Workshops and Masterclasses

The following workshops and masterclasses will be held during ALS 2023. Signing up for these workshops will be part of the registration process.

Modelling the dynamics of language change: An accessible guide for the inquisitive (Erich Round, Surrey)

Language change is more and more investigated with the use of models. But what is modelling all about? This introductory masterclass is for linguists who are inquisitive, but assumes no existing skills in modelling, mathematics, statistics or coding. Rather, it provides an accessible point of entry into the key concepts, aims and approaches associated with modelling and particularly the modelling of language change.
The masterclass is in two parts, each two hours long. Both parts will also be available pre-recorded online, so it is possible to take one part in person and catch up on the other part later (if you take just part I in person) or ahead of time (if you take just part II).
Session 1: What are models, and why would we use them? 
Lifts the lid on models as a central tool throughout the sciences; opportunities for modelling language change; quantitative & computational models; and the accessible, essential notions of Bayesian modelling.

Session 2: How can we model the dynamics of language change? 

Examines essential ideas behind population models of diffusing innovations; Bayesian admixture models; and phylogenetic models of subgrouping, diversification and family trees.

Syntax master classes (Elly van Gelderen, Arizona State University)

Session 1: Basics of Minimalist Syntax

After a brief introduction on the status of Universal Grammar, Parameters, and Third Factors, we will look at the three basic layers that consititute a sentence, the Complement Phrase (CP), the Tense Phrase (TP), and the Verb Phrase (vP/VP), and will derive some (English) sentences using merge and agreement (feature checking).

Session 2: Minimalist Syntax and Third Factors

Generative Grammar has undergone a paradigm-shift from its early emphasis on Universal Grammar to a focus on factors not specific to the Faculty of Language. In this second workshop, we examine some of these third factors in more detail, i.e. Minimal Search, Determinacy, and Economy. We do so by looking at specific derivations, e.g. wh-movement, head-movement, and the position of adverbs.

Using conversation analysis to understand linguistic structures ‘in the wild’ (Ilana Mushin, UQ, Lesley Stirling, UMelbourne, Joe Blythe, Macquarie)

This workshop should be of interest to descriptive linguists (students and post-students) interested in developing new skills for working with recordings of naturalistic social interactions (these may include ordinary conversations, ‘task-based’ interactions (e.g. ‘Man-and-tree’ tasks or map tasks), and even elicitation sessions). 
The workshop will provide participants with conversation analysis tools for studying social interaction to identify systematicity that is supported by linguistic routines and constructions, and for identifying how language users themselves understand their discourse contexts when they are speaking. These tools enrich the possibilities for linguistic analysis of language structures by centring the analysis at the moment in which the language under consideration is produced. 
The workshop will provide an introduction to some basic principles of the organisation of talk in social interaction, and some methodological tools for the analysis of linguistic structures as embedded in their contexts of use. 
Topics will include: 
  • Identifying context.
  • Principles of conversation analysis – how to look at data.
  • The organisation of turns, action sequences, and longer activities (e.g. storytelling).
  • Linguistic structures in knowledge management 
  • Linguistic structures in multimodal social actions. 

Home language maintenance: Connecting children, families, and classrooms (Paola Escudero, Western Sydney, Sharynne McLeod, Charles Sturt)

Presenters: Chloé Diskin-Holdaway3, Kate Margetson2, Gloria Pino Escobar1, Van H. Tran2, Sarah Verdon2, Paola Escudero1, Sharynne McLeod2  
1 Little Multilingual Minds, The MARCS Institute, Western Sydney University, Australia
2 VietSpeech, Charles Sturt University, Australia
3Little Multilingual Minds, School of Languages and Linguistics, The University of Melbourne, Australia
During this practical workshop, participants will have the opportunity to learn from two innovative teams of researchers who have developed fun, evidence-based programs for supporting children’s home language maintenance at home and school.
  • VietSpeech ( The VietSpeech SuperSpeech program was developed to support families (preschool children, parents, grandparents, etc.) at home. The 8-week online bilingual Vietnamese-English program included: (a) Word Superpower activities addressing target words and sentences; (b) Speech Superpower activities addressing consonants, tones, and syllable structures; and (c) Home Language Maintenance Information for parents. The VietSpeech SuperSpeech program was funded by an Australian Research Council Discovery Grant.
  • Little Multilingual Minds (LMM, LMM is a research-based multilingual education program for children that supports and extends home language (HL) maintenance and foreign language (L2) learning during the early, formative years, using evidence-based principles, structure and guidelines. LMM, within research-partnership collaborations with education providers, delivers education in any Language Other than English by harnessing recent world-wide research and r findings from our own research on early childhood education and primary education. LMM currently delivers in Spanish ,Vietnamese, Mandarin and French.
The workshop will commence with an overview of home language maintenance throughout life and factors impacting home language maintenance. Next each team (VietSpeech and LMM) will outline their vision, target group, challenges, and solutions, as well as principles and theoretical frameworks. The practical component of the workshop will be preceded by presentation of the structure and weekly session delivery, themes, session plans and example activities to inspire attendants. Then each team will demonstrate an example of how they have targeted the theme of healthy lifestyles/food and how they have used The Very Hungry Caterpillar to support children’s home language maintenance at home and at school. The workshop will conclude with time for participants to work together to consider how these programs can relate to their own experiences and to develop activities for their own situations. The aim is to show that HL maintenance takes a village and that the community of academics within the language and linguistics discipline should feel part of the village.
Presenters’ biographies:
Materials available prior to the workshop:
  • Diskin-Holdaway, C., & Escudero, P. (2021). Don’t be afraid to pass your first language, and accent, to your kids. It could be their superpower. The Conversation. Retrieved 19 March 2023, from language-and-accent-to-your-kids-it-could-be-their-superpower-143093
  • Escudero, P., Jones Diaz, C., Hajek, J., Wigglesworth, G., & Smit, E. A. (2020). Probability of heritage language use at a supportive early childhood setting in Australia. Frontiers in Education, 5, 93.
  • Escudero, P., Diskin-Holdaway, C., Pino Escobar, G., & Hajek, J. (2023) Needs and demands for heritage language support in Australia: results from a nationwide survey. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development.
  • Escudero, P., Pino Escobar G, Diskin-Holdaway, C. & Hajek, J. (Forthcoming) Nurturing Australia’s Little Multilingual Minds: Program description and evaluation.
  • McLeod, S., Verdon, S., Tran, V. H., Margetson, K., & Wang, C. (2022). SuperSpeech: Multilingual speech and language maintenance intervention for Vietnamese-Australian children and families via telepractice. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 53(3), 675-697.
  • Tran, V. H., McLeod, S., Verdon, S., & Wang, C. (2021). Vietnamese-Australian parents: Factors associated with language use and attitudes towards home language maintenance. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, Advance online publication.
  • Tran, V. H., Verdon, S., & McLeod, S. (2022). Consistent and persistent: Successful home language maintenance among Vietnamese-Australian families. Journal of Home Language Research, 5(1), 1-19.
  • Tran, V. H., Verdon, S., McLeod, S., & Wang, C. (2022). Family language policies of Vietnamese–Australian families. Journal of Child Science, 12(01), e67-e78.
  • Tran, V. H., Wang, C., McLeod, S., & Verdon, S. (2021). Vietnamese–Australian children’s language proficiency and use. International Journal of Bilingualism, 25(6), 1735- 1763.

Language Data Management in the 21st Century (Peter Sefton & Simon Musgrave, LDaCA, Li Nguyen, ANU)

What will be a good data outcome from your language research project? If you can answer this question, then you are in a position to plan how you will collect and manage your data in order to reach that end point. In this workshop, we will discuss good data outcomes, taking sustainability to be a guiding goal and operationalising that goal in terms of the FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable) and CARE (Collective Benefit, Authority to control, Responsibility, Ethics) principles which have been proposed in the last decade. These principles will be introduced and used to inform discussion of various issues which we have to address when making a plan to reach our desired outcomes.
Some practical requirements for sustainability will be introduced, such as providing a good description of your data (AKA metadata), and good practice in ensuring that data and description will not become separated over time. Good description includes explicit information about conditions on reuse (licensing) and this topic provides an excellent example of how FAIR and CARE interact in data management. The A in FAIR stands for accessibility and the A in CARE stands for authority to control - how can we as researchers make agreements with providers of data about who should be able to access data, and who has authority to make such decisions, in order that we can store explicit licensing information with our data? More generally, how can we accord with the goal of sustainability while also respecting the needs and wishes of data providers in making agreements?
The workshop will allow plenty of time for discussion, and participants are encouraged to bring relevant issues from their previous experience or from their future plans to contribute 
In the last 20 years, many areas in linguistics have come to expect researchers to work with large quantities of data. At the same time, expectations from institutions and funding bodies about how data is collected and managed have become more rigorous.
This workshop is intended for researchers who work with, or plan to work with, large datasets and who are seeking practical guidance about how to meet these various expectations.

Themed Sessions

The following themed sessions will be held during ALS 2023. If you would like to submit an abstract for a paper presentation for any of these sessions, you need to indicate when you submit your paper. Papers not considered for themed sessions may be considered for the general program. 

Language Variation and Change – Australia 6 (LVC-A 6), James Walker (La Trobe), Catherine Travis (ANU), Celeste Rodriguez Louro (UWA)

Language Variation and Change – Australia (LVC-A) is a biennial meeting of scholars interested in the quantitative study of linguistic variability situated in its social context that started in 2013 and was last held at ALS 2021. LVC-A 6 proposes to bring together the latest research on language variation and change currently being conducted in Australia and the region.
The goal of this themed session is to provide a forum for the presentation of accountable empirical analyses of linguistic structure across a range of languages (including phonetic, morphosyntactic and discourse-pragmatic variables). We will invite abstracts for work that presents analyses that utilise viable statistical methods and interpret and explain results with reference to (socio)linguistic theory.

Linguistics for the polycrisis (Helen Bromhead and Alena Kazmaly, Griffith University)

The contemporary world is beset by multiple interrelated challenges — in health, environment, extreme weather, economy, housing, AI technology, military, migration, politics, scholarship, colonial reckonings. This present situation has become known as the polycrisis, as popularised by the historian Adam Tooze (e.g, 2021). For many years, the discipline of linguistics has offered responses to issues in the public sphere, such as, racism from Critical Discourse Analysis (e.g., van Dijk, 2015), and environmental breakdown from ecolinguistics (e.g., Fill & Penz, 2018), to name only a few problems and perspectives. Now, like other discipline experts across the humanities, social sciences and sciences, linguists have a professional responsibility in polycrisis (e.g., Bromhead & Goddard, In press/2023). Linguistics can not only offer insights, but, potentially, assistance. Some discourses around the polycrisis bring new words and concepts specifically invented to describe these times, which deserve scrutiny; other discourses leverage perennial themes, which are also of interest. This themed session encompasses linguistic contributions from any approach that attend to issues of theoretical vocabulary. Emphasis will be placed not only on unpacking problems, but also on making suggestions for helping to overcome them. The presentations in this themed session address crisis topics from the points of view of psychology, environment, health and climate change, among
Bromhead, H., & C. Goddard (In press/2023). Applied semantics and climate communication. Australian Review of Applied Linguistics.
Fill, A.F., & H. Penz (eds.) (2018). The Routledge handbook of ecolinguistics. Routledge. Tooze, A. (2021). Shutdown. How Covid shook the world’s economy. Viking.
van Dijk, T. (2015). Critical Discourse Analysis. In D. Tannen, H.E. Hamilton, & D. Schiffrin (eds.), The handbook of discourse analysis. Wiley.

New Directions in Linguistics in the School Curriculum (Clarence Green, Federation Iain Giblin, Macquarie)

The LiSC SIG is dedicated to exploring, supporting, and pursuing ways in which linguistics can enhance student outcomes in the F-12 eductiaon system. There has been a resurgence of interest in language structure in areas such as reading instruction, grammar instruction, and writing instruction and our workshop will provide an opportunity to consider how linguistics can contribute to the school curriculum. We encourage submissions for this session that align with the following objectives:
(a) Showcasing and critically evaluating how linguistics can contribute to improving student outcomes in various areas, including but not limited to:
  • the F-10 National English Curriculum
  • VCE English Language (Victoria),
  • the National Australian Languages Framework,
  • the Aboriginal Languages K-10 Syllabus (New South Wales),
  • The Australian Computational and Linguistics Olympiad (OzCLO)
(b) Examining research findings that have the potential to enhance student outcomes.
(c) Exploring avenues for integrating linguistics into F-12 education, such as:
  • What kind of linguistic knowledge is most useful and informative for teaching professionals?
  • What are the challenges in communicating linguistic concepts in an accessible way?
  • How does research support the promotion of Australian Indigenous languages, community languages and world languages within Australia’s educational system?
  • How can academic research be reconciled with pedagogy?
  • How can second language acquisition research contribute to improving student outcomes, given the increasing number of younger second language learners in mainstream schools?
  • How can grammar teaching for English, Australian Indigenous languages, community languages and other world languages inform each other?
  • How can secondary school English teachers make use of linguistics to inform the study of literature?
  • How can linguistics be used to develop children’s writing?
(d) Exploring ideas for ongoing collaborative projects.
  • an ALS grammar glossary of grammatical terminology recommended for use in schools improved grapheme-phoneme correspondence tools, e.g. IPA resources for Australian English and teaching phonics
  • evaluating grammar teaching and the development of writing skills,
  • developing outreach links between schools, universities, government.
The intention of the workshop is not merely to allow for presentations on these topics, but also to continue building a network of academic linguists and teaching professionals who are able to effectively join together to serve their common interests. We encourage submissions from teachers conducting linguistic research in their schools.

Australian languages, histories of documentation, description and revival (James McElvenny, Siegen)

Format: Hybrid
This thematic session will bring together linguists, anthropologists and historians to discuss the history of the documentation, description and revival of the Aboriginal languages of Australia. Central questions to be addressed by the session include:
  1.  Who over the past 250 years has studied Australian languages? What motivations lay behind documentation and revival efforts? What were the material conditions under which this work took place?
  2. What roles have Aboriginal people played, whether as informants, collaborators or drivers of language documentation and revival? What ideas and innovations have they brought along?
  3. What encounters have there been in Australia between different linguistic and philological traditions? What theoretical traditions have informed language documentation and revival, including the implicit theories contained in language learning textbooks?
  4. What links have there been between those working in the field and the academic world? How has empirical data from Australian language shaped the development of academic linguistic theory? What role have descriptions of Australian languages played in the worldwide circulation of linguistic knowledge?


Indigenous Language Collections in LdaCA (Robert McLellan, Ben Foley, Simon Musgrave, UQ)

The Language Data Commons of Australia (LDaCA) aims to make nationally significant language data available for use, managing the data in culturally, ethically and legally appropriate manners guided by FAIR and CARE principles. This work includes securing collections which remain under-utilised or at risk. This themed session will explore some of the questions around Indigenous language collection management which arise in this context and in the process of the development of LDaCA. It has been a major concern of the project to identify issues of governance, security and access around Indigenous language material in collaboration with Indigenous people and groups. The session will include presentations on underlying principles and how they can be respected in a digital repository. Several case studies of current collaborations on Indigenous language collection management will be included as well as community voices offering reflections on progress to date and prospects for the future.

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