Newsletter 2018 February

News Books/Theses Conferences Jobs/Grants About

Welcome to the latest Newsletter of the Australian Linguistic Society.

As usual, the @ symbol in people's email addresses has been replaced with -at-, and clicking on any link will open that site in a new window.


Joe Blythe

News from the University of Melbourne

Recent PhD completions

  • Mengyue Wu: “Perception and production of Cantonese tones by speakers with different linguistic experiences”
  • Rosey Billington: "The phonetics and phonology of the Lopit language"
  • Naoki Ikeda: "Measuring L2 oral pragmatic abilities for use in social contexts: development and validation of an assessment instrument for L2 pragmatics performance in university settings"
  • Marzooq Aldossary:  "Peer feedback and the L2 writing of givers and receivers: A quantitative and qualitative longitudinal study involving Saudi students"
  • Yuka Kikuchi:  "Writing development of second language tertiary learners of Japanese in Australia"

We warmly congratulate all of them.


Rachel Nordlinger has been promoted to Level E, Nick Thieberger to Level D, and Ute Knoch also to Level D.

Staff movements

We are also sad to announce that several of our colleagues have recently left the department through resignation or retirement: Dr Celia Thompson, Dr Jean Mulder and Prof Tim McNamara. We are thankful for their contributions to the department over many years, and they will be sorely missed. Rumours have it that Celia has revived her music career, Jean is looking forward to helping migrants, and Tim will no doubt continue to do what he has always done, in all cases with panache. 


  • Andrea L. Berez-Kroeker, Lauren Gawne, Susan Smythe Kung, Barbara F. Kelly, Tyler Heston, Gary Holton, Peter Pulsifer, David I. Beaver, Shobhana Chelliah, Stanley Dubinsky, Richard P. Meier, Nick Thieberger, Keren Rice and Anthony C. Woodbury. 2018. Reproducible research in linguistics: A position statement on data citation and attribution in our field. Linguistics 2018; 56(1): 1–18

ARC grant success

Congratulations to Dr John Mansfield, Dr Brett Baker, Professor Janet Fletcher, Professor Lesley Stirling and Associate Professor Carsten Roever for successful applications in the ARC’s most recent funding round.

  • Dr John Mansfield (DECRA): Aboriginal language evolution in urban contexts. University of Melbourne, $380,761.
  • Dr Brett Baker; Dr Rikke Bundgaard-Nielsen; Professor Janet Fletcher (Discovery Project):  Are super-complex words represented like sentences in speakers’ minds? University of Melbourne, $313,408.
  • Dr Joe Blythe; Associate Professor Ilana Mushin; Professor Lesley Stirling; Associate Professor Roderick Gardner (Discovery Project): Australian Aboriginal conversational style. Macquarie University, $453,790.
  • Professor Roderick Ellis; Associate Professor Carsten Roever; Associate Professor Craig Lambert; Dr Patrick Rebuschat (Discovery Project): Teaching and testing second language pragmatic skills. Curtin University, $243,183.

Other news

  • Katie Jepson and Rosey Billington hosted a very successful Linguistic Trivia night in December that raised funds for the Resource Network for Linguistic Diversity.
  • Nick Thieberger gave a talk titled "Changing practice in documenting languages" in Beijing at the Workshop on Language Maintenance jointly organised by the University of Melbourne and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Brett Baker

News from University of Queensland


  • Round, Erich R. 2017. Review of Gordon, Matthew K. Phonological Typology, OUP 2016. Folia Linguistica 51(3): 745–755
  • Maurizio Rossetto, Emilie J. Ens, Thijs Honingh, Peter D. Wilson, Jia-Yee S. Yap, Oliver Costello, Erich R. Round, Claire Bowern, 2017, From Songlines to genomes: prehistoric assisted migration of a rain forest tree by Australian Aboriginal people. PLoS One. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0186663
  • Meakins, F., Green, J., & Turpin, M. (2018). Understanding linguistic fieldwork. London: Routledge.
  • Stewart, J., Meakins, F., Algy, C., & Joshua, A. (2018). The development of phonological stratification: Evidence from stop voicing perception in Gurindji Kriol and Roper Kriol. Journal of Language Contact, 11(1), 71-112. doi:10.1163/19552629-01101003

Felicity Meakins

News from James Cook University (Language and Culture Research Centre)

LCRC members news

Dr Alex Walker (PhD University of California, Santa Barbara) started his 5-year Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at LCRC (CASE/CI) in January 2018. His areas of expertise include the Pomoan languages of Northern California, moribund English dialects, language documentation, morphology, historical linguistics, and writing systems. His LCRC research project is planned to be a comprehensive grammatical description of an undocumented Papuan language from Papua New Guinea.

Visiting Fellows at the LCRC in 2018

Professor Dr Péter Maitz, the Chair of German at the University of Augsburg, is a major expert in German linguistics and Creole studies, with special focus on Unserdeutsch, a recently discovered German-based Creole of the Bismark Archipelago in PNG. He is a Visiting Professor at the LCRC in January-March 2018. His Visiting Fellowship is supported by a successful DFG application, to work on Unserdeutsch. Prof Dr Maitz and his team from the University of Augsburg including Siegwalt Lindenfelser, Salome Lipfert, Katharina Neumeier, and Lena-Marie Schmidtkunz, will be visiting the LCRC between 8-20 July 2018.

Professor Kate Burridge, an expert on Pennsylvania German, and on numerous issues in English linguistics and history, will be at the LCRC in February 2018.

David Felipe Guerrero, an MA student of Linguistics at the National University of Colombia (UNAL), is an expert on a number of aspects in Karijona, a Carib language from Colombia. He will be working on semantics and morphosyntax of spatial expression in Karijona, Murui and Kubeo, endangered languages from Northwest Amazonia, in cooperation with Dr. Kasia Wojtylak, as a Visiting Fellow at the LCRC, between January and June 2018.

Professor Pier Marco Bertinetto (SNS, Pisa), is an expert in a number of fields within linguistics, including experimental phonology and morphology, the theory of tense and aspect, linguistic typology and the languages of South America, with special focus on the Zamucoan family. During his stay at the LCRC, he will focus, jointly with Dr Luca Ciucci, on the typological rarirties of Zamucoan languages, and a reconstruction of the Zamucoan nominal suffixes, expressing gender, number and "form", in addition to further work on Ayoreo. He will present a key-note address at the International Workshop ‘From fieldwork to reconstruction: language documentation and historical linguistics’. He will be Visiting Professor at the LCRC between 22 October and 20 December 2018.


  • to Professor Sihong Zhang on his appointment as Professor at the Anhui University of Chinese Medicine — the first and only Professor in the humanities in the University!
  • to Dr Hannah Sarvasy on being awarded an ARC DECRA Fellowship 'Telling the whole story in one sentence’, to work on a cross-linguistic investigation of clause chaining


  • Aikhenvald, Alexandra Y. (2018). Editor of The Oxford handbook of evidentiality. Oxford: Oxford University Press, xxiii, 882 pp.
  • Dixon, R. M. W. (2018). Unmasking English dictionaries. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, xiv, 258pp.
  • Dixon, R. M. W. (2018). "We used to eat people": Revelations of a Fiji Islands Traditional village, Jefferson, NC: Macfarland. vii, 210 pp., including 4 maps and 39 illustrations
  • Dixon, R. M. W. (2018). Paperback reissue of 2016 hardback Are some languages better then others? vii, 272pp. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Dixon, R. M. W. (2018)  Translation into Arabic by Hamza Al Mozainy of Are some languages better then others? (2016, Oxford University Press). Jordan: Dar Konoz.

Events at the LCRC in 2018

Language contact and emerging languages

First Special workshop of the Language and Culture Research Centre and the University of Augsburg, supported by a grant from Deutscher Akademischer Austauchsdienst (DAAD, or German Academic Exchange Service) and Universities Australia, Cairns, 11-12 July 2018.

Convenors: Prof Dr Péter Maitz, Prof Alexandra Aikhenvald

Invited participants include: Junwei Bai, Luca Ciucci, Alex Walker, Kasia Wojtylak, Nathan White, Firew Girma Worku (all LCRC), Siegwalt Lindenfelser, Salome Lipfert, Katharina Neumeier, Lena-Marie Schmidtkunz (all from U Augsburg),

'Word': its manifestations and functions

Special Workshop of the Language and Culture Research Centre focussing on analytic problems associated with the notions of grammatical and phonological word and their interaction in a selection of languages and cross-linguistically, Cairns, 3-4 October 2018.

Convenors: Nathan White, Prof Alexandra Aikhenvald

Invited participants include: Sean Allison (Trinity Western University, Canada), Nerida Jarkey (Sydney University), Junwei Bai, Luca Ciucci, R. M. W. Dixon, Alex Walker, Kasia Wojtylak, Firew Girma Worku (all from LCRC)

From fieldwork to reconstruction: language documentation and historical linguistics

Special Workshop of the Language and Culture Research Centre focussing on issues in linguisti reconstruction, genetic inheritance and areal diffusion, Cairns, 7-8 November 2018

Convenors: Luca Ciucci, Prof Alexandra Aikhenvald

Invited participants include: Pier-Marco Bertinetto (SNS, Pisa), Alejandra Vidal (Universidad Nacional de Formosa), Junwei Bai, Luca Ciucci, R. M. W. Dixon, Alex Walker, Nathan White, Kasia Wojtylak (all from LCRC)

Linguistic Skills for Ethnographic Field Research Masterclass

Cairns, 5-6 April 2018

Convenor: Dr Kasia Wojtylak

You are faced with people at your field site who speak a language different from your own: how to proceed?

The Language and Culture Research Centre (LCRC) will again run a Linguistic Skills for Ethnographic Research Masterclass, scheduled for April 5-6, 2018 at JCU campus in Cairns. It is a two-day workshop, free of cost, creditable towards electives in RD7003, and included in JCU Professional Development Program. It is organized by Dr Kasia Wojtylak. Invited speakers include Dr. Alex Walker, Dr. Luca Ciucci, and the PhD students in linguistics, Abe Bai Junwei and Nathan White.

The course has been designed for anthropologists and other researchers who conduct fieldwork in areas where non-written and lesser-known languages are spoken. The course introduces students to reasons why competency in the local language could be important to their research, and gives them introductory concrete, practical methods for language learning and linguistic documentation.


Day 1 — 5 April 2018

  • 09:00-10:30 Introduction to language, linguistics, and fieldwork research - Kasia Wojtylak
  • 11:00-12:30 Language sounds and the IPA - Luca Ciucci
  • 13:30-14:00 Monolingual demonstration with speaker of non-European language - Kasia Wojtylak
  • 14:00-15:30 Introduction to morphological analysis - Kasia Wojtylak
  • 16:00-17:00 Further discussion of practical field techniques related to the day’s topics - Kasia Wojtylak

Day 2 — 6 April 2018

  • 09:00-10:30 How phonology relates to phonetics - Alex Walker
  • 11:00-12:30 Understanding syntax - Nathan White
  • 13:30-14:30 Interesting topics in linguistics: genders and noun class markers, evidentiality, case marking - Kasia Wojtylak and Abe Bai Junwei
  • 14:30-15:00 Analysis of undescribed language morphology - Kasia Wojtylak
  • 15:30-16:00  Ethics of linguistic fieldwork - Kasia Wojtylak
  • 16:00-17:00 Existing software for dictionary-building and language-analysis - Bai Junwei
  • 17:00-17:30 Summary, addressing individual questions, and wrap up - Kasia Wojtylak

Everyone is welcome (no charge). For further information, contact Katarzyna.Wojtylak@jcu.edu.au

Exhibition: 'The South American Heritage of Walter E. Roth'

Foyer of the Cairns Institute building (D-3), The Cairns Campus, JCU.

Organizers: Dr Maria Wronska-Friend, Prof Alexandra Aikhenvald, Prof Rosita Henry

Walter Edmund Roth (1861-1933) was born in London and came to Australia in 1887. From 1894 he was Surgeon to the Boulia, Cloncurry, and Normanton Hospitals in north-west Queensland. In 1898 he was appointed the first Northern Protector of Aborigines. Based in Cooktown he travelled extensively through the north. Part of his responsibilities was to record Aboriginal cultures. His main brief was to curb the exploitation of Aborigines, and especially Aboriginal women, by white settlers. Possessed of a strong personality and administrative drive, Roth was effective as a protector, but inevitably came in conflict with politicians, settlers and the press in North Queensland. In 1904-6 he was Chief Protector (based in Brisbane). In 1904 he headed the Royal Commission into the conditions of the Aborigines in the North-West. Having come under political attack, he resigned in 1906 and left Australia for British Guyana where he was employed by the Imperial Government as stipendiary magistrate, medical magistrate, and district commissioner. He continued his anthropological work with the indigenous peoples of British Guiana, especially the Wai Wai. On his retirement in 1928 he became curator of the Georgetown museum and died on 5 April 1933. The museum is now named after him.

His distinguished monograph of 1897, Ethnological studies among North-West Central Queensland Aborigines, established his international reputation. He then published eighteen Bulletins of North Queensland Ethnography. It is impossible to overestimate how important they are. They constitute a major source on the Aboriginal cultures and rituals of this region (many of them forgotten and no longer practiced). In 1924 his valuable An Introductory Study of the Arts, Crafts, and Customs of the Guiana Indians was published at the government printing office at Washington, U.S.A. Another volume, Additional Studies of the Arts, Crafts, and Customs of the Guiana Indians was published as Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin No. 91 (1929). His contribution to our knowledge of the indigenous peoples of Guyana — speakers of Carib and Arawak languages — is exemplary.

The exhibition is centered on the culture of the Wai Wai people who live in several villages scattered across northern Brazil, Guiana and southern Surinam. They number no more than about 1000 people. The Wai Wai are an amalgamation of a number of groups who came to live together in the early twentieth century, under pressure from European invaders. Their language belongs to the Carib family (where the English word cannibal came from). The name Wai Wai, meaning 'the tapioca people', originated with their northern neighbours, the Arawak-speaking Wapishana. It was given to them since quite a few of the people are quite light-skinned. The Wai Wai are proficient hunters and also agriculturalists. Their traditional method of farming has always been the 'slash and burn' method. The Wai Wai are known for their weaving, pottery, woven combs, bone flutes, feather adornments, and other crafts.

The artefacts on display come from the material collection at the College of Arts, Society, and Education at JCU organized in 1988 by the Walter Roth museum in Georgetown (Guyana), and from Alexandra Aikhenvald's personal collection.

Roundtable meetings and workshop

  • The fortnightly Workshop of the LCRC, 'Number systems in grammar', will commence on 7 March 2018. Alexandra Aikhenvald will present an Initial Orientation.
  • Seminar, Thursday 22 February, Kate Burridge, "Linguistic cleanliness is next to godliness – but not for conservative Anabaptists
  • Seminar, Wednesday 28 February, Alex Walker: Switch-reference in Southern Pomo
  • Workshop, Wednesday 7 March 1, Alexandra Aikhenvald: Introduction to: Number systems in grammar
  • Seminar, Wednesday 14 March, Bai Junwei (Abe): Copula verbs in Munya
  • Workshop, Wednesday 21 March 2 Bob Dixon: Number systems in Jarawara
  • Seminar, Wednesday 28 March, David Felipe Guerrero: An overview of spatial location in Karijona (Carib): the morphosyntax of the postpositional and demonstrative systems
  • Masterclass  organised by Kasia Wojtylak Linguistic Skills for Ethnographic Field Research (Thursday 5  Friday 6 April)
  • Workshop, Wednesday 11 April, Kasia Wojtylak: Number systems in Murui
  • Seminar, Wednesday 18 April, Luca Ciucci: Reconstructing the possessive inflection of Proto-Zamucoan

Everyone is most welcome.

The LCRC 2018 Bulletin will soon be available at http://research.jcu.edu.au/lcrc

Alexandra (Sasha) Aikhenvald

News from La Trobe

  • Professor Victor Friedman (University of Chicago) has been visiting La Trobe since October and has been offering a series of master classes on “Balkan Linguistics”, “The Structure of Lak”, “Evidentiality” and “Language Contact”
  • Recent PhD Daniel Arisawa graduated in December.

James A. Walker

News from University of Sydney

New staff member

Mark Post has newly been appointed as continuing Lecturer in the Linguistics Department. As a descriptive linguist, Mark works on all aspects of language structure, but primarily focuses on morphology and syntax. He is mainly interested in minority “hill languages” of the Mainland Southeast Asian and Eastern Himalayan regions, and especially in reconstructing the evolution of language grammars in these regions in relation to discourse-functional and (other) cultural features.

ALS conference

On December 4-7, 2017, the Department of Linguistics hosted the 48th annual meeting of the Australian Linguistics Society. Plenary speakers were Mary Laughren (UQ), Alice Gaby (Monash U), Balthasar Bickel (U Zürich), and our very own Bill Foley. After his plenary, Bill was presented with a token of our appreciation on the occasion of his long-standing service to the University of Sydney and to the discipline of linguistics. Bill is now Emeritus Professor at the University of Sydney.

The conference was also an opportunity to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Society. This occasion was marked with a fascinating presentation by Society President Lesley Stirling and colleagues on the history of the Society, and was capped off with cakes to please linguistics nerds.

Other conferences/events

Monika Bednarek presented at the 6th New Zealand Discourse conference in Auckland in early December. Her blog post about the conference can be found at: https://allaboutcorpora.com/nzdc2017-report.

Gwen Hyslop taught an invited course on Tibeto-Burman languages in a typological perspective, as part of a summer school at the Centre of Excellence on the Dynamics of Language at ANU in November.

Ahmar Mahboob was invited plenary speaker the University of Malaya Discourse and Society conference, Dec 4-6, 2017 and at the Philippines Association of Language Teachers conference held at University of Santo Tomas in Manila, Dec 7-9, 2017.

Other news

Nick Enfield has just returned from field work in Laos, where he is working on a Discovery Project that focuses on the relation between language boundaries and ethnic boundaries. Two PhD students, Gus Wheeler and Weijian Meng, are now installed in the Nam Noi valley, in the early phases of their descriptive grammar projects on the Brou (Katuic, Austroasiatic) and Saek (Northern Tai) languages, respectively. These two languages are in intensive contact with Kri (Vietic, Austroasiatic), which Nick is describing. Postdoctoral fellow and anthropologist Charles Zuckerman is working on the social networks underlying the intensive culture and language contact observed in the area. For more information, see http://namnoi.nickenfield.org/.

Nick Enfield has also been appointed a Fellow of the Royal Society of New South Wales—the oldest learned society in the Southern Hemisphere—for “significant breakthroughs in empirical and theoretical research on language and its relationships to culture, society, and the human mind, with particular reference to the diverse languages and cultures of mainland Southeast Asia.

Monika Bednarek

News from University of Wollongong



  • Bissoonauth, Anu. (2018). Language Practices and attitudes of Australian children of Indian descent in a primary education setting. International Journal of Multilingualism, vol 15. Issue 1: 54-71.
  • Herrero de Haro, Alfredo. (2017). Four low central vowels in Eastern Andalusian Spanish: /a/ before underlying /-s/, /-r/, and /-θ/ in El Ejido. Dialectologia et Geolinguistica 25: 23-50.
  • Herrero de Haro, Alfredo. (2018). Context and vowel harmony: are they essential to identify underlying word-final /s/ in Eastern Andalusian Spanish? Dialectología 20: 107-145.


  • Alfredo Herrero de Haro and Xiaoping Gao have been promoted to Level C - Senior Lecturer


Alfredo Herrero de Haro would like to get in touch with researchers working on consonant and/or vowel deletion in languages. The idea is to gather some academics working on this topic and look for different possibilities for collaboration (e.g. journal articles). If you are interested, you can contact me on alfredo@uow.edu.au.

Alfredo Herrero de Haro

News from Macquarie University

Ingrid Piller elected as Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities

Professor Ingrid Piller was recently elected as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities, recognising the importance and impact of her work in sociolinguistics and globalisation. Ingrid is one of 23 leading experts in arts and culture recently elected to the academy – the highest honour for achievement in the humanities in Australia. Congratulations Ingrid!

KU Leuven and Macquarie University partner to offer the 2018 CETRA Research Summer School

The 2018 Centre for Translation Studies (CETRA) Research Summer School will take place at the Antwerp campus of KU Leuven from 27 August to 7 September 2018. The 2018 Summer School is a very special event, marking the 30th anniversary of the summer school. Macquarie University, together with Lingnan University, will partner with KU Leuven to offer the 2018 edition of the event, with Dr Haidee Kruger invited to serve on the staff of the summer school.

In 1989 José Lambert created a special research program in Translation Studies at the University of Leuven in order to promote research training in the study of translational phenomena. Since then, this unique program has attracted talented PhD students, postdocs and young scholars who spend two weeks of research under the supervision of a team of prominent scholars as well as of the supervision of the Chair Professor, an annually appointed expert in the field of Translation Studies. The 2018 CETRA Chair Professor is Professor Sandra Halverson.

For more information, including information on applications, visit the CETRA website.

Linguistics candidates shine at Faculty of Human Sciences HDR Excellence Awards 2017

On 13 December 2017, the excellent work of Linguistics HDR students was recognised in the Faculty of Human Sciences HDR Excellence Awards:

Sijia Chen has produced four publications in peer-reviewed research activities, three as first author with a further two in preparation for her PhD. She has presented at five conferences including the 3rd International Conference on Cognitive Research on Translation and Interpreting and 11th China National Conference and International Forum on Interpreting. Sijia has been granted three scholarships, including the co-funded “China Scholarship Council and International Macquarie University Research Excellence Scholarship”. She has received two awards; one granted from Macquarie University’s 3MT, where she then competed in the Asia-Pacific 3MT competition. She competed as a finalist in the top 10.

  • PhD topic: “Exploring the process of note taking and consecutive interpreting: A pen-eye-voice approach towards cognitive load”.

Sawson Aljahdali is a distance candidate that is currently undertaking her PhD, while also lecturing in Linguistics in Saudi Arabia. She has already published 2 articles as sole author for the Journal of World Languages and Indonesian Journal of Applied Linguistics and has presented her work at 3 national and international conferences, with impressive reviews of her academic analyses of her research field.

  • PhD topic: “A functional socio-semiotic reading of the paradox of literary demotion and popular promotion in translated bestsellers: Paulo Coelho’s O Alquimista as a case in English, Arabic and Turkish”.

Dr Pragati Mandikal Vasuki has seven publications and one under review  - six of these as first author. She has published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, Hearing Research, Clinical Neurophysiology, Ear and Hearing, and International Journal of Audiology. Pragati also has ten media pieces, including one in the Herald Sun, and one radio interview with ABC Melbourne. She has presented at 13 peer-reviewed conferences and been invited to 6 colloquiums. During her HDR candidature she has received four prizes, including 1st prize at the Linguistics HDR conference, 1st for the People’s Choice award for Linguistics 3MT competition and the People’s Choice award for FoHS 3MT competition.

  • PhD dissertation: “Statistical learning and auditory processing in adults and children with music training: a behavioural and ERP study”

Awards and Prizes

Joe Blythe awarded Benjamin Meaker visiting fellowship

With the assistance of a Benjamin Meaker visiting fellowship, Dr Joe Blythe was recently hosted by Professor Fiona Jordan’s EXCD.lab (Exploring the Evolution of Cross-Cultural Diversity), based at the University of Bristol Department of Anthropology and Archaeology. Joe’s visit coincided with the workshop Children’s Acquisition of Kinship Knowledge: Theory and Method.

Ingrid Piller receives 2018 Anneliese Maier Research Award

Professor Ingrid Piller is one of eight recipients of a 2018 Anneliese Maier Research Award from the German Alexander-von-Humboldt Foundation.  The award, named after the philosopher and science historian Anneliese Maier (1905-1971), is presented by the Alexander-von-Humboldt Foundation to world-class researchers in the humanities and social sciences from outside Germany. Funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, the award seeks to help promote the internationalisation of the humanities and social sciences in Germany. Ingrid’s award will enable her to pursue research into language education in linguistically diverse societies in collaboration with colleagues at Hamburg University. Read more about the planned research by clicking through to Language on the Move.

Shiva Motaghi-Tabari wins the 2017 Michael Clyne Prize

Dr Shiva Motaghi-Tabari, who graduated at the April 2017 ceremony, is the winner of this year’s Michael Clyne Prize. The Michael Clyne Prize is awarded annually by the Australian Linguistics Society for the best postgraduate research thesis in immigrant bilingualism and language contact. Shiva receives the prize for her thesis about “Bidirectional language learning in migrant families”.

  • Abstract: The process of migration to and settlement in a new country entails linguistic, cultural and identity changes and adjustments. These changes and adjustments at an individual level are related to changes and adjustments in the family. This thesis offers a qualitative exploration of such changes and adjustments in migrant families in Australia by focusing on their language learning and use processes. Adopting a multidisciplinary approach, the study draws on concepts from family studies, particularly the notion of ‘bidirectionality’, as well as sociocultural theories related to second language acquisition within the poststructuralist paradigm. The emphasis is on the ways in which language learning and use in the family relates to wider social and political contexts and language ideologies. Data for the study come from semi-structured in-depth interviews with nineteen migrant families of Persian background in Australia, including thirty-three parents and twenty-one children. Overall, the findings of the study show that language socialisation processes within the family in migration contexts are complex and intricately interwoven with parental and child language beliefs and attitudes, which in turn are influenced by language ideologies and attitudes prevalent in the wider society.

ARC Discovery Project grant successes

Congratulations to Dr Joe Blythe, Professor David McAlpine, Professor Ingrid Piller and Associate Professor Mridula Sharma on their success in the recent ARC Discovery Project round.  

  • Dr Joe Blythe was awarded $453,790 for his project “Australian Aboriginal conversational style”, with Associate Professor Ilana Mushin, Professor Lesley Stirling and Associate Professor Roderick Gardner. Joe’s project aims to re-examine claims that Aboriginal Australians conduct conversations in different ways to Anglo-Australians. It will investigate and compare ordinary conversations in these groups on a large scale. The project expects to provide new evidence to explicate Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal conversational norms, pinpointing differences which may lead to intercultural miscommunication. Expected outcomes include endangered language documentation, and evidence-based findings to disseminate to service providers, to communities and to Aboriginal organisations to improve ways of engaging with each other. In addition, the project will benefit Aboriginal communities with new approaches to language revitalisation.  
  • Professor David McAlpine and his team (Dr Nicholas Badcock, Dr Paul Sowman, Dr Maria Chait, Associate Professor Juanita Todd, Dr Jessica Monaghan, Dr Jaime Undurraga, Dr Nicol Harper) were awarded funding for their project “Listen and learn - statistical learning and the adapting auditory brain” ($453,869). This project aims to explore the link between rapid neural adaptation - a form of learning referred to as statistical learning - and human listening performance in noisy environments. The project aims to generate a new understanding of mechanisms that contribute to listeners' abilities to understand speech in noise, and to complex communication disorders such as dyslexia. Expected outcomes will include increased capacity to investigate a broad range of cognitive and communication functions. Benefits will include potential technologies and algorithms to assist listening (in devices such as hearing aids), language development and reading.  
  • Professor Ingrid Piller’s project Communicating with people who have limited English proficiency” received funding to the amount of $400,183. This sociolinguistic project aims to investigate how fluent English speakers interact with people who have limited proficiency. In contemporary Australia such mundane interactions may determine employment, education or health outcomes. While research into language barriers has mostly focused on the experiences of migrants from non-English-speaking backgrounds, this project will investigate how English speakers deal with increasing linguistic diversity. Expected outcomes include an understanding of the role of majority members in facilitating the integration of newcomers. This will provide significant socioeconomic benefits for institutions and individuals as they navigate everyday intercultural communication.
  • Associate Professor Mridula Sharma is a team member on a project led by Associate Professor Sheila Degotardi from the Department of Educational Studies on “Language for learning: Developing learning-oriented talk in long-day-care”.

Visit the new Lingline Live page for more stories, events listings, and publications – updated every week.

Haidee Kruger

News from the ANU


  • Andrew Pawley and Harald Hammarström. "The Trans New Guinea family: In Bill Palmer (ed.), The Languages and Linguistics of New Guinea: A Comprehensive Guide, 21-194. Berlin: de Gruyter Mouton.
  • Evans, N, W. Arka, M. Carroll, C. Döhler, E. Kashima, E. Mittag, K. Quinn, J. Siegel, P. Tama, and C. van Tongeren. 2017. "The Languages of Southern New Guinea." In The Languages and Linguistics of the New Guinea Area: A Comprehensive Guide, edited by B. Palmer, 641-774. Berlin: De Gruyer Mouton.
  • Gnevsheva, K. (2018). Variation in foreign accent identification. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development. Advance online publication DOI: 10.1080/01434632.2018.1427756
  • Sarvasy, Hannah. 2018. “Multiple number systems in one language: Split number in Nungon.” Lingua 201, 57-77.
  • Sarvasy, Hannah. 2018. “Evidentiality in the languages of New Guinea.” In Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Evidentiality. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 629-656.
  • Sarvasy, Hannah and Diana Forker. 2018. Word Hunters: Field Linguists on Fieldwork. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  • Sarvasy, Hannah and Diana Forker. 2018. “Word hunters: Unsung heroes of linguistics.” In Hannah Sarvasy and Diana Forker (eds.), Word Hunters: Field Linguists on Fieldwork.      Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 1-8.
  • Rena Torres Cacoullos & Catherine Travis. 2018. Bilingualism in the Community. Cambridge: CUP. In examining the the oldest bilingual community in the USA (northern New Mexico, where Spanish and English have been spoken for over 150 years), the authors show that bilingual speakers maintain distinct structures in their two languages, even while code-switching between them. Available from Cambridge University Press - www.cambridge.org/core/books/bilingualism-in-the-community/935ED87FFA173FB70FF91A835CB7844A

Conference presentations

  • Gonzaléz, Simón, James Grama & Catherine Travis. (2018). ‘Making the most of the big data revolution: Comparing forced aligners for sociolinguistics.’ Paper presented at the 5th conference of NWAV Asia Pacific, University of Queensland, Brisbane.
  • Grama, James. (2018). ‘The low-back vowel system of Hawaiʻi Creole: Variation across time, gender, and lect.’ Paper presented at the 5th conference of NWAV Asia Pacific, University of Queensland, Brisbane.
  • Yarjis Xueqing (Norah) Zhong will present a paper at the 3rd Conference on Central Asian Languages and Linguistics (ConCALL-3), USA, titled ‘Language education and maintenance efforts in Yugur’, and also present a poster titled ‘The structure of ideophones in Western Yugur’.


  • In December 2017 Ksenia Gnevsheva received an ALS grant to support the study of second dialect acquisition in a second language with Anita Szakay (Macquarie University) and Sandra Jansen (University of Paderborn).
  • Yarjis Xueqing (Norah) Zhong was awarded a ANU-IU Pan Asia Institute travel grant for a 6 week PhD research exchange program at Indiana University, USA.

New PhD Students

  • Lesley Woods will be working on a pedagogical course for Ngiyambaa.
  • Manuel David Gonzalez Perez will be working on Neme (PNG).

New Postdoc Fellows

Dr Bruno Olsson has just begun a CoEDL postdoc, working on Marind and other languages of the Marind-Anim family.

On 1 February Darja Hoenigman started a two-year postdoc on ETKnoS
project at Laboratoire SPHERE at Paris Diderot University (UP7). ETKnoS (Encoding and Transmitting Knowledge with a String) is a comparative study of the cultural uses of mathematical practices in string-figure making in Oceania, North and South America, a collaboration between an ethno-mathematician, anthropologists and linguists. Darja will keep working with the Awiakay and the Meakambutin PNG, documenting their string-figure making and studying the connections with local cosmology. She will be back at the ANU in June, before heading to the field.


The This is a Voice exhibition at the Powerhouse Museum closed on 28 January. The Sydney Speaks app included in the exhibition was accessed by many of the Powerhouse visitors (70,500 visitors to the exhibition over the 6-month period it ran) and by thousands of people who accessed it online (over 56,000 page views). The online app remains available at: http://www.dynamicsoflanguage.edu.au/sydney-speaks/sydney-speaks-online-app/. It is ideal for class activities, and for promotion of linguistics. Contact Catherine.Travis@anu.edu.au if you have any queries.

Wayan Arka

News from the Research Network for Linguistic Diversity

There has been lots happening at RNLD since our last news update in November 2016. Megan Broome joined the team as our first ever CEO in February, taking on the important task of ensuring the organisation’s sustainability in the long term. In July, RNLD co-founder and Director of Training, Margaret Florey retired, and is now leading a life of reading, gardening and sculpture. Stepping into her shoes at the helm of our Documenting and Revitalising Indigenous Languages training program is Emma Murphy, who brings to the role not only her background as a former RNLD trainer, but also more recent experience working with Yolŋu organisations in the Top End.

In 2016 we had our first graduates in our Certificate III in Aboriginal Languages for Communities and Workplaces (see the November 2016 ALS newsletter), and 2017 saw a fresh round of graduates – this time in the pilot delivery of our new Certificate II in Master-Apprentice Language Learning Program. Delivered over three blocks at the Far West Language Centre in Ceduna, SA, the Certificate course provides graduates with the skills necessary to run their own Indigenous Language revitalisation programs based on the Master-Apprentice Method as developed by Leanne Hinton (USA). Participants of the course included people from the Wirangu and Gugada language groups. Congratulations to all eight graduates!

Emma and Amy Parncutt, another RNLD trainer, are looking forward to meeting fellow ALS members when they present on our work at the Australian Languages Workshop in Marysville in March.

Finally, we are very pleased to announce that this year RNLD continues our partnership with the Research Unit for Indigenous Languages (RUIL) at Melbourne University in offering an internship, this year to three new interns. Marcella Maloney will accompany Emma to work with Anindilyakwa speakers at the Groote Eylandt Language Centre; Elsha O’Reilly will travel with Emma and Broome Yawuru language teacher Hiroko Shioji to a workshop with Gija and Jaru speakers at the Kimberley Language Resource Centre in Halls Creek; and Conor Clements will be working with Miriwoong speakers at the Mirima Dawang Woorlab-gerring Language and Culture Centre (MDWg) in Kununurra, alongside Emma and RNLD Trainer Andrew Tanner.

Andrew Tanner

TAILU – Teaching Australian Indigenous Languages at University

A small group of academics are working on developing an Australian Indigenous Languages Institute (AILI), comparable to similar institutes in the US (AILDI - American Indian Language Development Institute) and Canada (CILLDI - Canadian Indigenous Languages and Literacy Development Institute). At present there is great interest in Indigenous languages in Australia, but very little university level training available in these languages, and those few courses are often difficult for people to access. The intention is to provide pathways for students to do courses on Aboriginal languages and linguistics from a variety of institutions, through cross-institutional enrolment and intensive programs.

2018 saw the first activity of the proposed Institute in the form of a 2 week Summer School at Charles Darwin University’s Sydney campus. Dr John Giacon from ANU ran an intensive course in Gamilaraay, with 16 students, including 3 Gamilaraay-Yuwalaraay people. Some took it for credit within their own universities, others audited. Plans to offer an introduction to Yolngu Language and Culture and Linguistics for Indigenous Languages from Charles Darwin University’s Bachelor of Indigenous Languages and Linguistics did not eventuate, but there are plans to offer the course again next January. There was significant media interest in the Gamilaraay course, with stories on SBSABC radio and Fairfax newspapers. 

Universities are encouraged to promote these courses among their students, and to facilitate cross-institutional credit arrangements. Others who would like to become involved by offering courses, or working on funding applications to support the development of the AILI are encouraged to join the mailing list by making contact with the organisers:

Cathy Bow cathy.bow@cdu.edu.au

John Giacon john.giacon@anu.edu.au

Greg Williams greg.williams@cdu.edu.au

Cathy Bow

Lexicography Workshop

Goldfields Aboriginal Language Centre (GALC) is hosting a 5 day lexicography workshop in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia from the 7th to the 11th of May and invite participants. The workshop will be run by Michael Rundell (MacMillan Dictionary editor), Vojtěch Kovář and Miloš Jakubíček of Lexicom https://lexicom.courses

Have you ever wanted an effective tool to search through your linguistic corpus? Want to ensure your dictionary meets international standards? Need to produce dictionaries quickly? This is the workshop for you!

This is an intensive 5-day workshop in lexicography and lexical computing. It combines practical work and theoretical perspectives, to provide training in the making of corpus-based dictionaries and the use of software that supports this activity.

The workshop topics cover lexicography, preparation of materials for online dictionaries, conversion of data formats and corpus searching using Sketch Engine software. Participants may use their own corpus to work on during the week or work with an Australian language corpus provided. 

Contact GALC to register for a place or for further information. The cost of the 5 day workshop includes all materials, a 3 year Sketch Engine license and lunches. $990 per person. 20 places available. GALC (08)9021 3788 or info@wangka.com.au


Sue Hanson

The Australian PhD Prize for Innovations in Linguistics

This prize is a continuing prize in Australian linguistics which started in 2013. It is open for PhDs completed and examined since January 1 2017. An amount of $500 will be awarded to the best PhD (judged by the assessor - email below), which demonstrates methodological and theoretical innovations in linguistics. Of interest are studies in toponymy, language and ethnography, language and musicology, linguistic ecology, language identity and self, kinship relationships, island languages, spatial descriptions in language, and language contact. Creative and excitingly written PhDs which push the boundaries of the discipline are particularly welcomed. The PhD should have been awarded by an Australian university or other institution but not necessarily be about Australian languages and cultures.

Email a pdf copy of the full PhD to <jahewangi@hotmail.com> by 30 April 2018 (PhDs still under examination may also be considered). The prize winner will be announced within one month of the deadline and all applicants will be contacted about the decision.


Jobs, grants, and scholarships

Postdoctoral research fellow, University of Queensland

The University of Queensland node of the Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language is seeking a new three-year postdoctoral research fellow. The appointee will work in close collaboration with Felicity Meakins in the School of Languages and Cultures on one of the following topics:

  • Language contact or change in an Australian language 

  • Multiregional variation in an Australian language

  • Description of a new Australian contact language


The appointee will also undertake limited teaching – approximately 10% of time (one course/year), with details subject to negotiation. 

The application will involve clear and innovative plan (c. 2 pages) addressing what the applicant sees as an exciting and unexplored contact language or language contact/change question involving Australian languages. Any proposal that expands our knowledge of contact/change in Australian languages through a combination of fieldwork and other appropriate methods will be considered, and it may involve fieldwork in any region where Australian language contact/change is found, so applicants should feel free to make their own identification of site and question. Proposals will be ranked by the case they make for the relative importance of this as a vital next step in our understanding of Australian language contact, as well as the feasibility of the project within the time frame and resources.

Applications close: 14 Mar 2018 (11:55 PM) E. Australia Standard Time

For more information: Felicity Meakins (f.meakins@uq.edu.au)

Felicity Meakins

About ALS

The Australian Linguistic Society is the national organization for linguists and linguistics in Australia. Its primary goal is to further interest in and support for linguistics research and teaching in Australia. Further information about the Society is available by clicking here.

The ALS Newsletter is issued four times per year, in the middle of February, May, August and November. Information for the Newsletter should be sent to the Editor, Joe Blythe (alsonline-at-als.asn.au) by the end of the first week of February, May, August, and November. There is a list of people who are automatically advised that it is time to contribute material; if you wish to be added to that list, send Joe an email.

Subscriptions for ALS are due at the beginning of each calendar year; the year you are paid up to is shown on the address label on the envelope of your copy of the Australian Journal of Linguistics. Membership matters are handled on behalf of the Society by Taylor & Francis, the publishers of the Australian Journal of Linguistics. If you wish to join the Society or make an alteration to your existing membership details please contact the Customer Service at Taylor & Francis on +61 (0)3 8842-2413 or at enquiries-at-tandf.com.au.

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