Newsletter May 2008

Welcome to the latest Newsletter of the Australian Linguistic Society. As usual, the @ symbol in people's email addresses has been replaced with -at-, and clicking on any link will open that site in a new window.

The ALS website is now being commercially hosted (rather than just on Geocities), so the domain name is now the 'true' domain name, rather than just a redirection. Anyone who was using the 'underlying' addresses for any links to parts of the ALS site will now have a problem, since they're not there any more. On the plus side, the website should now be viewable in countries where redirection is not permitted.

Tim Curnow

Lingfest 2008 (including ALS2008)

Earlybird registration for the conferences of LingFest closes on 1 June, 2008. (You can register after that date - it just costs more!)

  • Austronesian Formal Linguistics Association (AFLA XV) Annual Conference, June 30 - July 2
  • Applied Linguistics Association of Australia (ALAA), July 4-6
  • Australian Linguistic Society (ALS), July 2-4
  • International Lexical-Functional Grammar (LFG) Annual Conference, July 4-6
  • Australian Linguistics Institute (ALI) 2008, July 7-11
  • Indigenous Languages Institute (ILI), July 8-10
There will be workshops on Second Language Acquisition, Instrumentals, Interactional sociolinguistics, and Japanese, as well as the 2nd Sydney Papuanists' Workshop (see conferences section below for details of this last).

Check out the portal website for updates and details on LingFest08.

There are an exciting range of courses available in the Australian Linguistics Institute:

  1. Additional Language Learning and Identity Development - Dr. William S. Armour (UNSW)
  2. Bi- and Multilingualism - Michael Clyne (Hon Professorial Fellow, University of Melbourne, also Emeritus Professor, Monash University)
  3. Features - Greville G. Corbett (University of Surrey, UK)
  4. First Language Acquisition: Syntax and Semantics - Stephen Crain (MACCS) and Rosalind Thornton (Linguistics/MACCS)
  5. Listening to Speech: Universal Processing Shaped by Language-Specific Structure - Anne Cutler (MPI for Psycholinguistics and University of Western Sydney)
  6. Implemented LFG grammars: Using the XLE Grammar Development Platform - Mary Dalrymple (Professor of Linguistics, University of Oxford)
  7. Sign Language Linguistics and Grammaticalisation - Louise de Beuzeville and Trevor Johnston (Sign Language Linguistics Group Macquarie University)
  8. Grammars, Parsers and Realisers - Mark Dras, Robert Dale Centre for Language Technology, Macquarie University)
  9. Sociolinguistics and the law - Diana Eades (University of New England)
  10. Complex words and Complex predicates - Mark Harvey (Newcastle) and Brett Baker (UNE)
  11. Sociophonetics - Jennifer Hay (University of Canterbury)
  12. Encoding the speaker's perspective in grammar: A case study of Japanese - Nerida Jarkey, University of Sydney, and Harumi Minagawa, University of Auckland.
  13. Introducing Feminist Conversation Analysis - Celia Kitzinger (Feminist Conversation Analysis Unit University of York, UK)
  14. Linguistic diversity and implications for L2 instruction: World Englishes and beyond - Ryuko Kubota (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) and Ahmar Mahboob (University of Sydney)
  15. Critical Discourse Analysis - J R Martin, Linguistics, University of Sydney
  16. Australian Aboriginal Languages in Lexical-Functional Grammar - Rachel Nordlinger (University of Melbourne)
  17. Multimodal InterAction Analysis - Sigrid Norris (Auckland University of Technology, NZ)
  18. Language and Cultural Values - Dr Bert Peeters, (Macquarie University), Prof Cliff Goddard, (University of New England, Armidale); Prof Anna Wierzbicka, (Australian National University, Canberra).
  19. Language Test Development: From Test Specifications to Test Use - Aek Phakiti, (The University of Sydney)
  20. Quantitative Methods - Carsten Roever, (The University of Melbourne)
  21. Contact language typology - Ian Smith (York University)
  22. Interface Issues in English - Gert Webelhuth and Regine Eckhardt (University of Goettingen)

Jane Simpson

Australian Computational and Linguistic Olympiad

The Australian Computational and Linguistics Olympiad (OzCLO) is a linguistics competition aimed at high school students from years 9 to 12. The state rounds will be held at University of Sydney, and University of Melbourne on the afternoon of June 25th 2008, with the national round to be held (in each location) on August 6th 2008. OzCLO will consist of teams of up to three students.

Target student population: The program is designed for students from years 9 to 12. Any secondary school student who enjoys the sample problems on the web site is a potential contestant. High School students don't typically know what linguistics and computational linguistics are, so they probably won't know if they are interested until they try the problems. However, students who like languages, maths, computers, and the natural sciences are most likely to be interested in this competition.

Information sessions: Information sessions for students and teachers who are interested in the competition will be held at each location. At these sessions we will explain the details of the competition, introduce the fields of linguistics, computational linguistics, and language technology, and give tips for solving sample problems.

Sydney: Wednesday 11th June, 4:00-6:00pm at University of Sydney
Contact Elwin Cross (

Melbourne: Wednesday 4th June, 4:00-6:00pm at University of Melbourne
Contact Saya Ike (

Competition Format: The State round on June 25th 2008 will be a two and a half hour session, and the successful competitors will go to the National Round, which will also be held in Sydney and Melbourne on August 6th 2008. Although this is a team competition format, individual students are also encouraged to join. They will not be disadvantaged in any way.

Registration: Registration in the competition is free. The registration form can be downloaded from the website The participating students will be contacted through a nominated teacher to protect their privacy.

The competition is being sponsored by HCSNet, the Universities of Sydney and Melbourne, Macquarie University, the Australasian Language Technology Association, and the Australian Linguistic Society.

Jane Simpson

FEL Grant

Congratulations to ALS member John Hobson for receiving one of this year's grant awards from the Foundation for Endangered Languages. He receives the grant for work on Banjalang (Northern Rivers district, NSW, Australia), in order:

  1. To conduct an Australian demonstration trial of the Master-Apprentice method in the revitalisation of an endangered language that will inform the development of policy and practice at state and national levels.
  2. To provide qualified and experienced indigenous language teachers with an opportunity to acquire sufficient fluency in their ancestral language to permit them to transmit it to students in contemporary classroom settings.
  3. To evidence to Banjalang communities that adult intergenerational transmission of their language is possible.
  4. To produce and disseminate recordings of Banjalang dialogue.
  5. To stimulate the increased use of spoken Banjalang in a broad range of contexts.
  6. To foster awareness of Banjalang and the need and potential for its revitalisation.

Michael Walsh

News from the RCLT

Professor Alexandra Aikhenvald has been accorded the rare honour of election to be an Honorary Member of the Linguistic Society of America. The number of LSA Honorary members is limited to 60, and they are spread over 25 nations. Only scholars of particular international distinction are accorded this rare honour. Professor Aikhenvald is one of the youngest linguists ever to be recoginized in this way.


Professor Jackson Sun, of the Institute of Linguistics, Academia Sinica, a major expert on Tibeto-Burman languages, is currently a Visiting Fellow at RCLT, until 31 May 2008. He is working on a grammar of Caodeng rGyalrong, a morphologically complex Tibeto-Burman language of north-western Sichuan.

Professor Dr. Willem F. H. Adelaar, Professor of Native American Languages and Cultures at the University of Leiden, a leading expert in South American languages, is currently a Visiting Fellow at RCLT until 31 May 2008. He is working on the typological characteristics of the Andean languages and their genetic relationships.

Professor Masayoshi Shibatani, Chair of Department of Linguistics at Rice University (USA), will be a Visiting Fellow at RCLT from September 2008 - February 2009. He will be here as a Distinguished Fellow of the Institute for Advanced Study.


Roberto Zariquiey Biondi, a PhD student at RCLT, is undertaking fieldwork on Cashibo-Cacataibo (Panoan) in Peru, October 2007 - June 2008.

Friedel Frowein, a PhD student at RCLT, is undertaking fieldwork on Siar-Lak, an Austronesian language of New Ireland, Papua New Guinea, May 2008 - July 2008.

Dr Cynthia Schneider, an RCLT Postdoctoral Research Fellow, is undertaking fieldwork on Kairak, a Baining language from East New Brittain, Papua New Guinea, February 2008 - September 2008.

Dr Frantisek Kratochvil, an LTU Postdoctoral Research Fellow, is undertaking fieldwork on Sawila, a Papual language of East Indonesia, March 2008 - July 2008.

Dr Mark Post, an RCLT Postdoctoral Research Fellow, will undertake fieldwork on the Eastern Tani Languages of Arunachal Pradesh and Assam, North East India, June 2008 - December 2008.

Siew-Peng Condon


The structure of the Pass and Honours Courses at Monash University, from issue 3 of the Newsletter, in October 1973

At the time, the staff of the Linguistics Department at Monash were: Professor G. Hammarström (Chairman), Associate Professor J. Platt (Deputy Chairman), Mr B. Blake (Senior Lecturer), Mr B Jernudd (Senior Lecturer), Mr P. Paul (Lecturer), Mr N. Chadwick (Senior Teaching Fellow), Mrs E. Thuan (Teaching Fellow), Mrs E. Dines. There were also staff in many of the languages with at least some interests in linguistics, including in French (Dr N. Marcovescu, Dr T. Quinn), in German (Associate Professor M. Clyne, Dr H. Platt, Mr J. Newman, Mr P. Hiscock), in Indonesian (Mr L.F. Brakel), in Japanese (Professor J. Neustupný), in Russian (Professor J. Marvan) and in Spanish (Professor R. Keightley, Mr B.D. Steele).

"First year
  • Unit 1: General introduction into the structure of language, language change and sociolinguistics.
  • Unit 2: Generative-transformational approaches to the structure of English.
Second year: 4 units are available of which Pass students must take at least 2.
  • Unit 1: Syntax
  • Unit 2: Introduction to phological theories and a survey of sociolinguistic topics (examples from Australian speech communities).
  • Units 3 and 4: give linguistic foundations for teachers or future teachers of TEFL/TESL and Foreign Languages respectively.
  • Honours Seminar: Structural and Traditional Linguistics are compared to GT-grammar.
Third year: 6 units are avaialble of which Pass students must choose at least 3. (There are some prerequisites).
  • Unit 1: Critical survey of major theories of syntax.
  • Unit 2: I. Phonetics (using informants of an unfamiliar language) / II. Generative Phonology
  • Unit 3: Sociolinguistics (description and understanding of language variations)
  • Unit 4: I. Survey of Aboriginal languages of Australia / II. Study course of Pitjantjatjara.
  • Unit 5: History of Linguistics (especially 19th and 20th centuries)
  • Unit 6: Language Change and Language Typology.
  • Honours Seminar: Problems of Semantics.
Fourth year: Apart from the minor thesis, there are 3 compulsory units dealing with Sociolinguistics, Generative Semantics and Speech Acts, and Phonology respectively."

Tim Curnow

News from Macquarie Uni

The Centre for Language Sciences is one of the seven new COREs (Concentrations of Research Excellence) that were announced 13th May 2008 by Jim Piper, the DVC Research, Macquarie University. Led by Professor Stephen Crain, the Centre for Language Sciences focuses on experimental and computational research in linguistics, psycholinguistics, lexicography, audiology and speech science, as well as related research interests from MACCS, ELS and Humanities. It aims to foster interdisciplinary linguistic research with both theoretical and empirical goals, targeting both human and computer acquisition of language, and the languages of Europe as well as Asia.

We have made a new appointment in the Applied Linguistics area, filling the vacancy created with the retirement of Associate Professor Geoff Brindley at the end of last year. Associate Professor Mehdi Riazi has now accepted the position and will be joining us as soon as his visa is organised. Two of his primary areas of expertise are language assessment and quantitative research methodology.

Verna Rieschild

News from UNE

The University of New England provides scholarships, called 'UNERA's, for PhDs which have the same value as the APA scholarship. The University has more of these scholarships than it has top-level candidates to give them to. If you have a first class Honours degree, we can 'virtually' guarantee you a 3 year PhD scholarship. UNE staff have expertise in the following areas of research: language description, semantics, multilingualism, language acquisition (especially second language learning), language contact, pidgins and creoles, phonology, phonetics, morphology, syntax, and formal models of grammar. However, we are happy to consider applications in any field of general, applied or socio-linguistics.

Dennis Alexander graduated on April 4th with a PhD entitled 'Literal, figurative, metaphorical: A semantic inquiry into the semantic field of game and play in English.'

Book publications: Brett Baker's book Word structure in Ngalakgan has just been published by CSLI (distributed by UChicago Press). Cliff Goddard's edited volume Cross-linguistic semantics has been published by John Benjamins. Jeff Siegel's The emergence of pidgin and creole languages, published by Oxford, has recently appeared. And the two volume set Mental states, edited by Andrea Schalley and Drew Khlentzos, and published by John Benjamins, appeared in December.

Staff movements: Sadly, two of our staff are moving on. Karen Woodman, who played a valuable role building up our online MA in Applied Linguistics, has taken a position at QUT in the Faculty of Education. And Andrea Schalley, ARC Postdoctoral Fellow, who played a pivotal role in research efforts at UNE, will soon take up a continuing position as Lecturer in Linguistics and International English at Griffith University. We wish them both the best in their new positions.

Brett Baker

News from RSPAS, ANU

Nick Evans joined the RSPAS Department as its new professor and head last month, taking over from John Bowden.

Following hot on the heels of this appointment, we are advertising a continuing Level B position to work on Papuan languages, with applications closing late June - see Jobs section below.

The Department has also recently welcomed Ruth Spriggs, a speaker of the Bougainville language Teop, as a visiting fellow, along with Malcolm Ross who joins Darrell Tryon and Andy Pawley on our distinguished team of emeriti, and five new PhD students (shared in varying ways with the Anthropology Department):

  • Tom Honeyman, who will be working on reported speech in the Fas language of Sandaun Province, PNG
  • Stef Spronck, who will be working on reported speech and thought in Ungarinyin
  • Aung Si, who will be working on ethnobiological issues in Soliga (Dravidian, Niligiri Hills)
  • Darja Hoenigman, who will be working on language variation and social identity of the Awiakay people, East Sepik Province (PNG)
  • Piers Kelly, who will be working on the history of the Eskaya auxiliary language of Bohol, the Philippines.

We reported in this Newsletter last year that Francisca Handoko received her PhD for a study of intergenerational code-switching in Totok, Surabaya. This time round we can add a second round of congratulations: she has received the inaugural Stephen and Helen Wurm doctoral award. The recently established Wurm fund, set up from the estate of the late Professor Stephen Wurm and his wife Dr Helen Groger-Wurm, funds an annual award for the best PhD in the department on a topic related to the languages of the Pacific region. The same fund enabled us to offer a Wurm doctoral fellowship to Stef Spronck (see above).

A number of research projects are new or continuing in the Department this year:

  • Wayan Arka recently began a new ARC Discovery Project Understanding Indonesian: developing a machine-usable grammar, dictionary and corpus, with Jane Simpson (Sydney), Avery Andrews (ANU), and Mary Dalrymple (Oxford)
  • John Bowden has just returned from a brief trip to East Timor where he wrapped up work on the Waima'a documentation program which was funded by the VolkswagenStiftung and conducted in collaboration with Nikolaus Himmelmann (M´┐Żnster) and John Hajek (Melbourne). He will soon head off to West Timor to work on the documentation of Helong, an endangered language spoken in the Kupang area. This work is being done in collaboration with John Haan (PhD in Linguistics from Sydney University, 2001) from Universitas Nusa Cendana in Kupang. The work is funded by ELDP.
  • Paul Sidwell is continuing to work as a visiting fellow on the SEALang project, with funding from the US National Endowment for the Humanities and the US Department of Education.
  • Nick Evans (Linguistics) and Alan Rumsey (Anthropology) recently begun their new ARC Discovery Project 'Language and Social Cognition: the design resources of grammatical diversity', together with Barb Kelly (Melbourne), Andrea Schalley (Griffith), Nick Enfield (MPI Nijmegen) and Steve Levinson (MPI Nijmegen), with regular ANU-based meetings and initial project workshop at Kioloa.

Nick Evans


Publications received, May 2008

The following is a list of publications relating to the study of language, received by the Reviews Editor of the Australian Journal of Linguistics. 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 ( Note that many books from previous lists of publications received are still available, so you may want to look at them also. If there is a book you are interested in reviewing but it is not on the list, please contact Alan as it is possible that ALS could then obtain a review copy from the publisher.

  • Baerman, M., G. C. Corbett, D. Brown, and A. Hippisley, eds. (2007) Deponency and Morphological Mismatches. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  • Blake, B. J. (2008) All About Language. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  • Coupe, A. R. (2007) A Grammar of Mongsen Ao. Mouton de Gruyter, Berlin.
  • Donahue, M. and S. Wichman, eds. (2008) The Typology of Semantic Alignment. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  • Goddard, C., ed. (2008) Cross-Linguistic Semantics. John Benjamins, Amsterdam.
  • Hasan R., C. Matthiessen, and J. J. Webster, eds. (2005) Continuing Discourse on Language (2 volumes). Equinox, London.
  • Hay, J., M. Maclagan, and E. Gordon (2008) New Zealand English. Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh.
  • Logan, R. K. (2007) The Extended Mind: The Emergence of Language, the Human Mind, and Culture. University of Toronto Press, Toronto, ONT.
  • McCarthy, J. J. (2008) Doing Optimality Theory. Blackwell, Oxford.
  • Siegel, J. (2008) The Emergence of Pidgin and Creole Languages. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  • Spolsky, B. and F. M. Hult (2008) The Handbook of Educational Linguistics. Blackwell, Oxford.
  • Zaenen, A., et al., eds. (2007) Architecture, Rules, and Preferences: Variations on Themes by Joan W. Bresnan. CSLI Publications, Stanford, CA.
Alan Libert

Southeast Asian Linguistics Society publications

Two more volumes of proceedings of the Southeast Asian Linguistics Society are now available freely online as Pacific Linguistic electronic volumes (go to

There are now six SEALS volumes online. From 2008 the series will be reborn as JSEALS (Journal of the Southeast Asian Linguistics Society), an annual peer-reviewed journal of Southeast Asian Languages and Linguistics, not restricted to papers read at the SEALS meetings. For more information go to

SEALS XVI: Papers from the 16th meeting of the Southeast Asian Linguistics Society 2006
Edited by Paul Sidwell and Uri Tadmor
2008 ISBN 9780858835863 (pdf), PL E-6
The sixteenth annual meeting of the Southeast Asian Linguistics Society was held on 20-21 September 2006 in Jakarta, Indonesia. The meeting was jointly sponsored by the Institute of Language and Culture Studies at Atma Jaya University, and the Jakarta Field Station of the Department of Linguistics, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology (Leipzig, Germany). The program included 36 papers, of which a dozen appear in this volume. Languages discussed are: Allang, Amis, Fataluku, Javanese, K'cho, Kavalan, West Coast Bajau, Malay, Paiwan, Thai, and Vietnamese; and sub-fields including grammaticalization, pragmatics, phonetics, sociolinguistics, and syntax.

SEALS XIV: Vol 1: Papers from the 14th meeting of the Southeast Asian Linguistics Society (2004)
Edited by Wilaiwan Khanittanan and Paul Sidwell
2008 ISBN 9780858835856 (pdf), PL E-5
The Fourteenth Annual Meeting of the Southeast Asian Linguistics Society was held in Bangkok, Thailand, May 19-21, 2004. The meeting was hosted by the Department of Linguistics (Faculty of Liberal Arts) of Thammasat University, with assistance from the Commission on Higher Education. The schedule included 105 presentations and seven plenary sessions, characterized under 21 sub-fields of linguistics. In this fist volume of papers from the meeting there are 20 papers covering such diverse topics as syntax, phonology, language planning, text analysis, language teaching and historical linguistics. Languages discussed include Chamoru, Cham, Hlai, Iu-Mienh, Mandarin, Central Philippine, Malay, Thai, and Tai of Assam.

Nick Evans

Upcoming Conferences

2nd Sydney Papuanists' Workshop

The 2nd Sydney Papuanists' Workshop will be held at the University of Sydney on Saturday 28 June and Sunday 29 June 2008.

The program is up at 2nd Sydney Papuanists' Workshop program. There will be a discussion session on the Saturday afternoon on the theme 'giving back to the community' - how we can use our linguistic research to help the communities we work in by helping with vernacular literacy and such things. The discussion may very well be of interest to fieldworkers outside the Papuanist community so we invite you to come along and join in. Please let us know if you're coming to any of the conference though, we can keep track of numbers.

If you're interested in coming, please contact James McElvenny on

Jane Simpson

Jobs, grants, and scholarships

Research Fellow in Papuan Linguistics, RSPAS, ANU

ANU College of Asia and the Pacific, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Division of Society and Environment, Department of Linguistics
Research Fellow in Papuan Linguistics
Academic Level B
Salary Range: $68,767 - $81,135 pa plus 17% super
Reference: PA4795

The Department of Linguistics seeks to appoint a scholar to carry out research on Papuan languages and their broader scientific implications. Applicants with relevant field experience from any part of the world are welcome to apply, provided they put forward a detailed and compelling proposal for a research program whose major focus is on one or more Papuan languages.

The successful candidate will have an outstanding record of publication in relevant field(s), relative to their early career status. Candidates should provide a detailed statement of the research project(s) they plan in the short, medium and long terms, putting together an exciting, innovative and plausible program based on fieldwork and analysis, and including likely plans for future project funding.

The research outlined should be compatible but complementary with the Department's range of research interests, as outlined in the further particulars. The successful candidate will also be expected to serve on the editorial board of the publication series, Pacific Linguistics, to engage in the supervision of postgraduate students and occasional advanced teaching as needed, and to serve as an attraction point for the development of major research initiatives in the area.

Women are particularly encouraged to apply.

Selection Criteria: or from Human Resources (Academic), CAP; T: 02 6125 4444, E:

Enquiries: Nicholas Evans, T: 02 6125 0028, E: or John Bowden, T: 02 6125 3281, E:

College of Asia and the Pacific Information for Applicants and Job Cover Sheet:
Please submit your application directly to by no later than the advertised closing date.

Closing Date: Friday 25 July 2008

Nick Evans

Level D/E, AMEP RC, Macquarie Uni

Macquarie University is currently offering 43 new positions in Concentrations of Research Excellence (CORE). The AMEP RC invites applications for a specialist in Workplace Language and Communication to join the Social Inclusion CORE. We seek to appoint a scholar who will contribute to existing research projects and design new research projects in the areas of language learning and multilingual communication in the workplace; intercultural communication in the workplace; the relationship between language training, including language assessment, and employment and career outcomes. To apply go to Macquarie University's Employment website, For further information contact Ingrid Piller,

Workplace and career communication in the context of migration and globalization: It is the purpose of the position to strengthen the research nexus between second language learning and teaching and workplace and professional communication. Migrants' and overseas students' access to rewarding employment and careers has become a key challenge for the Australian economy and society. We seek to appoint a scholar who will contribute to existing research projects and design new research projects in the areas of language learning and multilingual communication in the workplace; intercultural communication in the workplace; the relationship between language training, including language assessment, and employment and career outcomes.

Ingrid Piller

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. Copy for the Newsletter should be sent to the Editor, Tim Curnow ( 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's time to contribute material; if you wish to be added to that list, send Tim an email.

Unless you paid for several years at a time, or have given the Treasurer your credit card details and permission to use it, subscriptions for ALS are due at the beginning of each calendar year; the year you are paid up to is shown on the address label on the envelope your copy of the Australian Journal of Linguistics comes in. A subscription form is available by clicking here.

The only membership list is maintained by the Treasurer, Doug Absalom ( If you wish to check your membership status, change your address or make some other enquiry, please contact Doug.