Linguistic Activities for the Classroom

These activities have been designed for teachers to use in high school classrooms as a fun and hands-on introduction to linguistics.

Activity 1: Words Around Australia

About: This activity will introduce students to some of the differences in Australian English, and encourage them to consider reasons why languages vary and change. Students will first think about which words they use for particular things, and then explore data showing the patterns across Australia via an interactive map.

Age: 12-16

Time: 20-40 minutes

Activity 2: Dyirbal Jumble

About:  This activity is designed to introduce students to diversity in the morphosyntax (word and sentence structure) of the world’s languages through the window of noun classes in Dyirbal, an Australian Aboriginal language. Students will interact with real language data from Dyirbal as if they were linguists documenting the language. They will be tasked with sorting phrases into categories, and will then come up with a semantic (meaning-based) classification for each category in their analysis. This will encourage them to consider the different ways in which languages group words according to a range of parameters 

Age: 12-16

Time: 30-40 minutes