Newsletter May 2009

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.

Tim Curnow

Have you renewed??

Membership renewals have been a little sparse this year, despite the reminder in our earlier newsletter. There have been many new members join the Society, but lots of old members seem to have forgotten to rejoin. The early bird payment date has passed so memberships for this year are $60 full membership, $70 joint membership and $25 student membership. Please contact our membership co-ordinator, Doug Absalom, to renew ( Remember that the conference is in Melbourne this year and you must be a financial member in order to be able to present a paper and register at membership rates.

Doug Absalom

2009 ALS Conference

Don't forget that the 2009 Conference of the Australian Linguistic Society "Advances in Linguistic Typology" will be held 9-11 July in Melbourne, co-hosted by the Research Centre for Linguistic Typology and the Linguistics Program at La Trobe University. For details, visit

Tim Curnow

OzCLO 2009

The National Round of the Second Australian Computational and Linguistics Olympiad was held on Wednesday 1 April, and the results are now announced on the OzCLO web site.

OzCLO 2009 has grown to be an almost Australia-wide event, with more than 330 high school students competing in the Sate Round in NSW, VIC, SA, WA, and the ACT on the 4 March. Some students were so inspired that their school decided to start running linguistics seminars a couple of times a term to keep their enthusiasm up! The 3 top teams from each state (joined by QLD) competed in the National Round to select the Australian team who will go to the International Linguistics Olympiad (ILO). Also competing were the best Junior teams, so in all we had 21 teams from 19 schools across 6 states and territories.

We congratulate the winners of the State and National rounds and we wish the best of luck to the Australian team: Ross McGachey (SA), Krysia Choros and Sarah Twomley (QLD), who will go to the ILO in Poland at the end of July.

For more information on OzCLO, see

Dominique Estival

News from Linguistics, RSPAS, ANU

New Book: Dying words

Nick Evan's crossover book, Dying Words: endangered languages and what they have to tell us has appeared with Wiley Blackwell (excerpts can be read at This book was launched in Melbourne on May 20th at Alcaston Galleries, Fitzroy, with a Canberra launch also planned for mid-year. On his way back from Cairns Nick spent a day working with Griffith colleague Andrea Schalley on designing the ontology for grammatical categories dealing with social cognition, following on the heels of his presentation of this project to the Joint Anthropology seminar in March. From May 1st - May 10th he was on fieldwork on Bentinck Island, Queensland, with archaeologists Sean Ulm and Daniel Rosendahl (UQ) as part of their joint ARC project on the prehistory of the Wellesley Islands.

On Sabbatical leave

John Bowden is on Sabbatical now (Mid April-December 2009). He will be in the field working on his Helong project (funded by the Hans-Rausing ELDP grant). He will spend most of his time in Indonesia, based at the ATMA Jaya University in Jakarta. During his sabbatical, he also plans to write up a book on language policy and planning in East Timor and finish off papers and a book that he is editing.

Pacific Linguistics: the 600th book release

The first 2009 new release from Pacific Linguistics (PL) is McGregor and Rumsey's book entitled Worrorran revisited: the case for genetic relations among languages of the Northern Kimberley region of Western Australia. It is also the 600th book published by PL since its establishment in 1963. PL specialises in linguistic descriptions, dictionaries, atlases, and other materials concerned with languages of the Pacific, Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Southeast Asia and minority languages of South and East Asia. The focus is on little known and endangered languages in the Asia Pacific region. More information about PL and other books published by PL can be viewed at

Winning the NEH Award

Congratulations are extended to Dr Paul Sidwell who has won the National Endowment for the Humanities (Division of Preservation and Access) award. The two-year (2009-1011) grant worth US$349,540 is awarded to the Centre for Research in Computational Linguistics (CRCL, Bangkok) for his "Mon-Khmer Languages Project". Paul is a visiting Research Fellow at the department of Linguistics at the ANU, a Principal Investigator and Director of Mon-Khmer Projects for CRCL. The grant facilitates years 3-4 of the project which will deliver:

  • the Mon-Khmer languages database makes all language reference materials, including phonetic transcription, glosses, and citations, freely available. We have already compiled datasets that provide touchstones for each of the dozen major Mon-Khmer branch divisions. We seek continuing funds to provide at least one lexical dataset for all of the more than thirty MK sub-branches.
  • the Mon-Khmer etymological dictionary is a hierarchical reference that puts the data in historical context. We have built its backbone by extracting and tagging reconstructed etyma from the Mon-Khmer Comparative Dictionary (Shorto 2006). We now seek funds to build the 'ribs' - to extend the backbone by adding datasets for six established branch/sub-branch reconstructions.
  • the Mon-Khmer languages website supports collaborative Mon-Khmer language research and disseminates database and dictionary data. We seek funds to build tools needed to develop new knowledge as we tackle the remaining branch-level reconstructions. We will also create innovative teaching screencasts that use our tools to provide practical training in historical linguistics.

Visiting Fellow

Dr Robert Mailhammer has started on a Feodor-Lynen postoctoral grant, working on Amurdak, an Australian language from Northern Arnhem Land. Before coming to ANU he worked at the Catholic University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt, the University of Munich and as well as the University of Melbourne. Rob's main research interests are Australian languages and descriptive linguistics as well as language change and language variation, particularly in the Germanic languages, morphology, phonology and language acquisition.

Winning Posdoc Fellowship

Departmental alumnus and visiting fellow Bethwyn Evans has been offered a postdoc at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig to work on contact between Austronesian and non-Austronesian languages; before taking that up, she will spend two months as a visiting fellow in the Department of Anthropology, University of Bergen.

New Students

Sébastien Lacrampe joined RSPAS in March 2009 as a PhD student. He works on Lelepa, an oceanic language of central Vanuatu spoken by around 500 speakers. He spent the past two years working on this language and obtained a Masters degree from the University of the South Pacific. The thesis he wrote as part of the MA investigates the expression of possession in Lelepa and constitutes the first analysis of any grammatical aspect of this language.

Sébastien arrived in Vanuatu in 2001 as a qualified French teacher and got stuck into linguistics as a result of extensive travelling in this archipelago, where a hundred and-more languages are spoken. For his PhD, he intends to keep on working on Lelepa by continuing documentation work and writing a descriptive grammar.

Yusuf Sawaki joined RSPAS as a PhD student in October 2008, but just arrived in ANU campus on the 26th of March 2009. He works on Wooi, an Austronesian language of Yapen Island, West Papua, Indonesia spoken by around 1,800 speakers. Many years working on the Central Yali language, a Papuan language of Dani family in the Central Highlands of New Guinea, but decided to work on Wooi last year as a part of language documentation project funded by Volkswagen Foundation to document Wooi and his PhD is sponsored by the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany. Writing a descriptive grammar of Wooi is the main focus of his PhD.

Wayan Arka

News from the Research Group at James Cook University


The Inaugural Workshop of the The Language and Culture Research Group within the Cairns Institute at James Cook University was held on 16 - 17 April. After a hearty welcome by George Skeene, a Yirranyji elder representing traditional owners of the land, the workshop featured plenary presentations by

  • Ernie Grant, a Dyirbal Elder (Echo Creek Cultural Centre) jointly with Bob Dixon (JCU) 'Guygun ngaygu guwal: Poor fellow my language'
  • Rosita Henry (JCU), 'Language and performance: A case study on the Djabugay renaissance'
  • Mike Wood (JCU) 'Initiating God's Word into the Kamula's recent past'
  • Nicholas Evans (ANU) 'What we bury when last speakers die: the languages of the Wellesley Islands and what they can tell us'
  • Luo Yongxian (University of Melbourne) 'Government policies towards minority groups and their languages in China: views from within'
  • Yvonne Cadet-James and Valda Wallace (JCU) 'The Gugu-Badhun project'
  • Kate Burridge (Monash University) 'Horses and buggies in the age of broadband - the survival of Pennsylvania German in the 21st century'
  • Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald 'The Magic of names: name ownership in Papua New Guinea'.
The workshop was very well received by the JCU and by the local community.

A series of four language workshops 'Nganyji nyanggaajina Yidiny Gunggay, Let's speak the Yidiny-Gunggay language' is being conducted between 24 April and 15 May by R.M.W. (Bob) Dixon, and David Mundraby, elder of the Yidinyji tribe. The workshop has attracted unprecedented interest from the community.

Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald will be presenting a plenary address 'Areal features and linguistic areas: contact-induced change and geographical typology' at The International Conference on Geographical Typology of African Languages jointly with an international workshop on Khoisan Lingustics, organized by Global COE Program - Tokyo University of Foreign Studies (12-14 May 2009).

Books published and forthcoming

Modern Hebrew (Sovremennyj Ivrit), by Alexandra Aikhenvald (Moscow, Nauka, 1990) will be reprinted in the URSS Publishing House (Moscow), and issued at 20,000 copies.

Multiverb constructions: a view from the Americas, edited by Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald and Pieter Muysken, has been accepted for publication by Brill (Leiden).

Three postdoctoral positions to be filled

Professors Aikhenvald and Dixon advertised Postdoctoral Positions to work within the framework of their joint project 'World through the prism of language: a cross-linguistic view of genders, noun classes and classifiers'. They received an unprecedented number of high quality applications, and will shortly select three fellows.

Alexandra (Sasha) Aikhenvald

News from UNE

As well as previous reported publications, two other books from UNE linguists also appeared last year:

  • Diana Eades, Courtroom talk and neocolonial control, 2008, Mouton de Gruyter.
  • Jeff Siegel, The emergence of pidgin and creole languages, 2008, Oxford UP.
Brett Baker

News from RCLT, La Trobe Uni

ALS 2009

RCLT and the Linguistics Program of La Trobe University are proud to be co-hosting ALS2009. The conference will be from Thursday 9th July - Saturday 11th July.

Registrations are now open. Please see for registration details.

Local Workshop

The Local Workshop series on 'Transitivity' continues. Workshops are held on Thursdays, 3.30pm - 5pm in the RCLT Reading Room unless otherwise specified. If anyone is interested in presenting a talk as part of this Workshop, please contact Dr Simon Overall ( Handouts from these talks are available for download from

Language Workshops

The Language Workshops have been a huge success with sessions so far covering Basque, Greek, Quechua and Tagalog. Participants have not only been given a brief outline of these languages, but were given quick lessons on conversing in these languages! We've listened to cultural songs and sampled local cuisine. Discussions have been in-depth and thought provoking. Anyone wishing to present a language for discussion, please contact Dr Gerd Jendraschek at

Movie Night

There was a showing of the documentary film The Linguists, with a discussion following it on the good and bad points of the film, and whether it could be used in promotional events to stimulate interest in linguistics and endangered languages.

Recent PhD Completions

Seino van Breugel has completed his grammar of Atong, a Tibeto-Burman language of Northeast India, and is awaiting the examiners' reports.

Rik de Busser has completed his grammar of Takivatan Bunun, and is awaiting the examiners' reports.

Staff Departure

Dr Renee Lambert-Bretiere, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, who worked in Tongwinjab, Papua New Guinea, will be leaving us in July at the end of her 3-year contract. We wish her well for the future and thank her for her many contributions to RCLT.

Visiting Fellows

Professor Willem J. de Reuse, from University of North Texas, Denton, will be a Visiting Fellow at RCLT from May 2009 - October 2009; and then again later in the year for a shorter visit. He will be working on completing a scientific reference grammar of Western Apache. It is planned to be a manuscript in the 600-800 page range.

Dr Roberto Zavala, from the Centro de Investigación y Estudios Superiores en Antroplogía Social, Unidad Sureste, will be a Visiting Fellow at RCLT from September 2009 - March 2010. He will be working on grammatical changes that took place in Cholan (Mayan) due to language contact with Zoquean (Mixe-Zoquean). He also plans to write a paper on complementation in Olutec and Zoque (both of them Mixe-Zoquean languages).

Dr Pilar Valenzuela, from Chapman University, Orange County, California, will be a Visiting Fellow at RCLT from June 2009 - July 2009. She will be organizing a panel on South American languages for the ALS conference.

Research Activities

  • Dr Mark Post, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, has returned from undertaking fieldwork on the Eastern Tani Languages of Arunachal Pradesh and Assam, North East India, January - March 2009.
  • Dr Yvonne Treis, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, is undertaking fieldwork on Basketto, a language spoken in the southern region of Ethiopia, July 2008 - May 2009.
  • Dr Katerina Zombolou, La Trobe Postdoctoral Research Fellow, is undertaking fieldwork, looking at Greek spoken in Argentina: Maintenance and Change, April 2009 - March 2010.
  • Chia-jung Pan, a PhD student, is undertaking fieldwork on Lha'alua, an Austronesian language spoken in Kaohsiung County, Taiwan, August 2008 - May 2009.
  • Jingyi Du, a PhD student, is undertaking fieldwork on Barok, an Oceanic language of New Ireland, April - June 2009.
  • Friedel Frowein, a PhD student, is planning to return to the field, working on Siar-Lak, an Austronesian language of New Ireland, Papua New Guinea in June.
  • Dionysios Mertyris, a PhD student, will be returning to the field, working on Kara, an Austronesian language of New Ireland, Papua New Guinea in June.
  • David Sangdong, an MA student, is undertaking fielwork on Kadu, a Tibeto-Burman language of western Myanmar, October 2008 - July 2009.
  • Ian Tupper, an MA student, is undertaking fieldwork on Pamosu, a language of Papua New Guinea, January - June 2009.
  • Paul Hastie, an MA student, is preparing for fieldwork on the Chali language of Bhutan.
Siew-Peng Condon

News from UQ

Mary Laughren is retiring from the University of Queensland in June 2009. A School morning tea was recently held to honour Mary's contribution to the Linguistics program at UQ. Mary is extracting herself from the daily grind of introductory teaching to devote herself to far more important activities insofar as the future of Australian Linguistics is concerned. Her bereft colleagues all spoke of the inspiration her example has provided over the period of her tenure at UQ - and before then, in attracting them to the UQ program in the first instance. All expressed the hope that Mary would continue the collaborations which have contributed so much to the distinctive character of the UQ Linguistics. But all acknowledge that her departure creates a huge lacuna of light and energy that no amount of academic spin can disguise from watchers of these southern skies.

Ghil'ad Zuckermann has recently published an article on hybridity vs revivability in the Journal of Language Contact (JLC):

The first Australian Workshop on Afro-Asiatic Linguistics (AWAAL) will be held at UQ on 11-13 September. Program to be published soon. See Note that you must log in to Facebook to see this page.

Ilana Mushin

News from Uni of Melbourne


We are very excited to announce that Dr Mary Stevens, who completed her PhD thesis at the University of Melbourne in Linguistics and Italian in 2007, has been granted a Humboldt Research Fellowship for Postdoctoral Researchers. It's for a 2 year post-doctoral position at the Institut für Phonetik und Sprachverarbeitung at Ludwig Maximilians Universität in Munich, Germany to work on the phonetics of Italian dialects. Mary's postdoctoral research will extend her PhD research on preaspirated stops in the variety of Italian spoken in Siena, Tuscany to other Italian dialects. Preaspiration is very rare in the world's languages and is not reported to occur in any other Romance variety. The project will investigate whether preaspiration is in fact more widespread in Italy and what the consequences of this sound change in progress may be for native listeners.

While we will miss Mary here at Melbourne, we wish her all the best and congratulate her on a fantastic achievement!

Recent PhD submissions

  • Samantha Disbray (Supervisor: Jill Wigglesworth) 'More than one way to catch a frog: a study of children's discourse in an Australian contact language'
  • Karin Moses (Supervisor: Jill Wigglesworth) 'Do dinosaurs hug in the Kimberley? The use of questions by Aboriginal caregivers and children in the Kimberley'
  • Robyn Loughnane (Supervisors: Nick Evans and Rachel Nordlinger) 'A grammar of Oksapmin'
  • Celeste Rodriguez Louro (Supervisor: Barbara Kelly) 'Perfect evolution and change: The Preterit and the Present Perfect in contemporary and earlier Argentinian River Plate Spanish'
  • Michael Yeldham (Supervisor: Paul Gruba) 'Approaches to second language listening instruction: Investigating the "top-down/bottom-up debate"'

Recent PhD completions

  • Luke Harding, 'The use of speakers with L2 accents in academic English listening assessment: a validation study'
  • Suzanne Fernandez, 'Form-focused instruction in a primary school content based language program'
Rachel Nordlinger

News from AIATSIS

Language Research Fellow

Sarah Cutfield commenced as the Language Research Fellow in January. Sarah has previously worked at Diwurruwurru-jaru Aboriginal Corporation (Katherine Regional Aboriginal Language Centre), Wangka Maya Pilbara Aboriginal Language Corporation, and Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education. Sarah's PhD research is on the demonstrative system in Dalabon (non-Pama-Nyungan, south-western Arnhem Land). In her role at AIATSIS, Sarah will focus on building a corpus of transcribed and translated Dalabon recordings, as well as continuing research into nominals and reference in Dalabon.


Dr. Kazuko Obata has developed an online Indigenous languages database, AUSTLANG (, which was released from AIATSIS in December last year. It offers a one-stop web site where users can search for an Indigenous language, view information about the language (language names, resources, geographic locations, language programs, researchers and speakers) from various sources and find resources available on the language. AIATSIS will keep updating the database and would appreciate appreciates ALS members' contribution to the database. Please register online and send AIATSIS additional or updated information on Australian Indigenous languages as well as your comments.

ICT Award

On 11th May, AIATSIS was awarded 'Government Agency of the Year - Using Information, Communication and Technology to Connect to the Community' for Dr. Kazuko Obata's work to develop the online languages resource AUSTLANG. The Australian Community Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) Awards are presented by Connecting Up Australia, an organisation that provides resources and tools to assist non-profit organisations to connect to their communities and each other (


An online version of OZBIB (a linguistic bibliography of Aboriginal Australia and the Torres Strait Islands) was released from AIATSIS in December last year (see OZBIB is a bibliography of published works and theses on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages. OZBIB was compiled by Geraldine Triffitt and Lois Carrington and published in 1999 by Pacific Linguistics. The supplement to OZBIB was published in 2005 by Mulini Press. The online version of OZBIB put together these two publications and is updated by AIATSIS. AIATSIS would appreciate it if you could send information about your publications to AIATSIS for inclusion in OZBIB, using the online submission form or by sending an email to Kazuko Obata ( The OZBIB site will have additional functions, eg. downloading of reference information, later this year.

Australian Languages Workshop

The 2009 Australian languages workshop was held from the 20th to 22nd of March 2008 at the ANU Kioloa field station, hosted by AIATSIS and ANU. This annual workshop is for linguists to present their current research on any areas of Australian Indigenous languages, including language policy and bilingual education. It is also a good opportunity to get to know each other in a relaxed environment at the field station. AIATSIS would like to include photos from the 2009 Workshop on its website. If any of the attendees is prepared to share their photos, could they please email them to: Photo credits will be acknowledged on the site.

The 2010 workshop will be held from the 12th to 14th of March at the Kioloa field station.

ASEDA (Aboriginal Studies Electronic Data Archive)

AIATSIS is making a major change to the management of ASEDA. ASEDA holds a collection of computer-based (digital) materials about Australian Indigenous studies. The majority of items in ASEDA are about Australian Indigenous languages (dictionaries, grammars, teaching materials, etc.). Currently, ASEDA is not a part of the AIATSIS collection and it has its own catalogue which is available at (this URL will change to in the near future). AIATSIS decided to move ASEDA items to the AIATSIS main library collection in order to secure the long-term preservation of this valuable material and to improve the availability of items to the wider community. AIATSIS also wishes to make ASEDA items downloadable from the AIATSIS collection catalogue, MURA (, where possible. AIATSIS will be contacting people who lodged items with ASEDA in the next few months for their consultation.

Sarah Cutfield

Linguistics problems and other assistance needed

Each year the Australian Computational and Linguistics Olympiad (OzCLO) is run for high school students, and is a great way of getting them interested in and excited about linguistics.

OzCLO co-operates with various other Olympiads around the world in sharing problems, but each year new linguistics problems are needed to give to the students.

If you could possibly help with the design of some linguistics and/or computational problems, please contact Mary Laughren on

If you would like to help OzCLO in other ways, please get in contact with your local state committee (see or contact Dominique Estival at OzCLO always needs extra people to coordinate, to organise events, and those with ideas about possible sponsors.

Tim Curnow


Publications received, May 2009

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.

  • Baker, B. J. (2008) Word Structure in Ngalakgan. CSLI Publications, Stanford, CA.
  • Bickerton, D. (2009) Adam's Tongue: How Humans Made Language, How Language Made Humans. Hill and Wang. New York.
  • Collins, P. (2009) Modals and Quasi-Modals in English. Rodopi, Amsterdam.
  • Corbett, G. and M. Noonan, eds. (2008) Case and Grammatical Relations: Studies in Honor of Bernard Comrie. John Benjamins, Amsterdam.
  • Evans, N. (2010) Dying Words: Endangered Languages and What They Have to Tell Us. Wiley-Blackwell, Chichester.
  • Givon, T. (2009) The Genesis of Syntactic Complexity. John Benjamins, Amsterdam.
  • Jones, C. and E. Ventola, eds. (2008) From Language to Multimodality: New Developments in the Study of Ideational Meaning. Equinox, London.
  • Kumar, A. (2009) Globalizing the Prehistory of Japan. Routledge, London.
  • Lebeau, D. (2009) Where Does Binding Theory Apply? MIT Press Cambridge, MA.
  • Newman, J., ed. (2009) The Linguistics of Eating and Drinking. John Benjamins, Amsterdam.
  • Roeper, T. (2007) The Prism of Grammar: How Child Language Illuminates Humanism. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA.
  • Stroik, T. S. (2009) Locality in Minimalist Syntax. MIT Press Cambridge, MA.
Alan Libert

Gamilaraay Yuwaalaraay language resource

A new Gamilaraay Yuwaalaraay language resource is available for download.

Gayarragi, Winangali is an interactive multimedia resource for Gamilaraay and Yuwaalaraay, languages of northern New South Wales, Australia. It is a resource for language learners at all levels, and for anyone interested in the Gamilaraay and Yuwaalaraay languages. It contains extensive language material, including audio. The main features are:

  • a searchable Gamilaraay Yuwaalaraay Dictionary with over 2,600 entries, all including audio
  • 957 spoken sentences from traditional speakers, all transcribed, and hyperlinked to the dictionary
  • 30 songs and 14 stories, all transcribed, and hyperlinked to the dictionary
  • games, including crosswords and memory/matching games
  • other language resources as pdf and text files

Gayarragi, Winangali was compiled by John Giacon and David Nathan. It was launched on Monday 23 March by Professor Larissa Behrendt, to an enthusiastic audience of nearly 80 people, including many Gamilaraay and Yuwaalaraay people, at the Koori Centre, University of Sydney. It was produced as a CD-ROM but is also available by download (about 200MB, Win XP/Vista). It is free for individuals and Gamilaraay Yuwaalaraay organisations. Go to and follow the link, or direct to

John Giacon

Upcoming Conferences

GALA 2009: The language of business. The business of language

The Globalization and Localization Association (GALA) is an international non-profit association of companies providing translation, internationalization, localization and globalization products and services. Our membership represents approximately 300 companies in 43 countries.

This year, GALA is launching its first independent annual conference, 'GALA 2009: The language of business. The business of language.' The event will take place 14-16 September in Cancun, Mexico. We believe the workshops offered at GALA 2009 would be of interest to some members of the Australian Linguistic Society.

In addition, our organisation is interested in the possibility of collaborating on content. Like other associations, we are always looking for new ideas for workshops and speakers at our events. Alternatively, if you are interested in workshops or articles on localization or preparing products for global markets, we have a cadre of experts ready to provide great content. And if members of ALS are experts in topics that you would like to share with our member companies, we would be interested in hearing from you.

For further details on GALA and our conference, please visit the website at You can also contact Laura Brandon at

Laura Brandon

Jobs, grants, and scholarships

PhD scholarships at the Cairns Institute

Come and work in an exotic location, investigating a language which has never previously been described.

Applications are invited, from suitably qualified students, to enter the PhD program of the Language and Culture Research Group within the Cairns Institute of James Cook University Australia. Supervision will be provided by Professors Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald and R. M. W. Dixon.

Our PhD candidates undertake extensive fieldwork on a previously undescribed (or scarcely described) language and write a comprehensive grammar of it for their dissertation. They are expected to work on a language which is still actively spoken, and to establish a field situation within a community in which it is the first language. Their first fieldtrip lasts for about nine months. After completing a first draft of the grammar, back in Cairns, they undertake a second fieldtrip of two to three months. Fieldwork methodology centres on the collection, transcription and analysis of texts, together with participant observation, and - at a later stage - judicious grammatical elicitation in the language under description (not through the lingua franca of the country). Our main priority areas are the languages of tropical Amazonia and the Papuan and Austronesian languages of New Guinea. However, we do not exclude applicants who have an established interest in languages from other areas (which need not necessarily lie within the tropics).

PhDs in Australian universities generally involve no coursework, just a substantial dissertation. Candidates must thus have had a thorough coursework training before embarking on this PhD program. This should have included courses on morphology, syntax, semantics, and phonology/phonetics, taught from a non-formalist perspective. We place emphasis on work that has a sound empirical basis but also shows a firm theoretical orientation (in terms of general typological theory, or what has recently come to be called basic linguistic theory).

The Cairns Institute is a world centre for advanced study relating to the tropics. Professor Aikhenvald is Research Leader for People and Societies of the Tropics. Together with Professor Dixon, she heads the Language and Culture Research Group, which includes Research Fellows and a growing number of doctoral students. In addition, senior scholars from across the world opt to spend their sabbatical in the Cairns Institute.

The LCRG has strong links with anthropologists and archaeologists, with scholars working on environmental issues, and with the School of Indigenous Australian Studies, all within James Cook University.

The scholarship will be at the standard James Cook University rate, Australian $20,427 pa. Students coming from overseas are liable for a tuition fee; but this may be waived in the case of a student of high merit. A small relocation allowance may be provided on taking up the scholarship. In addition, an appropriate allowance will be made to cover fieldwork expenses. The scholarship is for three years (with the possibility of a six month extension).

The application procedures for international students can be found at The 2010 Scholarship application forms for students can be found at

Prospective applicants are invited, in the first place, to get in touch with Professor Aikhenvald at, providing details of their background, qualifications and interests (including a curriculum vitae).

Alexandra (Sasha) Aikhenvald

ELDP grants

Endangered Languages Documentation Programme 2009 Grant Cycle 2 is now open for applications. The closing date is 3rd August 2009. Full details including application pack and forms are available at


  • Small Grants
  • Individual Graduate Scholarships
  • Individual Postdoctoral Fellowships
  • Major Documentation Projects
  • Training Activity Grants (opening postponed: see below
  • Applications open: 15 May
  • Applications due: 3 August
  • Decisions notified: January 2010

Grant types

Small Grants (SG)
Small grants are a new category and replace the previous field trip grants and pilot projects. They can be used for a range of purposes related to the documentation of endangered languages, such as to carry out fieldwork, develop a pilot project, or complete a project already begun. The maximum grant awarded will be Ł10,000.
Individual Graduate Scholarships (IGS)
IGS applications are invited from individuals seeking scholarship funding for up to 3 years. Individual Graduate Scholarship projects last for 12 to 36 months; field trips are normally involved. In addition to field trip costs, you may apply for a stipend to cover the period while undertaking field research and processing the results. A stipend provides funding to cover direct living costs and is not a salary; as such, employment-based taxes should not be claimed. If you already hold an existing ELDP IGS you may apply for a supplement for up to 12 months of further support (use the separate application form).
Major Documentation Project (MDP)
MDP funding can cover elements including fieldwork costs, equipment, researchers' salaries, and graduate students' stipends (stipends should be included only for activities contributing to the project while in the field or processing the documentation materials). Project duration is from 6 to 36 months. Funding for these projects typically ranges from less than 40,000 pounds up to the maximum of 150,000 pounds. We encourage you to submit quality proposals that provide value for money and are clearly justified.
Individual Postdoctoral Fellowship (IPF)
IPF grantees are typically researchers at an early stage in their academic career (e.g. who have held a PhD less than 5 years), with qualifications in linguistics and experience in linguistic fieldwork. IPFs are available for between between 12 and 24 months.
Training Activity Grants (TAG)
Opening of applications for Training Activity Grants is postponed, as ELDP is still formulating the details of these new grants. Updated information will be available here in June 2009. We hope to open applications around mid 2009 so that awards can be taken up in 2010.

Please contact for further information.

Peter Austin

AIATSIS Indigenous Researchers Fund

Australia needs more Indigenous researchers to influence public policy in order to provide the best possible outcomes for Indigenous Australians. The AIATSIS Indigenous Researchers' Fund provides $1 million over three years (2009-2012) to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research Fellows and Scholars to visit AIATSIS and undertake research in Canberra in their fields of interest and, where appropriate, work with relevant government departments to discuss policy and practice.

Applications are encouraged from excellent candidates in any field of Indigenous studies or policy. Funds are available for a number of short term Visiting Fellowships and Scholarships over the next three years. Short term Visiting Fellowships and Scholarships may include travel and accommodation in Canberra. Short term Visiting Fellowship applicants may also apply for a stipend or salary. Stipend or salary will depend on experience and the employment status of the applicant. Short term fellowships and scholarships will include a period of residency in Canberra.

The ideal applicant for this program would have a good balance between relevant work experience and proven research ability or potential. Academic qualifications can be an important indicator of capability to undertake research projects, but they are not the sole determinant of suitability.

The program is open to Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islander people only.

For further information contact the AIATSIS Research program on (02)6246-1145, via email at or visit our web site

Sarah Cutfield

Lecturer position, Victoria Uni of Wellington

The School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies at Victoria University of Wellington is seeking to appoint a Lecturer in Linguistics, preferably with a specialisation in phonetics and phonology. The appointment will be to a continuing position.

Applications close on 30th July 2009. Further details are available from the VUW vacancies webpage at or from the Head of School, Associate Professor Paul Warren (

This vacancy has arisen following the appointment of Prof Laurie Bauer as Dean of VUW's new Faculty of Graduate Research. The School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies congratulates Laurie on this appointment.

Janet Holmes

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.