Newsletter August 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

Minutes of the 2009 Annual General Meeting of ALS

Held at the Ibis Hotel, Melbourne, on 10 July 2009

In attendance: Jessica Boynton, Keith Allan, Margaret Sharpe, Graham McKay, Mark Donohue, Doug Absalom, Maureen Saclot, Lesley Stirling, Ilana Mushin, Therese Carr, Christina Eira, Stephen Morey, David Bradley, Natalie Weber, Joshua Nash, Avery Andrews, M. Fellbaum Korpi, Stephen Hill, Nerida Jarkey, Celeste Rodriguez Louro, Rosemary Billington, John Hajek, Robert Mailhamer, Rachel Nordlinger, Alan Dench, Simon Musgrave, Cliff Goddard, David Johnstone, Jane Simpson, David Nash, William Journee, Gail Woods, Kazuko Obata, Sarah Cutfield, Luisa Miceli, John Henderson, Randy LaPolla.

The President opened the meeting at 4:35pm.

1. Apologies

Brett Baker, Tim Curnow, Nick Evans.

2. Minutes of the 2008 AGM

The President moved that the minutes of the 2008 Annual General Meeting be accepted. Passed unanimously.

3. Matters arising

There were no matters arising from the minutes that were not to be dealt with under later items.

4. Reports

4.1 President

The Clyne Prize for 2009 has been awarded to Emi Otsuji, whose UTS thesis (supervised by Alistair Pennycook) was titled "Performing Transculturation: Between/within 'Japanese' and 'Australian' language, identities and culture."

The Laves Scholarship has not been awarded this year. The applications received did not meet requirements. [Secretary's note: The scholarship was subsequently awarded at a later date after a change in the situation of one of the applicants.]

On behalf of the Society, Randy noted with regret the passing of Susan Kaldor, a founding member and office-holder of the Society.

The President moved that three recently-retired members be granted Honorary (life) membership in recognition of their service to the Society and to linguistics in Australia: Harold Koch, Margaret Sharpe and Mary Laughren. Passed unanimously.

4.2 Secretary

Nothing to report.

4.3 Treasurer

Doug Absalom presented a short report on behalf of Brett Baker. [See separate report.]

4.4 Newsletter Editor

Tim Curnow sent a written report which was read to the meeting. The website host was changed last year from geocities to a commercial host. The change went very smoothly, with no noticeable difference from the user's perspective. It has had the definite advantage that our address is now managed at a more professional level like most web addresses, and consequently doesn't create problems with access in places like China, which disapprove of redirections. Everything is going along smoothly with the website, Newsletter and ALS Online.

4.5 Journal Editors

Keith Allan reported that AJL had increased to 3 issues per year in 2009, with a total page budget of around 350, as approved at the last AGM. The third issue this year will be a special issue on language and song. Submission rates have increased but the limit on page numbers means that they have been unable to meet demand. The editors have discussed with T&F an increase in the annual page budget, which T&F can provide but want to increase to four copies per year with a budget of 544 pages (as this apparently optimises the return from institutional subscribers). This is approximately a 50% increase over the 2009 page budget. Kate and Keith are prepared to accept the increased number of issues in order to get the increase in page budget. The net additional cost to the Society will be approximately $5 per member.

AJL has raised its profile. The editors successfully applied for indexing in the ISI Social Sciences and Humanities indexes. AJL will receive an ISI Impact Factor from 2010. Very positive comments on the journal were received from both ISI Reuters and T&F.

Keith showed a table summarising the submission and publication figures for 2007-2010. Online submission will be introduced by the end of 2009 hopefully.

Year Issue Issue type No. published Total pages No. rejected No. in hand
2007 27-1 General 6 232 15  
27-2 General 4  
2008 28-1 General 4 262 14  
28-2 General 5  
2009 29-1 Special 8 312 ?  
29-2 General 5 16  
29-3 Special 11 +170 ?  
2010 30-1 General n/a   7  
30-2 ?       19
30-3 Special To be edited by Ilana Mushin  

There was general discussion of the proposal. Jane Simpson asked about the detailed costing. The price per member paid to T&F for the 50% increase in size would increase by $8.25 but this would be offset by an increase of $2125 in the return to ALS from sales plus increased royalties. Doug Absalom pointed out that there are 479 members (but that not all are financial) and that the net cost of AJL to ALS this year is $1555. David Nash asked about the implications if we needed to retreat to 3 issues per year. Keith reported that he and Kate believed that the raised profile of AJL would see a continuing increase in submissions which would make the increase in size of the journal feasible without any decrease in quality. Rachel Nordlinger applauded the raised profile of AJL and suggested that, in order to maintain quality, it might be better to hold at 3 issues per year until we see whether the increased submission rate is sustained. Keith replied that they saw no reason to think that the submission rate would drop off. Jane Simpson asked whether the rejection rate is stable. Keith replied that it is not well-documented. Ela Majocha asked about the geographical spread of submissions. Keith reported that submissions came from all over the world and expected that the ISI indexing would bring in more good submissions. A point was raised about the number of pages in each issue under the proposal. Alan Dench supported the view that ISI indexing is likely to improve submissions, noting that some universities favour indexed journals in their performance measurement schemes.

The President clarified that there were two issues to be decided: (i) the increase in pages and issues, and (ii) whether membership fees should be put up for 2010 to cover the additional $5 cost per member. He then put the first question to the meeting, which approved the increase in the size of the journal.

Doug Absalom expressed concern that increasing the membership fees immediately might have a negative effect on membership because they had been raised only last year. He reported that the last increase would particularly affect concessional memberships, and that with the current financial situation several people had already ceased membership to cut back on costs. Cliff Goddard commented that since members would be getting an additional issue in 2010 at the same time that the fees increase, it would be better to increase the fees now. Mark Harvey supported this view.

Ela Majocha asked whether an arrangement such as with Project Muse might be a way to increase income from the journal, as well as making it more widely available. Keith noted that the journal is available online now but not for free access under the current arrangements that T&F has in place.

Doug Absalom suggested delaying the increase in fees for a year, absorbing the additional cost of the journal from existing funds.

Motion: That membership fees are not raised for 2010, but are reviewed at the next AGM in light of the increased cost of AJL.
Moved: Randy LaPolla. Seconded: Doug Absalom. Passed.

4.6 CIPL Representative

David Bradley reported on CIPL discussions on the venue for the 2014 Congress, which might be expected to draw around 1500 participants. David invited expressions of interest for making a bid to host the Congress in Australia, noting that the size of the congress would effectively limit it to Melbourne or Sydney. Responses indicated that the Society would not be in a position to host the Congress at that time.

4.7 Pacific Linguistics Representative

Mark Donohue reported that PL had recently published its 600th volume, making it the largest publisher in Linguistics. He indicated that PL would be grateful to receive further funding from the Society, continuing the previous contributions [of $5000 each].

Motion: That the Executive be authorised to negotiate, at their discretion, a contribution to PL of up to $5000, dependent on the Society's on-going financial position.
Moved: John Henderson. Seconded: Doug Absalom. Passed unanimously.

4.8 ALS2009 Organisers

Randy reported that there had been around 150 registrations. Only a few registrations had been lost due to concerns regarding swine flu. The conference has gone smoothly and has been successful. He thanked the people who had helped to organise the conference, noting especially Siew-Peng Condon, who had taken a leading role.

The meeting expressed its thanks to Randy, Siew-Peng and the other organisers for their hard work and congratulated them on such a successful conference.

4.9 ALS2010 Organisers

Ilana Mushin will co-ordinate the organisation of ALS2010, which will be held in Brisbane. The conference will be held together with ALAA and other related events in preparation for a Brisbane bid for AILA.

5. Future ALS Conferences and ALI

The 2011 ALS conference will be hosted by UWA. At this stage, it is planned that there will be a mini-ALI, of perhaps 2 days, held in conjunction with the 2011 conference. The ALS 2010 organisers will also consider a similar arrangement. Alan Dench pointed out that ALS2011 will mark 50 years of Linguistics at UWA.

6. OzCLO

Rachel Nordlinger reported on behalf of the OzCLO organising committee. In 2009, the competition had been extended to include NSW, Victoria, ACT, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia. Members of the winning teams in the national competition were currently in Poland for the International Linguistics Olympiad. Cliff Goddard reported that UNE would join the organization, focussing on regional areas. Rachel reported that materials will be prepared to send out to schools later this year to promote involvement in 2010. The greatest need was problem sets for the state and national rounds. Mary Laughren had prepared many of the problems used this year. Rachel appealed to members of the Society to contribute problems. Problems from previous competitions are available via the OzCLO website as models.

Rachel asked the meeting to approve the carry-over of the $10k allocated by ALS last year for OzCLO. Additional funds had been found from other sources and the ALS contribution had not been drawn on. She also proposed a clarification to arrangement, that the ALS funds are not intended to cover travel costs to the international competition. John Hajek expressed support and asked for more information on OzCLO's costs and other income. Rachel reported that OzCLO funds have been used for administration costs, web site setup and maintenance, printing of problem sets, some paid help with marking, prizes and maintenance of school contact lists. Some funds had been received from the various universities, and considerable work donated by volunteers.

Randy noted that OzCLO is an important initiative for the promotion of Linguistics.

Motion: That the $10k previously allocated for OzCLO be carried over into future years, with the condition that these funds are not used for travel to the international competition.
Moved: Randy LaPolla. Seconded: Ilana Mushin. Passed.

7. Report on the Australian National Corpus initiative and proposed language audit

Cliff Goddard reported on the AusNC (pronounced Aus-N-C) initiative which commenced last year and has the goal of developing a large web-accessible publicly-available language research data resource. The Steering Committee includes Cliff, Michael Haugh, Simon Musgrave, and Sarah Cutfield. The plan is to ramp up activities over a number of years to lay the groundwork for major government funding. The project has expanded to cover language in all it's diversity: multi-modal rather than just text. This resource will be valuable not only in Linguistics but more generally in the Humanities and Social Sciences. AusNC brings together a number of areas of strength, including language documentation. AusNC had received support from HCSNet, had held a workshop under HCSNet auspices, and had made bridges with expertise and funding in the area of language technologies. These activities had resulted in the forthcoming online book 'Mastering Languages: Designing the Australian National Corpus' (published by Cascadilla Press). Another workshop is planned for the 2009 HCSNet SummerFest. It is planned to approach the Academy of the Humanities for a grant of $5-6k. Immediate activities focus on legal and ethical issues and a survey of available existing resources. The Steering Committee asked the ALS for financial support of $2500.

Motion: That the ALS contribute $2500 to the AusNC initiative. Passed.

The meeting expressed its strong support for this initiative to develop an Australian National Corpus, which will stand out as a significant national resource and which will contribute to the research strength of this country.

8. ALS Scholarships

The President reported that, following a request from Peter Austin for student scholarship support for the 3L meeting, the Executive had offered a scholarship of $2500 for attendance at an international institute, summer school or equivalent. The scholarship was awarded to David Penn of UNE to assist him to attend the LSA Institute.

John Henderson reported that the Executive had discussed whether such a scholarship could be offered every year. He noted that this would depend on the strength of the Society's capital funds, suggesting that the Society might try to limit its annual expenditure to the interest earned on capital, and thus maintain a funding capacity in the long-term, rather than running down capital.

Motion: That the Executive be authorised to offer, at its discretion, an annual student scholarship to support attendance at an international institute, summer school or equivalent event.

Simon Musgrave moved that the scholarship be named the Susan Kaldor Scholarship. Seconded: Doug Absalom. Passed.

9. ERA

A document on ERA journal rankings, prepared by Michael Haugh, Susana Eisenchlas and Andrea Schalley, was circulated, asking the Society to make an official submission to the ARC. The document showed that the percentage targets for the A+ and A categories was not consistently met across the different Fields of Research: some fields had up to 42% of their journals in the A+ & A categories even though the ARC target for these two categories combined was 20% of journals. The President reported that the issue had been discussed by the Executive but it was felt more appropriate that, given the wide range of problems with the ERA journals ranking process, all members should contact the ARC directly and through their universities.

10. Election of Officers

The following nominations were received for the positions open for election this year, and there being no other nominations, they were elected unopposed.
President: Alan Dench
Vice-Presidents: Lesley Stirling, Nick Evans
Postgraduate Student Representative: David Yoong

The meeting expressed its thanks to the retiring members of the Executive, Randy LaPolla, Rachel Nordlinger and Tom Honeyman. Both Randy and Rachel have served as both President and Vice-President and have contributed a great deal to the Society.

11. Other business

11.1 Bilingual Education in the NT

Jane Simpson and Stephen Hill gave an update on the situation regarding Indigenous languages in the Northern Territory, and asked the Society to take action. Randy noted that the Society had written to the NT Minister in the past and agreed that this would again be appropriate.

Motion: That the ALS express its deep concern over the 2008 decision by the NT Government to close the 8 bilingual programs in government schools without prior agreement from the affected communities. We believe that the decision will have bad consequences for the children and the communities. We call on the Government to rescind the decision.

Motion: That the ALS call on the Federal Government to include in the proposed Charter of Rights the language rights of speakers of Indigenous languages of Australia, as recognised in the Declaration of the rights of Indigenous peoples, to which Australia is a signatory.

Both: Moved: Stephen Hill. Seconded: Jane Simpson. Passed.

11.2 OzPhon

Mark Harvey announced that there will be an OzPhon workshop at the HCSNet event in December.

The President closed the meeting.

John Henderson

Treasurer's report

Scholarship fund
$ 43,560.33
$ 39,473.00
$ -4087.33
Investment fund
$ 87,868.80
$ 73,695.71
$ -14173.09
Total loss
$ -18260.42
Membership account
$14, 353.97
$10, 077.64
$ -4276.33
Treasurer's accounts
Money Managers
$ 31142.94
$ 25290.78
$ -5852.16
Cheque account
$ 0
$ 11426.78
$ 11426.78
Total profit/loss 08/09
$ -16962.13
Treasurer's accounts detail:
$ 12,325.00
Clyne Prize
$ 515.60
$ 3,000.00
Bank fees
$ 10.00
AJL royalties
$ 6,083.74
$ 11,157.30
$ 415.66
LSA schol
$ 2,500.00
AJL editorial
$ 4,500.00
$ 320.00
$ 26,324.40
ALS gifts
$ 139.98
$ 5,000.00
Editorial expenses
$ 981.46
$ 598.00
$ 21,222.34
Profit for the year
$ 5102.06
Membership accounts detail:
Laves schol
$ 2,000.00
ALS 08
Clyne prize
$ 1,000.00
$ 3,000.00
$ 12,325.00
Bank fees
$ 641.33
$ 18,966.33
Loss for the year

This year the total loss on investments was $18260.42 which of course is not good. However, it's worth noting that the investments have in fact started gaining value (about $6400 combined) since the March quarter. The Society's Financial Planner (Janette Pavey) for these accounts predicts an annual return on the Scholarships account of 18.36% which on the current balance is $7105, more than enough to cover our annual scholarship requirements, even with an additional $2500 for an international summer school. Janette predicts this account will grow to around $53,000 once the market normalises, giving an annual return of $9808 on that interest rate. The interest rate on the investment account is even higher. So the long term outlook is good for supporting our various worthy activities, even though the picture this year and the last was a bit bleak.

Brett Baker

2010 ALS Conference

ALS2010 will be held at the University of Queensland, St Lucia Campus, from Wednesday 7 to Friday 9 July 2010. Wednesday is the last day of the ALAA conference, so the two conferences overlap by one day (ALAA is 5-7 July).

Ilana Mushin

Laves Scholarship & Clyne Prize

Laves Scholarship: We offered this scholarship to Dorothea Hoffman (a PhD student at University of Manchester). Her project is titled "Descriptions of Motion and Travel in Jaminjung and Kriol", and she will use the scholarship to conduct field work in the Victoria River region of NT. We look forward to hearing about the findings from this study.

Clyne Prize: The Clyne prize is for the best higher degree by research thesis on immigrant bilingualism and language contact. The 2009 winner is Dr. Emi Otsuji, whose UTS PhD thesis (supervised by Alistair Pennycook) was titled "Performing Transculturation: Between/within 'Japanese' and 'Australian' language, identities and culture". The prize will support travel costs for Emi to to be able to present a paper on this topic at the ALAA conference.

Congratulations to both.

Ilana Mushin

Note from the editors of AJL

As reported to the AGM of the ALS Conference, it was planned that issue 3 of Volume 29 of the Australian Journal of Linguistics should be a special issue devoted to the language of song. Unfortunately it turned out after the copy had been submitted to publishers T&F that this would have greatly exceeded the publishers' page budget for AJL in 2009; consequently we have had to hold over that special issue until the first issue of Volume 30 in 2010. We deeply apologize to Myf and Tonya, all the authors and, indeed, all our readers who have been biting their nails in anticipation of devouring those twelve articles on the language of song. Be assured they will be published in a few months time. (AJL 29-3 has articles by Luu Trong Tuan, Claire Bowern, and Robert Mailhammer plus some book reviews.)

Keith Allan

News from the Language and Society Centre, Monash Uni

The Language and Society Centre was established at Monash University in 1989 as part of the National Languages (and Literacy) Institute of Australia, an ARC and Commonwealth Government funded collaborative key centre. It was also successful subsequently in gaining large and small projects from government and non-government organizations.

Today it is a Centre within Monash University's School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics.

The colleagues participating in the Centre are members of several programs in the School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics: Linguistics, English as an International Language, Chinese Studies, German Studies, Italian Studies, Japanese Studies, Korean Studies and Spanish and Latin American Studies. The Centre collaborates with the Faculty of Education and other sections of the University, including the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences through the MonRAS (Monash Research for an Ageing Society) network.

The Centre holds regular seminars, an annual roundtable, public lectures, and so on that would be of interest to ALS members.

The call for paper for the 2010 roundtable is out now: "Intercultural communication: From the streets to the Internet". For details please visit

Farzad Sharifian

News from UQ

The University of Queensland will host next year's ALS Conference, from 7-9 July 2010.

Jun Matoba was awarded a PhD for her dissertation entitled 'Article omission and overuse: Syntax and semantics of the English article system in interlanguage grammar', supervised by Mary Laughren and Michael Harrington. The thesis is accessible from

Mary Laughren

News from School of Language Studies, ANU

Harold Koch retired 1 July 2009 from his teaching position in the Linguistics program of the School of Language Studies, ANU, a position which he held since 1974. He is continuing his research as a Visiting Fellow in the school.

Harold Koch

News from the Language and Culture Research Group, JCU


The Language and Culture Research Group at JCU Cairns is organizing celebrations for the Papua New Guinea Independence, including an art exhibition and a mini-conference 'Celebrating Thousand Voices' on 14 September 2009. The mini-conference will cover broad issues relevant to Papua New Guinea, from public health to language and culture maintenance. The program will be available nearer the time from, and from Everyone is welcome to attend, and take part in the Papua New Guinea Feast!

On 12 September 2009, in Cairns, Flora Pondrilei will launch the charity organization Advance Admiralties Inc to promote languages and cultures of the Manus Province of PNG. This will involve extensive documentation of languages from the area. Linguists interested in participating are invited to contact Alexandra Aikhenvald at


Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald presented 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). She also gave the summary address and vote of thanks at the conclusion of the Conference.

Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald presented an intensive course 'Explorations in linguistic diversity: Amazonian languages and beyond' as part of her prestigious First Professorship at the University of Colorado at Boulder (June-July 2009). Professor Dixon gave a number of guest lectures. The course was very well attended and received acclaim. If you are interested in the course materials, write to:

Linguistic workshop to be conducted

During September/October, JCU will be conducting a series of events under the general rubric 'Celebrating research: sharing our experience, recognizing our achievements'.

Alexandra Aikhenvald will present a public lecture 'The joy of language'. Subsequently Aikhenvald and Bob Dixon will present an interactive workshop 'Language we live by'. This will be followed by a launch of the recent publications by the members of the Language And Culture Research Group. Everyone will be welcome to attend. For further details see the JCU website.

Appointments and fieldwork

This month, the Language And Culture Research Group will be joined by Dr Anne Schwarz, as Postdoctoral Research Fellow for three years. She is planning to do substantial fieldwork on Secoya, a Western Tucanoan language spoken in Ecuador.

Dr Tianqiao (Mike) Lu has been appointed a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Language And Culture Research Group for two years. He will be working on noun categorization devices in Tai languages.

Dr Stefan Dienst has undertaken salvage fieldwork with the one remaining speaker of Kaishana, a moribund North Arawak language, in the state of Amazonas, Brazil, within the ambit of the ARC DP 'The world through the prism of language', led by Aikhenvald and Dixon.

Books published and forthcoming

Semantics of clause-linking: a cross-linguistic typology, edited by R. M. W. Dixon and Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald. Oxford: Oxford University Press. xviii, 410 pp. This volume emanates from the International Workshop held in Melbourne in 2007, and the 9th volume from the series of International Workshops run by Aikhenvald and Dixon. The 10th in this series of these International Workshops will be held at JCU in Cairns during 2010.

Modern Hebrew (Sovremennyj Ivrit), by Alexandra Aikhenvald (2nd edition) published in the URSS Publishing House (Moscow), issued at 20,000 copies. 146 pp.

Language at large: essays in syntax and semantics, by Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald and R. M. W. Dixon, has been accepted for publication by Brill (Leiden).

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

Alexandra (Sasha) Aikhenvald

News from Linguistics, RSPAS, ANU

Pacific Linguistics

There are three new books just released by Pacific linguistics; further information including how to order them can be viewed at

  • Leo Tuai: A comparative lexical study of North and Central Vanuatu languages, Ross Clark, PL 603, 297 pp, 2009, ISBN 9780858836006, Australia AUD $97.90 (incl. GST), Overseas AUD $89.00
  • The Austronesian languages, Robert Blust, PL 602, 2009, ISBN 9780858836020, 852 pp, Australia AUD $198.00 (incl. GST), Overseas AUD $180.00
  • Austronesian historical linguistics and culture history: a festschrift for Robert Blust, Alexander Adelaar and Andrew Pawley, editors, PL 601, 2009, ISBN 9780858836013, 554 pp, Australia AUD $143.00 (incl. GST), Overseas AUD $130.00,

The LSA Institute, Berkeley

The Linguistics Department RSPAS ANU has been strongly represented at the six-week Summer Institute of the Linguistics Society of America, held this year at Berkeley. The Summer Institutes are the largest and most influential teach-ins in linguistics, and have been crucial in nourishing new developments in the field. They are held every two years, attracting a world-wide gathering of researchers and students. This institute has been marked by growing interest in intersubjective cognition as a central component in language, as well as a strong emphasis on languages of the South-Western Pacific. This year Nick Evans is its External Deputy Director.

Three members of the Department are teaching courses there: Malcolm Ross, honoured as the Collitz Professor, is teaching a six-week course on Austronesian and Papuan Historical Linguistics, Mark Donohue is teaching a three-week course on the 'Phonological Typology of Papuan languages', and Nick Evans is teaching a six-week course on 'Grammar and Social Cognition'. Malcolm is additionally giving a plenary lecture on 'Understanding the history of Oceanic possessive constructions'.

A substantial number of students from the department are taking courses at the Institute: Tom Honeyman, Sebastien Lecrampe, Yusuf Sawaki, Antoinette Schapper, and future PhD student Niko Kobepa.

Conference presentations

  • Wayan Arka was invited as a keynote speaker at the ALL4 (Austronesian Languages and Linguistics) conference at SOAS, London, 17-18 June 2009.
  • Alex François, our Visiting Fellow from LACITO-CNRS (France), was invited to give a keynote address at the Annual Meeting of the Australian Linguistic Society, which was held in Melbourne in early July, organised by La Trobe University and the RCLT.
  • Tom Honeyman and Antoinette Schapper, together with Rachel Hendery and Lila San Roque, presented a poster on 'A grammar's anatomy' at ALT, Berkeley July 23-26, 2009.
  • Nick Evans presented a paper on 'Some problems in the typology of quotation: a canonical approach' at ALT, Berkeley July 23-26, 2009.
  • Wayan Arka presented a paper at the LFG09 (Lexical Functional Grammar) conference at Cambridge University 15 July 2009 entitled 'A linguistic and computational morphosyntactic analysis for the applicative -i in Indonesian'
  • Robert Mailhammer was invited to give a talk at the University of Queensland 22 June 2009. The title of his talk was 'Coercion - the Trojan horse of pragmatics'.
  • Mark Donohue is representing the linguistics department at two conferences in the United States, the Austronesian Formal Linguistics Association conference at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and (more unusually) the Workshop on American Indigenous Languages at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
  • The Department of Linguistics, RSPAS, was well represented at the 11-ICAL (International conference on Austronesian languages) in Aussois, France, 22-25 June 2009: Andy Pawley, who organised the panel on Dictionary making in Austronesian Linguistics and presented his paper entitled 'On the treatment of plant and animal names in bilingual dictionary'; Malcolm Ross, who presented his update on 'Proto Austronesian verbal morphology: an appraisal'; Wayan Arka, who presented two papers ('Extreme analyticity and complexity in argument realisations' and 'Attrition of voice morphology and fronted questions in the Austronesian languages of Nusa Tenggara'); Alex François, who was one of the organisers, presented his paper 'Verbal number and Suppletion in Hiw'; Antoinette Schapper, who presented two papers: 'Isolating Timor: analyticity, contact and linguistic history' and 'Possession in Kemak'; Jason Kwok L. Lee, who presented 'the core status of arguments in Mandar'; Mark Donohue, whose paper entitled 'Isolating?' was presented by Antoinette Schapper.
  • Australian Linguistic Society in Melbourne (9-11 July): Robert Mailhammer, who gave a paper on the historical development of the verb system in the Iwaidjan languages; Mark Donohue, who presented a (co-authored) paper at entitled 'Methodological explorations in historical linguistics: Typological feature analysis does not replicate phylogeny'.

Winning the bid for 12-ICAL

Wayan Arka and David Gil won the bid to host the 12-ICAL (International Conference on Austronesian Linguistics), which will be held in Bali, 2-6 July 2012. It will be co-hosted by the ANU, Udayana University and the MPI.


An organising committee including three members of the Department (Nick Evans, Wayan Arka and Yusuf Sawaki) have recently received a grant of 30,000 Euro from the Australia-Netherlands Research Collaboration scheme, to organise a conference in Manokwari, West Papua, next February, on the theme: 'Melanesian languages on the edge of Asia: past, present and future'. This conference will be hosted by the Universitas Negeri Papua, in Manokwari. Other members of the organising committee are Marian Klamer (Leiden University) and David Gil (Max Plank Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology). This major conference is part of the Department's push to intensify the study of Papuan languages across the whole Melanesian region, but also to specifically strengthen ties with the growing number of scholars in Eastern Indonesia interested in documenting the languages of that region.


  • From May 1st to May 9th Nick Evans was on Bentinck Island, Queensland working with Kayardild speakers and with UQ Archaeologists Sean Ulm and Daniel Rosendahl on an ARC-funded project reconstructing the prehistory of the Wellesley Islands. One of the goals is to get occupation dates for when Kayardild speakers arrived in the South Wellesleys, so as to pin firm dates to the family tree of Tangkic languages. The week threw up a number of promising archaeological sites and afforded a chance to check out ethnographic and material-culture vocabulary with the ever-dwindling number of Kayardild speakers, now down to half a dozen. On his way back Nick took the opportunity to work in Brisbane for a day with Andrea Schalley and Alex Borkowski (Griffith) on his other ARC project on Grammar and Social Cognition, building the ontology of cross-linguistic psychosocial categories for the project.
  • In late June, Nick Evans returned from a field-trip to Arnhem Land with Linda Barwick (PARADISEC, U. Sydney), continuing their project on endangered song languages of Western Arnhem Land. The trip focused on working with the ever-dwindling number of Dalabon speakers to document their rich song tradition, including transcribing and translating songs in a number of genres (Bongolinj-Bongolinj, Yayak) and collecting stories about the processes of composition, performance and transmission of music.
  • Aung Si just returned to Canberra late May after doing fieldwork to India. He carried out his fieldwork in the Nilgiri Hills of southern India over five months, to collect data on the language and traditional ecological knowledge of the Solega tribals who live around the hill forests. The Solega used to hunt and practice shifting cultivation in that region until the 1970s, when much of their ancestral lands were converted into a wildlife sanctuary by the Indian government. The people were forced to relocate to permanent settlements, and the traditional practice of lighting low-intensity leaf-litter fires to clear new farmland was also banned. As a result, the Solega are now a society in flux, one in which many young people know little of the old ways, and are increasingly likely to speak the closely related, but more prestigious, state language, Kannada. Large parts of the wildlife sanctuary have been invaded by the woody weed Lantana, which incidentally, is considered a 'weed of national significance' in Australia. The Solega blame the suppression of leaf-litter fires for the current state of the forest, and say that the introduction of the weed has had a severe negative impact on the local diversity of plants and animals.
  • Stef Spronck also returned to the department in late May after having spent seven months at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguisitcs in Nijmegen, The Netherlands. During that time he attended a number of conferences among which the European Australianist Workshop in Manchester, UK, a conference on Verb Typology in Ghent, Belgium, the Deutsche Geselschaft für Sprachwisseschaft Jahrestagung in Osnabrück, Germany and a workshop on Classification Systems in Wassenaar, The Netherlands. He also presented a paper about the grammatical encoding of speaker evaluations in reported speech constructions as part of the Language and Social Cognition project at the Radboud University, Nijmegen and the MPI Nijmegen. He is currently doing fieldwork to the Kimberley, WA.


The Grammar and Social Cognition project held its second annual workshop at Kioloa from 15-17 May, attended by fifteen participants from the ANU, University of Melbourne and Griffith. ANU participants included Chief Investigators Nick Evans and Alan Rumsey, postdoc Lila San Roque, and PhD students Stef Spronck, Tom Honeyman, Aung Si, Yusuf Sawaki and Annelise Kuhle. Participants at the workshop presented the first trial findings from a new story-card compilation task they have been developing to elicit spontaneous but cross-linguistically comparable material across a range of genres (picture descriptions, discussions, narrative), with material gathered for the Papuan languages Duna and Ku Waru, the Australian language Iwaidja, as well as Bulgarian and Japanese. CI Andrea Schalley and Alex Borkowski (Griffith) demonstrated the developing ontology, and the three Melbourne participants (CI Bark Kelly, and PhD students Lauren Gawne and Sarah Ciesielski) presented various materials on evidentials and reported speech in Sherpa and other Tibeto-Burman languages.

Visiting Students

The department welcomed exchange student Anneliese Kuhle who will be a guest in the Department over the next year. Anneliese is writing her PhD at the Freie Universität Berlin on concepts of reciprocity in language and their relationships to the reciprocity in anthropology and evolutionary biology.

Johanna Pätzold, from the University of Munich Germany, visited the department for six weeks (June-July 2009).

Book Launch

Nick Evans launched his crossover book 'Dying Words: Endangered Languages and What they have to tell us' at Alcaston Galleries, Fitzroy, Melbourne, on May 20th at a lively occasion attended by nearly a hundred people. The book was introduced by Kate Burridge, Professor of Linguistics at Monash. The launching of the book has attracted a flurry of media interest with half a dozen radio interviews in two days.

Wayan Arka

News from Monash Uni

Staff matters

  • We are very happy to report that Simon Musgrave has recently been granted a continuing lectureship.
  • Watch for a new position to be advertised before the end of this year, a replacement for Keith Allan who retires in 2010.
  • Kate Burridge is on OSP in Canada and Germany.
  • Anna Margetts and Carmen Dawuda have been awarded funds under the DoBeS program of the VW Foundation for a second phase of the Saliba-Logea Project (with John Hajek and Ulrike Mosel).

2009 Books

Two former Monash PhDs have recently published books based on their theses:

Recent PhD completions

  • Margaret A'Beckett, Gender assignment and word final pronunciation in French: two classification systems
  • Carmen Dawuda, Discourse Functions of Demonstratives and Place Adverbs with Exophoric Reference in Logea, an Oceanic Language of Papua New Guinea
  • Said Hassan Farahat (student at ACU but supervised at Monash), Politeness Phenomena in Palestinian Arabic and Australian English, A Cross-cultural Study of Selected Contemporary Plays

Keith Allan

News from Linguistics, La Trobe

La Trobe Alumni Prize goes to Linguistics student

The La Trobe Alumni Prize for the most outstanding student in the final year of a pass degree or the penultimate year of an honours degree in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences was awarded to Gabrielle Catherine Elizabeth Hodge, BAHons 2008. Ms Hodge achieved her high marks in her class work despite being legally deaf. Ms Hodge had recently also won the 2008 D M Myers Medal for the most outstanding Honours thesis for her thesis 'Variation in Australian Sign Language: Case Studies of the Expression of Time in Contemporary Auslan' (co-supervised by David Bradley in the Linguistics Program and Jan Branson in the National Institute for Deaf Studies and Sign Language).

Early Bird PhD Research Scholarships

Applications are invited for Early Bird PhD Research Scholarships tenable in research areas targeted for growth at La Trobe University, commencing 2009. We are targeting Experimental Phonetics: articulatory phonetics, cross-linguistic phonetics and phonology, coarticulation, phonetics of Australian languages, articulatory prosody. For more information see or contact Dr Marija Tabain (


Dr Alec Coupe has left La Trobe University for a new position at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, which is in the process of greatly enhancing its linguistics program, an effort being led by a former member of La Trobe Linguistics, Dr Bee Chin Ng. We wish Alec all the best in his new job!

Randy LaPolla

News from RCLT, La Trobe

ALS Conference and refereed volume of papers

The RCLT and the Linguistics Program at La Trobe hosted ALS2009, the 40th conference of the Australian Linguistic Society. There were many very good papers and three wonderful plenary talks. As has been the case with the last eleven conferences, we plan to edit a refereed volume of papers from those presented at the conference. If you wish to submit your paper to the volume, please send a double-spaced pdf copy which does not identify you as author (have only the title on the first page of the paper), but add a separate page with the title, your name, and your contact details before that. We will then send it out for double blind review. Your paper should be between 5,000 and 8,000 words. Send your paper as an attachment to The deadline for submissions is 1 September, 2009.

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 some of these talks are available for download from

Language workshops

The Language Workshops (day-long presentations on particular languages) have continued with Arabic and Korean. Discussions have been in-depth and thought provoking. The next three planned are Tok Pisin (21/8), Chinese (18/9) and Amharic (16/10). Anyone wishing to present a language for discussion, please contact Dr Yvonne Treis at

Recent PhD completions

Seino van Breugel's dissertation, a grammar of Atong, a Tibeto-Burman language of Northeast India, has been passed by all three examiners.

Rik de Busser's dissertation on the grammar of Takivatan Bunun, has also been passed by all three examiners. Congratulations to both!

Simon Overall's dissertation, completed last year, recently received the Research Thesis Merit Citation.

Staff departure

Dr Gerd Jendraschek, Charles La Trobe Fellow, will be leaving us at the end of September for a post at the University of Regensburg (Bavaria, Germany). We wish him well for the future and thank him for his many contributions to the RCLT.

Visiting Fellows

Dr Pilar Valenzuela, from Chapman University, Orange County, California, was a Visiting Fellow at RCLT from June 2009 - July 2009. She helped organise a panel on Peruvian languages for the ALS conference, and presented a seminar 'Multi-verb predicates and transitivity harmony in Shipibo-Konibo' at the RCLT.

Professor Willem J. de Reuse, from University of North Texas, Denton, is a Visiting Fellow at the RCLT, in residence May 2009 - October 2009, and then again later in the year for a shorter visit. He has just completed a 700 page dictionary of Western Apache while at the RCLT and will be working on completing a scientific reference grammar of the same language. It is planned to be a manuscript in the 600-800 page range. Prof. de Reuse and Dr. Shobhana Chelliah have also completed a draft manuscript of a manual, survey, and reference work for professional linguists and students in linguistics who intend to conduct descriptive linguistic fieldwork, and we have organised monthly meetings to discuss topics related to fieldwork methodology, using their chapters as a basis for discussion.

Dr Shobhana L. Celliah, from University of North Texas, Denton, is currently visiting at the RCLT to discuss her recent work on case in Meithei, published in her recent book edited with Jóhanna Barðdal, The Role of Semantic, Pragmatic, and Discourse Factors in the Development of Case (Benjamins, 2009), and on fieldwork methodology (see item above).

Prof. Yong-Min Shin, from Gyeongsang National University, Korea, is a Visiting Fellow at the RCLT, in residence 8 July - 19 August, and will present a paper, 'The functional domain of Benefaction: On the typology of the linguistic representation of benefactive relations', 13 August. Prof. Shin also participated with Gerd Jendraschek in presenting the Korean Language Workshop on 24 July.

Dr Birgit Hellwig, from Universität Erfurt, will be in residence at the RCLT 21 August - 22 September.

Dr Roberto Zavala, from 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 Alejandra Vidal, Associate Professor at Facultad de Humanidades, Universidad Nacional de Formosa, Argentina, will be with us from September - December 2009 working on the Pilagá (Guaykuruan) and Wichí (Mataco-Mataguayan) languages.

Dr Cheon-hak Kim, of the University of Seoul, Korea, will be a Visiting Fellow at the RCLT from December 2009 - December 2010, funded by a Korea Research Foundation grant.

Research activities

Dr Mark Post, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, is undertaking fieldwork on the Eastern Tani languages of Arunachal Pradesh and Assam, North East India, May - November 2009.

Dr Yvonne Treis, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, has returned from fieldwork on Basketo, a language spoken in the southern region of Ethiopia.

Dr Katerina Zombolou, La Trobe Postdoctoral Research Fellow, is undertaking fieldwork, looking at Greek spoken in Argentina: Maintenance and Change, April 2009 - September 2009.

Chia-jung Pan, a PhD student, has returned from fieldwork on Lha'alua, an Austronesian language spoken in Kaohsiung County, Taiwan, August 2008 - August 2009.

Jingyi Du, a PhD student, has returned from fieldwork on Barok, an Oceanic language of New Ireland, April - June 2009.

Ian Tupper, an MA student, has returned from fieldwork on Pamosu, a language of Papua New Guinea, January - June 2009.

David Sangdong, an MA student, is undertaking fieldwork on the Kadu language of western Myanmar.

Paul Hastie, a PhD student, has just joined the RCLT. He plans to document an endangered Tibeto-Burman language.

Siew-Peng Condon

News from AIATSIS

Language Sessions at the AIATSIS Conference: Perspectives on Urban Life

AIATSIS National Indigenous Studies Conference 2009 'Perspectives on Urban Life: Connections and Reconnections', 29 September to 1 October, The Manning Clark Centre, Australian National University, Canberra,

The newly-released program features two day-long sessions on language in urban environments: 'Language, Kinship, Heritage' and 'Language, Revitalisation and Education'. 'Language, Kinship, Heritage' (Wednesday 30th September) features presentations on the encoding and expression of kinship in urban Aboriginal language communities. The role of Aboriginal languages in education is an ongoing issue for many urban Aboriginal communities, which are engaged in efforts to maintain, revitalise and reclaim traditional languages and 'Language Revitalisation and Education' (Thursday 1st October) will critically review this issue with a view to developing a set of principles of effective program design. The session includes presentations on the challenges and successes of urban language revitalization programs, including case studies on Noongar, Ngarrindjeri, Kaurna and Warrgamay language programs.

AIATSIS Research Symposium on Bilingual Education in the Northern Territory

On Friday 26th June, AIATSIS hosted a one-day Research Symposium entitled 'Bilingual Education in the Northern Territory: Principles, policy and practice' at the National Museum of Australia. The symposium attracted nearly 100 registrations and was timed to coincide with the launch of AIATSIS Discussion Paper 24 'Gaps in Australia's Indigenous Language Policy: Dismantling bilingual education in the Northern Territory' by Jane Simpson, Jo Caffery and Patrick McConvell. Australian of the Year and Chair of AIATSIS Prof. Mick Dodson formally launched the discussion paper. Speakers at the symposium included the authors of the discussion paper, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner Tom Calma, Prof. Joe Lo Bianco, Dr. Brian Devlin and representatives from Yirrkala, Yuendumu and Areyonga communities. Attendees at the symposium drafted recommendations, which will be released in the near future. The symposium received coverage in various media, including the Northern Territory ABC TV News, ABC online, SBS Radio's Aboriginal program, the National Indigenous Times and the Centralian Advocate. Recorded media from the presentations will be available shortly at

Australian Languages Email list

The AIATSIS Language Program has been approached to assume ownership of the australian-linguistics-l email list, This list has not had significant activity levels for sometime. If AIATSIS Language Program is to assume ownership of this list, we propose to broaden the membership of the list by inviting all individuals and organisations engaged in research and development on/with/for Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Languages to consider joining it.

There is a 'communication gap' for this active and growing community, which we hope this email list will fill. We propose to rename this email list 'Australian Languages' list. If there are a number of strong objections to this proposal by members of australian-linguistics-l list, please post them to that list, and we will consider initiating a new list altogether for our purposes. In any case, we will soon be posting information via the ALS list on how to subscribe to the Australian Languages email list.

AIATSIS Seminar Series

The AIATSIS Seminar Series for Semester Two is entitled 'Accessing Research and Collections at AIATSIS'. This seminar series is designed to communicate the work of the AIATSIS research program and the Institute's library, Audio Visual Archives and Family History Unit. Come to the seminars to learn about leading research projects, the work of AIATSIS and how to use its collections and facilities. The program can be viewed at,_2009. Two presentations may be of particular interest for members of ALS. They are Di Hosking's presentation 'The work of the AIATSIS Audiovisual Archive' scheduled for 31st August, and Sarah Cutfield's presentation 'Documenting and describing the Dalabon language of SE Arnhem Land', scheduled for 19th October.

National Indigenous Languages Policy

On 9th August, Ministers Garrett and Macklin jointly announced a National Indigenous Languages Policy, The policy document identifies the need for 'coordinated action among the bodies involved in support of Indigenous languages, including government, language organisations and educational and research institutions'. Details of the five 'key areas' are available at the above URL. At this stage, it is unclear how developed this policy is, and at which point comment will be invited from stakeholders. AIATSIS Language Program has been advised that those wishing to comment on the policy are welcome to send comment to Ministers Macklin and Garrett. We suggest that you also submit your comments to AIATSIS ( so that we might deliver a compiled submission once the process for directed submissions is announced.

Australian Languages Workshop reminder

The Australian Languages Workshop 2010 will be held from the 12th to the 14th of March at the ANU Kioloa campus. The Australian Languages Workshop is an annual workshop for linguists to present their current research on any area of Australian Indigenous languages, including linguistic analysis, language policy, and Indigenous languages in education. The workshop also provides an opportunity to get to know each other and exchange information in a relaxed, informal environment. The 2009 workshop attracted 40 participants. A call for papers will be sent to the workshop email list in October. If you wish to be added to the existing workshop email list, please send an email to Kazuko Obata (

Sarah Cutfield


Acquisition of Determiner Phrase in Early Child Mandarin (Chang-Smith)

Chang-Smith, Meiyun. 2009. The Acquisition of Determiner Phrase in Early Child Mandarin: A Longitudinal Study of Two Mandarin Speaking Children. Saarbrücken: VDM Publishers. ISBN: 978-3-639-12941-0.

This text provides an authoritative account of the first language (L1) acquisition of Mandarin Determiner Phrase (DP), the first to utilize grammatical aspects of the Minimalist Program (Chomsky 1995 among others) to explain the acquisition of nominal functional categories in early child Mandarin. The study is both theory and data driven, leading the reader step by step along the developmental pathway for Mandarin DP as exhibited by the two child subjects, one monolingual and the other a simultaneous Mandarin-English bilingual. Through the inclusion of detailed and extensive examples from the original corpora together with discussions and analysis, this book reveals unique and original insights into the L1 acquisition of a classifier language possessing a DP with more complex intervening internal structures. By careful comparison of both the bilingual and the monolingual DP acquisition patterns, the study reveals that simultaneous bilingual and monolingual children pursue the same developmental pathway during the course of development of Mandarin DP. It sheds light on fundamental issues in language acquisition such as the continuity debates and will be a valuable resource for students and practicing acquisition researchers alike.

Meiyun Chang-Smith

Publications received, August 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.

  • Corrigan, R., et al., eds. (2009) Forumulaic Language (2 vols.) John Benjamins, Amsterdam.
  • Crystal, D. (2009) Just A Phrase I'm Going Through: My Life in Language. Routledge, London.
  • Griffiths, P. et al., eds. (2010) Language in Use: A Reader. Routledge, London.
  • Raimy, E. and C. E. Cairns, eds. (2009) Contemporary Views on Architecture and Represenations in Phonology. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA.
  • Whittaker et al , eds. (2006) Language and Literacy: Functional Approaches. Continuum, London
Alan Libert

Upcoming Conferences

Conference: Towards Restorative Justice

A conference on Language, Law and Social Justice co-presented by the Australian Systemic Functional Linguistics Association and the Sydney Institute of Criminology. 7th-9th December 2009, Sydney Law School, University of Sydney.

Governments around the world are actively experimenting with new ways of doing justice. Family group 'conferencing', circle sentencing, native title tribunals, land rights claims, truth commissions - all in various ways attempt to deliver a better quality of justice for those most immediately affected by a crime and to redress the disadvantages that certain social groups have historically experienced before the law. How are acts of repair and reconciliation negotiated in the fine detail of such processes? How do they compare to more familiar genres of police work and legal-judicial practice? Where does the vision of restorative justice begin and end?

Keynote Speakers

  • John Braithwaite (ARC Federation Fellow, Australian National University)
  • Diana Eades (School of Behavioural, Cognitive and Social Sciences, University of New England)
  • Peter Gray (Judge, Federal Court of Australia)
  • Frances Rock (School of English Communication and Philosophy, Cardiff University)
  • Julie Stubbs (Professor of Criminology, University of Sydney)

For further details, visit the conference website at

Michael Walsh

OZPHON 2009, Call for papers

OZPHON 2009 is a get-together opportunity for researchers in phonetics and phonology of languages in Australia-Oceania, specifically working in the following areas (somewhat expanded in scope for 2009, relative to the preceding OZPHON):

  • Indigenous languages of Australia
  • Indigenous languages of the South Pacific

OZPHON provides an opportunity for researchers from diverse backgrounds to explore the benefits of each other's research advances, and encourages presentations from researchers with a wide range of interests, including, but not limited to the following

  • Acoustic phonetics
  • Articulatory phonetics
  • Phonological theory and analysis
  • Phonetic and phonological perception

OZPHON will be held as part of the Australian Language and Speech (ALAS) Conference this year ( The ALAS conference in turn forms part of the HCSNET Summerfest (

Date: Friday 4 December

Venue: University of New South Wales

Abstract submission is now open and is through the HCSNet website. You will need to be a member of HCSNet before you can submit an abstract, but this is a painless, and cost free process. Just visit the HCSNet home page at

Presentations will take the usual format of a 20 minute oral presentation. Abstracts should be 200 words or less.

To submit an abstract, please go to the OZPHON09 page,

Registration for Summerfest and ALAS/OZPHON will open shortly. To register please go to the Summerfest page,

Submission deadline: Monday 28th September 2009

Mark Harvey

The First Australian Workshop on Afro-Asiatic Linguistics (AWAAL)

State Library of Queensland & The University of Queensland, 11-13 September 2009
Brisbane RiverFire 2009: From the 'Promised Land' to the 'Lucky Country', Denial is Not a River in Egypt
Further particulars:

'I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce, and agriculture, in order to give their children a right ***to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain***.' (John Adams, 1735-1826, second president of the United States)

'A Senegalese poet said "In the end we will conserve only what we love. We love only what we understand, and we will understand only what we are taught." We must learn about other cultures in order to understand, in order to love, and in order to preserve our common world heritage.' (Cellist Yo Yo Ma, White House Conference on Culture and Diplomacy, 28 November 2000)

AWAAL's Opening Ceremony - on Friday, 11 September, at 15:30, at the Brisbane Writers Festival, State Library of Queensland, South Bank - will consist of a Welcome to Country by Acknowledging the Traditional Owners of the Land (by Michael Williams, Member of the Gooreng Gooreng Aboriginal Community, Director of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies Unit); Greetings by Professor Paul Greenfield, Vice-Chancellor and President of The University of Queensland; Singing, Playing and Dancing by Ermias Gebremariam, Awet Mlash, Nardos Zerihun, Senayt, powerful tenor Raffaele Pierno, Heather Lee and Kim Cunio, Australia's leading composer and interpreter of sacred traditional music.

The Ceremony will be followed by a panel discussing Lessons from the Middle East Applicable to the Revival of No-Longer Spoken Aboriginal Languages. As Nelson Mandela once said, 'if you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.' Panelists will include Eve Fesl, Aboriginal academic leader; Faith Baisden, coordinator of the Queensland Indigenous Languages Advisory Committee; Michael Williams, Director of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies Unit; Amareswar Galla, leading expert in sustainable heritage development; and Ghil`ad Zuckermann, linguist.

Other AWAAL presenters and participants will include Yvonne Treis, Verna Rieschild, Rudolf Leger, Fawwaz Al-Abed Al-haq, Abdel El-Hankari, Rudolf Leger, Sergio Baldi, Girma Halefom, Tommi Leung, Sarah Ouwayda, Prosper Djiafeua, Ruvik Rosenthal, Uri Zur, Baruch Podolsky, Hagit Borer, Ariel Gutman, Ephraim Nissan, Ed Conrad, Sandy Habib, Khalid Alhommady, Tariq Elyas, David Kummerow, Amer Lahad Al-Masaeid, Thamir Al Barrag, Anne Le Guinio, Abdullah Bin Towairesh, Mohammad Ali Al-Zahrani, Salih Alzahrani, Bruria Bergman, Ilana Mushin, Michael Harrington, Jason Jacobs, Georgiana Poulter, Gabor Takacs, Tesfay Tewolde Yohannes, Alessandro Suzzi Valli, Andrzej Zaborski, Abdelaziz Allati, Deborah Terry, Richard Fotheringham, Alfredo Martinez Exposito, Joanne Tompkins, Peter Cryle, Ian Hunter, David Trigger, and Nick Xynias AO BEM.

A full programme and registration details are available at

Further particulars: Ghil`ad Zuckermann,

Ghil'ad Zuckermann

Jobs, grants, and scholarships

Postdoctoral position at JCU

Applications are invited for a two year Postdoctoral Research Fellowships in The Cairns Institute to work as part of a team headed by Professor Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald and Professor R.M.W. Dixon, within the framework of their joint project 'World through the prism of language: a cross-linguistic view of genders, noun classes and classifiers'.

Applicants must have a doctorate or equivalent qualification, preferably awarded within the last five years. Cases in which the period since the award of the doctorate is in excess of five years may also be considered, as will applications from candidates whose thesis is currently under examination. Experience of linguistic fieldwork is required and ideally the appointee will have already completed a grammatical description of a language that has not previously been described (not their native language) in terms of basic linguistic theory. A Fellowship will not normally be awarded to an applicant who already holds an appointment within the University. Ideally, we are seeking to make an appointment to work on a language from either South America, New Guinea or from the Tibeto-Burman family. However excellent applicants with primary interest in another area will be considered. The appointee will be required to undertake extensive fieldwork and will produce a comprehensive description of a previously undescribed language.

Duties and Accountabilities: The key duty is to conduct research in anthropological linguistics, with particular attention to language analysis, producing high quality publications in refereed outlets.

Key Selection Criteria

  1. Thorough professional training in linguistics, with special reference to language-description, anthropological linguistics and linguistic typology;
  2. PhD (conferred or pending) in descriptive linguistics, in terms of basic linguistic theory;
  3. Demonstrated ability to work, under direction, as a member of a research team;
  4. Demonstrated ability to work to a timetable, and produce results on time;
  5. Demonstrated ability and commitment to disseminate the results of research in high quality publications within agreed timeframes; evidence of high level written, oral and interpersonal communication skills to diverse audiences.

Desirable Selection Criteria

  1. Ideally, to have produced a description of a language, preferably
    (a) a language for which there had previously been no good description; and
    (b) a language other than that of which they are a native speaker;
  2. Some training in anthropology.

Enquiries: Professor A Aikhenvald,

Further details, including the application form, are available at jobs at jcu website,

Closing date: Friday, 18 September 2009.

Alexandra (Sasha) Aikhenvald

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 Language And Culture Research Group 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 form for international 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

Two positions at Adelaide Uni

Team Leader (Mobile Language Team)

Discipline of Linguistics, School of Humanities (Ref: 4567)

The Discipline of Linguistics with a grant from DEWHA (Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts) is setting up a Mobile Language Team to service the language needs of Aboriginal communities throughout South Australia. We are seeking a Team Leader(s) to develop the new unit and train other members of staff and members from Aboriginal communities in the theory and practice of reviving languages. The position will be either one full-time appointment or two part-time (0.5FTE) appointments to ensure that all areas of South Australia can be equitably catered for. The successful applicant will be appointed at an appropriate level depending on qualifi cations and relevant experience.

Fixed-term position available immediately for a period of 3 years at either one full-time appointment or two part-time (0.5FTE) appointments.

Salary: Level B $73,228 - $86,960 per annum, pro-rata at 18.38 hours per week (0.5FTE); or Level C $89,700 - $103,436 per annum, pro-rata at 18.38 hours per week (0.5FTE).

For further details, see

Aboriginal Language Worker

Discipline of Linguistics, School of Humanities (Ref: 9536)

The Discipline of Linguistics with a grant from the Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts) is establishing a Mobile Language Team (MLT) to service the language needs of Aboriginal communities throughout South Australia. We are seeking an enthusiastic individual to provide administrative and web support to the operations of the MLT. Applications will only be considered from persons of Aboriginal and or Torres Strait Islander descent for this position, under special measures pursuant to Section 65 of the Equal Employment Opportunity Act 1984 and the University of Adelaide Indigenous Employment Strategy 2006-2009.

Part-time, fixed-term position available immediately for a period of 12 months in the first instance.

Salary: (HEO5) $52,323 - $58,388 per annum, pro-rata at 29.4 hours.

For further details, see

Tina Esca

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