ALS Newsletter June 2020

From the President
News from University of Sydney
News from Western Sydney University
News from La Trobe University
News from UWA
News from the ANU
News from James Cook University (Language and Culture Research Centre)
News from CDU
News from Macquarie University
News from the University of Melbourne
News from UNE
News from Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education
About ALS

From the President

Welcome to what will now be the June Newsletter! I don’t want to add to the platitudes about our adaptation to COVID19 contingencies. While some of our work has been delayed or curtailed in 2020, it is plain from the reports in this newsletter that Linguistics research and education is continuing to flourish in Australia.

One of the impacts has been that our usual timelines for scholarships, fellowships, research grants and conference organisation have been disrupted. In March, we were still too uncertain about the longevity of the lockdown to make decisions. In June, while things are still uncertain, we have been able to make some decisions as follows:

Clyne Prize – Currently Open

Kaldor Scholarship – We have suspended this scheme until 2021 due to travel restrictions

Research Grants (including Jalwang and Laves Scholarships) – We will be opening our Research Grant round after the September meeting of the Executive for research to be conducted in 2020-21.

ALS Annual Conference – After much discussion we have decided to run our annual conference as an online event in 2020. We are forming a subcommittee of representatives from NSW, Vic, QLD, WA, SA and ACT to finesse the format of a virtual ALS ahead of a call for papers. We expect the call for papers to come out before the end of July so please plan for that. We will hold our AGM via zoom during the conference period. So stay tuned for more information.

And speaking of online events… In July ALS is partnering with our Brazilian counterpart, Abralin, to present three panels and a lecture by Professor Nick Evans, as part of their Abralin ao Vivo (Linguistics Live!) series. This has been a profoundly successful initiative that has enabled the global community of linguists to come together, in a way that is inclusive of all locations (timezones notwithstanding – I’ll be attending the closing ceremony on August 1st at 3am AEST).

Our program is as follows:

Language Variation and Change, Australia: Ao Vivo! (July 9th, 9am AEST)

Variationist sociolinguistic research in Australia has grown rapidly and fruitfully in the last decade. Because of Australia’s unique geographic, historical, cultural and social configuration, Australia-based sociolinguists have uncovered a range of unique perspectives that we will share in this panel. These include how language change has taken place in major multi-ethnic urban centres like Sydney, what sociolinguistic patterns are salient in Australian Indigenous communities, and how cross-cultural collaboration and Indigenous leadership has allowed us to expand our variationist toolkit. The panel will also reflect on what the next decade will bring for variationist sociolinguistics down under.


  • Celeste Rodriguez Louro (The University of Western Australia; Australian Research Council DECRA Fellow)
  • Catherine Travis (Australian National University and Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language)
  • James Walker (La Trobe University)
  • Gerry Docherty (Griffith University)
  • John Mansfield (The University of Melbourne; Australian Research Council DECRA Fellow).

Follow this link for details for your own time zone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ojacfW-ZyWw


Australia’s First Nations Languages – Lessons for Linguistics (July 10th, 9am AEST)

Australia is home to the world’s oldest living cultures. The languages of Australia’s First Nations were formed and shaped continuously over 60 millennia, and massively disrupted by the advent of colonisation 232 years ago. The sounds, grammars, meanings and modes of expression of First Nations languages are understood today by linguists to provide unique insights into human language capability and diversity. This panel will touch on some of the big questions in Theoretical Linguistics – in Historical Linguistics, Morphosyntax, Phonetics, Semantics and Pragmatics - that can be better explained through attention to Australia’s First Nations languages.


  • Clint Bracknell (Edith Cowan University)
  • Rob Mailhammer (Western Sydney University)
  • Marija Tabain (LaTrobe University)
  • Rachel Nordlinger (University of Melbourne)
  • Alice Gaby (Monash University)
  • Ilana Mushin (University of Queensland)
  • Moderated by Maïa Ponsonnet (University of Western Australia)

Follow this link for details of date and time for your own time zone.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FFvFHWmWQBc


Australia’s Linguistic Landscape (July 17th, 9am AEST)

Australia’s history stretches back at least 60,000 years with ancient settlement by its First Nations Peoples across the vast island country, uninterrupted by further external migration until its colonisation by the British in 1788 and a further explosion of migration from war-torn Europe from the middle 20th century and many other parts of the world since then. The languages spoken in Australia today are reflection of this unique history: First Nations languages capturing the continuity of the world’s oldest living cultures as well as the impacts of colonisation, varieties of English that reflect the mix of British colonial rule over an ever- increasing diversity of linguistic and cultural heritages; and the languages of more recent migrants that echo the places from whence they came. This panel will cover the diversity of language use in contemporary Australia both as a reflection of its past and a harbinger of its future.


  • Jaky Troy (University of Sydney)
  • Felicity Meakins (University of Queensland, Australian Research Council Future Fellow)
  • Kate Burridge (Monash University)
  • John Hajek (University of Melbourne)
  • Ingrid Piller (Macquarie University)
  • Moderator: Ilana Mushin (University of Queensland)

Check the following link for details for your own time zone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ooXodfwZyQ


Lecture: Whose here and whose there? Double perspective and the lexicogrammar of social cognition.

Professor Nick Evans (ANU), Hosted by Celeste Rodriguez Louro (The University of Western Australia, ARC DECRA Fellow in Linguistics). (July 21st, 9am AEST)

Who’s here and who’s there? Whose here and whose there? Reckoning with the existence of multiple perspectives is something we do constantly, whether in adjusting our mental calendars and maps for Abralin lectures or engaging in ‘audience design’ with our interlocutors while speaking. In this talk I trace a growing body of research on how grammars and structured lexical sets support the taking of dual perspectives across a number of domains: time, kinship, space, knowledge and attention. I will draw particularly on phenomena found in their most striking form in the languages of Australia, New Guinea and South America. Our recent but accelerating understanding of how double perspective works in language reflects a growing recognition of the role of social cognition in the evolution of linguistic structures, and the increasing deployment of new language documentation methods, particularly the use of video to capture context and attentional cues.

Ilana Mushin


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News from University of Sydney

Fieldwork activities

Yankee Modi and Mark W. Post convened TRICL3 (Training and Resources for Indigenous Community Linguists) in January 2020 in Pasighat, Arunachal Pradesh, India. 20 Indigenous linguists from 15 distinct ethnolinguistic groups from Nepal, Bhutan and the Indian states of Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur were provided with resources and training around tools, technology and techniques for language and culture documentation and language resource development over a period of one week in the Adi-speaking village of Napit. TRICL3 was sponsored by the Firebird Foundation for Anthropological Research, and partnered this year with the Bhutan Oral Literature Project. (See attached image)
Recent publications

Kara Fleming and Umberto Ansaldo. 2019. Revivals, Nationalism, and Linguistic Discrimination: Threatening Languages. Routledge. https://www.crcpress.com/Revivals-Nationalism-and-Linguistic-Discrimination-Threatening-Languages/Fleming-Ansaldo/p/book/9781138193314

The book – which presents case studies from Sri Lanka, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Hong Kong and Catalonia – takes a critical look at revival exercises of special historical and geopolitical significance, and argues that a critical and cautious approach to revival movements is necessary.

Bednarek, Monika. 2019. ‘A brief history of modern Australia English corpora’, Sydney Corpus Lab, Nov 2019. https://sydneycorpuslab.com/a-brief-history-of-modern-australian-english-corpora-by-monika-bednarek/

Bednarek, Monika. 2020. ‘The Sydney Corpus of Television Dialogue: Designing and building a corpus of dialogue from US TV series’. Corpora 15(1): 107-119.

Mahboob, Ahmar. 2020. ‘The unmaking of paradise: Literacy as Trojan Horse – Part III’. WE Mountains. https://wemountains.com/04/28/1585/?fbclid=IwAR1UoWgnN49QhULOy0rnAXJpcqsBUC19l1PTI_9_5b913xaSLjT6wjqpQxw

Conference presentations 

Umberto Ansaldo gave the keynote lecture, entitled ‘Threatening Languages’, at the Foundation for Endangered Languages conference (FELXXIII) hosted at the University of Sydney, 13-16 Dec 2019, whose theme was 'Causes of language endangerment: Looking for answers and finding solutions to the global decline in linguistic diversity'.

Monika Bednarek presented papers at two conferences in December 2019:

  • Redfern Now – A corpus linguistic analysis”. Australian Linguistic Society annual conference (ALS 2019), Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia, 11-13 December 2019
  • “Using computer-based linguistic analysis to study health news” (with Georgia Carr). Journalism Education and Research Association of Australia annual conference (JERAA 2019), University of Sydney, Australia, 4-6 December 2019.

Lisa Lim co-organised (with Brook Bolander, Monash University) an invited special session on ‘The language effects of im/mobilities’ for the New Ways of Analysing Variation conference in Singapore in February 2020 (which was ultimately cancelled because of COVID19), where she would also have presented research on ‘Mobile agents: Contact effects, identification and authentification in local and transnational Peranakan communities in a postdigital ecology’.

Conferences postponed

Corpus Linguistics Down Under, originally scheduled for 2-3 July 2020 has been postponed due to COVID-19, with new date TBC. Please register here to receive updates, including the new dates:


The 4th Documentary Linguistics – Asian Perspectives (DLAP4) conference, originally scheduled for 3-5 June 2020, with the theme ‘Minorities of Asia: Centring Linguistic, Musical and Performative Practices of Marginalised Peoples’, has been postponed indefinitely.

Research collaborations

Our Sydney Corpus Lab has a new partnership with Lancaster University – for details, see:


Engagement and impact

Ahmar Mahboob spent his study leave (in Semester 2, 2019) focussing on subaltern linguistics projects. Subaltern linguistics encourages the use of socio-semiotics in creating activities, economies, material, policies, and resources that are deemed necessary by the people who engage in it. Working with over 8000 students and academics across 7 countries and 3 continents this period, one of the projects Ahmar set up is the Trash Project (http://www.flcgroup.net/trash-project/), an on-going project that uses the notion of the transgressive linguistic landscape to address community health and environmental concerns. 

Ahmar also recently launched a free online course ‘Education in the time of COVID19’ (http://www.flcgroup.net/courses/education101-intro/), one of whose goals is to train participants to create material, resources, and activities that can be used by themselves and others affected by COVID19. The course, which started on 15 April, has 285 participants from almost 50 countries.

Lisa Lim continues to write a fortnightly column on ‘Language Matters’ in Hong Kong’s Sunday Post Magazine of the South China Morning Post, with recent topics addressing:

Lisa Lim


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News from Western Sydney University

Patrick Caudal (CNRS/University of Paris) has been awarded $100,000 for his project “CELINAC: Co-Etude d'une Langue INdigène Australienne en contexte Culturel“ with partners Rob Mailhammer (Western Sydney), ARDS Aboriginal Corporation and Aung Si (Cologne) to collect Iwaidja oral history narratives with a strong community engagement focus. 

Refereed Journal articles

Bornkessel-Schlesewsky, Ina, Roehm, Dietmar, Mailhammer, Robert & Matthias Schlesewsky. 2019. Language processing as a precursor to language change: evidence from Icelandic. Frontiers in Psychology 10, article 3010

Hardini I, Di Biase B, Kawaguchi S, Reid C. (2020) The effect of developmentally moderated focus on form instruction in Indonesian kindergarten children learning English as a foreign language, Instructed Second Language Acquisition, vol 4, no 1, pp 49-61

Hardini, I., Kawaguchi, S., Reid, C., & Di Biase, B. (2019). Early lexical and grammatical development of English in Indonesian kindergarten children. Asiatic, 13(1), 76-102.

Mailhammer, Robert, Stacey Sherwood & Hywel Stoakes. 2020. The inconspicuous substratum: Indigenous Australian languages and the phonetics of stop contrasts in English on Croker Island. English World-Wide 41(2), 162-192

Qi R, Di Biase B. (2019). The influence of the environmental language (Le) in Mandarin-English bilingual development: the case of transfer in wh- questions, International Journal of Bilingualism. 1-24. DOI: 10.1177/1367006919876716

Conference paper

Yu, Jenny, Robert Mailhammer & Anne Cutler. 2020. Vocabulary structure affects word recognition: evidence from German listeners. Speech Prosody 2020.

The Bilingualism Research Lab has demonstrated incredible resilience, collaboration, support and care to each other, in particular, to our 10 international HDR students. Students and researchers have created innovative ways to tackle each challenge and deliver scholarly work over the last academic year. Activities include:


Thi Ho Huong, submitted her MRes thesis in December 2019 and achieved 90/100 result in March 2020. She has been invited to apply for the PhD program. (Supervisor: Satomi Kawaguchi)

New HDR Students

  • Ranran Liu, PhD, international student (Supervisors: Ruying Qi and Guo Wu)
  • Xuemei Shao, PhD, international student (Supervisors: Ruying Qi and Satomi Kawaguchi)
  • Jenny Lu, PhD, Scholarship holder (Supervisors: Satomi Kawaguchi, Ruying Qi and Bruno Di Biase)
  • Yuhao Wen, MRe, international student (Supervisor: Ruying Qi)
  • Xiaodong Zheng, MRe, local student (Supervisor: Ruying Qi)
  • International Event and Partnership

International Conference: Digital Trends in Language and Literature: Asia and 21st Century

13-15 January 2020 at International Islamic University Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur. 

The three-day conference was an exciting collaboration between three universities across three countries. It was organised by IIUM’s Department of English, Language and Literature in collaboration with Bilingualism Research Lab at Western Sydney University, Australia and Jinan University (Guangzhou), China.

Ten of colleagues and HDR students from the School of Humanities and Communication Arts presented at the conference.

Keynote speakers included Professor Hart Cohen and A/Professor Satomi Kawaguchi. Invited speakers include A/Professor Bruno Di Biase and A/Professor Ruying Qi as well as MARCS former PhD student A/Professor Khazriyati Salehuddin. 

More than 200 participants and a total of 102 papers were presented, covering topics from language learning and teaching, multilingual literature to digital future in the linguistically and culturally diverse world. Bruno Di Baise and Ruying Qi were invited to provide featured speakers to a Public Workshop on “Raising Children Bilingual”, which attracted more than 80 families, educators and community leaders.

Seven WSU HDR students participated and presented their papers: Andi Susilo, Isriani Hardini, Ruyuang Wang, Thi Ho Huong, Yanqi Fu, Ying Liu as well as our former PhD prize winning student Lucija Medojevic.

It is worth mentioning that our WSU former PhD student was a key organiser of this conference, Dr Rabiah Salleh. Professors Satomi Kawaguchi, Bruno Di Biase and Caroline Jones were her supervisors. 

The Deans of two Universities: Professor Peter Hutchings at Western Sydney University and Professor SHAW Yi at Jinan University have sent their congratulations and Forwards to the conference.

Bilingualism Research Lab and the Childhood Bilingualism Center, the Chinese University of Hong Kong and the start-up WIT Enterprise

Bilingualism Research Lab in Western Sydney University in collaboration with Professors in the Chinese University of Hong Kong and WIT Enterprise developed a bilingual e-Book Covid-19 for children to deal with Covid-19. The e-Book has picture and audio materials in Mandarin, Cantonese and English and is free for download. It has reached and will reach out to thousands of children and families in Australia, Hong Kong, China, South East Asia, Canada, Europe, UK and USA. 

Rob Mailhammer


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News from La Trobe University

Professor Marija Tabain is now an editor of the Journal of the International Phonetic Association.

In February 2020, Associate Professor Stephen Morey was honoured as a pillar of the North East Indian Linguistics Society at its 11th annual conference at Kokrajhar in Assam, India. The conference, founded by Prof Jyotiprakash Tamuli of Gauhati University and Dr. Mark Post (now at Sydney University) has always stressed the importance of building capacity for local scholars in Northeast India and is always held in the region to allow as many local people to attend as follows. Eight edited and reviewed volumes have been published as a result of it. The 2020 conference was notable for bringing together a record number of native speaker linguists, people undertaking ground breaking research on their own languages.

With so much teaching rapidly moving online, Dr Lauren Gawne teamed up with her Lingthusiasm co-host Gretchen McCulloch to start Mutual Intelligibility, a project to connect linguistics instructors with online resources. You can get weekly curated emails on a range of teaching topics, or submit your own list of useful resources to share with others: https://mutualintelligibility.substack.com/

Professor David Bradley gave an online seminar in the Abralin ao Vivo (Linguistics Live!) series entitled Resilience Linguistics: What is to be done with endangered languages? The seminar can be viewed here  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uh9PN0K5wuA&feature=youtu.be and the abstract is below:

Most of the languages of the minority groups in the world are receding under pressure from national and other dominant languages, many are endangered to various degrees, and some are no longer spoken at all. Linguists have long been aware of this problem, and CIPL has made it a key focus of its activities since 1991.

Members of most minority groups around the world have other more pressing issues to confront: lack of control over traditional land, restricted access to education, health and other essential services, social and economic disadvantage, overt or covert discrimination, and so on. We cannot expect people to make their language a priority over essential human needs.

What linguists can do is threefold: first is for each of us to document a language through a grammar, dictionary and relevant texts; second is to work with the community who speak that language to help them to achieve the best outcome for the future of their language, according to their own needs and desires. A third and sometimes neglected area is to work at the national and other levels to achieve greater recognition of the mother tongue as a human right and to support policies to protect and enhance language rights.

Resilience Thinking is a paradigm widely used in ecology and elsewhere, which is also relevant for us. Resilience Linguistics requires a clear understanding of as many as possible of the factors leading to language endangerment; awareness and acceptance of the current situation as a starting point; and a goal which may be different from any earlier state of the language, and which may change through time. All available resources can be used to reclaim whatever language use a community wants and can realistically achieve. This requires both our usual skills as well as others such as motivating and training in-group colleagues, sometimes orthography and teaching and other materials development, and making our academic outputs in a form accessible to and useful for the community in their efforts.

Reclaiming the language of a community starts with the community, and the primary factor in its success is the strength of positive community attitudes, especially concerning the use of their language. The process will be different depending on the stage the endangerment has reached, and the goals need to be realistic so that slow or limited progress does not lead to increasingly negative feelings.

I will report on some specific examples of language reclamation from my own work, mainly in Thailand and China. These illustrate some of the issues involved, and the likelihood that some currently endangered languages will no longer be spoken by the end of this century, whatever we do now. However, if we do our documentation well, these resources may later be used by the descendants of the community for language revival, which is becoming much more widespread among indigenous minority groups in developed-world nations.

An extended discussion of all these issues and a variety of case studies are in David Bradley and Maya Bradley, Language Endangerment, published by Cambridge in 2019.

Student news:

Three PhD theses have recently been submitted:

  • Md Mostafa Rashel, A Grammar of Tripura
  • Esther Manu-Barfo, A Descriptive Grammar of the Dompo language of Ghana
  • Mijke Mulder, A Descriptive Grammar of Muklom Tangsa

Esther has published a refereed journal article: “On the status of Dompo, a critically endangered language in Ghana,” Anthropological Linguistics 61(94-102).

Two PhD students, Deepjyoti Goswami and Vong Tsuh Shi, were on fieldwork in India and Myanmar, respectively, when those countries were locked down, but both are safe at home now.

James Walker


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News from UWA

We hope you have been keeping well during these challenging times. We acknowledge the difficulties and wish our community much health, strength and resilience for the months ahead.

Visiting scholar

Prof. Don Kulick (Uppsala) visited UWA Linguistics in late February 2020. Sponsored through the UWA’s Institute of Advanced Studies, Don was a guest lecturer in an advanced linguistics unit coordinated by Maïa Ponsonnet, offered a seminar in the Linguistics Seminar Series and delivered a UWA public lecture. The title of his seminar was ‘The End: How a language dies’ and his public talk was titled ‘When animals talk back’. We look forward to more interactions with Don in the future.

PhD conferral

Dr Luisa Miceli’s PhD, ‘Unbalanced comparative patterns in historical linguistics: Theoretical implications and explanatory mechanisms for their development’, was conferred on 28 April 2020. Congratulations, Luisa!

PhD students

PhD candidate Amy Budrikis has completed and received feedback on the first full draft of her thesis. She is currently in the final thesis editing stage while continuing to work full time at Edith Cowan University, on campus but in an isolated office. Amy intends to submit her PhD thesis by August 2020.

PhD candidate Connor Brown is nearing the end of his first year of his PhD. He is working on his thesis which investigates the semantics and pragmatics of temporal expressions in Australian Kriol. Lately, he has been looking at grammaticalized markers of aspect in the Kriol verb phrase. Connor was originally scheduled to collect data from his field site in Kununurra during April and May, but this has been postponed indefinitely due to COVID-19. To overcome this obstacle, Connor has begun analysing Kriol data from Barunga, originally collected by his supervisor Maïa Ponsonnet.

PhD candidate Troy Reynolds has been working on his thesis research proposal looking at prosody in Aboriginal English and working-class Australian English, developing his analytical approaches to understanding and measuring different prosodic features.


Congratulations to Dr Luisa Miceli who was awarded a CoEDL Transdisciplinary and Innovation Grant (TIG) in the last round. Details below.

Monitoring as a Driver of Differential Language Change (TIG1182020)  

Collaborators: Paola Escudero, Bethwyn Evans and T. Mark Ellison ($10,528.55_ 

When languages share speakers one observed outcome is that their vocabulary differentiates while their structure converges. A monitoring process in bilingual speakers has been proposed as the mechanism responsible for vocabularies becoming more distinct over time. Words shared across a bilingual’s languages are selected less often than language distinctive words because they are ambiguous in their language membership and may be avoided in favour of an unambiguous synonym. Could monitoring also explain convergence in structure? In this study we test the hypothesis that different change outcomes for form/structure result from differences in our ability to monitor for these two levels.

Congratulations to PhD student Amanda Hamilton-Holloway (University of Queensland, living in Perth) who, along with Felicity Meakins (UQ), Samantha Disbray (UQ), and Janey Dixon (Mudburra community, Marlinja, NT), has received a CoEDL TIG for the project ‘Making the dictionary work: community training workshops for the Mudburra dictionary’. This grant will fund the creation and delivery of hands-on workshops to familiarise Mudburra community members and school staff with the Mudburra to English Dictionary (2019). The project aims to ensure that this dictionary has practical as well as symbolic value, and that its potential as an educational and language maintenance tool is realised.

New positions

Amanda Hamilton-Hollaway is pleased to join Dr Celeste Rodríguez Louro as a Research Assistant on her DECRA project, ‘Aboriginal English in the global city: Minorities and language change’.


Rodríguez Louro, Celeste & Collard, Glenys (2020). Ten ways Aboriginal Australians made English their own. The Conversation. https://theconversation.com/10-ways-aboriginal-australians-made-english-their-own-128219

Transition to online teaching

University of Queensland’s PhD candidate Amanda Hamilton-Hollaway spends much of her time in Perth and has been tutoring for UWA’s Introduction to Linguistics course this semester. She is happy and grateful to report that the transition to online teaching has gone quite smoothly, and most of the students continue to attend and remain engaged via the digital format.

Invited panels and presentations

Celeste Rodríguez Louro was an invited panellist at the ‘Tipping Point: Communication, (Corpus) Linguistics and (Linguistic) Education’ event held during the International Computer Archive of Modern and Medieval English Conference (ICAME41). The event, hosted by Heidelberg University, Germany, took place online on 24 May 2020. Celeste discussed how linguistics know-how was put into practice in designing and offering ‘Understanding Language’, an original professional development day for teachers offered by UWA Linguistics which discussed the monolingual mindset, linguistic discrimination and ways to overcome these in the classroom. You can see the full panel presentation here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SVFa6Vdi4y4

Celeste Rodriguez Louro at the Tipping Point Panel

Celeste Rodríguez Louro at the Tipping Point panel, May 2020

Celeste Rodríguez Louro and Glenys Collard offered a seminar presentation at the Melbourne University seminar series organised by Dr John Mansfield. The presentation took place on Friday 19 June. The session was recorded and will be shared through our UWA Linguistics Facebook page once available.

Upcoming panels and presentations

Celeste Rodríguez Louro is organising two panel sessions for Abralin Ao Vivo: Linguists Online, a ground-breaking series of online lectures and panels organised and hosted by the Brazilian Linguistics Association. Details as follows:

Language Variation and Change, Australia: Ao Vivo! (Wednesday 8 July, 9AM, AEST)

Variationist sociolinguistic research in Australia has grown rapidly and fruitfully in the last decade. Because of Australia’s unique geographic, historical, cultural and social configuration, Australia-based sociolinguists have uncovered a range of unique perspectives that we will share in this panel. These include how language change has taken place in major multi-ethnic urban centres like Sydney, what sociolinguistic patterns are salient in Australian Indigenous communities, and how cross-cultural collaboration and Indigenous leadership has allowed us to expand our variationist toolkit. The panel will also reflect on what the next decade will bring for variationist sociolinguistics down under.

  • Presentations by Catherine Travis, James Walker, Gerry Docherty, John Mansfield, and Celeste Rodríguez Louro.

Join us: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ojacfW-ZyWw

Sustainable academia: The way forward (Tuesday 14 July, 9AM, AEST)

How can we make academia a more climate-aware, ecologically and socially ethical place? How can we ensure a more sustainable future?

It is now scientifically established that the current state of the earth, and its evolution, represent a threat to human lives, and ultimately to the human race. Climate change scholars link this climate emergency to excessive consumption of the wealthy lifestyle and call for radical change towards sustainability.

In this panel, we consider how to favour sustainability in academic activities. The cross-disciplinary panel will discuss the way forward including remote academic meetings, optimizing the benefits of face-to-face interactions, and nurturing local networks. We will discuss the future of conferences as related to online community building and digital research dissemination. We will also consider how the conventional conference model is conducive to deepening socio-economic, racial and gender inequalities.


  • Dr Lauren Gawne, Linguist, La Trobe University, Australia
  • Dr Toby Green, Historian, King’s College London, England
  • Dr Panos Pappas, Linguist, Simon Fraser University, Canada
  • Dr Carla Pascoe, Historian, The University of Melbourne and Australian Research Council
  • Celeste Rodríguez Louro, Linguist, The University of Western Australia and Australian Research Council

Join us: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUOReSthEDI

Celeste Rodríguez Louro will host Nick Evans’ Abralin Ao Vivo lecture scheduled for 21 July 9AM (AEST). More details here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fnRY4Bibgw0

Celeste Rodríguez Louro will be an invited plenary speaker at the ‘Discourse Pragmatic Variation and Change 5 (DiPVaC 5) conference to be held at The University of Melbourne. New date TBC (original meeting postponed because of COVID-19). The title of her presentation is ‘The soul of language: Discourse-pragmatic variation and change in urban Aboriginal English’.

Book in the making

Marie-Eve Ritz has been approached to produce a research monograph with Routledge for the Series ‘Routledge Studies in Linguistics’. The working title of the monograph is The Present in Linguistic Expressions of Temporality: Case Studies from Australian English and Indigenous Australian Languages.

This book offers a comprehensive examination of Present Time Expressions (PTEs), illustrating how a more informed understanding of their semantic and pragmatic representations can offer unique insights into the temporal systems of languages. The volume takes as its point of departure the notion that tenses, aspectual viewpoint markers, and temporal expressions have a semantic meaning, which is further pragmatically enriched and manipulated in use by speakers. Building on this foundation, the book introduces current theories on the linguistic expression of temporality toward better highlighting the need for further understanding of PTEs, encompassing tenses of the present and words such as ‘now.’ The volume draws on data from Australian English and Indigenous Australian languages to support its goal of arriving at a theory of the flexibility of uses of PTEs and their centrality in language and highlight the implications for future research on pragmatic and semantic change. This book will be of particular interest to graduate students and researchers in semantics, pragmatics, discourse analysis, and the philosophy of language, as well as those interested in research on Indigenous Australian Languages and Australian English.

New collaborations

Luisa Miceli is developing an innovative transdisciplinary project with university and partner organisations across the country: University of Queensland, the Queensland Institute of Technology, the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Council, and Victoria's Registered Aboriginal Parties. The project brings together isotopes, genomics and linguistics to assist with identifying descendant communities for unprovenanced Aboriginal ancestral remains.

Reading Group

UWA Linguistics now has a thriving (online) Reading Group! PhD candidate Connor Brown has been a driving force. So far, we have read articles in the areas of World Englishes and Language Contact.

Research Club

Organised by Celeste Rodríguez Louro, Research Club is an informal fortnightly gathering of UWA-based linguistics researchers coming together to share our research wins, issues and challenges. The Club has also helped us stay connected during iso life.

Remote Linguistics seminars

In line with our Sustainable Linguistics policy, UWA Linguistics has successfully hosted many interesting linguistics seminars this semester, with several others scheduled for the rest of the academic year. Our series was inaugurated on 24 April 2020 by John Mansfield (Melbourne) who presented his ARC DECRA-funded work on multilingualism in Darwin city and Darwin prison (see attached photos) and a presentation on evidentiality by A/Prof. and President of the Australian Linguistic Society Ilana Mushin (Queensland). The series also hosted an innovative session on translating scenes for a feature film “The Furnace” into Badimaya language. Badimaya is a language of the Midwest, belonging to the area around the town of Mt Magnet. The seminar was presented jointly by Jacqui Cook (Linguist, Bundiyarra-Irra Wangga), Dr James Bednall (Linguist, Groote Eylandt Language Centre), Godfrey Simpson (a language specialist at Bundiyarra-Irra Wangga), Rosie Sitorus (Linguist and Bundiyarra-Irra Wangga coordinator), Roderick McKay (Director of “The Furnace”). Highlights included the sharing of presenters’ different roles and points of views on facets of this project, from the translation and community consultation, to liaising with the production team and the actors, to language advocacy and intellectual rights.

Dr John Mansfield's seminar

Dr John Mansfield’s seminar Aboriginal languages in Darwin and in Darwin prison

Details of our online seminars are available online through our Facebook page (UWA Linguistics). Please join us. Open to all.

For those keen to engage in the journey towards sustainable academic practice, our ‘Sustainable Linguistics’ paper is available through this link. Please send us your thoughts and ideas. https://www.dropbox.com/s/t3fg0kgturhj292/Sustainable%20linguistics_Version%203.pdf?dl=0

Stay safe and see you online!

Celeste Rodríguez Luoro


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News from the ANU


Cacoullos, Rena Torres and Catherine Travis. 2020.   Bilingualism in the Community: Code-switching and Grammars in Contact. Paperback version, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Read a review in AJL by Sally Dixon: https://www-tandfonline-com.ezproxy.une.edu.au/doi/full/10.1080/07268602.2019.1704836)

Carroll, MJ. Discontinuous noun phrases in Ngkolmpu. Studies in Language. (accepted for publication)

Delicado Cantero, M 2020, 'Substantivized embedded interrogative and exclamative finite wh-clauses in Spanish', in M González-Rivera, S Sessarego (ed.), Interface-Driven Phenomena in Spanish: Essays in Honor of Javier Gutiérrez-Rexach, Routledge Taylor & Francis Group, United States, pp. 85-110.

Evans, Nicholas. 2020a. One thousand and one coconuts. Growing memories in Southern New Guinea. The Contemporary Pacific 32.1:72-96.

Evans, Nicholas and Manuel Pamkal. Online publications the RUIL/CoEDL fifty words project on Dalabon: https://50words.online/

Evans, Nicholas. Dalabon language on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JT0BQwUts6o

Gonzalez, Simon, James Grama and Catherine E. Travis. 2020. Comparing the performance of forced aligners used in sociophonetic research. Linguistics Vanguard. (Published online, https://doi.org/10.1515/lingvan-2019-0058)

Reed, Lauren W. and Rumsey, Alan 2020.  Sign Languages in Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. In Kendon, Adam, Sign language in Papua New Guinea: A Primary Sign Language from the Upper Lagaip Valley, Enga Province. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Pp. 141-184.

Rumsey Alan, Reed Lauren W and Merlan, Francesca 2020. Ku Waru Clause Chaining and the Acquisition of Complex Syntax. Frontiers in Communiation. 5:19. doi: 10.3389/fcomm.2020.00019 (Available on open access at https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fcomm.2020.00019/full)

Computational Linguistics Project

A new project on computational linguistics at ANU has been funded by the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD), through the recently established ANU-ASD Co-Lab. The project is led by Catherine Travis and involves three students, who will also benefit from mentoring and links to ASD expertise. The students are Paul Reid working on acoustic vs computational phonemic discrimination (Masters; supervisors Ksenia Gnevsheva & Hanna Suominen); Sali Muradoglu, researching the effect of incorporating complex morphological modelling to aid transcription (PhD candidate, supervisor Nick Evans); and Zara Maxwell-Smith looking at how to build speech recognition datasets from educational settings (PhD candidate, supervisors Danielle Barth & Hanna Suominen).

COVID-19-related news and resources


Professor Emerita Anna Wierzbicka has created a set of “Seven Essential Messages for the Time of the Coronavirus”. These messages are accessible to everyone and cross-translatable into any language because they are formulated in  “Minimal English” – a unique tool for effective global communication developed by her and Professor Cliff Goddard at Griffith University. These messages, which are now available online (https://nsm-approach.net/archives/category/illustrations), have already been translated into Italian, Spanish, Russian, Polish and Chinese, and have also been translated into several indigenous languages in Central Australia, beginning with Warlpiri (in a form adapted by Warlpiri translator Steve Swartz). Images of these messages in English, created by Dr Lauren Sadow, ANU, are available on social media (Facebook facebook.com/nsmminimalenglish and Twitter @NSMLab).

The seven messages in Warlpiri and Alyawarr are now on the Alice Baptist church website and within a couple more days, the messages should also be there in Anmatyerr and Western Arrarnta. https://www.alicebaptist.org/ “Spread the messages around to family and friends by whatever means you can. Aboriginal people need to know how to stay safe and well.” (Steve Swartz) 

Remote Fieldwork

Matt Carroll will be trialing his first "Remote Field Trip" in May as part of his ELDP project to Document Yei, a Yam language spoken in Papua, Indonesia. Due to restrictions around COVID-19, Matt, like many others, isn't able to travel to the field. Fortunately, one of the villages where Yei is spoken is a district centre and has 4G phone reception that Matt hopes will be sufficient to conduct transcription and translation over teleconferencing tools like Zoom or WhatsApp. If all goes well, it will be the first of many 'remote fieldwork' sessions to keep the project moving. It also will provide some essential background for LING3012/6009 Field Methods in Linguistics, which Matt is teaching in remote mode over the winter session. This will be the first time field methods have been taught in this way!

Seminars and conferences

On April 6th we held the annual NSM Seminar, this time online – organised by Cliff Goddard at Griffith University and Lauren Sadow in SLLL. During the workshop, Anna Wierzbicka presented two talks. Both are now available online (see links below), along with all of the talks from the NSM Seminar this year. 

60+ years of linguistics at ANU

The celebration of 60+ years of linguistics at ANU has been postponed, due to the disruption from the COVID-19. The plan is to have the event in 2021, most likely in the first half. Further information about a new date will be posted soon.

Wayan Arka


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

LCRC members news

Piar Karim (MA University of Northern Texas) is planning to start his course at LCRC in June 2020, working on a comprehensive grammar of Domaaki, from the Central Group of Indo-Aryan languages spoken in Gilgit-Baltistan in Pakistan.

Grants recently awarded

An ARC Linkage project entitled ‘Speaking Hmong in diaspora: language contact, resilience, and change’, Chief Investigators Distinguished Professor Alexandra Y Aikhenvald (JCU), Assoc Prof Nerida Jarkey (USyd), Professor R M W Dixon (JCU) was funded, with duration of 4 years. Funding amount: $493.960.

The project aims to investigate the how the Hmong language survives in the diaspora, with special focus on how the language transforms itself depending on the environment it finds itself in. We focus on the structure and maintenance of Hmong within the immigrant community in North Queensland across several generations of speakers, within the context of multilingual repertoires involving Australian English and Lao. The outcomes will reveal the processes and results of language change such as the emergence of a new blend of Green and White Hmong. The project will provide significant benefits for the maintenance of diasporic Hmong within a larger context of multilingual immigrant communities.

Chris Holz, a PhD scholar at the LCRC, has been awarded a competitve grant, by the Firebird Foundation for Anthropological research, to work on Tiang Oral Literature Documentation Project in New Ireland, Papua New Guinea.

Pema Wangdi, a PhD scholar at the LCRC, has been awarded a competitve grant, by the Firebird Foundation Anthropological research, to work on the documentation of Brokpa Oral Literature in Merak and Sakteng of Eastern Bhutan.

Dr Luca Ciucci and Distinguished Professor Alexandra Aikhenvald were awarded competitive Research Development Grant funding from the Cairns Institute to conduct an interdisciplinary Workshop 'Celebrating Indigenous voice: legends and narratives in the languages of the Tropics’. The Workshop was originally planned for August 2020; in view of current events this will be taking place later in the year.

Dr Firew Girma Worku was appointed Adjunct Research Fellow of the LCRC. Dr Hiroko Sato and Dr Brigitta Flick were reappointed as Adjunct Research Fellow of the LCRC for another term of three years.

PhD completions

Firew Girma Worku successfully completed his PhD thesis ‘A Grammar of Mursi, a Nilo-Saharan Language’. Congratulations to Firew!

Dr Junwei Bai was awarded the JCU Medal for Excellence for a Higher Degree by Research for his PhD thesis, A Grammar of Munya. Advisory Panel: Professor Alexandra Aikhenvald, Professor Robert Dixon and Dr Simon Overall. The Medal for excellence is awarded to a candidate whose higher degree by research (doctoral or masters) thesis was judged to be passed ‘cum laude’.

External lectures and community engagement

Distinguished Professor Alexandra Aikhenvald delivered an external lecture via Zoom on ‘Evidentiality and the grammar of knowledge’ to students in the Department of Asian and North African studies at the Università Ca’Foscari in Venice (within a course taught by Prof. Dr Elisabetta Ragagnin, currently in Berlin).

She also delivered a virtual lecture in the Abralin ao Vivo series (‘Linguistics Live’) hosted by the ABRALIn (Brazilian Linguistic Society). The lecture, A língua de bem-estar (‘The language of well-being’) can be viewed here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3LZsgREn5nc.

She is preparing a translation of an information brochure on COVID 19 into Tariana, assisting Rafael da Silva Brito (Serewali Enu Irine), for the Tariana-speaking community of the Upper Rio Negro region, Amazonas, Brazil.

Visiting Fellows at the LCRC in 2020

Yann Le Mouillec (PhD student at LACITO, Paris), with a background in Indo-European and other languages, is working on Angaataha, an Angan language of Papua New Guinea (Morobe province). He is currently visiting LCRC (where he has been since 28 February working on the outcomes of his field research.

Dr Katarzyna Wojtylak, University of Regensburg, Germany, is planning to visit the LCRC in 2020. During her stay, Dr Wojtylak will be working on a number of articles related to language contact in Northwest Amazonia. She will also prepare a research proposal on language description of Andoke, a language isolate from Colombia (within the framework of Basic Linguistic Theory).

New Books

Aikhenvald, Alexandra Y. and R. M. W. Dixon (eds). 2020. The Cambridge Handbook of Linguistic typology, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Paperback edition of the 2017 hardback. A 20% discount is available with this flyer

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

Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald and R. M. W. Dixon. 2020. Commands: a cross-linguistic typology. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Paperback edition.

R. M. W. Dixon. 2020. Paperback edition of Edible gender, mother-in-law style, and other grammatical wonders: studies in Dyirbal, Yidiñ, and Warrgamay. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Walker, Neil Alexander. 2020. A grammar of Southern Pomo. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.

Katarzyna I. Wojtylak. 2020. A grammar of Murui. Leiden: Brill.

Seminars and Workshops

Seminars and workshops will resume as soon as restrictions have been lifted.

Sad news

A sad loss occurred on 14 March 2020. Pauline Yuaneng Agnes Luma Laki, a journalist, Senior Publications and Public Relations Officer with the Public Employees Association of PNG, was one of the most knowledgeable elders of the Manambu nation of the East Sepik Province, Papua New Guinea. A talented natural linguist and anthropologist, Pauline Yuaneng made an immense contribution to the maintenance of the Manambu language and tradition, and its documentation. Her untimely passing is an immense loss to us all.

Pauline Yuaneng Agnes Luma Laki

Pauline Yuaneng Agnes Luma Laki

To celebrate Pauline’s memory and heritage, we have prepared a special site honouring Pauline, which includes some of her work, her life story, and many pictures of her, her family, and friends:  https://www.jcu.edu.au/language-and-culture-research-centre/resources/pauline-laki-memorial

Book Launch of The Manambu Language

13 September 2013, Book Launch of The Manambu language from East Sepik, Papua New Guinea, Avatip Village, ESP, PNG

PhD scholarships at the language and culture research centre

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 Professor Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald, Professor R. M. W. Dixon, Professor Rosita Henry, Dr Luca Ciucci, 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 involve some coursework and 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. 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 will be at the standard James Cook University rate, Australian $27.082 pa. Students coming from overseas are liable for a tuition fee; but this will be waived if scholarship is awarded. 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 (starting in 2021) is 30 September 2021.

Successful applicants would take up their PhD scholarships between January and June 2021. (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/postgraduate-research-scholarships (JCUPRS scholarships).

Prospective applicants are invited, in the first place, to get in touch with Professor Alexandra 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).

Alexandra (Sasha) Aikhenvald


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News from CDU

CDU Yolngu Studies lecturer Gawura Waṉambi has been awarded a Priority Languages Support grant from First Languages Australia to work on his traditional language Marraŋu, in a joint project between CDU and ARDS Aboriginal Corporation.

Congratulations to Cathy Bow who submitted her PhD thesis by publication, entitled ‘Entanglements of digital technologies and Indigenous language work in the Northern Territory’ jointly through CDU and ANU.

During the June-July break, CDU is offering short courses in Indigenous languages. Take the opportunity to learn Yolngu Matha  http://learnline.cdu.edu.au/yolngustudies/study.html and Bininj Kunwok https://bininj-kunwok.cdu.edu.au/ starting 8 June.

In 2020, the Yolŋu Studies Centre at CDU is providing additional opportunities to learn Yolŋu Languages and Cultures. The conventional Introduction Course can now be extended to the newly developed Intermediate Course under the supervision and guidance of Yolŋu knowledge authorities from East Arnhem Land. Building on an introductory understanding of Yolŋu gurruṯu (kinship practice) and matha (language), intermediate learners are introduced to Yolŋu ways of collective decision-making in both traditional and contemporary environments. These courses form a pathway into Higher Education courses. For more information, contact yolngustudies@cdu.edu.au.

Cathy Bow


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News from Macquarie University


A new book, edited by Mehdi Riazi, Ling Shi and Khaled Barkaoui has been published by Cambridge Scholars Publishing. It includes 14 chapters organised in three sections, namely, learning to write in a second language, teaching second language writing, and assessing second language writing. The chapters include empirical studies in areas related to one of the three sections of the book as well as essays reflecting on Professor Alister Cumming’s theoretical and professional contributions to the field. The volume was compiled as a tribute to Professor Cumming (Emeritus Professor of the University of Toronto), and in recognition of Alister’s significant contributions to the field of second language writing. Alister’s research and publications cover English as a Second language (ESL) and English as a Foreign Language (EFL) contexts and a wide range of learners, including young learners, adolescents and secondary school students, and undergraduate and graduate students. Alister’s contributions to L2 writing are represented in all of the chapters in this volume. In addition to his contributions to the theory and practice of L2 writing, Alister’s mentorship of novice researchers has also been impactful. Further details about the publication can be found at: https://www.cambridgescholars.com/studies-and-essays-on-learning-teaching-and-assessing-l2-writing-in-honour-of-alister-cumming

Launch of new book on Chinese Anzacs

To mark Anzac Day this year, the book THE FORGOTTEN: the untold story of the Chinese Labour Corps and the Chinese Anzacs in the Great War by ANU historian Dr. Will Davies has been published in both English and Chinese by Wilkinson Publishing. It was launched on Friday, 24 April, by His Excellency the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Retd), Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia. Macquarie Linguistics' Yan Qian provided the Chinese translation.

A digital pamphlet entitled Perspectives on the Pandemic: International Social Science Thought Leaders Reflect on Covid-19 has just been published by de Gruyter. The free publication provides a virtual space for key thinkers to “observe the zeitgeist, draw breath’, as the editor Gerhard Boomgaarden notes. One of the 12 essays is by Distinguished Professor Ingrid Piller, who argues that “Covid-19 forces us to take linguistic diversity seriously”. The pamphlet is available for open-access download from this link: https://www.degruyter.com/fileasset/craft/media/doc/DG_12perspectives_socialsciences.pdf

Adam Smith


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News from the University of Melbourne

New staff

We are delighted to announce that Dr Kellie Frost has been appointed as a continuing fulltime teaching/research member of staff specialising in ESL and Language Testing. Kellie worked for a number of years in the Language Testing Research Centre housed in the School, and brings with her a wealth of experience in this domain. Great to finally have you with us permanently, Kellie! 

Recent PhD completions

Beatrice Venturin “Words from the Heart: Emotional Expression from Russian-Australian 1.5ers”

Gemma Morales “Technology and Bilingual Education: Helping Yolŋu Students Crack the Alphabetic Code”

50 Words Project: activity pack and new languages

The 50 Words Project has put together a fun learning activity pack to accompany the 50 Words online map (http://50words.online/). It supports exploration of Australia's linguistic diversity, and should be useful for kids, parents, teachers, and learners of all ages, especially during isolation. The activity pack includes include word searches, quizzes, language challenges and lots more. Head to our website to download a copy: https://arts.unimelb.edu.au/research-unit-for-indigenous-language/research/current-research-projects/50-words-project Please feel free to forward it to your networks!

Brett Baker


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News from UNE

While the restrictions imposed following the spread of COVID-19 have impacted on the amount of staff and student activity at UNE, there’s been a few things happening (in addition to us chugging away in the background):


Margaret Sharpe reports on the publication of Gugun Mibinyah: Yugambeh, Ngarahngwal, Ngahnduwal, a dictionary and grammar of Mibiny language varieties from the Logan to the Tweed rivers. Compiled and edited by Margaret Sharpe. She also reports that they didn’t manage to get the three launches in before state borders closed due to COVID-19. Of the launches, one was to have been in Tweed Heads South, NSW, and the other two in QLD, one at Guanaba Aboriginal run reserve inland from Nerang, and the other at the Anthropology Museum, University of Queensland.

Finex Ndhlovu returns after a productive SSP stint at the University of South Africa. During his time there, Finex worked on his forthcoming book Decolonising Multilingualism in the Global South: Recentering Silen(ced)t Voices from Africa, which he is co-authoring with Prof. Leketi Makalela of Witwatersrand University. For more on when Finex’s book will be out, watch this space!

Thesis Completions

Peter Gray has successfully completed his Master’s thesis under the supervision of Cindy Schneider. His thesis was entitled The Language of Jury Directions in Criminal Trials in Victoria.

Meredith Goodman has successfully completed her Master’s thesis under the supervision of Finex Ndhlovu and Liz Ellis. Her thesis was entitled Climate change in the 2019 Australian election: A critical discourse perspective.

Congratulations, Peter and Meredith!

Arvind Iyengar


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News from Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education

Launch: Maningrida sign Language posters

Batchelor Institute Press has launched four new posters that are a reminder of the value of sign languages during this time of physical distancing.

The Maningrida Kinship Sign Posters represent six languages from the Central Arnhem Land region: Ndjébbana (see below), Gun-nartpa, Burarra, Kuninjku, Kune, Wurlaki and Djinang. The posters feature several kin signs including those for husband/wife, siblings, parents, grandparents, in-laws, cross-cousins and avoidance relationships such as ‘poison cousin’. Aboriginal sign languages are as old and dynamic as their related spoken languages. Sign language can be used for communicating across distances as well as offering an alternative to spoken language and often a gesture says enough. The development and production of the posters, involved a number of organisations and individuals who worked together over several years. The group included Lúrra Language and Culture based at Maningrida College, linguists, language workers, and more than 30 language speakers.


The posters are available in varying sizes and can be purchased from the Batchelor Institute Press online store: http://batchelorpress.com/catalog/featured-products

The Maningrida Kinship Sign Posters also complement a set of four Gurindji ‘takataka’ (sign language) posters previously published by Batchelor Institute Press, covering themes of animals and hunting, questions and actions, people, and places and things. See http://batchelorpress.com/node/369

Paola Fischer


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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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