Newsletter May 2017


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

ALS Research Grant Scheme

The ALS Research Grant Scheme is open. The scheme offers grants of up to $5,000 for research in any area of linguistics.

  • Closing date for applications: 1 September 2017
  • Notification date: 1 December 2017

The grants application form is available here.

Caroline Jones

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

Current Events

On 3 May James Cook University celebrated the publication of three volumes devoted to Dyirbal, one of the original languages of northern Queensland. Each of the volumes includes documentation of the Dyirbal language by renowned linguist R.M.W. (Bob) Dixon. The volumes are:

  • Dyirbal thesaurus and dictionary, covering Girramay, Jirrbal, Mamu, Ngajan and six other dialects. Part 1. Nominals: Nouns, Adjectives and Time words. xv, 411 pp. Part 2. Alphabetical for Part 1. iv, 136p.
  • Dyirbal Texts: 78 Legends, Stories, Autobiographies, Conversations, and Remedies in Jirrbal, Girramay, Mamu, and Gulngay. viii, 350 pp

The volume was launched by Dr Ernie Grant, elder of the Jirrbal-ngan people. Professor Sandra Harding, Vice-Chancellor and President of James Cook University, welcomed the publication. Professor Bob Dixon introduced the volumes and thanked his teachers who have now all returned to their ancestral spirit home. Many of their children and grandchildren in what Bob Dixon was able to document attended the launch.

On 8 June (Thursday, 4-6 pm), within the Open seminar book series organized by JCU, there will be a launch of 

  • How gender shapes the world (Oxford University Press), by Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald and
  • The Cambridge Handbook of Linguistic typology (Cambridge University Press), edited by Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald and R. M. W. Dixon.

This will be followed by an official opening of the Tropical Languages and Cultures Documentation Laboratory at JCU, and panel discussion and snacks. Everyone is welcome.

LCRC members news

  • Firew Girma Worku (MA University of Addis Ababa) a PhD student within Distinguished Professor Alexandra Aikhenvald's Australian Laureate Fellowship, is currently undertaking extensive fieldwork on Mursi, a little-known Nilo-Saharan language from Ethiopia.
  • Bai Junwei (Abe), a PhD student at the LCRC, is currently undertaking fieldwork on Munya, a Tibeto-Burman language of China. He will be returning to the LCRC in mid-May, to further work on a comprehensive description of the language.
  • Dr Elena Mihas, a PDRA within Distinguished Professor Alexandra Aikhenvald's Australian Laureate Fellowship, has finalised a period of extensive fieldwork on previously undescribed varieties of Koryak, a Chukotko-Kamchatkan language from Russia. She presented a talk on Koryak and Chukotko-Kamchatkan languages at the Vitus Bering University in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskij and a talk on the typology of Chukotko-Kamchatkan languages at the Moscow Higher School of Economics.
  • Dr Luca Ciucci, a PDRA within Distinguished Professor Alexandra Aikhenvald's Australian Laureate Fellowship, is undertaking extensive fieldwork on Chiquitano, an isolate from Bolivia, and Zamucoan languages in Bolivia and Paraguay.
  • Nicola (Nick) Piper, a PhD student within LCRC, is preparing for a period of extensive immersion fieldwork with speakers of Meriam Mir on Murray Island

Distinguished Visitors at the LCRC

  • Dr Hiroko Sato (University of Hawa'i) will be visiting the LCRC in May 2017, presenting a lecture on reflexive and reciprocal constructions in Kove.
  • Professor Pilar Valenzuela (Chapman University, USA) will be visiting the LCRC in August 2017, presenting a talk at the LCRC Special Workshop 'Classifiers and genders in Amazonia and Beyond' and working on various issues in Kawapanan languages.
  • Associate Professor Sihong Zhang (Vice-Dean of Anhui University of Traditional Medicine, Anhui Province, China, and Adjunct Fellow at the LCRC) will be visiting the LCRC, in the period between 17 July and 9 September working on various aspects of Ersu, a Tibeto-Burman language of China. He will be presenting a talk at the LCRC Special Workshop Amazonia and Beyond

New books published and accepted for publication

  • Aikhenvald, Alexandra Y. and R. M. W. Dixon (eds.). 2017. The Cambridge Handbook of Linguistic Typology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Aikhenvald, Alexandra Y. and R. M. W. Dixon (eds.). 2017. Commands: a cross-linguistic typology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Ciucci, Luca. 2017. Ignace Chomé: Vocabulario de la lengua zamuca - Edición crítica y comentario lingüístico. Iberoamericana Verfuert Verlag.
  • Dixon, R. M. W. forthcoming (2018). Unmasking English dictionaries. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Mihas, Elena. 2017. Conversational Structures of Alto Perené (Arawak) of Peru. Amsterdam: Benjamins.
  • Simon Overall. 2017. A grammar of Aguaruna. Mouton Grammar Library. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton.
  • Simon Overall and K. I. Wojtylak (eds.). 2017. Nominalization: A view from Northwest Amazonia. Special issue of STUF - Language typology and universals).
  • Wojtylak, K. I. and Yvonne Treis (eds.). 2107. On the expression of Comparison: Contributions to the typology of comparative constructions from lesser-known languages. Special issue of Linguistic Discovery.

Global Workshop on Reflexives and Reciprocals

commenced on 5 April and will run for several months. R. M. W. Dixon and Alexandra Aikhenvald presented an Initial Orientation (available upon request)

Roundtable meetings and workshop

all roundtable meetings at 4 p.m. on Wednesdays in room D3-150 of the Cairns Institute building

  • Wednesday 17 May: Bob Dixon – Reflexive and reciprocal constructions in Jarawara
  • Wednesday 24 May: Simon Overall – Reflexive and reciprocal constructions in Kandozi
  • Wednesday 31 May: Kasia Wojtylak – Reflexive and reciprocal constructions in Murui

Everyone is most welcome

More to follow — see https://research.jcu.edu.au/lcrc

Alexandra (Sasha) Aikhenvald

News from ANU


  • Barth, D. and Evans, N. (2017a) ‘SCOPIC Design and Overview’, in Social Cognition Parallax Interview Corpus (SCOPIC). Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press (Language Documentation & Conservation Special Publication, 12), pp. 1–21.
  • Barth, D. and Evans, N. (2017b) The Social Cognition Parallax Interview Corpus (SCOPIC). Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press (Language Documentation & Conservation Special Publication, 12).
  • Evans, N., Gangali, T. and Namarnyilk, J. K. (2017) 'Three Greedy Emu Myths', In Something about emus: Bininj stories from Western Arnhem Land. Canberra: Aboriginal Studies Press. Pp.115-128.
  • Garde, M. (2017) Something about emus: Bininj stories from Western Arnhem Land. Canberra: Aboriginal Studies Press.
  • Sarvasy, H. (2017) A Grammar of Nungon: A Papuan Language of Northeast New Guinea. Brill. Available at: http://www.brill.com/products/book/grammar-nungon.
  • Skirgård H, Roberts SG, Yencken L (2017) Why are some languages confused for others? Investigating data from the Great Language Game. PLOS ONE 12(4): e0165934. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0165934
  • Torres Cacoullos, R. and Travis, C. (2016) ‘Two languages, one effect: Structural priming in code-switching’, Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 19(4), pp. 733–753.
  • Travis, C. and Lindstrom, A. (2016) ‘Different registers, different grammars? Subject expression in English conversation and narrative’, Language Variation and Change, 28(1), pp. 103–128.
  • Ye, Zhengdao (ed.) 2017. The Semantics of Nouns. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 

New People

Cathy Bow has started her PhD with Jane Simpson.

Eri Kashima

News from UQ

Grant success

Jayden Macklin-Cordes received an LSA Fellowship to attend the 2017 Linguistic Institute at the University of Kentucky. He also received some support from The School of Languages and Cultures’ RHD Research Support Scheme for the same purpose.

David Osgarby has received funding from the Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language under the Student Mobility Scheme to visit the Australian National University for 8 weeks in July and August 2017, hosted by Jane Simpson, under the guidance of Patrick McConvell and David Nash.

Amanda Hamilton received support from the Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language to attend the summer school hosted by the Societas Linguistica Europaea in Neuchatel, Switzerland in September 2017.


  • van den Bos, J., Meakins, F., & Algy, C. (2017). Searching for “Agent Zero”: The origins of a relative case. Language Ecology, 1(1), 4-24.
  • Charola, E., & Meakins, F. (Eds.). (2016). Mayarni-kari Yurrk: More Stories from Gurindji Country. Batchelor, Australia: Batchelor Press.
  • Haugh, M. (2017) Jocular language play, social action and (dis)affiliation in conversational interaction. In N. Bell (ed.), Multiple Perspectives on Language Play (pp.143-168), Mouton de Gruyter, Berlin.
  • Haugh, M. (2017) Mocking and (non-)seriousness in initial interactions amongst American and Australian speakers of English. In D. Carbaugh (ed.), Handbook of Communication in Cross-Cultural Perspective (pp.104-117), Routledge, London.
  • Haugh, M. (2017) Teasing. In S. Attardo (ed.), Handbook of Language and Humor, Routledge, London.
  • Haugh, M. (2016) Prompting as a higher-order pragmatic act. In K. Allan, A. Capone and I. Kecskes (eds.), Pragmemes and Theories of Language Use (pp.167-190), Springer, New York.
  • Meakins, F. (2017). The carbines were talking English: Violence and language in the colonisation of Gurindji country. In B. Croft (Ed.), Still in my mind: Gurindji location, experience and visuality (pp. 73-75). Brisbane: UQ Art Museum.
  • Mushin, I. (2016) Linguistic cues for recipient design in an Indigenous Australian conversational narrative. Narrative Inquiry 40:2, 217-256.
  • Round, E. 2017. The Tangkic languages of Australia: Phonology and morphosyntax of Lardil, Kayardild and Yukulta. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Linguistics, ed. by Mark Aronoff.

Other news

Valeria Sinkeviciute has recently joined the School of Languages and Cultures as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow (supported by the VC’s Strategic Fund). She received her PhD from the University of Antwerp, Belgium. Her main research interests include linguistic (im)politeness, conversational humour, interactional pragmatics and identity construction. Valeria has worked with different types of data, such as corpora, reality television discourse and qualitative interviews. She is the author of a number of papers on these topics in journals and edited volumes by John Benjamins, Elsevier and De Gruyter.

Still in my Mind: Gurindji location, experience and visuality curated by Brenda Croft (UNSW) in collaboration with Penny Smith (Karungkarni Arts), Felicity Meakins (UQ, CoEDL) and Erika Charola was opened by the Hon. Linda Burney (MP) at UNSW Art and Design 4 May. The exhibition will run for three months and will then travel to UQ Art Museum (opening 11 May). https://www.artdesign.unsw.edu.au/unsw-galleries/still-my-mind-gurindji-location-experience-and-visuality

A one-day symposium on Getting Acquainted across Cultures will be held at the University of Queensland on 20th October 2017. Istvan Kecskes (SUNY) will be giving a keynote. A call for papers will be circulated soon.

NWAV-AP5 will be held in Brisbane at the University of Queensland 1-3 February 2018 with a Masterclass on Third Wave Sociolinguistics run by Penny Eckert (Stanford) on 31 January 2018. Abstracts are due 31 August 2017. http://www.dynamicsoflanguage.edu.au/nwav-ap5/

Warlungka: Language lived through song premiered at the Something Somewhere Film Festival in Alice Springs in April. This short film resonates with the beauty of the Mudburra wetlands, the richness of Eleanor Dixon’s voice and the powerful sound of Mudburra children singing their language. (Produced by Rayella and Felicity Meakins; Lyrics and music by Eleanor Dixon, Raymond Dixon, Janey Dixon; Recorded and edited by Elise Frederickson, Yasmin Smith). 

Felicity Meakins

News from the ARC Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language (CoEDL)

The CoEDL Summer Schools are the flagship educational series of the ARC Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language, open to Australian and international students and researchers. Previous successful CoEDL Summer Schools were held at Western Sydney University (2015) and the University of Melbourne (2016). CoEDL Summer Schools draw on expertise across CoEDL's programs and nodes, other Australian linguistics departments, and our international partners to offer educational enrichment and catalyse new research collaborations. Linguists of all backgrounds and interests are welcome; in previous years CoEDL Summer Schools have attracted diverse cohorts ranging from advanced undergraduate students through to professors.

This year’s CoEDL Summer School, with a general Typology theme, will be held from 27 November through 1 December, 2017, at the Australian National University. The Summer School will feature twelve themed courses, on the state-of-the-art in African and Tibeto-Burman linguistics, processing from a typological perspective, the interface between Australian archeology, genetics, and linguistics, and many more topics. This year, participants can further pick and choose single units within these. 

Course syllabi will be publicized in June 2017, and registration will close in September 2017.

CoEDL has some support for students and unwaged people to attend the summer school.  Deadline 4th August. Click here for further information: http://www.dynamicsoflanguage.edu.au/education-and-outreach/train-with-us/summer-school-2017/travel-assistance/

Matt Spike


Language, Land and Song: Studies in Honour of Luise Hercus

A volume has recently been published electronically, consisting of 37 contributions focussing on the documentation of Australian languages, with reference to the career of Luise Hercus.

  • Austin, Peter K., Harold Koch and Jane Simpson (eds). 2016.  Language, Land and Song: Studies in Honour of Luise Hercus.  London: EL Publishing. Pp xxii + 566.ISBN 978-0-728-60406-3. 

For contents and the possibility of downloading individual chapters, see http://www.elpublishing.org/book/language-land-and-song

Harold Koch

Soso village, Naviti Island

Geraldine Triffitt's new book Soso village, Naviti Island, Fiji by Geraldine Triffitt (Mereani) and Onisimo Nayato is finally published. It was launched in Canberra last Saturday by Professor Andrew Pawley.The book has a glossary of over 300 words in Soso dialect and there is also a short section about the language. Naviti Island is the next island to Waya in the Yasawa group. Both Wayan and Soso dialect belong to the Western Fijian language which has not been documented well up to now. The cost is $30 plus postage and it is available from Naviti Documentation, PO Box 537 MAWSON, ACT 2607, email navitidoc@gmail.com.

Jane Simpson

Upcoming Conferences

Upcoming Conferences

ALS 2017

As previously announced, this year's meeting will take place at The University of Sydney between 4th and 7th December. 

The call for abstracts will open on 12 June and close on 28 July, with notification of acceptance on 28th September. All submissions should be lodged via Easychair. Early-bird registration will be open until 6 October. 


Maïa Ponsonnet

Jobs, grants, and scholarships

Five Year Research Fellowship In Linguistics

Language & Cultural Research Centre at James Cook University      

$89,859 - $106,029 plus 17% superannuation

How to Apply:
jobs@jcu website:  https://www.jcu.edu.au/careers-at-jcu/vacancies; Click
on the ‘apply now’ button to be taken to JCU’s career page where you
can find out more information and download a PD and application

Position Reference Number: 16036
Applications close: 16 July 2017

Alexandra (Sasha) Aikhenvald

Scholarship Announcements

Gerhardt Laves Scholarship: Sabrina Meier (Newcastle) (Sabrina was one of two joint winners of the same scholarship in 2016. This year she has one again as the sole winner.) Sabrina has been awarded $3,100 to support her ongoing research in the Mono-Alu (Oceanic, Solomon Islands) focusing on lexical flexibility and on grammatical alignment. The scholarship will fund Sabrina to make her second field trip later this year.

Susan Kaldor Scholarship: 2 joint winners in 2017 - Forrest Panther (Newcastle) and Maria Kyuseva (Melbourne) ($2,500 each). Forrest’s scholarship will support his attendance at the 2017 LSA Institute in Lexington, Kentucky, from 5 July – 1 August, where he will receive training that will be of significant benefit to his PhD research on the implications of syllable structure in Kaytetye (Australian, Northern Territory). Maria will also attend the LSA where she will receive training that will assist with her PhD research in a comparative description of Russian Sign Language (RSL) and Australian Sign Language (Auslan).

Bill Palmer

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 Andrea 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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