovereignty and Diplomacy Centre. CDU linguistics is committed to supporting First Nations students who are maintaining or revitalising their own languages, enhancing the language knowledge they bring with useful and practical tools and skills from the linguistics discipline. First Nations knowledge and perspectives are embedded across the teaching, research and ethos of CDU linguistics.

CDU linguistics also has an applied focus on current developments in areas related to intercultural communication perspectives and the teaching and learning of languages and literacies. These areas are supported by the expertise of the CDU linguistics team, which spans local, regional and national levels across Australia, the broader Asian region, and global contexts. CDU linguistics aims to train linguists for their language contexts and provide training in TESOL to meet the needs of our NT, Australian and Asian regions.

Linguistics research through Honours, Masters or PhD

CDU has opportunities for students to continue their linguistics study and research at Honours, Masters and PhD levels.

The discipline at CDU has particular research strengths in:

  • Applied linguistics
  • Australian First Nations languages
  • Forensic linguistics
  • Global Englishes
  • Language documentation and description
  • Language revitalisation and maintenance practices
  • Linguistics and literary studies
  • Sociolinguistics
  • Translanguaging.

CDU Linguistic team

Dr Raelke Grimmer
Senior Lecturer English Language and Linguistics

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Dr Nicola Rolls 
Senior Lecturer Common Units

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Dr Andrew Pollard
Lecturer English Language and Linguistics

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Dr James Bednall
Lecturer  Linguistics

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Dr Awni Etaywe
Lecturer Linguistics

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