Newsletter May 2002

ALS Newsletter May 2002

ALS 02/2, May 2002


News and information

Are you still a member?

The Treasurer, Doug Absalom, has spent quite a bit of time recently chasing up members who have not paid their fees since last century, literally. He has sent e-mails to all those whose e-mail addresses are known, and is about to send letters to the others. Anyone who has 1999 next to their name on the address label of the current journal will receive no more. The Society exists because of its financial members - make sure you're one of them! If you're not sure of your status, and can't find the address label of the most recent journal, contact Doug on his new e-mail address,

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ALS2001 Proceedings

Don't forget that the Proceedings of the 2001 Conference of the ALS are now available on the web at

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News from Monash University

We are very pleased to announce two new appointments to the Linguistics Program at Monash University. Dr Anna Margetts and Dr Julie Bradshaw will both commence in second semester. They will be joining Keith Allan (currently Program Convenor), Heather Bowe, and Margaret Florey. We are also looking forward to the appointment of the Foundation Chair in Linguistics later in the semester. Meanwhile, we are glad to have Dr Jim Hlavac and Georgina Heydon assisting with lecturing on full-time contracts this semester. Jim is a graduate of the Linguistics Department, and Georgina submitted her PhD for examination in early March. Also among our postgraduate students, Marisa Cordella was recently awarded her PhD, Anna Filipi is awaiting confirmation of her Examiners' reports, and Iwa Lukmana submitted his PhD thesis for examination in February.

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State of Indigenous Languages

The State of the Environment Report by Environment Australia has now posted its subreports on the Web, one of them being 'The State of Indigenous languages related to cultural heritage', available at

This summary report is based on a research paper commissioned by Environment Australia. The research paper (McConvell and Thieberger (2001) The State of Indigenous Languages In Australia) will be available as a pdf document from the AIATSIS website in May.

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News from the University of Sydney

New thesis from the University of Sydney

Johnson Welem Haan, 'The Grammar of Adang: A Papuan Language Spoken on the Island of Alor, East Nusa Tenggara Indonesia'. PhD thesis. Supervisor, William Foley. To contact the author: e-mail:

Abstract: The thesis is a descriptive grammar of the author's native language. Syntactically, Adang is a verb final (SOV) language with a proliferation of serial verb constructions (SVCs). There are many forms and constructions, the interpretation of which is heavily context dependent (various determiners, spatial deictics, locational and directional verbs. and determining or index verbs). An area of special interest is the interaction between word order and morphology in the expression of information structure (focus and topic), and the related use of spatial deictics, determiners and pronouns and their distribution in the sentence.

New books

  • Simpson, Jane (comp.) 2002. A Learner's Guide to Warumungu. Mirlamirlajinjjiki Warumunguku apparrka. Alice Springs: IAD Press (PO Box 2531, Alice Springs NT 0871, ph. 08-89511311). ISBN 1864650346. x+198pp.
  • Jones, Barbara (comp.) 2001. Ngaapa wangka Wangkajunga: this language is Wangkajunga. Kimberley Language Resource Centre (PMB 11 Halls Creek WA 6770, e-mail ISBN 1-875167-18-8. viii+155pp.


Professor Anne Pakir, National University of Singapore, has spent several months visiting the Department.

Departure/New job

Brett Baker has finished his postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Sydney and moved to a position at the University of New England.

Postdoctoral Fellowships

This is advance notice that the University of Sydney is likely to be offering three-year SESQUI postdoctoral fellowships again. Applications are normally in August. In the meantime, people with strong publication records are warmly encouraged to contact staff members in the Department with related interests well in advance, to discuss possible projects. The Department has been rather successful in the past in sponsoring applications - Mark Donohue, Elke Teich, David Rose and Ilana Mushin have all received fellowships. We also encourage interested people to discuss ARC postdoc applications with us.

Check out our web-page to find out the research interests of our staff.

Workshop on TAME in Australia/Pacific

Workshop on Tense, aspect, modality and evidentiality in Indigenous languages of Australia and the Pacific, Macquarie University, Sydney, July 19th 2002

This workshop is being run in conjunction with Lauri Carlson's Australian Linguistics Institute Discourse Semantics course. We hope to explore the meanings in discourse of tense, aspect, modality and evidentiality forms. We are also interested in papers on the split expression of these markers on complex predicates (coverbs, serial verbs, auxiliaries etc.).

Abstracts are now on the web, but there may be room for some more papers.

If you would like to take part in the workshop and make a presentation, please e-mail Jane Simpson with an abstract.

If you are already enrolled in the Australian Linguistics Institute, you don't need to enrol in the workshop. If you just want to attend the workshop, enrol as a day participant in the ALI.

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Open letter from postgraduates

An open letter from postgraduate students to the ALS membership.


  1. the recognition by linguists of the need for urgent work to record small ('endangered') languages, and
  2. the availability of funding for that work, and
  3. rapid advances in technological aids to doing that work,
then there is a clear need for the members of the Australian linguistic community to consider the following:
  • The current PhD in linguistics makes no provision for language documentation beyond an academic grammar (in fact it positively discourages it).
  • Documentation of a language with few speakers or with little prospect of being spoken in the next generation should be considered a suitable PhD topic in linguistics.
  • This language documentation would produce information in the language in a form that makes it accessible to speakers and their descendants, and to the linguistic community. Typically this would include a grammar sketch, dictionary and texts.
  • The form of the documentation would include as much information as possible, but would minimally provide audio and video recording of performance in the language. It could also include ethnobiological information such as pictures of plants and animals, their uses and names and so on.
  • The document would include grammatical information, but not of the detail currently expected of a PhD in linguistics.
  • The document would be produced using current standard tools (e.g. digital recording, text/audio linkage).
  • The document would be presented in archive quality and placed in an appropriate repository to ensure its accessibility and usability into the future.
  • This all entails training students in documentary techniques and linguistic data management.

In the long run it is the documentation that will prove more valuable for linguistic analysis than the traditional PhD. At present we have to rely on the writer of a PhD nearly 100% for some languages - and certainly 100% if the language is now gone.

While the current system values language analysis, it places no value on linguistic data management, nor on safely archiving recorded materials.

Louise Baird - ANU
Claire Bowern - Harvard
Nicolette Bramley - UC/ANU
Pascale Jacq - ANU
Anthony Jukes - Melbourne Uni
Doug Marmion - ANU
Stephen Morey - Monash Uni
Adam Paliwala - Sydney Uni
Carol Priestley - ANU
Adam Saulwick - Melbourne Uni
St John Skilton - Sydney Uni
Nick Thieberger - Melbourne Uni
Myfany Turpin - Sydney Uni

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Patrick McConvell (AIATSIS) has received a grant of US $15000 from the Wenner-Gren Foundation for the ARCLING II conference to be held October 1-4 in Canberra.

Program and registration details will be placed on the website shortly at

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News from Macquarie University

Macquarie University has appointed Christian Mathiessen as its new Professor of Linguistics.

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News from across the Tasman

John Newman, currently Senior Lecturer at Massey University in New Zealand been appointed Professor and Chair, Department of Linguistics, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. He will take up the position on August 1.

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News from the University of Queensland

Recently completed PhD theses

  • Susana Eisenchlas, 'What do children know about clitics that linguists don't?'
  • Tom Mylne, 'Argument Structure and the status of the complement'
  • Annette Rutledge, 'Noun Phrase usage in adolescent writing'
People wanting copies of these theses should contact Mary Laughren at

Recent books authored by UQ linguists

  • Rodney Huddleston and Geoffrey Pullum. 2002. The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language. (See the CUP website at
  • David Lee. 2001. Cognitive Linguistics: An Introduction. Melbourne: Oxford University Press.

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News from the University of New England

New appointment at UNE

Linguistics UNE is delighted to announce the appointment of Brett Baker to an 18 month position in our Department. Brett will be involved in a range of undergraduate teaching roles, and developing a unit for the online MA in Applied Linguistics, in addition to furthering his research in phonology.

MA in Applied Linguistics

Less than 1 year since the program commenced, UNE's new online MA in Applied Linguistics now has over 90 students enrolled in the program, undertaking their studies from 15 different countries. Any enquiries should be addressed to Karen Woodman (course co-ordinator) on

Award for Excellence in Research

Congratulations to Assoc Prof Cliff Goddard who at UNE's March 2002 Arts graduation was awarded the Vice-Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Research. The VC paid tribute to Cliff's highly original work in the area of semantics and noted that his continuing international links and his research grant successes have raised UNE's profile as a centre of excellence in languages generally and Aboriginal languages specifically.

Book to boost indigenous language

Brother John Giacon's work with the Walgett Yuwaalaraay and Gamilaraay Language Program has resulted in the recent publication of a new book titled 'We are speaking Gamilaraay & Yuwaalaraay'.

The Gamilaraay language, once spoken around Walgett - Tamworth - Moree - Coonabarabran, is currently being taught in schools in Walgett, Goodooga and Lightning Ridge. Brother John Giacon has been working as the project administrator on the new book for the past 18 months, while completing his Honours degree in Linguistics at UNE.

The new book comes with a CD which contains audio files of spoken words, sometimes carefully excised from spoken text recorded in the 1970s with two of the last speakers of Gamilaraay/Yuwaalaraay. The book gives the Gamilaraay/Yuwaalaraay words for body parts, family and animals. The project has gained strong support and input from Gamilaraay community elders.

In an ABC news report, the organiser of the teaching aid, Don Lillyman, says it will make an excellent addition to the schools' teaching programs. 'On the CD we've got extracts from tapes recorded in the '70s of people who were very fluent in Gamilaraay/Yuwaalaraay and we were able to get extracts from them explaining what the words were, how they are pronounced and what they mean,' he said. 'There's been a revival in language and cultural activities for indigenous people,' he said. 'Here in the Gamilaraay area we think we are at the forefront of language and cultural activity, we've got a good program here.' He says it has given indigenous students a sense of pride and ownership. 'We've got a couple of books published already, as well as dictionaries,' he said. 'There is a lot of interest in it and the children are enjoying it very much.'

The teaching aid was launched on May 7th in Walgett, and May 9th in Tamworth. It is available for $25, distributed through Narnia Bookshop, 352 Peel St, Tamworth, NSW, 2340.

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Sabbatical at the RCLT

The Research Centre for Linguistic Typology at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia, is home to a wide range of scholars who undertake intensive studies of previously undescribed (or barely described) languages. Building upon reliable descriptive studies, members of the Research Centre also work on inductive typological generalizations concerning the nature of human language. All of our work is in terms of basic linguistic theory (in preference to any of the formal theories of the day).

We welcome enquiries from similarly oriented scholars who would be interested in spending a sabbatical at RCLT. We can provide a room and a computer, plus an intellectual ambiance of the highest order.

For further information, please consult our website,

Anyone interested should write to RCLT's Associate Director, Alexandra Aikhenvald, at

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Books and theses

Available for review in AJL

The following is a list of publications relating to the study of language, received by the Reviews Editor of the Australian Journal of Linguistics. If you are interested in reviewing one of the following items, please contact Alan Libert at Note that it is not possible to return books to the publisher, and that acceptance of a book implies no promise that it will be reviewed. Reviews are printed as circumstances permit, and copies are sent to the publishers of the works reviewed.

  • Aikhenvald, A.Y. & Dixon, R.M.W. (eds.) Areal diffusion and genetic inheritance: problems in comparative linguistics. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001. Pp. xvi + 453. Cloth £60.00.
  • Akmajian, A., Demers, R.A., Farmer, A.K. & Harnish, R.M. Linguistics: an introduction to language and communication (5th edition). Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press, 2001. Pp. xiv + 604. Paper $98.00.
  • Alatis, J.E. & Tan, A. (eds.) Round table on languages and linguistics 1999: language in our time. Washington: Georgetown University Press, 2001. Pp.vii + 431. Paper $US39.95.
  • Baker, C. & Hornberger, N.H. An introductory reader to the writings of Jim Cummins. Multilingual Matters, 2001. Pp. viii + 360. Paper $AUS68.00.
  • Baker, C. Foundations of bilingual education and bilingualism (3rd edition). Clevedon: Multilingual Matters, 2001. Pp. xii + 484. Paper $AUS62.00.
  • Booij, G. The morphology of Dutch. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001. Pp. xii + 253. Cloth £49.50.
  • Cenoz, J., Hufeisen, B. & Jessner, U. (eds.) Cross-linguistic influence in third language acquisition: psycholinguistic perspectives. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters, 2001. Pp.197. Cloth $AUS99.00.
  • Chappell, H. (ed.) Sinitic grammar: synchronic and diachronic perspectives. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001. Pp. xxiv + 397. Cloth £57.95.
  • Croft, W. Radical construction grammar: syntactic theory in typological perspective. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001. Pp. xxvii + 416. Cloth £49.50.
  • Fishman, J.A. (ed.) Can threatened languages be saved? Clevedon: Multilingual Matters, 2001. Pp. xvi + 503. Paper $AUS86.00.
  • Frajzyngier, Z. A grammar of Hdi. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 2002. Pp. xxiii + 550. Cloth DM148.00.
  • Ginzburg, J. & Sag, I.A. Interrogative investigations: the form, meaning, and use of English interrogatives. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2000. Pp. xii + 449. Cloth $US65.00, paper $US30.00.
  • Harkins, J. & Wierzbicka, A. (eds.) Emotions in crosslinguistic perspective. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2001. Pp. vi + 421. Cloth DM 168.00.
  • Hiatt, L. & McKenzie, K. People of the Rivermouth: the Joborr texts of Frank Gurrmanamana (with accompanying CD). Canberra: Aboriginal Studies Press, 2002. Pp. xviii + 198. Paper $AUS135.00.
  • Jackendoff, R. Foundations of language: brain, meaning, grammar, evolution. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001. Pp. xix + 477. Cloth £25.00.
  • Kenstowicz, M. Ken Hale: a life in language. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press, 2001. Pp. xiii + 480. Paper $84.00.
  • Lahiri, U. Questions and answers in embedded contexts. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Pp. ix + 308. Cloth £47.50, paper £19.99.
  • Lee, D. Cognitive linguistics: an introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001. Pp. xiii + 223. Paper $AUS49.95.
  • Merchant, J. The syntax of silence: sluicing, islands, and the theory of ellipsis. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001. Pp. xiii + 262. Cloth £47.50, paper £18.99.
  • Muurrbay Aboriginal Language & Culture Co-operative. A Gumbaynggir language dictionary. Canberra: Aboriginal Studies Press, 2001. Pp. 160.
  • Richards, N. Movement in language: interactions and architectures. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001. Pp. xii + 326. Cloth £55.00, paper £22.99.
  • Seuren, P.A.M. A view of language. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001. Pp. xxiv + 517. Cloth £60.00.
  • Watts, R. & Trudgill, P. (eds.) Alternative histories of English. London: Routledge, 2002. Pp. xiii + 280. Paper £15.99.
  • Weisler, S.E. & Milekic, S. Theory of language. (with accompanying CD). Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press, 2000. Pp. xiv + 344. Paper $98.00.

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Job possibilities

Sessional jobs at Deakin University

Expressions of interest are invited from linguists who may be interested in tutoring, marking and lecturing in Linguistics at Deakin University. Particular needs for second semester are in first year Linguistics ALG120 Exploring Texts to be taught at the Melbourne, Geelong and Warrnambool campuses. The teaching dates for semester 2 are: 22 July - 25 Oct. 2002. The non-teaching week is the first week of October 2002.

Please send a CV and letter expressing interest in sessional work specifying areas of interest, experience and preferences of location to:
Professor Michael Meehan
Head, School of Literary & Communication Studies
Faculty of Arts
Deakin University
Waurn Ponds, Geelong, Vic. 3217
OR electronically to his secretary,

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Applied Linguistics position, Otago University

University of Otago / Te Whare Wananga o Otago
Dunedin, New Zealand

Lecturer in Applied Linguistics (Confirmation Path)

Linguistics Programme, Department of English, School of Language, Literature and Performing Arts

Applications are invited from suitably qualified people for a confirmation path position of Lecturer in Applied Linguistics. Applicants should have a completed or nearly completed PhD, in second language acquisition, English for Specific Purposes (especially English for Academic Purposes) or other closely related areas, together with some teaching experience at tertiary level.

The successful candidate will teach courses in second language acquisition theory, language teaching methods and materials, and English for Academic Purposes, and will also supervise the research of postgraduate students in these and other closely related areas. Preference will be given to candidates with research publications and good teaching skills.

The position will be available from 6 January 2003, or as soon as possible thereafter.

Specific enquiries may be directed to Dr Jae Jung Song, Linguistics Programme Co-ordinator, Tel 64 3 479 8103, Fax 64 3 479 8558, Email

Reference Number: AG02/15, Closing Date: Wednesday 22 May 2002

For application information and a full job description go to: Alternatively, contact the Human Resources Division, Tel 64 3 479 8269, Fax 64 3 474 1607, Email

Equal opportunity in employment is University policy / E tautoko ana Te Whare Wananga o Otago i te kaupapa whakaorite whiwhinga mahi.

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Outback linguists

Position 1: Based at Ngukurr Community, a dry community of about 1000 people affiliated with about 8-9 languages. The successful applicant would be required to complete some small projects using 2 or 3 of the languages and may be required to do some training of language workers. This position may require travel to neighbouring communities and outstations. Accommodation and a vehicle are available in the community.

Position 2: A teacher-linguist position is available at Pine Creek School. The successful applicant would be based in Katherine and would be primarily responsible for the IESIP Language in Schools program at Pine Creek School. This would require becoming familiar with the basics of the languages of Mayali and Wagiman. There is already a good supply of lesson plans and materials for the presentation of lessons one day a week at the school in collaboration with Language speakers. The school has both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students. The applicant would also be required to assist with the completion of a number of small language projects, mostly office-based, but with some community travel involved.

Essential for both positions:

  • Hons degree in linguistics
  • ability to work with Aboriginal people
  • ability to work independently
  • driver's license
Highly Desirable:
  • well developed computer skills
  • 4x4 or dirt road driving experience for position 1.

If you are interested, or know of anyone who is interested, please contact the Coordinator, Robin Hodgson, at or phone 08 89711233.

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Stockholm University

Research Fellow position at Stockholm University

(Note: The official application deadline has passed; contact Eleanor Wikborg immediately if interested.)

Web site:

Research Fellow Position with specialisation in English linguistics
Department of English
Stockholm University

Application deadline: 30 April, 2002

Contact person: Prof. Eleanor Wikborg,

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Conferences and workshops

ALS 2002 Annual Conference

Organised by University of NSW/hosted by Macquarie University Saturday 13 - Sunday 14 July, 2002


The 2002 Australian Linguistic Society Conference will be held at Macquarie University in Sydney from Saturday 13th to Sunday 14th July, 2002 (the middle weekend of the Australian Linguistics Institute). The conference is being organised by the Linguistics Department of the University of New South Wales, but will be held at Macquarie University. The conference will run parallel to the Applied Linguistics Association of Australia Conference (and for a small additional fee ALS delegates may attend any papers of their choosing at the ALAA conference).

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Australian Linguistics Institute 2002

Don't forget that the Sixth Biennial Australian Linguistics Institute will be held 8th-12th and 15th-19th July 2002, at Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia. There are a wide range of courses at different levels, with national and international presenters. A number of conferences will also be held in association with ALI 2002.

For details on ALI2002, check the webpage at

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Adjectives Workshop at the RCLT

Following on from the successful RCLT workshops at the ANU in 1997 and in 1998 and at La Trobe in 2000 and 2001, there will be an International Workshop on 'Adjective Classes', from Monday 12th until Satruday 17th August 2002. Auditors are welcome, at no fee (but note that we are unable to organise accommodation for auditors). The position paper for the workshop, by R.M.W. Dixon, can be accessed on the RCLT website,; further details of precise dates, times and locations of each paper will be available at the same site closer to August.

The following papers will be presented at the Workshop:

  • R. M. W. Dixon (RCLT) - Jarawara (Arawá family, Brazil)
  • N. J. Enfield (Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen) - Lao
  • Fiona McLaughlin (University of Kansas & RCLT) - Wolof (Atlantic family within Niger-Congo)
  • Felix Ameka (University of Leiden) - Ewe (Kwa family within Niger-Congo)
  • Randy LaPolla (City University of Hong Kong & RCLT) - Qiang (Tibeto-Burman family)
  • Carol Genetti (University of California, Santa Barbara & RCLT) and Kristine Hildebrandt (UCSB) - Manange (Tibeto-Burman family)
  • Tony Backhouse (Hokkaido University) - Japanese
  • Ho-Min Sohn (University of Hawaii at Manoa) - Korean
  • Alexandra Aikhenvald (RCLT) - Tariana (Arawak family, Brazil)
  • Nicole Kruspe (RCLT) - Semelai (Aslian branch of Austroasiatic)
  • Nora England (University of Texas) - Mam (Mayan family)
  • Paulette Levy (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México) - Papantla Totonac
  • Wallace Chafe (University of California, Santa Barbara) - Caddo (Caddoan family) and Seneca (Iroquoian family)
  • Catriona Hyslop (RCLT) - Northeast Ambae (Austronesian family)
  • Greville G. Corbett (University of Surrey) - Russian
  • John Hajek (University of Melbourne) - Summing up

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About ALS

ALS Website

The address of the ALS website changed in September 2001 to:


  • To further interest in, and support for, linguistic research and teaching in Australia.
  • To organise an annual meeting and visits of local and overseas speakers.
  • To publish a journal of international standing.
  • To organise an International Congress of Linguists when appropriate.
  • To organise an Australian Linguistic Institute.

Benefits of membership

  • Free quarterly Newsletter.
  • Free subscription to the Australian Journal of Linguistics.
  • Membership rates for ALS conference registration.
  • Entitlement to present papers at the Annual Conference.
  • The more intangible benefits of belonging to the network of Australian linguists.

ALS office bearers

President Michael Walsh (Sydney)
Vice-Presidents Verna Rieschild (Macquarie)
Rachel Nordlinger (Melbourne)
Peter Peterson (Newcastle)
Secretary John Henderson (UWA)
Treasurer Doug Absalom (Newcastle)
Journal Editors Toni Borowsky (Sydney)
Mark Harvey (Newcastle)
(Reviews) Alan Libert (Newcastle)
Newsletter Editor Tim Curnow (La Trobe)
Postgrad Student Rep Nick Thieberger (Melbourne)

Next newsletter

The ALS Newsletter is published four times per year. This is the second issue for 2002. The next issue (02/3) will come out in mid August 2002. Copy will be due on the first Monday in August. If you would like to be on the email list for a reminder that the date is approaching, contact the Newsletter Editor.

Please send copy, and any queries, comments or suggestions to Tim Curnow (

The ALS journal

The ALS publishes a journal, the Australian Journal of Linguistics (AJL) twice a year. The latest issue is 22/1, which you should have just received or be about to receive. The journal is published by Carfax (Taylor & Francis),

Correspondence regarding papers and reviews should be sent to any of the editors or the reviews editor (contact details in office bearers section).

ALS membership and address changes

In general, subscriptions are due at the beginning of each calendar year, unless you pay for several years at a time. The year you are paid to is shown on the address label on the envelope your journal comes in. If you haven't paid at all this century, you won't be getting any more journal issues ...

A form is available on the website to renew your subscription.

This may be a good time to remind you that apart from email addresses, there is only one membership list and that is maintained by the Treasurer, Doug Absalom. If you need to change your address or make other enquiries, please do it through him.