Newsletter November 2004

ALS Newsletter November 2004

ALS 04/4, November 2004


News and information

News from the RCLT, La Trobe

Some news from the Research Centre for Linguistic Typology, La Trobe University, Melbourne.

Books published

Adjective classes: A cross-linguistic typology, edited by R.M.W. Dixon and A. Y. Aikhenvald, Oxford University Press, 2004. (Explorations in Linguistic Typology, vol. 1). xxii, 370pp.

Based on presentations at RCLT's 2002 International Workshop, a typological introduction followed by chapters on Japanese, Manange, Tariana, Mama, Papantla Totonac, Jarawara, Russian, Korean, Wolof, North-East Ambae, Semelai, Qiang and Lao.

Nominal classification, edited by Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald, special issue of STUF – Sprachtypologie und Universalienforschung/Language Typology and Universals, 57-2/3, pp.105-329.

The volume on noun classes and classifiers, with a typological overview and contributions on Lao, Chimila, Siouan, Miraña, Salish, Papantla Totonac and Nivkh.

The Jarawara language from southern Amazonia, by R.M.W. Dixon. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Xiii, 636pp.

A detailed description and analysis of this dauntingly complex language from Brazil based on field research over a 12 year period deep in the Amazonian jungle. Striking features include a small adjective class with just 14 members, evidentials in past tense, four imperatives, eight distinct varieties of subordinate clauses, and feminine as the unmarked gender.

Evidentiality, by Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 416pp.

Evidentiality is one of the most fascinating categories of human languages. In a number of languages, scattered across the world, every statement must contain a specification of the type of evidence on which it is based – whether the speaker saw it, or heard it, or inferred it from indirect evidence, or learnt it from someone else. This is the first comprehensive survey of evidentiality, cross-linguistically.

Fieldwork by members of the Centre

  • Stefan Dienst: fieldwork in Brazil on Kulina and Katukina
  • Rebecca Hanson: fieldwork in Peru on Yine (Piro)
  • Sheena Van Der Mark: fieldwork in East New Britain, Papua New Guinea, on Vinitirri
  • Dr David Fleck: fieldwork in Peru and Brazil on Matses and Marubo
  • Dr Knut Olawsky: fieldwork in Peru on Urarina
  • Professor Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald: fieldwork in the Sepik district of Papua New Guinea on Manambu and Gala (Ngala)

For further information on RCLT, please visit our website at

Back to News Back to Contents

News from Linguistics, RSPAS, ANU

On 10 September 2004, Darrell Tryon was awarded France's highest decoration, 'Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur'. The award was presented by the French Ambassador at a ceremony held in Canberra at the French Embassy. It was conferred for Darrell's years of devotion to the service of French language and culture, especially in New Caledonia and in the countries of the region and for his constant efforts in fostering bilateral relations between Australia and France.

Congratulations are extended to Apoi Yarapea, Roberta Ruffolo, and Anna Chang, who have completed and submitted their PhD theses. Apoi worked on Kewapi, a Papuan language, focussing on aspects of Kewapi discourse. Roberta worked on a grammar of Ibaloy, an Austronesian language of the northern Philippine. Anna worked on a grammar of Paiwan, an aboriginal Austronesian language of Taiwan.

Bethwyn Evans has been awarded a 3-year Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Manchester, starting December 2004. Her project there will examine a number of linguistic features of the Northwest Solomonic languages from an historical perspective and attempt to use historical linguistics to gain insights into the social prehistory of the region.

The CRLC seminar series (every Friday at 11.00, Seminar Room C, Coombs building) already started in mid-October 2004. The seminars will run until 20th December. The CRLC web site is at

Back to News Back to Contents

News from the University of Sydney

Ingrid Piller will be on a leave of absence until 2007 to take up the newly-established Chair of English Sociolinguistics and the Sociology of English as a Global Language at the University of Basle in Switzerland.

We welcome Dr Ahmar Mahboob, who joins us from East Carolina University. Ahmar earned his PhD at Indiana University, Bloomington, in 2003. The title of his dissertation was: 'Status of nonnative English speakers as ESL teachers in the United States'. Ahmar has worked in the areas of language policy development, pidgin and creole languages, English language acquisition, English language teaching and learning in Pakistan, and issues surrounding minority languages in South Asia. Ahmar is the Past President of Indiana TESOL and the current Chair of the NNEST Caucus in TESOL International. He has received a number of research grants including the prestigious TIRF Grant.

New thesis: Jackie Chang, Ideologies of English teaching and learning in Taiwan. Supervisor: Ingrid Piller. Contact: Jackie Chang

Abstract: This study is motivated by a critical need to engage in socio-linguistic analysis, within the field of English language teaching (ELT) and second language acquisition (SLA) in English-as-a-Foreign-Language (EFL) countries. The ideologies alluded to in my title are: 'English-as-the-global-language'; 'the-ideal-English-teacher'; 'the-ideal- English-teaching-methodology'; 'American-English-as-standard-English'; and 'the- younger-the-better'. The methodology used in this research is Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA). I am employing this methodology to investigate language school promotional materials that may, at first cursory examination, seem mundane and even ideologically naive, but which in fact convey these very concepts. Source material is drawn from a corpus of advertising materials for private language schools in Taiwan specifically: school fliers, websites, television commercials and television English teaching programs. They all deal with English teaching and learning. The premises of English language teaching and learning in Taiwan are based on the assumption that English language mastery is the key to achieving a better life and future for the aspiring individual, particularly in the context of globalization. However, the study reveals that English teaching and learning has, in fact, resulted in wide spread social, cultural, educational, and linguistic inequalities in contemporary Taiwanese society. A search for the reasons and possible ramifications of these disparities would appear to be more than justifiable, on both pedagogical and humanitarian grounds.

Back to News Back to Contents

News from Linguistics, Arts, ANU

Phil Rose was recently appointed British Academy Visiting Professor at the Joseph Bell Centre for Forensic Statistics and Legal Reasoning, University of Edinburgh; and also appointed as Chairman of The Forensic Speech Science Committee of the Australian Speech Science and Technology Association which is responsible for exploring Forensic Speaker Identification Standards,and other Forensic Phonetic matters, on behalf of the Association.

The November edition of the CRLC Newsletter is now available at

On October 22, 2004, Anna Wierzbicka was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Marie Curie-Sklodowska University in Lublin, Poland (and gave a keynote lecture at a conference organized in honour of this occasion).

On November 8 and 9, a Symposium was held at Curtin University on 'Translating Lives: Australian Stories of Language Migration'. It was organized by Mary Besemeres of Curtin University and Anna Wierzbicka of the ANU. Six people from the ANU presented papers: Briji Lal, Anna Gladkova, Anna Wierzbicka, Jock Wong, Zhengdao Ye, and Kyung-Joo Yoon. Other participants included Mengistu Amberber from the University of NSW (formerly, ANU).

Back to News Back to Contents

News from La Trobe Linguistics

The Linguistics Program welcomes Dr Marija Tabain from Macquarie University (MARCS Auditory Laboratories) and the University of Western Sydney. Marija, who is a specialist in both acoustic and articulatory phonetics, including electropalatography, will take up the new lectureship in our Program early next year.

Alec Coupe, our ARC Postdoctoral Fellow, will present a seminar in the Linguistics Dept of Delhi University in November, then will give a paper at the Xth Himalayan Languages Symposium, in Thimphu, Bhutan in early December. This will be followed by four months of fieldwork in Nagaland on Tibeto-Burman languages.

Several of our PhD students are presenting papers at the postgraduate conference being held in the Dept of Linguistics and Applied Linguistics at the University of Melbourne this month, including Susan Douglas, Keiko Hata, Usitara Juntawieng and Jo Taylor.

Tonya Stebbins has received a publications grant from La Trobe University to produce a story collection in the Mali language (PNG).

The Linguistics Program would also like to thank Dr Ian Langford, Dr Tonya Stebbins and Dr Tania Strahan not to mention our Dean, Prof. Roger Wales, for their sterling performances and contribution to teaching and supervision over the last two years during a period of staff shortages and a certain degree of instability.

Hilary Chappell has accepted a full-time research position at professorial level at the National Center for Scientific Research in Paris from early 2005, initially for two years. She has recently been promoted to Assoc. Professor/Reader at La Trobe University.

Randy LaPolla, our new professor, will take over from Hilary Chappell as the Program Coordinator for Linguistics from mid-December 2004 for the next two years.

Back to News Back to Contents

Review of ethics clearance procedures

Jane Simpson would like to alert all linguists working with speakers to a review of ethics clearance procedures. Much of our work is subject to ethics clearance requirements - from fieldwork in the Solomons to anonymous questionnaires handed out by students to their friends. This requirement is based on the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Research Involving Humans (1999). There is a review of this statement underway by the Australian Health Ethics Committee (AHEC)

If your research, or that of your students, has been compromised by the interpretations of this statement by University Ethics Committees, NOW is your chance. You can make a submission to AHEC, suggesting ways of improving the procedure. Some social scientists including Robert Cribb and Mary Edmunds have drafted a submission which is available at:

You can send your own submission to: or to:
Health Ethics Section
GPO Box 9848

Or you can e-mail Robert Cribb adding your support for their submission. He will need your name, discipline and affiliation for adding your name to the list of signatories.

Please do so soon, because AHEC would like to have a draft ready to circulate by Christmas.

Back to News Back to Contents

Books and theses

PhD thesis (Dyson)

Bronwen Dyson. Developmental style in second language processing: A study of inter-learner variation in the acquisition of English as a second language. PhD thesis, University of Western Sydney. Supervisors: Stuart Campbell and Jane Simpson

Abstract: Research into how learners acquire second languages (Meisel, Clahsen and Pienemann, 1981; Clahsen, Meisel and Pienemann, 1983; Pienemann, 1998) has established that there are developmental stages but has not ascertained the nature of variation within these stages. On the basis of a longitudinal study of six English as Second Language (ESL) learners from a variety of language backgrounds, this thesis investigates the proposals which have been made about variation in stages, focusing on Pienemann's (1998) hypothesis in Processability Theory (PT) that variation can be described in terms of the options of omission, violation and avoidance. My findings indicate that these options and the earlier variational features (Meisel et al., 1981) are not satisfactory since they are based on the theoretical construct of simplification, they do not reliably predict variation and they exclude important aspects of variation. To enable the prediction of variation, this thesis proposes and finds evidence for a new approach termed developmental style according to which learners range from lexical to grammatical based on their use of grammatical morphology. In order to explain this pattern of variation, the thesis suggests a reconceptualisation of the ESL stages by drawing on two accounts of incremental second language development - Pienemann's (1998) from the perspective of speech processing and Hawkin's (2001) from that of Universal Grammar.

Contact Bronwen Dyson,, bronwen,

Back to Books Back to Contents

CD with phonetics/psycholinguistics demos

Helen Franser has recently upgraded her CD 'Teaching Pronunciation' to work on Mac 9/10 and Windows XP, and it is now available through her, address in the link below.

Although the CD is aimed at language teachers, it could also be useful to people teaching elementary phonetics/phonology, as it has quite a few 'amazing but true' demos of speech. For example, a gating demo showing that speech is not a sequence of phonemes, and segmentation demos showing that 'spat' without 's' sounds like 'bat', and that putting together 'c', 'a', and 't' does not make 'cat'.

Details of its contents and availability are at

Back to Books Back to Contents

Books available for review

The following is a list of publications relating to the study of language, received by the Reviews Editor. 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 in the Australian Journal of Linguistics. Reviews are printed as circumstances permit, and copies are sent to the publishers of the works reviewed. If you wish to review a book, please contact the Reviews Editor, Alan Libert (

  • Aronoff, M. and K. Fudeman (2005) What is Morphology? Blackwell, Oxford.
  • Bauman, R. (2004) A World of Others' Words. Blackwell, Oxford.
  • Bloor, T. and M. Bloor (2004) The Functional Analysis of English (2nd edition). Hodder Arnold, London.
  • Crystal, D. (2004) The Language Revolution. Polity Press, Cambridge.
  • Davies, W. D. and S. Dubinsky (2004) The Grammar of Raising and Control. Blackwell, Oxford.
  • Edwards, V. (2004) Multilingualism in the English-speaking World. Blackwell, Oxford.
  • Field, J. (2004) Psycholinguistics: The Key Concepts. Routledge, London.
  • Fulk, R. D. and C. M. Cain (2003) A History of Old English Literature. Blackwell, Oxford.
  • Hlavac, J. (2003) Second-generation Speech: Lexicon, Code-switching and Morpho-syntax of Croatian-English Bilinguals. Peter Lang, Bern.
  • Kiesling, S. F. and C. B. Paulston, eds. (2004) Intercultural Discourse and Communication: The Essential Readings. Blackwell, Oxford.
  • Klapproth, D. M. (2004) Narrative as Social Practice: Anglo-Western and Australian Aboriginal Oral Traditions. Mouton de Gruyter, Berlin.
  • Lefebvre, C. (2004) Issues in the Study of Pidgin and Creole Languages. John Benjamins, Amsterdam.
  • Leitner, G. (2004) Australia's Many Voices: Australian English - The National Language. Mouton de Gruyter, Berlin.
  • Lucy, N. (2004) A Derrida Dictionary. Blackwell, Oxford.
  • Ono, K. (2004) Fuzziness and Japanese Grammar. Chunichi Publishing Co., Nagoya.
  • Paulston, C. B. and G. R. Tucker (2003) Sociolinguistics: The Essential Readings. Blackwell, Oxford.
  • Rogers, H. (2004) Writing Systems: A Linguistic Approach. Blackwell, Oxford.
  • Scollon, R. and S. W. Scollon (2004) Nexus Analysis: Discourse and the Emerging Internet. Routledge, London.
  • Teschner, R. V. and M. S. Whiteley (2004) Pronouncing English: A Stress-Based Approach with CD-ROM. Georgetown University Press, Washington, DC.
  • Wardhaugh, R. (2003) Understanding English Grammar: A Linguistic Approach. Blackwell, Oxford.
  • Woods, A. (2004) Medium or Message? Language and Faith in Ethnic Churches. Multilingual Matters, Clevedon.

Back to Books Back to Contents

Conferences and workshops

Linguistic Society of America 2005 Summer Institute

The Linguistic Society of America Summer Institute in 2005 is to be held at Harvard and MIT,

Some fellowships are available on a competitive basis to those who have not completed their professional training. To be eligible for fellowships, participants must be LSA members and must register for six weeks for at least eight credits. Applicants in currency-restricted countries who are unable to remit dues should e-mail the LSA Secretariat at Deadline for applications: February 11, 2005.

Students may register on-line for the 2005 LSA Institute. To do so, they have to go to 'participant registration' on A paper application is available but we encourage the on-line route whenever it is possible.

Individuals who are not students ('affiliates') should visit From there it is possible to print the affiliate registration form which should be mailed to the LSA directly (specific directions are on the form).

Once they are registered, affiliates will receive an e-mail confirmation with instructions on how to update their course selections and register for special lectures/events via the Institute's on-line registration system. Fees for special events must be sent to MIT.

Back to Conferences Back to Contents

2005 Annual Conference of the ALS

The Society's 2005 Annual Conference will be held in Melbourne at Monash University (City Campus - 30 Collins Street). It will be held during the common week in September together with ALAA. The Applied Linguistics conference will be opening their conference (at Melbourne University) probably on the evening of Sunday 26th September. We will be having a joint plenary on the Tuesday evening (27th September) and there'll be a common day on the Wednesday. An announcement for abstracts will be sent out in the future (deadline probably in May, but yet to be confirmed).

Back to Conferences Back to Contents

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 Heather Bowe (Monash)
Rachel Nordlinger (Melbourne)
Ingrid Piller
Secretary John Henderson (UWA)
Treasurer Doug Absalom (Newcastle)
Journal Editors Toni Borowsky (Sydney)
Mark Harvey (Newcastle)
(Reviews) Alan Libert (Newcastle)
Newsletter Editor Tim Curnow
Postgrad Student Rep Alice Gaby

Next newsletter

The ALS Newsletter is published four times per year. This is the fourth issue for 2004. The next issue (05/1) will come out in mid February 2004. 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 on

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 was 24/1. 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.

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.