The following masterclasses will be held during ALS 2024. Signing up for these masterclasses will be part of the registration process.

To be announced

Themed sessions

The following themed sessions will be held during ALS 2024. 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.

1. Annual Linguistics in the School Curriculum SIG (Iain Giblin, Clarence Green)

“Linguistics and the Science of Learning”

We invite abstracts for papers for the annual Linguistics in the School Curriculum, SIG of the ALS ( This year’s thematic session is centred on the contribution linguistics can make to the science of learning. The science of learning is an innovative, science-based movement that aims to improve educational practices and student outcomes across various contexts and settings. The science of learning is an interdisciplinary field that explores how people learn and the factors that influence learning processes. It draws upon principles from psychology, neuroscience, cognitive science, education, and other related disciplines to understand the mechanisms underlying learning, memory, motivation, and skill acquisition. 

Linguistics can play a crucial role in the science of learning by providing insights into reading, writing, vocabulary acquisition, language instruction, and other areas of the curriculum. The LiSC SIG is dedicated to exploring, supporting, and pursuing ways in which linguistics can enhance student outcomes in the K-12 education system and this year’s session will be dedicated to considering how linguistics might be integrated into the science of learning. This proposed thematic session hopes to have papers that explore how linguistics and the language sciences can contribute to improving K-12 student outcomes.

LiSC was established at the ALS AGM in 2016. Our terms of reference include to:

  • Bridge the gap between the Australian school education system and linguistics in tertiary education
  • Explore, support and pursue ways in which linguistics can advance knowledge about language in K-12 education, from macro (e.g. national and state policy and curriculum) to micro (e.g. classroom materials and professional development), including engagement activities supported by the ALS (e.g. [] and the Linguistics Road Show ). 

Our areas of focus are:

  • National/State English education in the K-12 system, including Victoria VCE English Language
  • National/State Aboriginal and Heritage Languages in the K-12 education system

2. Conversation Analysis and Linguistics: Australian Perspectives (Ashleigh Jones, Ben Ong)

The aim of this panel is to bring together researchers using Conversation Analysis (CA) to highlight the significant contributions of Australian research in this domain, demonstrate how conversation analysis can enhance linguistic studies, and to develop collaborative networks including higher degree research candidates and early-to-mid career researchers. This discussion is timely, considering the increasing incorporation of CA in various Australian universities and its broad applicability across different contexts such as second language learning, health care interactions, cross-modal bilingualism, multimodality, and indigenous Australian languages. 

The primary objectives of this session are to: 

  • Showcase cutting-edge CA research from Australia, emphasising its application across diverse linguistic contexts. 
  • Foster discussions on the integration of CA into broader linguistic research and its implications for theoretical and methodological developments in the field. 
  • Create and enhance collaborative networks among higher degree candidates and early to midcareer researchers. 

To guide our discussions and presentations, the session will address the following key questions: 

  1. How has Conversation Analysis influenced current linguistic research methodologies in Australia? 
  2. In what ways can CA be further integrated into the study of linguistic minorities in Australia? 
  3. What are the future directions and potential collaborations that could emerge from Australian CA research?

3. Current themes in gesture, sign and embodied language research (Anna Margetts, Lucien Brown, Jill Vaughan)

The multimodal nature of language is becoming more and more of a focus in linguistic analysis and there is increasing awareness that restricting our investigations of language to speech misses important aspects of communication. 

This workshop will focus on current research on the interaction of speech and gesture, on sign language and other aspects of embodied language. The workshop aims to promote dialogue and collaboration among researchers with related interests and expertise. We invite presentations on research questions and findings but also on research design and methodologies. The organisers’ topics of interest include but are not restricted to the interaction of gestures with grammatical structure and lexical semantics, language-specific differences in gesture-speech interaction, and the sensitivity of gestures to social factors.

4. Language learning through song (Myfany Turprin, Clint Bracknell, Jesse Hodgetts)

Language teaching and learning, including language revival has long been a concern for linguistics in Australia. As the nation explores ways to increase the number of people speaking and using Indigenous languages, this workshop will bring together expertise on language teaching and learning involving singing from languages in a variety of stages of vitality (e.g. (strong, endangered, sleeping etc.) It will include expertise not only in Indigenous languages, but other languages to draw on as broader expertise as possible.  

Questions the session is seeking to address:

  • How can song writing processes be maximised to provide language teaching and learning opportunities?
  • How does dance and visual elements of song performance contribute to language learning?
  • What themes and musical genres are currently being employed in language learning across the country?
  • What contexts are available for song performance?
  • What methods are available to evaluate the effectiveness of singing in language learning?

5. Law-and-Linguistics Research: Language, Diversity and Inclusion in Law (Alexandra Grey, Joseph van Buuren, Emma Genovese)

Law-and-linguistics interdisciplinary research is growing and gaining increasing attention as its own (sub)field from within both Linguistics and Legal scholarship. For example, three leading Australian linguists made “particular note” of a 2021 journal special issue on ‘Linguistic diversity as a challenge for legal policy’ edited by this session’s proponent, Grey, with Laura Smith-Khan [1], while international law scholars have recently remarked on “the lasting imprint of the ‘linguistic turn’ across international legal studies” [2]. The highly-regarded Language on the Move website now has 22 ‘language and law’ tagged blogs and the ALS has run engaging law-and-linguistics research panels at previous conferences. But knowledge sharing between disciplines remains challenging. In this context, the panel provides research updates and facilitates interdisciplinary awareness. The specific theme of diversity and inclusion/exclusion aligns with literature across Linguistics [3] and Socio-Legal Studies [4], and the (sub)field’s characteristic interest in "issues of [...] linguistic injustice” [5].

Key questions: 

  1. What linguistic phenomena from legislation, from the legislatures that create legislation (i.e. parliaments), or from those who enforce and apply it (police, courts) show changes in inclusion or show exclusions that have become relevant today? 
  2. What is the significance of these phenomena in terms of political representation and social inclusion or exclusion? 
  3. What barriers do these language phenomena create or face, and how could they be addressed? (e.g. changing parliamentary rules; changing legislative drafting guidelines; different police training)

6. Linguistics Undergraduate Teaching (Lauren Gawne, Jill Vaughan, Rose Billington, Ksenia Gnevsheva, Jess Kruk)

Undergraduate teaching provides an opportunity to train new generations of linguists. As we navigate the changing nature of the BA and fewer resources (Gannaway 2015), we need to consider the discoverability of linguistics as a discipline and factors influencing students’ decisions to continue linguistics beyond first year. We also need to ensure we are teaching in ways that are inclusive (Charity Hudley et al. 2024a, 2024b) and that we signal a range of pathways after graduation. Undergraduate linguistics provides students with both domain-specific and general skills that can be used in a variety of industries and jobs (Gawne & Cabraal, 2023). This is reflected in the recent development of the ALS accreditation process, which is partly based on undergraduate educational experience. 

Building on other recent discussions in the linguistics community in Australia, e.g. the ALS Linguistics Program Benchmarking, this themed session seeks to address the state of undergraduate linguistics teaching in Australia, and how we can build a practice that connects students with the best experience driven by research in both pedagogical practice and linguistics. We welcome abstracts relating to undergraduate linguistics teaching in Australia, including program/course overviews and discussions of challenges and approaches, and encourage snapshots and preliminary observations. Abstracts may be on topics including but not limited to the following: 

  • how undergraduate teaching staff are navigating the shift in modes of content delivery, the expectations of institutions, and the need to consider inclusive approaches to teaching 
  • program and course structures, and the relationship between the ‘ideal’ undergraduate linguistics major vs. what can be offered within institutional constraints and available teaching capacity 
  • challenges and new directions for assessment in undergraduate linguistics teaching 
  • strategies for student recruitment, engagement, and retention in linguistics 
  • links between linguistics studies and career pathways as part of undergraduate curricula or extracurricular offerings (e.g. internships, external guest speakers, careers sessions) 

The session will conclude with a discussion about the state of undergraduate teaching in Australia, with a view to forming a SiG within ALS to continue advancing the conversation around teaching practice within the society.

7. Marginal structures: multiple perspectives (Manuel Delicado Cantero, Zhengdao Ye)

The purpose of this themed session is to bring together linguists working with different theoretical frameworks and languages to explore a common theme—grammatical structures that deemed as marginal or peripheral, in order to seek a better understanding of such traditionally neglected structures from theoretical, empirical and typological perspectives. 

Central questions to be addressed include, but are not limited to, the following: 

  1. What makes a particular structure marginal? This question aims to revisit the applicability of well-known terms such as (low) productivity, (low) frequency and periphery to the understanding of current grammatical questions. 
  2. What is the role of theoretical frameworks in determining the marginality of certain structures? Is it possible for a marginal structure to be considered as core in a particular framework? 
  3. When is a marginal structure truly unexplainable or irrelevant to linguistic theorising? 
  4. How should linguistic theories account for phenomena that are morphologically or syntactically marginal in one language but common in another one? 
  5. What is the role of comparative linguistics in the definition of what constitutes marginality? We welcome submissions on any language –oral, written or signed– from around the world, especially understudied data. 

8. The Wealth of Resources on Migrant Languages in Australia (Jaime Hunt, Victoria Oliha, Heike Wiese)

Despite English acting as the de facto national language of Australia, immigrants from non-English speaking countries have been settling in Australia since the earliest days of European colonisation (Clyne, 1991), establishing communities where a range of different languages are in use to varying degrees. Research on the languages of recent (i.e., post WWII) migrants and multilingual settings in Australia has produced a wealth of empirical resources—from elicited linguistic productions to diaries to ethnographic data, sociolinguistic interviews, and oral histories (e.g., Bettoni, 1991, Gnevsheva, et al., 2020, Davis & Hunt, forthcoming, Nguyen, 2018, The University of Sydney). Given the expansive nature of the subject, this themed session aims to provide a centralised forum for researchers on migrant languages in Australia to connect and present their findings as well as spark a conversation around the resources created through their projects. The theme of resources for migrant languages in Australia ties in with ongoing projects concerning the collection and dissemination of resources on Australian Indigenous languages and acts as a complement to the November 2023 workshop held at the Australian National University on community language corpora. 

Central questions discussed in the session will be: 

  • What empirical resources on migrant languages in Australia have been created? How can we make these resources accessible to the wider research community? 
  • From what theoretical and conceptual perspectives have migrant languages in Australia been studied? How can such studies inform each other? 
  • What methods have been used to study migrant languages in Australia? What can we learn from each other methodologically? What new methods could we use to gain further insights?

9. Transcription Theory and Practice (Helen Fraser, Eleanor Kettle)

Outside linguistics, transcription is often considered to be a simple matter of converting spoken words into written form, rather like a school dictation exercise. Within linguistics, creating and using a transcript is known to be a complex process involving many skilled, context-sensitive and interacting decisions. However, while transcripts are used in almost every branch of linguistics, there is surprisingly little scholarship offering a general account of what transcription is, how it works, how its complexities are best managed for specific projects, and, ultimately, how we can be sure it gives results fit for their intended purpose.

This themed session offers an opportunity for discussion of transcription (often called ‘entextualisation’) at this general level. While forensic contexts have recently been at the forefront in revealing problems with use of transcripts, contributions are welcome from any branch of theoretical or applied linguistics, including but not limited to: phonetics, conversation analysis, field work, sociolinguistics, corpus linguistics.

Issues to discuss might include practices for decision making in transcription, observation of how transcription decisions affect theory development, protocols for evaluating transcripts, accounts of how transcripts are interpreted by different end-users – the list is open. Reflective insights based on personal experience are welcome, especially if there is an attempt to generalise beyond the specific experience. The session will offer opportunity for general discussion following the formal presentations.

10. Walking between two worlds - opportunities and challenges for Indigenous linguists (Alison Mount, Lauren Reed)

When Indigenous linguists work with their own and other Indigenous languages, they ‘walk between two worlds’. They are trained by and must navigate the academy, which may be perceived by community as being interested in questions of pure research rather than community benefit (and in extreme cases perceived as being extractive and exploitative). At the same time, they are equally part of the socio-cultural and political dynamics of the community(ies) for whom they work and/or to whom they belong. Indigenous linguists working with Indigenous languages contribute a wealth of knowledge, shared experiences and worldviews that enrich their work. On the other hand, they may also be required to balance antagonistic community perceptions of linguists with what they often know to be the case: that linguistics is an invaluable tool for communities to use in language strengthening. 

In this session, presenters will be invited to speak about the opportunities and challenges they have experienced training and/or working as an Indigenous linguist, either for their own or for other communities. Submissions will also be considered that consider the status of Indigenous linguistic research at a regional, national and/or international level, and on theoretical and applied projects that highlight the research excellence of Indigenous linguists in Australia and globally. Submissions will also be considered by non-Indigenous researchers (both solo and co-authored presentations) who wish to reflect on the theme.

Subscribe to our mailing list "ALS Online"