Newsletter November 2002

ALS Newsletter November 2002

ALS 02/4, November 2002

From the editor

Quite some time ago (before I became responsible for the ALS Website, so I'm not sure exactly when), we put up a list of ALS members, their contact details and research interests, which people were welcome to add themselves to. This site, which is only avaiable to those who have the password for the ALS members section, is now exceedingly out of date in many cases. Do you want to check the website quickly now (click here to open it in a new page), see if you're on it, and what details are on it about you? At the top of that page, it gives you instructions on how to add yourself to the list, or change the details that are there.

At the last AGM, it was suggested that as an independent organization, ALS should look at hosting its website via a commercial web hosting service, and have a web address that people other than me can actually remember. As we don't know in the future who'll be website editor, I'm currently inclining towards the idea that it would be best to use a national web hosting service, so it's easy to contact them from anywhere in Australia; this does mean that currently I'm contemplating OzEmail and Telstra, for example. If you have your own favourite web hosting people, and want to convince me that they're much better, cheaper, etc., and that contacting them from anywhere will be no problem at all, please let me know about them!

Thanks, Tim Curnow,

Australian Journal of Linguistics

The editors of AJL wish to encourage more submissions from linguists working in Australia and New Zealand. We are particularly keen to encourage submissions from postgraduate students and postdoctoral fellows working in linguistics at universities in Australia and New Zealand. The journal publishes across all specialities in linguistics. The journal has a focus on matters relating to Australasia, but welcomes materials relating to all areas of linguistics.

Information for contributors is available at:


News and information

Are you in the red???

AJL, volume 22, number 2 is about to arrive in your mailbox. Please pay particular attention to the date beside your name. This refers to your financial status. If it has been highlighted then you may need to renew your membership so please contact the treasurer, Doug Absalom, at for information about how you can pay.

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Receipts for 2002 ALI, ALS, ALAA

Please note that for taxation and reimbursement purposes for the 2002 ALI, ALS and ALAA registrations you need both a tax invoice and a receipt.

People who did not register on line were given a receipt with 'tax invoice' printed on it. This is sufficient - it is a receipt and a tax invoice.

If your receipt does not have the words 'tax invoice' on it, this means you registered on line, and you need to produce (print out) the registration form (which is a tax invoice, as it has 'Tax Invoice' printed on it) that you filled out on the web, and submit it together with the receipt. You then have a tax invoice and a receipt. The web site is still up if you need to print it out again at

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ARC grants

Congratulations to those who received ARC grants beginning in 2003! The following are the linguistics and linguistics-related grants that I could find on the ARC website; I apologize in advance if I missed any, but the ones which aren't in the Linguistics category aren't always easy to find!

Indigenous languages of eastern East Timor: description and contact studies

Dr FJ Bowden, Dr JT Hajek; The Australian National University

Both Austronesian and Papuan languages from eastern East Timor have undergone substantial changes which have presumably resulted from communal bilingualism in both sorts of languages. The project aims to document and explain these changes. Language contact has traditionally been a neglected area in historical linguistics and the East Timor situation will provide valuable material for a general theory of language change. Book length grammars of an Austronesian and a Papuan language, further grammatical sketches, and a number of papers on language contact will be produced as a result of the project.

Systemic Safety: the meanings of behaviour in contexts of surgical care

Dr DG Butt, Ms AR Moore (APD), A/Prof JA Cartmill; Macquarie University

This collaborative project aims to improve our understanding of interacting systems of communication, as exemplified by the context of surgery. Increasingly, adverse events in operative care are considered systemic rather than a product of system breakdown. Existing systems, and how they lead to adverse events, need to be made more explicit. We will describe surgical practice as a system of meaning-bearing systems, integrated from context to content to expression, and incorporating language and other symbolic systems. We will display the ensemble effects of choices in these systems and how they predispose towards or inhibit adverse outcomes through systemic networks.

Address in Some Western European Languages: A Study of Language and Social Change

Prof MG Clyne, Dr L Kretzenbacher, Dr CE Norrby, Dr JL Warren; The University of Melbourne

This project investigates how recent sociopolitical events and developments have impacted on the ways in which people address each other in French, German, and Swedish. Comparisons will be made with Italian and Dutch and between nations using the same language. There is to date no comparative study of this kind. The project is innovative in its use of qualitative and quantitative methodology and will lead to a new conceptual framework for the study of address. It will provide insights for inter-cultural communication and second language acquisition as well as the relation between language, cultural values, and sociopolitical change.

Reciprocals across languages

A/Prof ND Evans, Dr R Nordlinger, Dr UA Zeshan, Prof Dr S Levinson; The University of Melbourne

Reciprocity lies at the heart of social organization and human evolution. This project will examine how reciprocity is expressed, and what the different subtypes of reciprocal meaning are, by carrying out linguistic fieldwork on fifteen little-known languages of Australia and its region, making available detailed descriptions of reciprocals that until now have only been available for English and a few European languages. The fieldwork on undescribed, and in most cases endangered, languages will be supplemented by a ground-breaking survey of how the various notions of reciprocity are expressed in languages around the world.

Uptalk in Australian English Intonation

Dr JM Fletcher; The University of Melbourne

Australian English speakers often use rising instead of falling intonation at the end of sentences which are not questions. This phenomenon of uptalk is one of the unique traits of the Australian English accent. The project will model uptalk by analyzing spoken dialogues from 150 speakers from three major populations, Sydney, Melbourne, and regional Victoria. The intonation patterns of regional and non-Sydney populations have been poorly investigated, so this kind of study is needed to get a more complete understanding of Australian English intonation and the Australian accent. Outcomes will include publications on intonation and laboratory phonology, sociophonetics, and a working model of intonation that can be implemented in speech output systems for Australian English.

Cross-linguistic study of endangered Maluku languages: Eastern Indonesia and the Dutch diaspora

Dr M Florey, Dr MC Ewing, Prof Dr N Himmelmann, Dr S Musgrave (APD); Monash University

This project represents the first large scale investigation of Eastern Indonesian languages, and assembles an international team to examine language evolution through the interface between linguistic typology, language contact and language shift. This ground-breaking work includes a cross-linguistic analysis of structural features in ten Central Moluccan languages. It will test current theories of contact and shift through an innovative comparative analysis of data from speakers in the homeland and the Dutch diaspora. Outcomes will include grammars of six undescribed languages and crucial new insights about language cognition and simplification. Improved knowledge of this closely-neighbouring region will strengthen Australia's Asia-Pacific relations.

The spread of gender-inclusive language reform in Outer-Circle Englishes: English in Singapore, Hong Kong and the Philippines

Prof AF Pauwels; The University of Western Australia

This examination aims to describe the adoption and spread of gender-inclusive language use in the Englishes in Singapore, Hong Kong, the Philippines and to compare this process to the one observed in 'native' Englishes (eg. Australian English). The comparative approach between 'native' and 'non-native' Englishes is innovative. Expected outcomes include significant progress in the study of planned language change, of English as a global language and language and gender identity. The study will have an impact on social policy development.

Postoccidental Englishes and Rap

Prof A Pennycook; University of Technology, Sydney

This project examines the conjunction between new Englishes and rap music. Applied linguistic research on world Englishes has focused predominantly on newly emergent standardized national varieties, and thus has tended to overlook the changing oral codes in domains such as popular music. By looking at the global spread of rap in relationship to the global spread of English, this project has great significance for 1.Expanding our knowledge about the implications and processes of this spread; 2. Developing a model of postoccidental Englishes that goes beyond current frameworks; and 3. Creating educational materials that can engage with student interests and desires.

Success and failure in second language learning (SLL)

Dr I Piller; The University of Sydney

Why do some people succeed in learning a second language to very high levels and others fail miserably despite the fact that both groups may have set out with similarly positive attitudes and high levels of motivation? This research project focuses on the social contexts in which second language learning takes place. It aims to provide an insider account of what it is like to be a successful or unsuccessful L2 user. It will describe the linguistic and discursive resources language learners have access to, and the ways in which such access is structured in the communities they participate in.

Cultural linguistics and intercultural discourse

Dr F Sharifian (APD); The University of Western Australia

This project will develop a theoretical framework for the study of intercultural communication by drawing on the theory of cultural linguistics. Cultural linguistics is a recent sub-field of linguistics which has so far been applied to the study of mono-cultural, monolinguistic data. This study will bring the theory to examine discourse in a significant multi-cultural setting such as Australia. In particular, it will shed light on the nature of miscommunication between people of different cultural backgrounds, which has often led to serious damage to human relationships. This will be achieved by explicating the culturally-constructed conceptualisations that people bring to their intercultural discourse.

How mixed language input affects child language development: case studies from Central Australia

Dr G Wigglesworth, Dr JH Simpson; The University of Melbourne

Case studies of three Aboriginal communities (Gurindji at Victoria River Downs, Alyawarr at Epenarra, Warumungu at Tennant Creek) will identify: (i) the language input young children receive from traditional indigenous languages, Kriol and English varieties, and from code-switching involving these languages (ii) the effect on first language acquisition; (iii) the processes of language shift and maintenance resulting from multilingual environments, and consequent transmission or loss of target languages, and emergence of new mixed languages. This is an unexplored area of bilingual first language acquisition, and has theoretical implications for language shift, and practical applications for language maintenance.

Chanted tales from Highland New Guinea: a comparative study of oral performance traditions and their role in contemporary land politics

Dr A Rumsey, A/Prof LR Goldman, Mr DW Niles, Ms NC Haley; The Australian National University

In parts of Highland PNG there are flourishing traditions of epic-like chanted tales. Often dealing with relationships between people and land, these are a highly valued cultural resource. From the perspective of comparative poetics they are one of the clearest known examples of measured verse that has developed independently of alphabetic or syllabic writing. This project brings together an interdisciplinary team of investigators to analyse the wide range of styles in which these narratives are performed, and further the understanding of their implications for cross-cultural study of verbal art and the politics of land ownership in present-day Papua New Guinea.

Language Specific Speech Perception: A Mechanism for Language Acquisition

Prof DK Burnham, Dr CW Davis, A/Prof JA Bowey, Dr AE Castles, Dr S Luksaneeyanawin; University of Western Sydney

What is exceptional about human infants is not their sophisticated speech perception (for animals perceive human speech similarly) but their use of speech to regulate linguistic attention and bootstrap language. Using a new validated measure, language specific speech perception (discrimination ability for native minus non-native speech sounds), we can ascertain the distribution of resources in linguistic tasks. This will be used in conjunction with a raft of experimental psycholinguistic techniques to investigate speech processing bases of vocabulary development, normal and dyslexic reading ability, and adult linguistic first and second language processing; to derive a dynamic new conception of language development.

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NSM mailing list

The 'Natural Semantic Metalanguage Approach', associated with the work of Anna Wierzbicka, Cliff Goddard and associates, now has its own e-mail list! It's called 'nsm-l' and it's based at the University of Tasmania, Australia.

Never heard of NSM? In a nutshell,

'[t]he approach is based on evidence that there is a small core of basic, universal meanings, known as semantic primes, which can be found as words or other linguistic expressions in all languages. This common core of meaning can be used as a tool for linguistic and cultural analysis: to explicate complex and culture-specific words and grammatical constructions, and to articulate culture-specific values and attitudes (cultural scripts), in terms which are maximally clear and translatable. The theory also provides a semantic foundation for universal grammar and for linguistic typology. It has applications in intercultural communication, lexicography (dictionary making), language teaching, the study of child language acquisition, legal semantics, and other areas.' (Source:

To subscribe to nsm-l, send a message to The subject line should remain empty. The body of the message must contain the following information:
subscribe nsm-l

Once your request has been approved by the list-owner, you will receive a welcome message and you will be able to read all postings and contribute as you see fit.

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News from Monash

Dr Simon Musgrave will be joining the Linguistics Program from June 2003 on a four-year Australian Postdoctoral Fellowship (2003-2006). Simon is currently at the University of Leiden Centre for Linguistics where he has been working in the East Indonesia group of the Spinoza Project: Lexicon & Syntax (headed by Prof. Pieter Muysken) and working on the project's typological database. At Monash, Simon will be continuing his work in the fields of linguistic typology, Austronesian linguistics and computational tools for linguists by working with Dr Margaret Florey, Dr Michael Ewing (U. Melbourne) and Prof. Nikolaus Himmelmann (Ruhr-Universität Bochum) on their newly-funded ARC Discovery Project 'Cross-linguistic study of endangered Maluku languages: Eastern Indonesia and the Dutch diaspora'.

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Awards to Appen

Appen ( is an Australian speech technology company. The success of Appen Pty Ltd in exporting cutting-edge speech technology products and services to the world has been recognised by winning two awards at the Premier's NSW Exporter of the Year Awards 2002. In its first ever entry in the competition, Appen received a 'Highly Commended' award in the Information and Communications Technology category.

Appen Director Dr Julie Vonwiller said the award was an encouraging acknowledgement of Appen's success in sustainable growth in exports and the quality of the organisation's export marketing strategy. 'Appen has been able to assemble world-class resources in linguistics, computer science and telecommunications to establish a real presence in the international speech technology market' she said. Appen's export activities over the past year have seen the company win projects across North and South East Asia, Europe, the Middle East and North and South America. Appen's international customers include Philips, Microsoft, Sony and Nuance.

Appen picked up a second award when Marketing Manager, Christoph Vonwiller, was announced as the 'Premier's NSW Young Exporter of the Year 2002'. Awarded to an individual under 35 who plays a key role in export activity, Christoph was recognised for his outstanding achievements in growing profitable revenue, diversifying Appen's customer base and spearheading the introduction of new products and services.

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News from Melbourne Uni

ARC Grants

The Department of Linguistics and Applied Linguistics enjoyed particular success with the ARC this round with the following four Discovery Projects being funded from 2003:

  • Michael Clyne, Leo Kretzenbacher, Catrin Norrby and Jane Warren, 'Address in some Western European languages: a study of language and social change'
  • Nick Evans, Rachel Nordlinger, Ulrike Zeshan and Steve Levinson, 'Reciprocals across languages'
  • Janet Fletcher, 'Uptalk in Australian English intonation'
  • Jill Wigglesworth and Jane Simpson, 'How mixed language input affects child language development: case studies from Central Australia'

In addition, along with the University of Sydney and the ANU, we're involved in the successful Linkage-Infrastructure Equipment and Facilities project 'Quadriga system for research archive of Asia-Pacific region audio recordings'.


Our congratulations to Lesley Stirling for her promotion to Associate Professor.


In the first week of December Professor Frans Plank (Konstanz) will be visiting the Department and will be giving two seminars, one on the development of reciprocal markers in Germanic languages and one on delocutive verbs - check out the Departmental Seminar web-site ( for details. The reciprocals talk will inaugurate a regular series of seminars on that topic that will be held over the next three years as part of the Evans, Nordlinger, Zeshan & Levinson reciprocals project.

Visitors to our Department next year will include Dr Jean-Christophe Verstraete (Leuven), who will be funded by a Belgian postdoctoral fellowship and during his visit will be researching mood and modality in languages of Australia and the region, and Professor Leila Behrens (Cologne), who has received an IREX fellowship to develop the theory of Lexical Typology, with special reference to reciprocals.

Recent Publications

Two books by our recent Ph.D. graduate Nick Enfield (now on a research fellowship at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in Nijmegen) have appeared in the last year: a revised version of his Ph.D. thesis, with the title Linguistic Epidemiology. Semantics and grammar of language contact in mainland Southeast Asia, has been published by Routledge Curzon, and his edited book Ethnosyntax has been published by Oxford University Press, and includes contributions by a number of Australian linguists including Jane Simpson, Alan Rumsey and Kate Burridge.


We are very pleased to announce that the following PhD theses have recently been passed:

  • Dana Chahal 'Modelling the intonation of Lebanese Arabic using the auosegmental-metrical framework: a comparison with English'
  • Sandra Kipp 'German-English Bilingualism in the Western District of Victoria'
  • Tania Strahan 'Long-distance reflexives in Norwegian'
And that the following PhDs have been (or are about to be!) submitted:
  • Johanna Barry 'Phonological acquisition by profoundly hearing-impaired Cantonese-speaking children who have received a cochlear implant'
  • Judith Bishop 'Aspects of intonation and prosody in Bininj Gun-wok'
  • Yusuf Eades 'A grammar of Gayo, a language of Aceh, Sumatra'
  • Leslie Layne 'Developments in Categorial Grammar syntax: a close look at relativizers, complementizers and dative verbal prepositions'


The Evans, Nordlinger, Zeshan and Levinson ARC project on Reciprocals across Languages will include some funding for 2 new fieldwork-based Ph.Ds that would include material on reciprocals and approximately 1.5 years worth of postdoc funding. Anyone interested in either of these possibilities is asked to contact Nick Evans at

Following the success of the first one this year, we are planning to hold another weekend workshop on issues in Australian Aboriginal languages in Blackwood, Victoria from 14-16 March, 2003. Watch this space for further details. In the meantime any enquiries can be directed to Nick Evans or Rachel Nordlinger

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News from Uni of New England

Two jobs are about to be advertised at UNE; see details under Jobs below.

Theses recently completed at UNE:

  • Penny Bigg. 2002. 'The I's have it'. This Honours thesis uses the CHILDES database to determine whether or not there exists a typical acquisition sequence for NSM semantic primes (following Goddard 2000). The results show that while onset times for primes may vary between some children, the general development and rate of use of each prime once it has emerged display similar trends. This finding has implications for the assessment of children with atypical language development, and suggests possible strategies for remediation purposes.
  • Karen Stollznow. 2002. 'Terms of Abuse in Australian English: A Study of Semantics and Usage'. This Honours thesis presents and justifies semantic explications for seventeen abusive epithets commonly used in contemporary Australian English: wanker, smart arse, dickhead, fuckwit, drongo, yobbo, bludger, wowser, whinger, wuss, poofter, bimbo, bitch, slut, arsehole, prick and cunt. This study employs the NSM method of semantic analysis. The thesis also addresses some current issues in lexicography and discusses the inadequacies of existing dictionary definitions for the above listed terms.

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News from the RCLT

Grant awarded

Professor Alexandra Aikhenvald has been awarded an Individual Research Grant from The Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research in the amount of US$24,500 to work on a project entitled 'Arawak languages: reconstruction and culture history'. Research Grants from this foundation are highly competitive and sought after. This award will no doubt enhance the international standing of La Trobe University as the centre for Latin American studies in Australia.

From the field

Janet Sharp, a Research Fellow, has just returned from a spell of intensive fieldwork on Karajarri at Bidyadanga, Western Australia.

Knut Olawsky, a Research Fellow, is returning shortly from fieldtrip on Urarina, an isolate language, spoken in a remote village of northern Peru.

Workshop: Serial verbs

RCLT's annual International Workshop will be on serial verbs and will be held on 9-14 June 2003 (in response to popular request, we have selected a week within the vacation period).

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Dicionário Tariana (Aikhenvald)

Dicionário Tariana-Português e Português-Tariana by Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald. Boletim de Antropologia do Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi. Vol. 17-1 (2001; copyright 2002). 433 pp.

Tariana is a highly endangered North Arawak language spoken by about 100 people, mostly adults, in the area of the Upper Vaupés (Amazonas, Brazil). The vast majority of ethnic Tariana (about 1500 people living in the areas of the middle Vaupés and of the Papurí river) speak just the Tukano language.

The Tariana-Portuguese and Portuguese-Tariana dictionary contains the basic lexicon of the Tariana language. This dictionary has the following goals:

  1. Assist ethnic Tariana who do not have full command of their language in learning it.
  2. Document the lexical wealth of the endangered Tariana language.
  3. Provide those who are interested in Indian languages and cultures with an additional source on the Tariana language and lexicon.

The materials for the present dictionary were collected by the author, Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald, during fieldwork between 1991 and 2000, in collaboration with the following consultants: Cândido Brito, Leonardo Brito, Ismael Brito, Olívia Brito, Graciliano Sanchez Brito, Jovino Brito, José Luiz Sanchez Brito and Rafael da Silva Brito.

The Dictionary consists of three parts. Part 1 contains approximately 3,000 lexical entries organized by semantic fields (with Portuguese translations) and has ample textual examples for each entry and each meaning. Part 2 is a Tariana-Portuguese alphabetical dictionary, and Part 3 is a Portuguese-Tariana alphabetical dictionary. Part 2 and Part 3 contain cross-references to Part 1.

The Dictionary also includes a short introduction to the Tariana language and a description of its pronunciation. A short bibliography contains a list of main publications on Tariana language and culture.

To acquire this publication from the Museu Goeldi, please contact the Departamento de Documentação e Informação:
Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi
Departamento de Documentação e Informação (DOC)
Caixa Postal 399. Av. Perimetral 1901, cep 66077-530
Belém - Pará - Brasil or Phone/Fax: 55-91-2741811

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Australian languages (Dixon)

Australian languages, their nature and development by R.M.W. Dixon. Forthcoming (to be published in November in UK, in New Year in Australia). Cambridge language surveys Hardback £70 in UK, $199.00 in Australia

Aboriginal people have been in Australia for at least 40,000 years, speaking about 250 languages. Through examination of published and unpublished materials on each of the individual languages, Dixon surveys the ways in which the languages vary typologically and presents a profile of this long-established linguistic area. The areal distribution of most features is illustrated with more than 30 maps, showing that the languages tend to move in cyclic fashion with respect to many of the parameters. There is also an index of languages and language groups.

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Jobs, grants and scholarship possibilities

Position in Wales

Department of Linguistics, University of Wales, Bangor

Applications are invited for a Senior Lectureship in Linguistics, tenable from 1st February 2003 or as soon as possible thereafter. The person appointed will be principally required to teach our established and very popular undergraduate modules in Applied Linguistics and English Language Teaching and to take responsibility for the Bangor Certificate in Teaching English as a Foreign Language. The person appointed will also play a key role in the development of postgraduate courses in Applied Linguistics and TEFL.

Applicants should have a PhD or equivalent, extensive TEFL experience, a strong research record and proven excellence in teaching at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

The appointment will be within the point range 20 - 23 of the Senior Lecturer Scale.

Application forms and further particulars can be obtained from Personnel Services, University of Wales, Bangor, Gwynedd, LL57 2DG. Tel. (01248) 382926/388132. Email:

Informal enquiries can be made by contacting Professor Jenny Thomas, Linguistics Department, University of Wales, Bangor, Gwynedd, LL57 2DG. Tel. (01248) 382270. Email:

Please quote reference number 02-2/73 when applying.

Closing date for applications: Friday 22nd November 2002

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Two positions at UNE

Linguistics UNE is pleased to call for applications for the following two positions. Note that job ad numbers and closing date details were not available as this issue went to press. Potential applicants will find these positions advertised in The Australian on November 20th (or soon after). Details will also appear on UNE's Employment Opportunities site ( over the next week or two.

The closing date for the two positions is yet to be announced. An application package must be obtained from or by phoning Personnel Services, (02) 6773 2024. Applications will be received up to 5pm on the closing date.

Lecturer in linguistics

Position No: to be announced

The School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics is offering a continuing appointment in Linguistics at Lecturer level B.

The appointee will be involved in undergraduate and graduate teaching in general and applied linguistics, and in the supervision of postgraduate students. The appointee will also carry out online development duties and administrative jobs in addition to their teaching and research.

The successful applicant will have a PhD in Linguistics, experience in online teaching and online/multimedia curriculum development, demonstrated ability to teach a variety of UNE's linguistics units, and a strong research profile in an area compatible with our undergraduate teaching program.

The successful candidate will be expected to take up duties in July 2003.

Informal enquiries may be directed to Dr Nicholas Reid, Convenor of Linguistics, telephone (02) 6773 3400, email Further information about Linguistics at UNE can be found at

Associate lecturer in linguistics (half-time, fixed-term)

Position No 202/to be announced

The successful applicant will teach undergraduate units in general descriptive linguistics, semantics, and cross-cultural communication, with support and direction from other staff in Linguistics. Both on-campus and distance education (including online) teaching are involved.

The minimum qualification is an Honours degree in Linguistics, or equivalent qualifications and/or experience. Previous teaching experience is desirable. The position would suit someone enrolled in higher degree study.

This position is to provide teaching relief for a staff member so that he can devote time to an ARC Discovery project. It is available for 18 months (with a possibility of an extension of time or a higher fraction of appointment, subject to funding).

Informal enquiries may be directed to Associate Professor Cliff Goddard, telephone (02) 6773 3309, email Further information about Linguistics at UNE can be found at

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Conferences and workshops

Speech Science and Technology Conference

The 9th Australian Speech Science and Technology Conference, (SST-2002 Melbourne), will be held at The University of Melbourne from 3 December to 5 December 2002, with a Tutorial Day on 2 December 2002.

Conference website:

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Morphology and Language Typology (MMM4, 2003)

Call for papers: MMM4, Morphology and Language Typology - Catania (Sicily, Italy), September 21-23, 2003

Geert Booij (University of Amsterdam)
Angeliki Ralli (University of Patras)
Sergio Scalise (University of Bologna)
Salvatore Sgroi (Local organizer, University of Catania)


  • Which of the Greenberg universals on morphology have stood the test of time, and in which ways do they have to be corrected?
  • Which new typological universals might be proposed for the domain of morphology?
  • How can we explain morphological universals and typological patterns? (potential factors are language change, grammaticalization, language processing, semantics, etc.)
  • What is the relation between syntactic and morphological typological generalizations? (for instance, is there a relation between the position of the head in phrases and that in compounds?)
  • Which role should morphology play in language typology in general? Does the traditional morphological classification of languages (isolating, agglutinative, synthetic, polysynthetic, etc) still make sense?
  • Does the distinction between languages with word-based morphology versus those with stem-based morphology, and that of word-based versus morpheme-based morphology makes sense?
  • Is there a prefix-suffix asymmetry from a typological point of view, and if so, what is he explanation for that?
  • To which extent are the implicational hierarchies of morphological typology reflected by patterns of first and second language acquisition, by patterns of language contact and codeswitching, and by patterns of language change?


  • End of March 2003: one page abstract
  • May 10: notification of the accepted abstracts
  • May 30: Definitive program
  • Sept. 21-23: Meeting

Abstracts cannot exceed one page (normal size, including bibliography, if any) and should be sent to Sergio Scalise ( AND to Salvatore Sgroi ( The abstract page should contain ONLY the title and the text. Your name, affiliation, telephon and fax number, e-mail address and 'terrestrian' address have to be in a separate page of the same attachment. Please, name your attachment in the following way: M4YOURNAME.

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Australian Placenames Colloquium

Australian placenames: An interdisciplinary colloquium

A one-day colloquium on Australian placenames of Indigenous origin, sponsored by the Australian National Placenames Survey and Pandanus Books, will be held in Canberra on Thursday 5 December, 2002.

The centrepiece of the day will be the launch of The Land is a Map, edited by Luise Hercus, Flavia Hodges and Jane Simpson (Pandanus Books, 2002). This is a landmark publication in the field of Australian placename research, and most of the papers in it were originally presented at previous colloquia in the series (Canberra 1999 and Adelaide 2000).

The program is as follows:

9.30Luise Hercus, ANUA landscape almost forgotten: examples from near Lake Eyre
10.00Penny Lee (UWA), Bob Howard & Brian Goodchild (WA Geographic Names Committee)Indigenous and pseudo-Indigenous names proposed for the Albany-Denmark line: some preliminary observations
11.00Harold Koch, ANUPlacenames of Indigenous origin in the ACT and south-eastern NSW
11.30Bill Arthur, ANUIndigenous-derived placenames: mapping and the gazetteer
12.00Launch of The Land is a Map by Prof. Francesca Merlan, ANU, followed by a light lunch courtesy of Pandanus Books
2.00Keith Bell, Surveyor General of VictoriaCurrent Indigenous naming issues in Victoria
2.30Paul Harcombe, Chief Surveyor of NSWCurrent Indigenous naming issues in NSW
3.30Open discussion of Indigenous naming issues in Australasia

The presentations and discussion will take place in Seminar Room A, Coombs Building, ANU; the launch and lunch in the adjoining courtyard (or tea room in the event of rain).

Anyone who hasn't yet indicated their interest in attending should do so to ANPS Research Associate Susan Poetsch ( as soon as possible.

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Australex Biennial Meeting

AUSTRALEX, the Australasian Association for Lexicography postponed biennial general meeting will be held at ANU, Canberra, on Friday 6 December, 2002. The website is:

The draft program is as follows:

10.00David Blair, Macquarie University (President)Towards a standard terminology of geographic features
10.30Bruce Moore, ANDC (Vice-President/President Elect)Evidence for the development of Australian English in the reports of 19th-century school inspectors
11.30Business meeting and election of officers 2002-04
1.30Amanda Laugesen, ANDCAustralian First World War slang and the developmentof the Australian lexicon
2.00Judith Robertson, ANDCThe lexicographical detective
3.00Andrew Pawley, ANUOn making dictionary entries for conventional 'speechact' expressions

Everyone interested in attending is invited to send their contact details (name, position and institution if applicable, postal address, phone number, and email address) to AUSTRALEX secretary Flavia Hodges, (snailmail: Department of English, Macquarie University, NSW 2109).

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About ALS


  • 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 fourth issue for 2002. The next issue (03/1) will come out in mid February 2003. Copy will be due on the first Monday in February. 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; 22/2 is out soon! 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.