ALS Newsletter August 2019

From the President
ALS2019 Conference
ALS Research Grants scheme open
ALS Scholarships
News from the ANU
News from UWA
News from Western Sydney University
News from Western Sydney University
From University of Queensland
News from the University of Newcastle
News from Monash University
News from UNE
News from University of Sydney
News from the ANU
News from Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education (BIITE)
News from Macquarie University
News from James Cook University (Language and Culture Research Centre)
News from CDU
News from University of Sydney
News from Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language (CoEDL)
2019 Michael Clyne Prize
About ALS

From the President

Firstly, big congratulations to the 2019 recipients of the Jalwang and Laves scholarships – Lauren Reed (ANU) and Stephanie Yam (ANU)!

Thank you to members who contributed to the 2019 survey. 83 of you responded. While we are still working through the feedback on how you would like ALS to focus its priorities in the coming years, I can report at least on the demographics of those who responded:

  • Members come from all states and territories with Victoria (24.1%), NSW (21.7%) and Queensland (14.5%), perhaps unsurprisingly making up more than half;
  • About half of respondents were between 41 and 65 and a sizable 32.5% were 18-25. It was heartening to see that 13.3% were over 65, showing engagement beyond the nominal ‘retirement’ age.
  • We are still very much an academic society: two-thirds of those who responded already have PhDs in Linguistics and the vast majority of student members (82.4%) are completing PhDs in Linguistics.
  • The top areas of linguistics that people reported engaging with in work or study were (perhaps unsurprisingly): Applied Linguistics (47%), Descriptive linguistics (45.8%), Morphology (38.6%), Sociolinguistics (38.6%), Typology (30.1%), Anthropological Linguistics (28.9%), Documentary linguistics (28.9%), Syntax (28.9%), Pragmatics (24.1%), Semantics (22.9%) and Phonetics (22.9%).

Between now and the next newsletter the Executive will be working through your suggestions and developing a plan for how at least some of these can be sustainably achieved.

In the meantime, you can see that the popular ALS research grant scheme is now open. This is a great avenue for seed funding new projects, or providing additional funds for field research.  Closing date is September 8th.

Ilana Mushin

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ALS2019 Conference

The Australian Linguistic Society’s 2019 conference will be held at Macquarie University 11th - 13th December, with an exciting preconference program scheduled for the 10th of December. The conference theme Celebrating Diversity aligns with IY2019, the International Year of Indigenous Languages. The Call for Papers has now closed and abstracts are currently under review. Further developments will be updated regularly on the conference website.

Joe Blythe

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ALS Research Grants scheme open

The 2019 round of the ALS Research Grants scheme is now open. Applications close on Sunday 8 September. The scheme offers grants of up to $5,000 for research in any area of linguistics. The principal applicant must be a current financial member of ALS at the date of submission of the application.

Applications must be made using the online form through the ALS website Funding and Support portal <https://als.asn.au/alsgrant/details/15/research_grants>. All details can be found at that location.

Bill Palmer

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ALS Scholarships

The 2019 Gerhardt Laves Scholarship and Jalwang Scholarship have been awarded. The Jalwang Scholarship was awarded to Lauren Reed (ANU) for the project ‘Picture dictionary of Papua New Guinea Sign Language’. The Laves Scholarship was awarded to Stephanie Yam (ANU) for the project ‘The grammatical encoding of information structure in Motu’.

Bill Palmer

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News from the ANU

Upcoming events

Workshop: New Ways of Analyzing Variation
Date: 10 October 2019
Venue: University of Oregon

Dineke Schokkin and Danielle Barth will be leading a workshop on language documentation and exploring sociophonetic variation, Contact the organisers for further details: dineke.schokkin@anu.edu.au; danielle.barth@anu.edu.au.

Language and the anthropology of communication: a symposium in Honour of professor Alan Rumsey

A series of papers reflecting on the life and work of (soon to be) Emeritus Professor Rumsey will be presented on Thursday 15 August 2019.

Recent events

The International Conference on Historical Linguistics (ICHL24) was held on 1-5 July) and organised by Bethwyn Evans, Jennifer Hendriks, Nicholas Evans, Simon Greenhill and CoEDL staff. There were around 250 attendees, including many papers by ANU people. Bethwyn Evans is editing a volume of conference proceedings. A day-long teach-in shared with the LFG conference was held on 6 July by Nigel Vincent, Kersti Börjars and Louise Sadler (around 35 attendees).

The 24th International Lexical Functional Grammar Conference (around 50 attendees), organised by Wayan Arka, Elisabeth Mayer, Avery Andrews and Jane Simpson ran from 8 to 10 July and includrf papers by ANU staff and students. Miriam Butt, Ida Toivonen and Tracy Holloway King are editing a volume of conference proceedings.

A Sociophonetics Workshoporganised by Catherine Travis, Ksenia Gnevsheva, James Grama and Simón González, was run 16-19 July, with papers by five invited speakers (Jen Hay, Gerry Docherty and Paul Foulkes, James Walker, Katie Drager) presented to some 30 attendees. These talks were followed by intensive afternoon hands-on workshops on sociophonetic variation in varieties of English across the globe. You can look forward to hearing about work from the Canberra Corpus Collective at upcoming conferences.

On June 15, Carmel O’Shannessy gave a keynote talk at the Early Childhood Educators Association conference, in Alice Springs, called ‘What kinds of languages experience do young First Nations children in Central Australia bring to school’? She then ran a workshop with Arrernte educators Felicity Hayes and Anne-Maria Palmer, entitled ‘How do the sound systems of Central Australian languages differ from those of English?’

Awakening an ancient language with Gianbattista “John” Giacon. Former ANU Gamilaraay student Priscilla Strasek and Patji-Dawes Award winner Dr John Giacon recently co-taught a Gamilaraay course with Tracey Cameron and Brendan Welsh at the Macquarie Ancient Languages School in Sydney. Il Globo, 25 July.


Daniels, D., D. Barth and W. Barth (2019). ‘Subgrouping the Sogeram languages: A critical appraisal of historical glottometry’. Journal of Historical Linguistics 9(1), 92-127. doi:10.1075/jhl.17011.dan

Hill, P. (2018). ‘Sex and Gender in Serbian and Bulgarian. A Comparative Study’. Australian Slavonic and East-European Studies 32, 1-2: 79-106.

Riesberg, S, K. Malcher and N. P. Himmelmann (In press). ‘How universal is agent-first? Evidence from symmetrical voice languages’. Language 95.3

Wierzbicka, A. (2019). ‘What Christians Believe: The Story of God and people in Minimal English.’ New York: Oxford University Press


Congratulations to Elizabeth Marrkilyi Ellis on her honorary doctorate in linguistics, awarded at ANU on 19 July.

Congratulations to Lauren Sadow on the award of a doctorate in linguistics for her thesis by creative project entitled An NSM-based cultural dictionary of Australian English: from theory to practice'. This thesis is now available on the ANU Open Research repository: https://openresearch-repository.anu.edu.au/handle/1885/164070.

Congratulations to Kate Naitoro on the award of a doctorate in linguistics for her thesis entitled Morphs in search of meaning: Southeast Solomonic transitive morphology in diachronic perspectivehttps://openresearch-repository.anu.edu.au/handle/1885/163714

Congratulations to Kayla Sarte for the award of a University Medal for her Masters thesis entitled The Phrasal Complexity of Filipino L2 English Argumentative Essays.   

Congratulations to Bonnie McLean for the award of a University Medal for her Honours thesis entitled Iconicity in phonological and semantic development.     

Lizze Ellis and Gareth Evans

Dr Elizabeth Marrkilyi Ellis being presented her honorary doctorate by Professor the Hon Gareth Evans


Wayan Arka (ANU) and Mary Dalrymple  (Oxford University) have won the AHRC grant (2019-2022) to work on Enggano (Austronesian, around 1000 speakers on the Island of Enggano, off the southern coast of Sumatra, Indonesia). The project has different strands: language documentation, typological and theoretical linguistic research, historical linguistic research, and literacy material development. The webpage of the project can be viewed at https://enggano.ling-phil.ox.ac.uk

Kristina Gallego has been awarded an ELDP Individual Graduate Scholarship for her project 'Consequences of contact: Documenting Ibatan within the multilingual landscape of Babuyan Claro’, which focuses on documenting patterns of language use of first- and second-language speakers of Ibatan, a small Austronesian language spoken in the Philippines.

Martin Blaszczyk

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News from UWA

PhD candidate update

David Moore presented his viva for his PhD thesis titled ‘German Lutheran Missionaries and the linguistic description of Central Australian languages 1890-1910’ on 23 July 2019. He has now officially completed his PhD. Congratulations, Dr Moore!

Amy Budrikis has been selected out of a pool of highly qualified candidates for the position of research adviser working with Dr Clint Bracknell at Kurongkurl Katitjin, the Centre for Indigenous Australian Education and Research at Edith Cowan University. All the best, Amy. We will miss you!

Amanda Hamilton-Hollaway, a PhD student at the University of Queensland, is continuing to spend much of her time working from the UWA campus. She is currently writing about the types of verb constructions available to members of the Mudburra community in and around the town of Elliott (NT).

New staff member

After a ten-month teaching contract as an EFL teacher at the University of French Polynesia (Tahiti), Dr Sophie Richard has returned to UWA Linguistics where she will be coordinating and lecturing units during Semester 2, 2019. 


Green, Jennifer, David Blackman and David Moore. (2019). Alyawarr to English Dictionary, 2nd Edition. Alice Springs: IAD Press. (This dictionary has been published with funding from AIATSIS and will be launched at Arlparra High School in the Sandover region later this year).

Luk, Ellison and Maïa Ponsonnet. (2019). Discourse and pragmatic functions of the Dalabon 'ergative' case-marker. Australian Journal of Linguistics 39(3): 287-328. 

Ponsonnet, Maïa. (2018). Do linguistic properties influence expressive potential? The case of two Australian diminutives (Gunwinyguan family). Anthropological Linguistics 60(2): 157-190. 


James McElvenny, Clara Stockigt and David Moore were awarded a $10,335 CoEDL Archiving Grant for a project titled ‘Pilot digital archive of historical resources in Australian languages’. As part of this project, David has been transcribing AH Kempe’s (1890) German-Aranda Dictionary into the Transkribus program.

Conference presentations

Moore, David. ‘False friends: linguistic difference and inequality in Northern Territory courts’.  Paper presented at the 14th International Association of Forensic Linguists held at RMIT in Melbourne, 2 July 2019. 

Moore, David. ‘Language at the Centre: The foundations of Australian Aboriginal Language research and Classical language education’. Macquarie School of Ancient Languages Winter School, Macquarie University, 8 July 2019.

Workshops and panel presentations

UWA Linguistics was well represented at the 24th International Conference of Historical Linguistics (ICHL) held at the Australian National University in July:

  • Luisa Miceli organised, with Mark Ellison, a workshop entitled ‘Reconciling Linguistic and Genetic Histories’. Papers explored the range of variation found within normal linguistic transmission and how this can contribute to our understanding of mismatches between human genetic and linguistic lineages in different parts of the world. Speakers included Claire Bowern (Yale), Umberto Ansaldo (Sydney), Lisa Lim (Sydney), Russell Gray (Max Planck) and Mary Walworth (Max Planck).
  • Luisa Miceli and Beth Evans organised a very successful outreach session titled ‘Languages across time’ during ICHL24 in Canberra. The event included contributions by Nick Evans, Mary Walworth, Henry Wu and Celeste Rodríguez Louro. A recording of the event will soon be made available online.

Upcoming conference presentations and themed panels

Celeste Rodríguez Louro is organising, with Catherine Travis and James Walker, the fourth meeting of Language Variation and Change, Australia to be held during the 2019 Conference of the Australian Linguistic Society, Macquarie University, Sydney, 11-13 December 2019. This year’s theme is ‘Celebrating diversity’ and the panel will include a keynote by Nicholas Evans (ANU) on his Wellsprings of Linguistic Diversity project as well as papers by the workshop organisers, their collaborators and further presentations decided on the basis of abstract acceptance.

Celeste Rodríguez Louro and Glenys Collard have had their paper titled ‘The push and pull of standard language: English in Aboriginal Australia’ accepted for presentation at New Ways of Analyzing Variation, Asia-Pacific 6 to be held at the National University of Singapore in February 2020.


Daniel Midgley has been invited to deliver a webinar for the Linguistic Society of America. Titled ‘Linguistics in the News: How to Own It!’, the webinar will take place on Thursday, August 22 from 7:00 - 8:30 PM U.S. Eastern Time. A description appears below.

Are you frustrated by the lack of informed coverage about linguistics by the popular news media? Are you curious about how to garner greater interest by the news media in reporting on your research? Then this webinar is for you! Learn from a panel of experts across the career span about how to begin (or enhance) your media relations work. The webinar will cover topics such as:

  • Determining the most newsworthy aspects of your research
  • Translating your research for a journalistic audience
  • Best practices for conducting interviews with the news media
  • Working with the public affairs office at your home institution
  • Participating in the LSA’s media relations program

Featured Panelists:

  • Anne Curzan (University of Michigan), Co-Host, That's What They Say (Michigan Radio)
  • Michelle McSweeney, Host of Subtext
  • Daniel Midgley (University of Western Australia), Presenter, Talk the Talk
  • Geoff Nunberg (University of California, Berkeley), Commentator, Fresh Air (National Public Radio)


John McWhorter (Columbia University), Chair, LSA Public Relations Committee

Impact and engagement

In July 2019, The University of Western Australia hosted Danjoo Koorliny Walking Together Towards 2029 and Beyond: Voice, Treaty, Truth Summit, held at the UWA Business School. The summit was designed and led by Nyungar leaders Dr Noel Nannup, Dr Richard Walley, Prof. Colleen Hayward and Carol Innes in the spirit of ‘Voice, Treaty, Truth’, as part of the 2019 Social Impact Festival. UWA was well represented. Maïa Ponsonnet was a panellist in ‘Language and Connection’ while UWA Associate Glenys Collard contributed broadly across panel sessions focusing on language, identity, the criminal justice system and cross-cultural collaborations in research.


Daniel Midgley will be presenting a talk at TEDx Perth on 7 September 2019 at the Perth Concert Hall. The all-day event will feature speakers, researchers, and thought leaders from WA. As a linguistics lecturer at UWA, a presenter of the Talk the Talk podcast, and the voice of the Speakeasy on ABC Radio Perth, Daniel is accustomed to big audiences. However, this might be the largest he’s faced all in the same room. With characteristic humour, his message is intended to help the audience come to grips with the fact that -- no matter what -- language is always changing. https://www.ted.com/tedx/events/34903 


Celeste Rodríguez Louro and Glenys Collard continue to collect Aboriginal English data in the metropolitan Perth area for Celeste’s DECRA project.

In July, Maïa Ponsonnet joined a team from CDU Oral Language Technology Group (Dir. Steven Bird) for a trip to north-west Arnhem Land communities, including Gunbalanya (Oenpelli) and Kabulwarnamyo. One of her focus on this visit was to improve her mastery of Kunwinjku, as Maïa’s Dalabon proficiency is not helpful to communicate in these locations – although speaking Dalabon seems to make one instantly popular in this part of the country. 

Kabulwarnamyo (north-west Arnhem, July 2019). Maïa Ponsonnet discusses Gunwinyguan grammar with PhD students William Lane and Eric Le Ferrand, from CDU's Oral Language Technology Group. (Photo: Steven Bird) 

Kabulwarnamyo (north-west Arnhem, July 2019). Dalabon speaker Kodjan Mary Nadjamerrek discovers the CoEDL’s Dalabon online corpus on Maïa Ponsonnet’s phone. (Photo: Steven Bird)

Celeste Rodríguez Louro

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News from Western Sydney University

Rachel Hendery, together with a large international team led out of the University of Liverpool, UK, was awarded a GBP £900,000 AHRC (Arts and Humanities Research Council) grant to create a database of the library holdings and borrower records for every subscription library in the British Atlantic world in the 18th Century, and link them to full texts from the period. This will enable the team to perform and theorise new kinds of corpus linguistic analyses, weighted by evidence of reader access or reader borrowing. 

Led by Rachel Hendery, WSU together with UTS and various Sydney First Peoples community members is holding an exhibition "Nandiri'ba'nya: Language and Country" at the UTS Library exhibition space from 5-30 August. There will be a public launch at 4:30pm on 14 August that all are welcome to attend. The exhibition is sponsored by COEDL and includes exhibits from a number of COEDL CIs and affiliates. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/nandiribanya-language-and-country-tickets-65144680493

Mark Harvey (Newcastle) and Rob Mailhammer organised a workshop titled “Linguistic reconstruction and prehistory in Australia: towards an interdisciplinary perspective” at the 24th International Conference of Historical Linguistics, ANU, 1-5 July. This workshop featured eminent specialists from disciplines such as genetics, archaeology and climatology aiming to develop interdisciplinary approaches to how and why Australian languages spread.

Aung Si has joined Western Sydney as a Visiting Fellow working on his CoEDL funded project “A cross-linguistic investigation of the factors affecting ethnobiological knowledge transmission in Arnhem Land”. Aung Si works also as a community linguist on Croker Island, supporting the maintenance of Iwaidja and documentation of Iwaidja and Marrku. He is collaborating with Rob Mailhammer and Patrick Caudal on several community-based projects and publications.

Patrick Caudal (CNRS/University of Paris) returned to France after a year as Visiting Fellow in the School of Humanities and Communication Arts and The MARCS Institute for Brain, Behaviour and Development working with Rob Mailhammer on TAM in Iwaidja. During his visit Patrick was an invaluable enrichment to Western Sydney; he gave talks at the MARCS Institute, at Australian Languages Workshop (with Rob Mailhammer and James Bednall), and a poster at the CoEDL-Fest (with Rob Mailhammer); Patrick spent a total of four weeks in the field with Rob (Minjilang, Croker Island), and his specialist knowledge allowed a significant breakthrough in figuring out modality in Iwaidja and Anindilyakwa – Publications are in preparation. Patrick is being missed already!


Mailhammer, Robert & Patrick Caudal. 2019. Linear Lengthening Intonation in Croker Island English: identifying substrate origins. JournaLIPP 6, 40-56

Tieu, Lyn, Philippe Schlenker & Emmanuel Chemla. 2019. “Linguistic inferences without words.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) 116 (20) 9796-9801. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1821018116

Robert Mailhammer

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From University of Queensland

Some of the UQ activity is reported under CoEDL.

Upcoming conference

9th International Conference on Intercultural Pragmatics and Communication, 12-14 June 2020, University of Queensland (the call for papers will be coming out very soon):



ARDC Data and Services Discovery Activity Program (2019): Transformative Data Grant, “Overcoming pinch-points in ingesting, cataloguing and assessing (meta)data for the development of a national language data commons”, $50,000.  (Michael Haugh)


Carling, Gerd (ed), Acherdan Abregov, Elnur Aliyev, Leila Avidzba, Chundra Cathcart, Merab Chukhua, Sandra Cronhamn, Robert Farren, Johan Frid, Anne Goergens, Josien Greidanus, Teimuraz Gvadzeladze, Harald Hammarström, Arthur Holmer, Niklas Johansson, Madzhid Khalilov, Edin Kuckovic, Filip Larsson, Karin Larsson, Tamar Lomadze, Mikael Novén, Erich Round, Kajsa Söderqvist, Revaz Tchantouria, Maka Tetradze, Larisa Tupcokova, Karina Vamling, Briana Van Epps, Rob Verhoeven, Ola Wikander & Astrid Zimmerman. 2019. The Mouton Atlas of Languages and Cultures. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton.

Dixon, Shannon, Hughes, Wendy, Dixon, Janey, Dixon, Raymond, Bill, Maureen, Bill, Sarah, Bill, Raylene, Kingston, Susan, Devlin, Johnny, Hamilton-Hollaway, Amanda, Osgarby, David, Pensalfini, Rob, & Meakins, Felicity. (2019). Birrka Marnini: Making Things Mudburra. Batchelor, Australia: Batchelor Press.

Flint, Natalie, Michael Haugh and Andrew John Merrison (2019). Modulating troubles affiliating in initial interactions: The role of remedial accounts. Pragmatics 29(3): 384-409.

Gardner, Rod. (2019). Classroom Interaction research: The state of the art. Research on Language and Social Interaction 52(3), 212-226.

Haugh, Michael (2019) The metapragmatics of consideration in (Australian and New Zealand) English. In Eva Ogiermann and Pilar Garcés-Conejos Blitvich (eds.), From Speech Acts to Lay Understandings of Politeness. Multilingual and Multicultural Perspectives (pp.201-225), Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Haugh, Michael and Valeria Sinkeviciute (2019) Offence and conflict talk. In Jim O’Driscoll and Lesley Jeffries (eds.), Handbook of Language in Conflict (pp.196-214). Routledge, London.

Haugh, Michael and Simon Musgrave (2019). Lapses and ‘awkward’ laughter: Towards a combinatorial approach to identifying pragmatic phenomena. In Amelia Church and Jess Harris (eds.), “Methodological insights from ethnomethodology and conversation analysis”, special issue of Journal of Pragmatics 143: 279-291.

Haugh, Michael and Wei-Lin Melody Chang (2019). “The apology seemed (in)sincere”: Variability in perceptions of (im)politeness. In Kate Beeching and James Murphy (eds.), “Doing (mock) im/politeness: Norms and variations in the use of politeness formulae”, special issue of Journal of Pragmatics 142: 207-222.

Jones, Caroline, Schultze-Berndt, Eva, Denniss, Jessica, & Meakins, Felicity. (2019). Ngarinyman to English Dictionary. Canberra: Aboriginal Studies Press.

Márquez-Reiter, Rosina and Michael Haugh (2019). Public denunciation, blame and the moral turn in public life. Discourse, Context & Media 28: 35-43.

Meakins, Felicity, Hua, Xia, Algy, Cassandra, & Bromham, Lindell. (2019). The birth of a new language does not favour simplification. Language, 95(2), 294-332. 

Mushin, Ilana, Rod Gardner & Claire Gourlay (in press). Preparing for task: Linguistic formats for procedural instructions in early years schooling. Linguistics and Education.

Pensalfini, Rob, & Meakins, Felicity. (2019). Gender lender: Noun borrowings between Jingulu and Mudburra in northern Australia. Journal of Language Contact, 12(2), 444-482. 

Rojas-Lizana, Sol (2019) The discourse of perceived discrimination.  CRC Press. https://www.crcpress.com/The-Discourse-of-Perceived-Discrimination-Perspectives-from-Contemporary/Rojas-Lizana/p/book/9781138367388

Round, Erich R. 2019. Rara and theory testing in typology: The natural evolution of non-canonical agreement. Morphological perspectives: Papers in honour of Greville G. Corbett, ed. by Matthew Baerman, Oliver Bond, and Andrew Hippisley, 414–446. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Wadrill, Violet, Wavehill, Biddy, Dodd, Topsy Ngarnjal, & Meakins, Felicity. (2019). Karu: Growing Up Gurindji. Melbourne: Spinifex Press.

Ilana Mushin

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News from the University of Newcastle

New staff member 

The linguistics program at the University of Newcastle has been joined by a new staff member, Associate Professor Kiwako Ito. Dr Ito is a psycholinguist who holds an MA (1997) and PhD (2002) from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Following her PhD she held a post-doctoral fellowship at Ohio State University, then held a position of senior researcher at OSU Linguistics from 2007-2018, working on intonation processing and acquisition with both NSF and NIH grants, directing and supervising multiple eye-tracking projects both in the departmental psycholinguistics lab and the Language Research Lab at the Center of Science and Industry, Columbus, Ohio.

Ito’s work applies psycholinguistic methodologies (e.g. eye-tracking) to study how people respond to speech signals in a wide range of groups of language users. Her research focuses on the effect of prosody on the comprehension of spoken message. She has investigated how children process prosodic emphasis while they comprehend spoken sentences, and has demonstrated prosodic functions in adolescents with Williams syndrome and children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). These studies suggest that dynamic speech can facilitate communication with people with developmental disorders, although people with cognitive impairment may process prosodic speech signals differently than their typically-developing peers. Her current research focuses on testing young children with ASD tests to determine whether prosodic prominence facilitates visual object search and event recall. Her project team is also trying to determine prosodic differences between therapists’ speech and parental speech to better understand what makes the input from therapies effective for language development.

PhD completions

Jonathan Schlossberg has been awarded his PhD for the thesis Atolls, islands, and endless suburbia: Spatial reference in Marshallese.

Glenn Windschuttel has been awarded his PhD for the thesis Object verbs: Link from Timor-Alor-Pantar to Trans-New-Guinea. An exploration of their typological and historical implications.

Bill Palmer

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News from Monash University

Here’s what we’ve been up to recently…


Bolander, Brook (2018). Scaling value: Transnationalism and the Aga Khan’s English as a ‘second language’ policy. Language Policy, 17(2), 179–197.

Bolander, Brook & Shaila Sultana (2019). Ordinary English amongst Muslim communities in South and Central Asia. International Journal of Multilingualism, Special issue on ‘The ordinariness of translinguistics’, ed. by Sender Dovchin and Jerry Won Lee.

Locher, Miriam A. & Brook Bolander (2019). Considerations of ethics in pragmatics. Journal of Pragmatics, Special issue on ‘Quo vadis, pragmatics’, ed. by Marina Terkourafi and Michael Hall.

Kemp, Charles, Alice Gaby & Terry Regier. 2019. Season naming and the local environment. In Proceedings of the 41st Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society.

Newman, John & Tamara Sorenson Duncan (2019). The subject of ROAR in the mind and in the corpus: What divergent results can teach us. Linguistica Atlantica, 37(1), 1-27.

Newman, John (2018). The linguistics of imaginary narrative spaces in Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca. East European Journal of Psycholinguistics, 5(2), 42-61

Rice, Sally & John Newman (2018). A corpus investigation of English cognition verbs and their effect on the incipient epistemization of physical activity verbs. Russian Journal of Linguistics, 22(3), 560-580.

Geeraert, Kristina, R. Harald Baayen, & John Newman (2018). “Spilling the bag” on idiomatic variation. In Stella Markantonatou, Carlos Ramisch, Agata Savary & Veronika Vincze (Eds.), Multiword expressions at length and in depth: Extended papers from the MWE 2017 workshop, 1–33. Berlin: Language Science Press.

Willoughby, Louisa, & Sell, Cathy (2019). Studying a sign language: What are hearing adults doing outside of classes? Sign Language Studies, 19(3), 453-478

Iwasaki, Shimako, Meredith Bartlett, Howard Manns, & Louisa Willoughby (2019). The Challenges of multimodality and multisensoriality: Methodological issues in analyzing tactile signed interaction. Journal of Pragmatics, 143, 215-227

Burridge, Kate (2019). The Obelisk and the Asterisk: views on language and change from the late modern period. In Sandra Jansen, Lucia Siebers & Magnus Huber (Eds.), Processes of Change. Studies in Late Modern and Present-Day English [Studies in Language Variation 21], John Benjamins, pp. 25–48.

Conference presentations

Alice Gaby & Lesley Woods (2019, August 6-11). "Ethics and collaboration between cognitive linguists and speakers of minority languages". International Cognitive Linguistics Conference. Nishinomiya, Japan.

Bill Palmer, Jonathon Lum, Jonathan Schlossberg & Alice Gaby (2019, August 6-11). “Demographic diversity and variation in spatial behaviour within language communities”. International Cognitive Linguistics Conference. Nishinomiya, Japan.

Gede Primahadi Wijaya Rajeg, Poppy Siahaan & Alice Gaby (2019, August 6-11). "Linguistic and co-speech gestural patterns of spatiotemporal metaphors in Indonesian". International Cognitive Linguistics Conference. Nishinomiya, Japan.

Melanie Burns

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News from UNE

PhD student ASM Rafi, who is completing his project under the supervision of Finex Ndhlovu, has been very busy of late. After returning from a long fieldwork stint in Bangladesh, he has had his work recently featured on the blog of UNE’s Faculty of Humanities, Arts, Social Sciences and Education. Rafi also published an opinion piece in The Daily Star newspaper of Bangladesh entitled ‘Nurturing the dynamism of multilingual students’. In addition, he has been invited to contribute a chapter on Madrassa education in an edited book to be published by Routledge. 

A/Prof Finex Ndhlovu will give a Keynote address at the 6th International Conference on Language and Literacy Education, hosted by the Witwatersrand University School of Education, South Africa, from 23–25 August 2019. The title of his paper is: 'Auditing the Multilingualism Discourse in Language Education Policy: Questioning Monolingual Ways of Seeing'.

He also presented at the Annual Conference of the South African Linguistics and Applied Linguistics Society at the University of Pretoria, 30 June–4 July 2019. The title of his presentation was 'Unsettling the Enduring Legacy and Contradictions of Colonial Imaginaries of African Languages'.

Finex has also had the following HDR student completions:

·       Malek Abu Rabi'e (PhD). Thesis title: ‘Jordanian-Australians’ Perceptions and Practices of Compliments’

·       Callum Clayton-Dixon (MPhil). Thesis title: ‘Reclaiming our Story: Resistance, Survival and the New England Linguicide’.

Adj A/Prof Helen Fraser presented a Keynote address at the 14th Biennial Conference of the International Association of Forensic Linguists at RMIT University, Melbourne (1–5 July 2019), entitled ‘Forensic Transcription and Translation: Why and how Australian linguists are calling for reform of legal procedures’.

Dr Cindy Schneider presented a paper at the same conference entitled ‘English as ‘language of record' in the Vanuatu legal system’. She spoke on the same topic at the newly constituted discussion series Language Talks! (see below).

A/Prof Liz Ellis is back from Long Service Leave, and looks forward to applicants for the ARC-related PhD projects mentioned above.

Dr Arvind Iyengar will be a Visiting Scholar at the University of Toronto’s Department of Linguistics for his project ‘Indigenous writing systems in Canada and their development: Perspectives for Australia’. The research mentors for the project are Finex Ndhlovu and Nick Reid. For this project, Arvind received funding through a competitive Early Career Researcher award from UNE’S Faculty of HASSE.  

In May 2019, UNE Languages and Linguistics commenced a new discussion series entitled Language Talks! This (quasi-)monthly meetup is designed to bring together language teachers, language learners and linguists, and encourage the exchange of ideas on all topics related to languages and linguistics. Unlike a typical seminar series, this discussion series is intended to be less formal and uni-directional, and more conversational and interactive. The discussions scheduled so far have been:

  • May 2019: The cook and the chef: The relationship between Language and Linguistics | led by Arvind Iyengar (UNE)
  • June 2019: English as ‘language of record' in the Vanuatu legal system | led by Cindy Schneider (UNE)
  • August 2019: Kare ā-roto: the marriage of emotion and motivation in learning Te reo Māori as a second language | led by Arianna Berardi-Wiltshire, María Celina Bortolotto and Hone Morris (Massey University)

Two PhD scholarships

The Faculty of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, and Education (HASSE) at the University of New England, is offering two exciting PhD projects in early years’ languages learning. We are looking for motivated individuals with a passion for languages and education to join our research group. The two candidates will have the opportunity to be mentored by a project team comprised of experienced researchers whose expertise combines languages policy, curriculum, teaching and learning, and teacher preparation experience.

The candidates’ research will complement the Australian Research Council Discovery Project “Starting Young: An analysis of policy, practice, and potential for increasing early years languages learning in Australia” that Chief Investigators Anne-Marie Morgan, John Hajek, Joseph Lo Bianco and Elizabeth Ellis commenced in early 2019.

Project 1

This PhD project will research language program types used in Australia referenced against world practice.


This embedded PhD project will follow language teacher education students through the lived experience of becoming a primary school languages teacher.

Project 2

This PhD project involves, as part of the ARC project, embedded participatory action or design-based ethnographic/phenomenological research in relation to the introduction of an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander language program into a school and community, as a first study of its kind in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander language programs using the Australian Curriculum. Ideally the latter student will be of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander background or have links to an Aboriginal community in Australia.


For further enquiries about the above projects, please contact:

  • Professor Anne-Marie Morgan (amorga23@une.edu.au) Phone: +61 2 6773 3869; Mobile: 0402 978 069

And read more at:


Arvind Iyengar

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News from Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education (BIITE)

Future conferences and symposiums

Batchelor Institute is proud to support this year’s Puliima Indigenous Languages & Technology Conference, held in Darwin from 19th-23rd of August. Our Linguistics students are preparing their presentations titled "Student Voices: Addressing the Challenges of Working with and Teaching Indigenous Australian Languages". Five students will talk about their experiences, journeys, challenges and how to overcome them. Five other students will be volunteering at the conference to help guarantee a smooth run of events.

Recent conferences and workshops

Let's Talk Aboriginal Languages - A Symposium Celebrating the International Year of Indigenous Languages, Darwin, 31 May 2019

In celebration of the 2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages, Batchelor Institute, Charles Darwin University (CDU) and the Aboriginal Interpreter Service held a Symposium dedicated to Indigenous languages. Three presentations were given by six Batchelor staff - Dr Janine Oldfield, Maree Klesch, Paola Fischer, Dr Nicoletta Romeo and Dr Michele Willsher (see pic below – from left). The conference was recorded and will be uploaded soon. [Watch this space]

BIITE Presenters at IYIL Symposium Let's talk Aboriginal Languages

Lowitja International Indigenous Health and Wellbeing Conference, Thinking Speaking Being, Darwin, 18-19 June 2019

The annual Lowitja conference focused on the prominence Australian governments need to give to Indigenous ways of being, doing and knowing in order to resolve pressing Indigenous health issues brought about by colonisation. Much of this entailed the importance of protecting and rejuvenating cultural and language practices. Dr Janine Oldfield gave a ‘lightening’ presentation on positive well-being and resilience effects on Indigenous language education and maintenance and emphasised the need to create independent Indigenous education systems to ensure Australia’s languages are valued in Indigenous education systems.

Courses taught

In the International Year of Indigenous Languages, the linguistics degrees offered by CDU and taught by Batchelor staff have proven to be very popular with an increase in the numbers of students enrolling. Course overviews for each of the courses are available here: Diploma of Indigenous Language Work; Associate Degree of Indigenous Languages and Linguistics; and Bachelor of Indigenous Languages and Linguistics.


Oldfield, J., & Jackson, T. (2019). Childhood abuse or trauma: A racial perspective. Children Australia, 44(1), 42-48. doi:doi:10.1017/cha.2018.48

This publication outlines the relationship between monolingual dominant education and racial trauma – that is, educational contexts where there is low or no first language development and no English as a Second Language programs.

Oldfield, J., & Lo Bianco, J. (2019). A long unfinished struggle: literacy and Indigenous cultural and language rights, in J. Rennie & H. Harper (Eds.), Literacy education and Indigenous Australians: Theory, Research and Practice. Singapore: Springer. (IN PRESS)

This chapter outlines the issues that gave rise to Indigenous language education in the NT and the elements that led to its demise. However, with rising global migration and international recognition of multilingualism as a ‘norm’ of schools, the chapter concludes that this recognition needs to be addressed in Australian classrooms.

Dr Robyn Ober at her Graduation PhD completions:

Dr Robyn Ober has received her PhD at Batchelor’s Graduation on 6th of June and also held a beautiful and strong Student’s address. Her thesis titled: Aboriginal English as a Social and Cultural Identity Marker in an Indigenous Tertiary Educational Context. We are very proud of Dr Robyn.

(Photo: Dr Robyn Ober at her Graduation)

Paola Fischer







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News from Macquarie University

Fellowship of Speech Pathology Australia awarded to Dr Elisabeth Harrison

Dr Elisabeth Harrison, Senior Lecturer in the Master of Speech and Language Pathology program in the Department of Linguistics, has been awarded Fellowship of Speech Pathology Australia. Fellowship of Speech Pathology Australia (SPA) is one of the highest public professional honours SPA awards to a member demonstrating outstanding, significant and sustained contribution to the speech pathology profession.

Dr Harrison has made a substantial, varied, and sustained contribution to speech pathology in Australia since entering the profession in 1986. Her most outstanding achievements are in the areas of Research Scholarship, Clinical Practice, and Teaching and Learning. She is one of the creators of the Lidcombe Program treatment for early childhood stuttering. She has been a leading figure in the development of its evidence base, and in facilitating its use in speech pathology clinical practice worldwide. Dr Harrison has also been a key contributor to SPA activities relating to accreditation of professional-entry degree programs, and in leading speech pathology education at Macquarie University.

Dr Harrison joined the Department of Linguistics in 2001, after a successful career as a practicing speech pathologist. Dr Harrison was the Program Director of the Master of Speech and Language Pathology between 2009 and 2017. Her measured, effective leadership ensured the stability and success of the program.

Endorsement of Macquarie ELT qualifications by NEAS

The Department of Linguistics is one of the pilot entities partaking in the new NEAS Endorsement process for providers of English Language Teaching (ELT) Qualifications, with the following qualifications being endorsed: For teachers - Graduate Certificate in TESOL, For Academic Managers and teachers - Master of Applied Linguistics and TESOL.

The process involved interviews with key stakeholders in the program, focus group interviews with students and academic staff, and a thorough quality audit of our policies, processes and curriculum documents. The outcome was an overall commendation of the program, with three particular areas of excellence:

Macquarie University’s Department of Linguistics is pleased to confirm that its postgraduate professional programs are all quality endorsed or accredited, which is testament to the department’s excellence in research-enriched learning and teaching.

Credit to Peter Roger, Janice Ford and Phil Chappell for seeking out this opportunity and ensuring the excellent outcome.

Mehdi Riazi wins a Best Article Award from the Journal of Second Language Writing

Mehdi Riazi has won an honorable mention from the Journal of Second Language Writing as lead author of one of the best articles of 2018. The paper, by Mehdi Riazi, Ling Shi and John Haggerty, is entitled Analysis of the empirical research in the journal of second language writing at its 25th year (1992–2016).

More details can be found here: https://www.journals.elsevier.com/journal-of-second-language-writing/news/announcing-the-winners-of-the-2018-best-article-award

Conference presentations and fieldwork

Dr Joe Blythe attended the 16th International Pragmatics Conference in Hong Kong where he participated in two presentations associated with the panel Turn Design and Rights to Know in Small Communities.

Dr Joe Blythe has recently conducted fieldwork associated with the CIARA project (Conversational Interaction in Remote and Aboriginal Australia, ciaraproject.com). Initially, this involved recording and transcription of Murrinhpatha conversation in Wadeye with Jeremiah and Raphael Tunmuck.

From left to right, Murrinhpatha speakers: Ralph Mardigan, Raphael Tunmuck and Jeremiah Tunmuck. Photo: Joe Blythe.

From there Joe teamed up with Professor Lesley Stirling in Broome in recording Kimberley English conversations. Finally, Joe and MRes student Caroline de Dear went to Warmun where they collected and transcribed Gija conversation which Caroline is working on for her thesis.

From left to right, Gija speakers: Nancy Nodea, Mabel Juli and Eileen Bray. Photo: Caroline de Dear.

New book on parliamentary discourse to be published by John Benjamins

Macquarie linguists Minna Korhonen and Haidee Kotze have had a book proposal accepted for publication by John Benjamins, as part of the Studies in Corpus Linguistics series. The volume, to be titled Exploring Language and Society with Big Data: Parliamentary discourse across time and space, has arisen out of a pre-conference workshop that they, along with fellow editor Jukka Tyrkkö (Linnaeus University, Sweden), organised at ICAME 40 in Switzerland. It brings together researchers interested in the rich resource provided by parliamentary records for investigating language and social change. Adam Smith and Pam Peters are also part of the Macquarie team that has been carrying out research based on corpora of Australian, British, and now New Zealand Hansard. The book will be published in 2020.

Dr Hanna Torsh wins 2019 Michael Clyne Prize

The 2019 Michael Clyne Prize has been awarded to Macquarie graduate Hanna Torsh for her thesis “Between pride and shame: Linguistic intermarriage in Australia from the perspective of the English-dominant partner”.  The Michael Clyne Prize has been awarded annually since 2008 by the Australian Linguistics Society in recognition of the best postgraduate research thesis in immigrant bilingualism and language contact. A book based on Hanna’s thesis will be published by Palgrave in their Pivot series later this year.

Adam Smith

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

LCRC members news


Christoph Holz is currently undertaking fieldwork on Tjang, an Oceanic language of New Ireland, PNG, until October 2019.

Visiting Fellows at the LCRC in the second half of 2019

Professor Maarten Mous, Leiden University, is one of the leading experts in African linguistics, and African studies in general, with a focus on Cushitic languages, Bantu languages, language and identity, and also derivation and valency-changing devices. In his capacity as a Partner Investigator of the ARC DP 'The integration of language and society' (CI Aikhenvald and Dixon), he will spend July-August at LCRC working within the framework of the project.

Dr Timothy Henry-Rodriguez, a major expert on Ventureño and other Chumashan languages, will be visiting LCRC in August, working on various grammatical topics.

Dr Dineke Schokkin is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific. She is an expert on Paluai, an Oceanic language of Baluan (Manus Province, PNG) and also Idi, a language from the Pahoturi River Family spoken in the Morehead District of Southern New Guinea. She is planning to be at the LCRC in July-August 2019, working on various issues in these languages.

Dr Felix K. Ameka lectures in African Languages and Cultures at the Leiden University Centre for Linguistics and is an Associate Researcher, Language and Cognition Group at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen. He is interested in language documentation and description, typology, cross-cultural semantics, pragmatics, the socio-cultural, and cognitive motivations of grammar, anthropological and contact linguistics. His empirical specialisation is West African languages, mainly Kwa languages and other languages of wider communication, namely, Hausa and Fulfulde, with a focus is on Gbe, i.e. Ewe, Gen Aja and Fon; Ghana-Togo-Mountain languages, especially Likpe; Guang and Akanic languages. He will be visiting the LCRC in August 2019.

Dr Nerida Jarkey is Senior Lecturer at The University of Sydney (Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, School of Languages and Cultures, Japanese Studies). She is a major expert in Japanese and also in Hmong and Hmongic languages, with special focus on language gender, politeness, noun categorization, serial verb constructions, and the interaction between language and culture. In her capacity as a Chief Investigator on the ARC DP Project 'The integration of language and society', alongside Distinguished Professor A. Y. Aikhenvald and Professor R. M. W. Dixon, she will be working on the project, and will present a paper at the International Workshop, “The Integration of Language in Society”.

Professor Anne Storch is among the half-a-dozen top experts in African Linguistics, and African Studies in general, spanning the study of languages and the contexts within which they are spoken, the anthropology and history of the African continent within an ethnographic and sociological perspective. She is recipient of the prestigious Leibnitz award. Her expertise and achievements encompass in-depth studies of numerous languages and societies in East and West Africa (with a special focus on Benue-Congo, Nilotic and Atlantic language areas), in addition to her recent engagement with the language of tourism and the African and German diaspora communities in Jamaica. In her capacity as a Partner Investigator of the ARC DP 'The integration of language and society' (CI Aikhenvald and Dixon), she will be at the LCRC in August 2019 working within the framework of the project.

Dr Knut Olawsky has been conducting linguistic research in the tropics for more than two decades (Ghana, 1993-1999; Peru, 2000-2005; Australia, 2005 ongoing) and has written grammars of the Dagbani and Urarina languages. Since  2005 he manages the Mirima Dawang Woorlab-gerring Language and Culture Centre in Kununurra (East Kimberley), where he works with the Miriwoong people to document and revitalise their language. He will be a Visiting Fellow at LCRC from 13 September to 13 December 2019, working on discourse organization of Miriwoong.

Dr Steve Watters (PhD 2018, Rice University), a lecturer at Baylor University, is an expert on Dzongha, a Tibeto-Burman language of Bhutan, and numerous other languages of the family. He will be a Visiting Fellow at the LCRC from 15 August to 20 December 2019, preparing his grammar of Dzongkha for publication.

Professor Iwona Kraska-Szlenk (PhD University of Warsaw), of the University of Warsaw, is a major expert in African languages (including Swahili) and various issue in general linguistics, with a focus on cognitive aspects, and language and cognition. During her stay between 11 and 18 November at the LCRC, she will be working on issues related to studying body part terms, with a focus on cognitive linguistics approach (embodiment as key to “universal” conceptualizations, metaphor, metonymic chains, cultural conceptualizations, etc.) and will offer a talk within the LCRC seminar series.

Professor Heronides Moura (PhD 1996, Unicamp, Brazil), Professor of linguistics at the Universidade Fedeal de Santa Catarinba, an expert on Portuguese and Romance linguistics will be visiting rhe LCRC from 1 December to 22 December 2019, working on various issues in the grammatical structure of Romance languages in typological perspective.

New books published and forthcoming

Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald. I saw the dog. How language works. London: Profile Books. Forthcoming 2020.

Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald and Elena Mihas (eds). Genders and classifiers. A cross-linguistic typology. Oxford: Oxford University Press. August 2019.

Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald and Anne Storch (eds). Mouth 4: 1. Taboo in language and discourse. Special issue, 2019.

Luca Ciucci. Ignace Chomé: Vocabulario de la lengua zamuca - Edición crítica y comentario lingüístico. Iberoamericana Verfuert Verlag. Forthcoming.

R. M. W. Dixon. Australia’s original languages: an introduction. Sydney: Allen and Unwin. 2019.

Carola Emkow. A grammar of Araona. Munich: Lincom Europa. Forthcoming.

Alexander Walker. A grammar of southern Pomo. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press (scheduled for 2020).

Katarzyna I. Woitylak. A grammar of Murui. Leiden: Brill. Forthcoming.

LCRC Events in 2019

LCRC International Workshop: 'The integration of language and society'

CASE/Cairns Institute — James Cook University

Cairns, 21-23 August

Convenors: Alexandra Aikhenvald, R. M. W. Dixon, and Nerida Jarkey

Wednesday 21 August, D3-003

13.30  Professor Andrew Krockenberger, Dean of Research, JCU: Opening of the Workshop and launch of the following new publications:

  • Australia's Original languages, by R. M. W. Dixon, Allen and Unwin 2019.
  • Genders and classifiers, edited by Alexandra Aikhenvald and Elena Mihas. Oxford University Press 2019.
  • Mouth 4: 1. Taboo in language and discourse. Special issue, edited by Anne Storch and Alexandra Aikhenvald.

13.45  Alexandra Aikhenvald, R. M. W. Dixon and Nerida Jarkey: Introduction to the Workshop            

14.00  Alexandra Aikhenvald: The ways of speaking and the means of knowing: the Tariana of north-west Amazonia

16.00  Maarten Mous: Iraqw society (Tanzania) reflected in their language

Thursday 22 August D3-003

9.30 R. M. W. Dixon: The semantics of the Dyirbal avoidance language: adjectives

11.30  Anne Storch Waiting: language and encounters, and alternative ways of thinking about linguistic landscapes

14.00  Nerida Jarkey: The grammatical expression of speaker perspective in Japanese: relational, epistemic, empathetic, and evaluative

16.00  Alex Walker: The Effects of Culture and Landscape in Pomoan languages

Friday 23 August D3-003

9.30 Luca Ciucci: Language and Culture in Zamucoan

11.30 Felix Ameka: Lexico-grammatical expression of societal values in the languages of the Volta Basin (West Africa)

14.00 Discussion, with participation of Dineke Schokkin, Katarzyna Wojtylak and Steve Watters

International Workshop: The challenges of linguistic diversity: its social, anthropological, and structural aspects

24-25 September, Bern

Convenors: Professor Péter Maitz (Institute of Germanic Languages and Literatures, University of Bern), Distinguished Professor Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald (LCRC, JCU)

Supported by the Universities Australia/DAAD project 'Language emergence in multilingual contexts', CASE (James Cook University), CSLS (University of Bern)

Tuesday 24 September

9.00 Welcome

9.15 Keynote address: Susan Gal (Chicago): Language ideology and social scale in the construction of linguistic diversity

10.15  Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald (Cairns): The legacy of youth: transgenerational perspectives on linguistic diversity

11.30 Luca Ciucci (Cairns): The origins of linguistic diversity: morphological and lexical change in Chamacoco

12.15  Katarzyna Wojtylak (Regensburg): Studying linguistic diversity in context of limited linguistic descriptions: the case of the “Witoto” language from the Colombian Amazon

14.30  David Britain (Bern) / Kazuko Matsumoto (Tokyo): Substrate influence versus SLA: the case of -t/d deletion in Palauan English

15.15  Pema Wangdi (Cairns): Preservation versus innovation in Brokpa: is innovation contact-induced or is it a natural drift?

16.30  Alex Walker (Cairns): Linguistic diversity and language shift among the Mes languages of Madang province (Papua New Guinea)

Wednesday 25 September

9.00 Keynote address: Peter Trudgill (Norwich): Linguistic diversity and the uniformitarian hypothesis: a reconciliation

10.00  Péter Maitz (Bern) / Siegwalt Lindenfelser (Bern): Creole diversity: insights from Unserdeutsch

11.15  1 Jürg Fleischer (Marburg): Areality and contact in a multilingual dialect continuum

12.00  Nathan White (Cairns): Navigating languages: 'multilateral mixing' in the Hmong diaspora

14.15  Guido Seiler (Zürich): Filling the gap in a typology of mixed languages

15.00  Discussion, closing remarks

Masterclass in Tok Pisin

organized through the Cairns Institute, and taught by Professor Craig Volker, Adjunct Professor at the CI and the LCRC (to take place in the second half of 2019, supported by the CI). The Masterclass, of c. 30 hours, will involve approximately 30 students (fee-paying), and will attract a wide participation of the community across JCU and Cairns at large.

The Tropical Languages and Cultures Documentation Laboratory is located within the Language and Culture Research Centre (LCRC)

The Tropical Languages and Cultures Documentation Laboratory offers recording facilities, and opportunities for creating orthographies, reading and other materials, and developing web-based resources, in endangered and poorly documented languages of the tropics. Services provided include research consultancy and online services. For further details please consult:

Carola Emkow, Carola.Emkow@jcu.edu.au, Coordinator, and Distinguished Professor Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald Alexandra.Aikhenvald@jcu.edu.au, Director of the LCRC, 61-7-42321117

The LCRC 2019 Bulletin is now available at http://research.jcu.edu.au/lcrc

Alexandra (Sasha) Aikhenvald

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News from CDU

Semester 1 this year saw the first delivery of the Bininj Kunwok language and culture course. This was delivered online to 25 students enrolled at CDU and ANU, plus some professionals working in West Arnhem Land. This is the first new accredited Indigenous language learning course at tertiary level in Australia for a few years.

CDU also hosted the Australian Indigenous Languages Institute July intensive course. Four enthusiastic Indigenous language workers attended the course “Linguistics for Indigenous Languages” and most expect to enrol in further studies in linguistics. There is ongoing discussion about the future of AILI, as it seeks to expand the training opportunities for Indigenous language workers and those wanting to learn Indigenous Australian languages. See https://aili.cdu.edu.au for details.

For the UN International Year of Indigenous Languages, CDU has hosted two events: Let’s Talk Aboriginal Languages Symposium in May, and for NAIDOC week an Indigenous Language and Research Forum. Both of these events highlighted some of the work of CDU researchers in the area of Indigenous languages.

Congratulations to the team behind ‘Ŋuthanmaram djamarrkuḻiny’ märrma’kurr romgurr: Growing up children in two worlds’ for winning the Tarrn doon nonin Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Research Project Ethics Award at this year’s Lowitja Institute conference in Darwin.

Darwin is hosting this year’s Puliima Indigenous Languages and Technology Conference in August, so we look forward to welcoming many linguists and language workers to the warm and sunny Top End. Visiting linguists are also welcome any time to present at the Top End Linguistic Circle, which meets irregularly throughout the year.

Steven Bird has started an Oral Language Technology group based at CDU, and is also organising Language Parties around the world.

Cathy Bow

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News from University of Sydney

New staff

Lila San Roque has recently joined our Department as a Lecturer in Linguistics.

New corpora of Australian English

The Sydney Corpus Lab has made several new corpora available to researchers, teachers, and students for corpus analysis using an online interface (with restricted access to full texts, to avoid copyright violations). These include three corpora of Australian English.

  • Australian Brown corpus: corpus of written Australian English (1931-2006), ca. 1 million words, compiled by Peter Collins and Xinyue Yao
  • Australian budget speeches: corpus of Australian budget speeches by Labor and Liberal politicians (1981-2019), ca 200,000 words, compiled by Annabelle Lukin
  • The Diabetes News corpus (DNC): corpus of Australian newspaper articles on diabetes (2013-2017), ca 250,000 words, compiled by Monika Bednarek and Georgia Carr
  • The Sydney Corpus of Television Dialogue: corpus of dialogue from US American fictional television series, ca 275,000 words, compiled by Monika Bednarek

Users can access the corpus search interface by clicking here: CQPweb. To create an account click here: create account. We strongly recommend users read the corpus documentation (where available) to better understand the contents of these corpora. The corpora are lemmatised, part-of-speech tagged, and semantically tagged, and enable frequency analysis, collocation analysis, keyness analysis, concordancing, etc. Thanks go to Chao Sun, Andressa Rodrigues Gomide, and Andrew Hardie for help with CQPweb, and to Peter Collins, Xinyue Yao, and Annabelle Lukin for sharing their corpora. Contact: info@sydneycorpuslab.com

Recent events

On 9 May, the Language and Education node of the Sydney Centre for Language Research hosted a successful workshop on “Publishing from a PhD”, organised by Dr Yaegan Doran. A/Prof. Monika Bednarek and Prof. Nick Enfield offered keen insights into the publishing process, while Prof. Brian Paltridge (ESW) and A/Prof. Joanna Arciuli (Health Sciences) focused on turning a thesis into a monograph and journal articles. The workshop was very well attended with around 70 HDR and ECR scholars brimming with questions.

A symposium on “Ancestry and Language” was held on 16-17 May 2019, an event of ‘The ebb and flow of heritage: Investigating urban multilingual diaspora’, a HKU-USydney Priority Partnership Collaboration Award (Umberto Ansaldo and Nick Enfield, PIs; Lisa Lim, Co-I). It brought into conversation scholars from Hong Kong and various Sydney institutions -- including the University of Sydney, Macquarie University, and University of New South Wales -- on the topic of heritage/migrant/community/Indigenous languages, drawing on the research and expertise on situations and experiences in both Greater China and Australia. It explored dimensions of, inter alia, migration, migrant languages, minority languages, Indigenous languages, language acquisition, education, and language policy, with a central question of how our cultural ancestries are managed through our linguistic practices, with particular interest in situations where ancestry is multiple, and where multilingual ecologies are involved. More details at: https://sydneylanguageresearch.org/events/ancestry-and-language/

Mark W. Post (Linguistics) and Simon Ho (Biology) co-organized a one-day workshop on “Language, Genes and Prehistory” on June 14, which was attended by about 30 linguists and biologists from Sydney, ANU, and the University of Berne.

Yankee Modi, Gwendolyn Hyslop and Mark W. Post co-organized a marathon week-long event, Linguistic Diversity in the Asian Century, during June 24-29, consisting of the 52nd International Conference on Sino-Tibetan Language and Linguistics, the 25th Himalayan Languages Symposium, a day of associated workshops, and a public panel on Indigenous Languages of the Himalayas (co-organized by Gerald Roche, LaTrobe University). In acknowledgement of 2019 as UNESCO’s International Year of Indigenous Languages, special emphases were placed on papers with an explicit focus on one or more of Asia’s many hundreds of Indigenous languages. A particular emphasis was also placed on participation by Indigenous researchers - many of whom were represented as conference presenters, as session chairs, as panel members, and as event co-organizers. The event was attended by nearly three hundred scholars and members of the public, and was covered by national and community and Indigenous media outlets.

The 52nd International Conference on Sino-Tibetan Languages and Linguistics, June 24-26 at University of Sydney. Photo by Mark W. Post.

"The Thousand Tongues in the Heart of Asia: Indigenous Languages of the Himalayas" Public Panel and Discussion, June 27, 6-8PM at University of Sydney. On the dais: Gerald Roche (LaTrobe University), Tsering Shakya (University of British Columbia), Tshering Lama O’Gorman (Australian Himalayan Foundation), Henriette Daudey (La Trobe University), Yankee Modi (University of Sydney), Charisma K. Lepcha (Sikkim University), and George van Driem (University of Bern). Photo by Mark W. Post.


Honorary associate Yankee Modi’s dissertation The Milang language: Grammar and texts (2017, University of Bern) was shortlisted for the Fourth Pāṇini Award for best grammatical description from the Association for Linguistic Typology. Here is the citation from the selection panel:

“Yankee Modi’s grammar is a comprehensive and innovative study about the Tibeto-Burman language of Milan, located in Arunachal Pradesh. It is the result of a decade-long language documentation project by a heritage speaker who decided to rediscover her own passive knowledge of the language, acquired from her grandmother. Hence, the grammar has first of all benefitted from the fact that the author is a community researcher who has been exposed to the culture and language of the Milang speaking community in a way very different from normal research circumstances. This status has given her access to special knowledge and data, which clearly outweigh other challenges that may exist, which she explicitly discusses. The advantages of this situation are especially clear from the detailed and fine anthropological description in Chapter 1 concerning Milang society, its structure and institutions, its agricultural practices, lunar seasons and language vitality, in addition to the rich text corpus of the appendix (200 pages).

Indirectly related to this is a second positive feature of the grammar, namely, that it covers an impressively wide array of linguistic topics - quite a few of them not yet regularly treated in grammar writing. There are thus informative sections on kinship, proper names, and expressive and other discourse-related word types such as interjections and hesitation particles, to name just a few. Another example is the chapter on clausal syntax is refreshingly organized from the information structure viewpoint. It draws a natural line between predicative and attributive clauses and requires the notions of topic and focus to be used. The same chapter is used to explain interclausal relations and the structure of complex clauses.

Perhaps the most exciting aspect of this grammar is the bold attempt to escape the structuralist mould of grammar writing and get closer to interaction and communication. This effort culminates in the last three chapters, which target the perspective taking, knowledge states, and information structure. The chapter on the grammar of knowledge is very nicely argued regarding the egophoric stance of all independent predicate types that do not take any special kind of evidential marking. The mere courage to deviate from the organizational canon of grammar description and analysis gives this grammar its special appeal.”

Selected conference presentations

Monika Bednarek and Lisa Lim gave plenaries at the 40th conference of the International Computer Archive of Medieval and Modern English (ICAME40) at the Université de Neuchâtel, Switzerland, 1-5 June 2019: https://icame40.ch/program/plenary-speakers/

Umberto Ansaldo and Lisa Lim presented a paper on “Typological restructuring without genetic admixture” at the 24th International Conference on Historical Linguistics (ICHL24) at ANU, Canberra, 1-5 July 2019: http://www.dynamicsoflanguage.edu.au/ichl24/program/

Monika Bednarek presented a range of invited talks (University of Lancaster; Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich) and conference presentations (39th Poetics and Linguistics Association Conference, University of Liverpool; 10th International Corpus Linguistics Conference, Cardiff University) on different topics in corpus linguistics and media linguistics.

Media engagement

Lisa Lim writes a fortnightly “Language Matters” column for Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post’s Sunday Post Magazine; some recent column topics include:

- the origins of ‘extradition’ (in the light of the Hong Kong protests against the extradition bill)

- etymology of ‘ocean’ and ‘sea’ (for World Oceans Day)

- the longstanding debate on the forms ‘Ramadan’ and ‘Ramzan’

Mark W. Post was interviewed on Himalayan languages on The Wire on 2ser:

Visiting scholars

The Sydney Corpus Lab is currently hosting Dr Matteo Fuoli from The University of Birmingham.

Monika Bednarek

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

Upcoming events

CoEDL Summer School 2019

Date: 2 – 6 December 2019

Venue: Old Arts Building, The University of Melbourne

Registration: Please register using this form

Registrations for Australia’s premier linguistics Summer School are now open! Check out the program and exciting line-up of course facilitators. There is again the opportunity for prospective students to apply for Travel Assistance to attend. Applications are now open and will close Monday 12 August. (Indigenous participants of Australia, South East Asia and the Pacific are strongly encouraged to apply.)

CoEDL news items


University of Melbourne

University of Queensland

Western Sydney University

Martin Blaszczyk

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2019 Michael Clyne Prize

The 2019 Michael Clyne Prize has been announced. The prize this year has been awarded to Hanna Torsh (Macquarie University) for her thesis Between Pride and Shame: Linguistic intermarriage in Australia from the perspective of the English-dominant partner.

This year’s field of applicants for the Michael Clyne Prize was particularly strong, reflecting the high quality of research being carried out in this area at the postgraduate level, and the panel was faced with a very difficult decision in choosing the successful applicant.

Thesis summary and main findings:

Linguistic diversity in Australia is widely considered a social good, yet it exists in a context dominated by English monolingualism. This research sets out to examine this tension in a heretofore unexamined domain: linguistic intermarriage between English-speaking background (ESB) native-born Australians and language-other-than-English (LOTE) background migrants.

The research uses two main data sets, interviews and questionnaires, to examine participants’ discursive representations of language learning, LOTE interactions, language challenges of migration for their partner and language issues in the family. Using a qualitative, theme-based analysis, this research seeks to identify the contradictory ways that participants engage with the LOTE(s) spoken by their partner.

The findings show that ESB participants create and invest in a discourse of multilingual pride while simultaneously problematising LOTE use in practice. This is most obvious in the context of LOTEs used locally as opposed to overseas. Moreover, ESB participants felt proud of their partner’s bilingualism and, at the same time, expressed shame about their own monolingualism, a phenomenon I call “language cringe”. With regard to bilingual practices, in the domain of the family, gendered parenting roles mean that it is predominantly women who assume the responsibility for both their children’s LOTE skills and communication with LOTE-speaking in-laws even when they do not have the linguistic proficiency to do so effectively.

The thesis argues that the seemingly contradictory approach to LOTEs and multilingualism rests on conflicting social approaches to bilingualism more generally. On the one hand, linguistic diversity is practically subjugated to monolingual English-centric norms. On the other hand, discourses which valorise LOTEs and multilingualism are widely cherished as symbolic of tolerance. This research has implications for multilingualism and migration research, as well as language in education research. Moreover, it has the potential to provide a framework for those in linguistic intermarriages to understand and negotiate language/s in their relationship.

Bill Palmer

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Linguist position: Muurrbay Aboriginal Language and Culture Co-operative

Muurrbay Aboriginal Language and Culture Co-operative is a leading regional language centre, based in Nambucca Heads NSW that provides strategic support to revitalise the languages of seven Aboriginal communities, of central to north of NSW. We work closely with Elders, local language, culture and educational organisations to conduct research, publish accessible grammar-dictionaries and develop engaging education courses and resources.

We are seeking Expressions of Interest in a full- or part-time Regional Linguist/Coordinator or Linguist. Both positions require the ability to work well with Aboriginal people and a degree in Linguistics.  Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are encouraged to apply.

For more information please email ceo@muurrbay.org.au or call Mari Rhydwen on 0498003555

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PhD position, Australian National University

Seeking a PhD student to work on children’s acquisition of Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages

Project: Language Contact and Acquisition

How young children acquire languages is at the core of understandings of human language and cognition, yet relatively little is known about how young children learn Australian languages with their accompanying gesture and sign systems, and the role of young children in language contact and change. The research project ‘Language Contact and Acquisition’ is funded by the Australian National University Futures Scheme. Acquisition studies of traditional Australian languages and newer, contact languages are part of this project. 

We are seeking a student to undertake a PhD funded by the project, based at the Australian National University under the primary supervision of Dr. Carmel O’Shannessy.

The student would undertake empirical study on child language acquisition in a chosen context. As part of the PhD dissertation, the student would build an audio and video corpus of child, peer and family interactions and address relevant theoretical questions. The specific topics of the dissertation would be negotiated but would align with one of the themes of the broader project.

The Australian National University offers generous fieldwork support and it is envisaged that the student’s data collection would be funded under the Futures Scheme. The student would be part of the vibrant postgraduate student cohort in Linguistics at the School of Literature, Languages & Linguistics at the Australian National University, and the ARC Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language.

Prospective students should be eligible to apply for a PhD in the Research School of Humanities and the Arts, supervised in the School of Literature, Languages and Linguistics, ANU either as a domestic or an international applicant (for more information see http://www.anu.edu.au/students/scholarships-fees/scholarships/anu-language-acquisition-phd-scholarship). Domestic applicants are asked to apply in the domestic  scholarship round at ANU (due: Oct 31, 2019) as well as for this specific scholarship (due Nov 9, 2019).

Demonstration of the potential to work closely in a collaborative and culturally sensitive manner with families in remote Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander communities is essential. Students with a background in language acquisition, Australian languages, morphosyntax or gesture and sign would be especially suitable for this position, but anyone with an interest in this PhD is welcome to contact me for more information. Potential applicants are encouraged to contact me to discuss the project before applying.

Contact: Dr Carmel O’Shannessy, carmel.o’shannessy@anu.edu.au,  +61 2 6125 4886



PhD opportunity at University of Queensland

Expressions of Interest are being sought for a PhD student to join our Conversation in Aboriginal and Remote Australia (CIARA) project team (www.ciaraproject.com), focusing on an aspect of grammar and interaction in the Garrwa language, supervised by Ilana Mushin. The applicant would be able to work with a large corpus of existing recordings, as well as conduct field research in the Northern Territory town of Borroloola. As this candidature is part of an Australia Research Council Discovery Project, the University of Queensland will provide a scholarship. For more information on how to apply, please contact Ilana Mushin at i.mushin@uq.edu.au.

PhD scholarships at the Language and Culture Research Centre, James Cook University

Come and work in an exotic location, investigating a language which has never previously been described!

Applications are invited, from suitably qualified students, to enter the PhD program of the Language and Culture Research Centre at James Cook University Australia. Supervision will be provided by Professors Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald, R. M. W. Dixon, Dr Luca Ciucci, Dr Alexander Walker, Professor Rosita Henry, and Dr Michael Wood,

Our PhD candidates generally undertake extensive fieldwork on a previously undescribed (or scarcely described) language and write a comprehensive grammar of it for their dissertation. They are expected to work on a language which is still actively spoken, and to establish a field situation within a community in which it is the first language. Their first fieldtrip lasts for six to nine months. After completing a first draft of the grammar, back in Cairns, they undertake a second fieldtrip of two to three months. Fieldwork methodology centres on the collection, transcription and analysis of texts, together with participant observation, and — at a later stage — judicious grammatical elicitation in the language under description (not through the lingua franca of the country). Our main priority areas are the Papuan and Austronesian languages of New Guinea and surrounding areas and the languages of tropical Amazonia. However, we do not exclude applicants who have an established interest in languages from other areas (which need not necessarily lie within the tropics).

PhDs in Australian universities generally involve limited advanced coursework, just a substantial dissertation. Candidates must thus have had thorough coursework training before embarking on this PhD program. This should have included courses on morphology, syntax, semantics, and phonology/phonetics, taught from a non-formalist perspective. We place emphasis on work that has a sound empirical basis but also shows a firm theoretical orientation (in terms of general typological theory, or what has recently come to be called basic linguistic theory).

Distinguished Professor Alexandra (Sasha) Aikhenvald is Australian Laureate Fellow and Research Leader for People and Societies of the Tropics. Together with Professor R. M. W. (Bob) Dixon, she heads the Language and Culture Research Centre, which includes Research Fellows and a growing number of doctoral students. In addition, senior scholars from across the world opt to spend their sabbatical at the Language and Culture Research Centre.

The LCRC has strong links with anthropologists, archaeologists and educationalists, with scholars working on environmental issues, all within James Cook University. Further information is available at http://www.jcu.edu.au/lcrc/

The scholarship is currently estimated to be at the standard James Cook University rate, Australian $26.682 pa. Students coming from overseas are liable for a tuition fee; but this may be waived in the case of a student of high merit. A small relocation allowance may be provided on taking up the scholarship. In addition, an adequate allowance will be made to cover fieldwork expenses and conference attendance.

The scholarship is for three and a half years. The deadline for application by international students (starting in 2020) is 31 August 2019; the deadline for students with Australian and New Zealand passports is 31 October 2019.

Successful applicants would take up their PhD scholarships between January and June 2019. (The academic year in Australia runs from February to November.)

Application form and procedures for international students can be found at: https://www.jcu.edu.au/graduate-research-school/candidates/prospective-students. Applications will be open in early July.

Prospective applicants are invited, in the first place, to get in touch with Professor Aikhenvald at Alexandra.Aikhenvald@jcu.edu.au, providing details of their background, qualifications and interests (including a curriculum vitae). Applicants are advised to send samples of their written work in linguistics (at least some of this should be in English).

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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.

Membership of ALS includes free subscription to the Australian Journal of Linguistics, which publishes four issues per year. Members are entitled to present papers at the annual conference. ALS membership is handled through the ALS website https://als.asn.au/.

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