Newsletter November 2011

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.

Andrea Schalley

Annual General Meeting of the Australian Linguistic Society

The Annual General Meeting of the Australian Linguistic Society will be held at 5.30 on Saturday December 3rd in the Coombs Lecture Theatre at the ANU, immediately after sessions and before the conference dinner. Agenda items should be sent to the ALS Secretary Nick Thieberger ( before November 23rd to be included in the formal agenda, but can also be raised at the meeting as 'other business'.

Nick Thieberger

New Award: The Talkley Award

The Talkley Award is presented each year to the ALS member who has done the most to promote linguistics in the public sphere. The Award acknowledges that the discipline of linguistics needs champions to explain its relevance to Australia at large. The winner may be an individual who has raised awareness about language to the general public - e.g., through public lectures, books, engagement with the media, etc. - with accuracy and clarity. They may also be someone who has positively influenced language policy by explaining how linguistic evidence can be used to solve real-life language problems.

Please email your nominations to the ALS postgraduate representative ( and cc the president ( A sentence or two explaining why the nominated individual should win this year's Talkley is also recommended.

Deadline is 21 November. Get cracking!

If you would like to be part of a postgraduate subcommittee for evaluating the nominations, please contact Piers.

Piers Kelly

Indigenous language resources on the web (AuSIL)

To celebrate 50 years of collaboration and research with indigenous language communities around Australia, the Australian Society for Indigenous Languages (AuSIL) is pleased to make current and legacy resources available on the web for easy access by indigenous communities, schools, NGOs and researchers alike. See website at:

AuSIL, formerly known as the Summer Institute of Linguistics, Australian Aboriginal and Islanders Branch (SIL-AAIB) began working in remote communities around Australia in 1961 and has contributed widely to our knowledge of indigenous languages throughout the country over the past 50 years.

The AuSIL Interactive Dictionary Series on the website already includes interactive Lexique Pro dictionaries (not static PDF files) for a number of languages, with more on the way. Note that downloading the stand-alone version for your computer (for free) gives more functions and search capabilities than does the more limited web version. Languages already available include: Burrara, Iwaidja, Kriol, Martu Wangka, Tiwi, Walmajarri, Warlpiri, Wik Mungkan, and Yinjibarndi.

97 grammar and phonology sketches are currently available for download as PDF scans from the AAIB Workpapers series.

Computer resources include electronic keyboards for various OS for easy typing of special characters for Yolŋu Matha and Aṉangu languages. There are also easy links for downloading dictionary software such as Toolbox and Lexique Pro; and Unicode SIL fonts, such as Doulos SIL (for IPA), Gentium (for production quality), and Andika (for early literacy).

Various advocacy resources are also available in various forms including PDF, powerpoints and MP3 audio files, particularly relating to Multilingual Education, and educational policies in the Northern Territory uninformed by the language-in-education research.

There are also links to (languages already available include: Burrara, Djambarrpuyŋu, Kala Lagaw Ya, Kriol, Wik-Mungkan, and Yumplatok). also includes Kala Lagaw Ya, and Yumplatok. This translated material has been checked with the various language communities for naturalness. Note that these two websites provide full concordance searches of unique words in context, including frequency counts.

We trust that these and additional resources to be made available in the future will be of use to all interested parties.

Chuck Grimes

News from AIATSIS Centre for Australian Languages

We would like to announce that the name of our group has changed to 'AIATSIS Centre for Australian Languages' or ACAL (formerly 'AIATSIS Languages Unit'). We feel this name better reflects our field of interest and range of activities as well as our aim to be an ongoing operation within AIATSIS.

ANU-AIATSIS Summer Scholarships

AIATSIS will be hosting two summer scholars from 28 November 2011 to 25 January 2012 under the ANU-AIATSIS summer scholarships scheme. Stephanie Jenkins and James Bednall, both from the University of Western Australia, will be conducting research on Nyangumarta and Yinhawangka, respectively. While in Canberra, they will be supervised by Prof. Jane Simpson at ANU and AIATSIS linguists. James will be conducting one week fieldwork with the Wangka Maya Pilbara Aboriginal Languages Centre.


AIATSIS completed the ASEDA restructuring project. As the result of the restructuring, ASEDA (Aboriginal Studies Electronic Data Archive) has been renamed as AILEC (Australian Indigenous Languages Electronic Collection) to reflect the nature of the collection. The collection is now hosted and administered by the AIATSIS library and the materials in the collection are catalogued in the AIATSIS collection catalogue, MURA ( About 200 materials from the collection are now available for downloading from MURA while some of the materials have been removed from the collection for various reasons. Records of all ASEDA (AILEC) materials, including those which were removed from the collection, can be found in a separate ASEDA catalogue ( AIATSIS would like to thank all ASEDA/AILEC contributors for their assistance during the restructuring. The AIATSIS collection holds the world's largest collection on Australian Indigenous languages. If you wish to lodge materials at AIATSIS (both digital and non-digital) please refer to the AIATSIS website (

Doug Marmion

News from the James Cook University


Dineke Schokkin, a PhD student at LCRG (CI), has been awarded a fieldwork grant from the Firebird Foundation for Anthropological Research, to undertake further work on the oral literature of the Paluai of the Manus Province, Papua New Guinea.

Dr Mark Post, PostDoctoral Research Fellow at LCRG (CI) has been awarded a Taiwan National Science Foundation Book-Writing Grant to prepare book on Tani languages to begin Nov. 2011 ($35,000 awarded, PI Jackson Sun, Academia Sinica)

In addition, members of LCRG have been successful in securing internal funding from JCU for conference travel, PhD research and PhD completion.

Staff news

Dr Tianqiao (Mike) Lu has completed his two-year PostDoctoral Fellowship at LCRG (with the ARC DP 'The world through the prism of language: a typological study genders, noun classes and classifiers'. As an outcome of his Fellowship, he has finalised his monograph Classifiers in Kam-Tai languages. A Cognitive and Cultural Perspective which will be soon submitted to a scholarly publisher.

Cairns Institute Visiting Fellows

Professor Andrew Butcher (Flinders University), an internationally recognised expert on phonetics, has been awarded a Cairns Institute Distinguished Visiting Fellowship (February-June 2012). He will be working on various issues in phonetics of Australian languages.

New books published and accepted for publication

  • Aikhenvald, Alexandra Y. and Dixon, R. M. W. (eds). 2012. Possession and ownership: a cross-linguistic typology. Series 'Explorations in linguistic typology'. Oxford University Press. (based on the 10th International Workshop 'Possession and ownership', LCRG, CI, JCU, September-October 2010).
  • Dixon, R. M. W. Forthcoming. Basic linguistic theory. Volume 3. Further grammatical topics. Oxford: Oxford University Press. (to come out early 2012).
  • Schokkin, Gerda (Dineke). 2011. 'Ja toch?' On the role of discourse markers and other linguistic means in the construction of linguistic identity by adolescents of Amsterdam. Munich: Lincom Europa.

Foreword by R. M. W. Dixon for the series:

Beginning from the early 1970s, the Linguistics Department in the Faculty of Arts at the Australian National University was a hot-bed of high-quality linguistic activity. Of the several dozen successful PhD students, more than three-quarters wrote — for their thesis — a comprehensive, theoretically-informed grammar of a language that had not previously been described (or had not been well described). Quite a number of these grammars have been published, but a number of first-class studies have until now remained unpublished.

For this LINCOM EUROPA series we have chosen eleven outstanding grammars. They cover seven Aboriginal languages of Australia, a Papuan language from New Guinea, and an Austronesian languages from the Solomon Islands. In addition, we include Felix Ameka'a masterly study of topics in the grammar of Ewe, a Kwa language from Ghana, and Kristina Sands' perceptive account of topics in the grammar of Finnish. Ten of the theses were presented at the ANU, that by Komei Hosokawa in the Research School of Pacific Studies and the other nine in the Faculty of Arts. Melanie Wilkinson had received her undergraduate training in the ANU Faculty of Arts Department, but completed her PhD at the University of Sydney.

We are now delighted to share these excellent studies with linguists world-wide. The list of eleven volumes is:

  1. Felix K. Ameka, 1991. Ewe: its grammatical constructions and illocutionary devices. PhD thesis, ANU. xi. 719 pp.
  2. Bronwyn Eather. 1990. A grammar of Nakkara (Central Arnhem Land coast). PhD thesis, ANU. xvi, 498 pp. NISBN 9783862881536
  3. Lysbeth J. Ford, 1998. A description of the Emmi language of the Northern Territory of Australia. PhD thesis, ANU. xiii, 446 pp. ISBN 9783862881543
  4. Deborah Hill. 1992. Longgu grammar. PhD thesis, ANU. xii, 340 pp. ISBN: 9783862880956
  5. Komei Hosokawa. 1991. The Yawuru language of West Kimberley: a meaning-based description. PhD thesis, ANU. xxxi, 524 pp. ISBN: 9783862880935
  6. Graham R. McKay. 1975. Rembarnga, a language of central Arnhem Land. PhD thesis, ANU. xvii, 406 pp. ISBN: 9783862880890
  7. Masayuki Onishi. 1994. A grammar of Motuna (Bougainville, Papua New Guinea). PhD thesis, ANU. xxiii, 565 pp. NISBN 9783862882076
  8. Nicholas J. Reid. 1990. Ngan’gityemerri: a language of the Daly River region, Northern Territory of Australia. PhD thesis, ANU. xxii, 456 pp. ISBN 9783862881000
  9. Kristina Sands. 2000. Complement clause and grammatical relations in Finnish. PhD thesis, ANU. xiii, 352 pp. ISBN: 9783862880911
  10. Michael Walsh. 1976. The Murinypata language of north-west Australia. PhD thesis, ANU. xiv, 442 pp. ISBN 9783862880942
  11. Melanie Wilkinson. 1991. Djambarrpuyngu, a Yolngu variety of northern Australia. PhD thesis, Sydney University. xviii, 727 pp.

Round table meetings - workshop

The Language and Culture Research group has regular Round table meetings, focussing on various issues in linguistics and anthropology. Currently, we are conducting a local workshop on 'Body parts in lexicon and grammar' (a Position paper is available upon request, from

On Wednesday 21 September Bob Dixon presented a position paper for the Local Workshop 'Body Parts in Lexicon and Grammar', by Aikhenvald and Dixon, with a brief outline of the parameters of variation and questions to be addressed.

The following presentations have been scheduled for September-November:

Local Workshop

Body Parts in Lexicon and Grammar

there will be a meeting at 4 p.m. each Wednesday in the Cairns Institute Seminar Room A4-222a

4 p.m. Wednesday 5 October Anne Schwarz — Secoya
4 p.m. Wednesday 12 October Chia-jung Pan — Taiwanese
4 p.m. Wednesday 19 October Dineke Schokkin — Paluai
4 p.m. Wednesday 26 October Mark Post — Tani languages
4 p.m. Wednesday 2 November Bob Dixon — Dyirbal
4 p.m. Wednesday 9 November Sihong Zhang — Ersu
4 p.m. Wednesday 16 November Sasha Aikhenvald — Manambu
[no meeting 23 November]  
4 p.m. Wednesday 30 November Juliane Böttger — German

Conference presentations and outside lectures

Professor Alexandra Aikhenvald is currently spending the second instalment of her Alexander von Humboldt Research Award at the University of Cologne, from 17 September until 11 November. She has presented the following key-note addresses:

  • 'Areal diffusion and parallelism in drift: shared grammaticalization patterns', Symposium 'Shared grammaticalization in the Transeurasian languages', Koeniglike universiteit Leuven (jointly with the government of Belgium), 21-23 September
  • 'Number, animacy and classifiers: Tariana and its neighbours in north-west Amazonia', 'Number in Africa and beyond: Grammar, semantics and social deixis', Institute of African Studies, University of Cologne, 27-30 September
  • 'Mind, body, and spirit: on meanings and functions of body part terms in the languages of the Sepik area, Papua New Guinea', Conference 'The body in language: metaphor, grammar and culture', University of Warsaw, 21-22 October

James Cook University Open Day

As part of the Cairns Institute's participation in the JCU Open Day in Cairns (21 August 2011), the Language and Culture Research group held a stall, under the title 'The joy of language', with a book exhibition. Yankee Modi showed photographs and artefacts from her native community of Milang speakers. We also conducted a linguistic quizz. Some questions were easy to answer — such as 'Which foreign language does Kevin Rudd speak?' Others were more difficult: a typical answer to the question 'Which foreign language does Vladimir Putin speak?' was 'Russian'. Answers to the question 'How many languages are there in Papua New Guinea?' ranged from 'two' to 'nine hundred'.


Hannah Sarvasy, PhD student at LCRG (CI, JCU), is currently undertaking a lengthy period of immersion fieldwork on Nungon, a previously undescribed language from Yus Plateau area, Morobe Province, Papua New Guinea.

Mikko Salminen, PhD student at LCRG (CI, JCU), is currently undertaking a lengthy period of immersion fieldwork on Huave (San Dionicio del Mar), an isolate from Oaxaca, Mexico.

Dr Anne Schwarz, Post-doctoral Fellow at LCRG (CI, JCU), is currently undertaking a second period of immersion fieldwork on Siona/Secoya, a West Tucanoan language from Ecuador.

Dr Mark Post, Post-doctoral Fellow at LCRG (CI, JCU), is preparing for a period of fieldwork on the Upper Minyong language (Tibeto-Burman), in Arunachal Pradesh (India).

Yankee Modi, PhD student at LCRG (CI, JCU), is preparing for a period of fieldwork on her native Milang language (Tibeto-Burman), in Arunachal Pradesh (India).

Alexandra (Sasha) Aikhenvald

News from the University of New England

Linguistics UNE is pleased to announce two recent PhD successes. Sandy Habib, Contrastive lexical-conceptual analysis of folk religious concepts in English, Arabic and Hebrew: NSM approach, and Carsten Levisen, The Danish Universe of Meaning: Semantics, Cognition and Cultural Values, were both awarded Doctor of Philosophy cum laude.

In September, Cindy Schneider conducted research in East New Britain Province, PNG, continuing her ongoing linguistic study of Kairak, a Papuan/Baining language. She led an orthography (alphabet) development workshop for teachers of the Kairak language, following on from an earlier workshop in 2008. Cindy also began an ethnographic investigation and documentation of the language teaching and literacy practices of local schools and other institutions, and of the wider community.

In October, Cindy Schneider presented a paper, ‘A variety of indeterminate status: the case of Suru Kavian’ at the International Workshop on the Languages of Vanuatu at the ANU Kioloa coastal campus.

In November Ines Anton-Mendez was invited to be one of a small group of linguists who met with Noam Chomsky during his visit to Sydney to accept the Sydney Peace prize.

On the teaching front, in 2012 UNE is switching over to a trimester system with Linguistics students having the opportunity to pick up extra classes over the Nov-Feb period in order to fast-track their degree.

Nick Reid

News from the Australian National University

From Linguistics, College of Asia and the Pacific (CAP)

The linguistics department within the College of Asia and the Pacific at the Australian National University produces a monthly or bi-monthly newsletter.

Our newsletters detail all latest news and info including publications, seminars, visiting scholars, fieldwork, conferences and workshops, grants and awards, teaching and students news and more.

Stories in the latest newsletter include:

  • 1st International workshop on Vanuatu Languages (Oct 20-23, Kioloa campus)
  • Forensic Linguistics and Biometric Laboratory established
  • Major language documentation in Southern New Guinea (ARC and DoBeS funded projects)
  • Publication and launch of The Lexicon of Proto-Oceanic Vol. 4 Animals and Reciprocals, edited by Malcolm Ross, Andrew Pawley and Meredith Osmond
  • Upcoming langfest events
  • New appointment: Dr Paul Sidwell

For more information, go to:

Wayan Arka

From the School of Language Studies, College of Arts and Social Sciences (CASS)

A team of researchers at ANU has received an ARC Discovery grant to work on the project Skin and Kin in Aboriginal Australia: linguistic and historical perspectives on the dynamics of social categories.

Short description: Indigenous Australians are linked in family-like networks, underpinned by ways of talking about social relationships. Social category systems unique to Australia are central to this linking, enabling people to view others as family. The unparalleled database created for the Austkin project gives an empirical basis for investigating the language of social categories. Using methods from linguistics, history and anthropology, we will trace the history of 'skin' systems and their dynamic relationships with kinship, marriage patterns, and land connections. This project will give fresh insight into how Aboriginal people have organised social interaction and created enduring societies.

CI's are Patrick McConvell, Harold Koch and Jane Simpson all of ANU; PI is Laurent Dousset of EHESS, France. There a number of others on the project including Aboriginal researchers Jeanie Bell and Jaky Troy.

McConvell has also received a Discovery Outstanding Research Award (DORA) to work on the project for three years.

Patrick McConvell

News from Griffith University

The School of Languages and Linguistics at Griffith has been strengthened of late with the arrival of two new staff - Andy Kirkpatrick and Cliff Goddard. The number of linguists, including applied linguists, at Griffith now stands at seven continuing staff.

On the grant scene, there was some very good news. Cliff Goddard and Michael Haugh, along with American PI Donal Carbaugh (U. Mass), were awarded an ARC Discovery project: Australians and Americans talking: culture, interaction and communication style. The 100-word summary read as follows: "Despite the similarities, there are important differences in how Australians and Americans conduct everyday verbal interaction: in self-presentation, face work, sarcasm and joking, use of religious language and swear words, and other areas. Combining interactional pragmatics, semantic analysis and cultural discourse analysis, this project will study face-to-face interaction between Australians and Americans. It will identify and explain communication style differences, linking them with cultural values and attitudes. Using naturalistic recordings and corpus data, the project will also develop improved methodologies and advance empirical standards in intercultural communication studies generally."

In other grant news, Andrea Schalley and Susana Eisenchlas won a Griffith Learning and Teaching grant to develop on-line resources in Linguistics. The same team also won three Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program (HEPPP) grants aimed at boosting the participation of low socioeconomic status students.

On the publications front, Andy Kirkpatrick has become chief editor of a new journal with Springer entitled Multilingual Education. This is Springer's first open access journal in the Humanities (these are common in the medical fields etc). Andy is also editing a new book series with Springer (also called Multilingual Education). The IELTS Research Project at Griffith (project members: Lobo/Fenton-Smith/Haugh/Walkinshaw/Humphreys) recently produced an interim report, titled International Student English Proficiency Changes: Tracking international student proficiency over time, by entry pathway, and evaluating an English language enhancement course. The 2nd edition of Cliff Goddard's textbook Semantic Analysis is out at last.

Cliff Goddard

News from the University of Newcastle


Following the retirement of Anita Berghou, we have appointed leading Oceanic scholar Dr Åshild Næss to join the Discipline. She will be taking up her post in January 2012.

In semester 2 we were joined by Dr Abdel ElHankari in a short term contract teaching role. Abdel is a PhD graduate of UQ and expert on syntax, in particular the syntax of his native Berber, and he made a very positive contribution to the life of the Discipline.

Mark Harvey was on SSP in the first half of 2011, based mainly at the University of Arizona.

Grants and fieldwork

Space on atolls: Bill Palmer and Alice Gaby (Monash) have been awarded an ARC Discovery Project grant of $291,000 over three years to investigate spatial reference in atoll-based languages. The project, ‘Thinking and talking about atolls: the role of environment in shaping language and our understanding of physical space’, includes funding for two PhD scholarships. One student, to be based at Newcastle, will work with Marshallese speakers in several locations in the Marshall Islands and the United States. The other, to be based at Monash, will work with Dhivehi speakers in the Maldives.

“This ground breaking study investigates how inhabitants of atolls describe and think about spatial relationships, in order to distinguish the respective roles of language and the physical environment in shaping spatial language and cognition. While many scholars have focused on language structure as shaping our understanding of space, the impact of our physical environment on the way we think and talk about space has received surprisingly little attention. We redress this imbalance by investigating a uniquely revealing test case: the highly specialised environment of the atoll. We will gather totally new concrete data on three atoll-based languages spoken in vastly different parts of the world, both in their native atoll context and in new environments. By applying an innovative new comparative methodological approach we will create new knowledge and test competing hypotheses of the roles of the environment and language in shaping the way we understand the physical world and our place in it.”

We are seeking expressions of interest in PhD scholarships to join this project. Send enquiries to

Sounds of Kaytetye: Mark Harvey continued his work with Myf Turpin (UQ), Katherine Demuth (Macquarie) and Ms A. Ross on the AIATSIS funded project ‘Understanding the sounds of Kaytetye and how to teach them’.

Wagiman: Mark Harvey also continued his AIATSIS funded work on Wagiman with fieldwork in May-July 2011 in Pine Creek to record materials with the Wagiman community.

Vurës and Vura’a: Catriona Malau continued her DoBeS funded project on Vurës and Vura’a, two endangered languages of the Banks Group, Vanuatu. In June Catriona travelled to Vanuatu to attend the launch at the Vanuatu Kaljoral Senta of her Vurës Dictionary ( Catriona also travelled to Nijmegen in June to take part in the DoBeS workshop.

Matanvat: PhD student Lana Takau (see below) was awarded an ELDP Small Grant to fund her field work on the highly endangered Matanvat language of Malakula, Vanuatu.

Newcastle-ANU links

Newcastle’s Endangered Languages Documentation, Theory and Application group (ELDTA) and linguistics at the ANU’s College of Asia and the Pacific have established links under the name of the Newcastle ANU Pacific Languages Network (Nanupalane). The network has the objective of facilitating closer relationships between the staff and research students of both institutions. To date this has involved exchanges of staff presenting their research in each other’s research seminar series, attendance by PhD students from Newcastle at ANU seminars, and guest lectures by Bill Palmer and Nick Evans in each other’s undergraduate courses in Pacific languages. That will continue, and several workshops and retreats for staff and RHDs of both institutions are planned for 2012.


  • Baker, Brett, Ilana Mushin, Mark Harvey & Rod Gardner (eds). Indigenous language and social identity: papers in honour of Michael Walsh. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics.
  • Evans, Bethwyn & Bill Palmer. Contact-induced change in southern Bougainville. Oceanic Linguistics 50/2:489-529.
  • Harvey, Mark. Lexical change in pre-colonial Australia. Diachronica 28:345-381.
  • Harvey, Mark. Prepalatals in Arandic. Australian Journal of Linguistics 31:79-110.
  • Harvey, Mark. Colonisation and aboriginal concepts of land tenure in the Darwin region. In Baker et al (eds) 105-122.
  • Libert, Alan. Artificial Languages. In Patrick Hogan (ed) Cambridge Encyclopedia of the Language Sciences. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (
  • Libert, Alan. Word classes. In Patrick Hogan (ed) Cambridge Encyclopedia of the Language Sciences. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (
  • Malau, Catriona. Dictionary of Vurës. (
  • Palmer, Bill. Subject-indexing and possessive morphology in Northwest Solomonic. Linguistics 49/4:685-747.

PhD students


  • Jaime Hunt submitted his thesis ‘The impact of nominal anglicisms on the morphology of modern spoken German’.

Three new PhD students joined us in 2011:

  • Simon Gonzalez joined us from his native Venezuela. He is working with Mark Harvey and Katherine Demuth (Macquarie) on segmental oppositions in coronal obstruents.
  • Lydia Green joined the ELDTA group from the US. Her PhD project investigates the language ecology of Ikpána (Ghana), using plant terminology as a window on language shift. She is currently on leave to undertake specialist training at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London as a Fulbright scholar.
  • Lana Takau joined ELDTA in March. Her project is to investigate, document and describe the moribund Matanvat language (north coast Malakula, Vanuatu). Lana is funded by ELDP and by ELDTA. She will leave for the field in mid November.

Continuing ELDTA PhD students:

  • Stephen Logan is currently in the field in Susuka village on the island of Choiseul, Solomon Islands where he is working on documenting and describing the grammar of Ririo, as part of Bill Palmer’s larger project, funded by ELDP, to document and describe endangered Northwest Solomonic languages.
  • Ellen Smith also currently in the field, in Teperoi village, Bougainville, where she is working on documenting and describing Papapana, also as part of the ELDP-funded Northwest Solomonic project.
  • John Olstad is investigating topics in the grammar of Nehan, an atoll-based Oceanic language spoken on Nissan and Pinipel islands north of Bougainville, focusing on nominal classification, argument structure, and spatial language. He is funded by ELDTA and is also currently in the field.
  • Salih Alzahrani is continuing his work on the grammar of Zahrani Spoken Arabic, an endangered Semitic language of southern Saudi Arabia and his native language. He will return to the field in December.
  • Emily Ondondo is continuing her work on the phonology and morphology of her native Kisa, a dialect of Luyia (Bantu) spoken in western Kenya.
Bill Palmer

News from the University of Adelaide

Joshua Nash was admitted to the PhD degree in August 2011. The title of his thesis is Insular Toponymies: Place-naming on Norfolk Island, South Pacific and Dudley Peninsula, Kangaroo Island, South Australia. Joshua’s thesis was passed without any corrections. His research was supervised by Professor Peter Mühlhäusler and Dr Rob Amery. The thesis has been submitted for review to John Benjamins and should appear next year in the Culture and Language Use series.

Joshua Nash

News from the University of Melbourne

The last few months have been busy and productive (as ever!) at the University of Melbourne. Here are some of the highlights.


Jenny Green won the University of Melbourne Chancellor's award for Excellence for her PhD thesis 'Between the earth and the air: Multi-modality in Arandic sand stories'.

Kellie Frost won the 2011 Caroline Clapham IELTS Masters Award. This award is for a Master's-level dissertation or thesis in English which makes the most significant contribution to the field of language testing.

Susy Macqueen was awarded the 2010 Christopher Brumfit thesis award for her PhD thesis entitled ‘The emergence of patterns in second language writing’.

Lauren Gawne was a University grand-finalist at the University of Melbourne’s Three Minute Thesis competition.


PhD student Aidan Wilson has received a $20,000 grant from AIATSIS to document parts of the Traditional Tiwi language, an under-studied and highly endangered language from the Tiwi Islands in Australia's north.

Debbie Loakes has received an Early Career Researcher Grant of $25,000 from the university to continue her work on sound change in Australian English. This is a continuing study with Janet Fletcher and John Hajek, and now Josh Clothier, looking specifically at the merger of /el/-/æl/ and related phenomena. This particular project is called 'Accent and Identity in Regional Victoria: Local dynamics, local histories and social structure' and aims to address sociophonetic aspects of production and perception in five Victorian locations.

Ruth Singer has received a University of Melbourne Early Career Researcher Grant ($24,985.04) for her project ‘Children’s perspectives on growing up multilingual at Warruwi Community’.

Recent Books

Norby, Catrin & John Hajek (eds). 2011. Uniformity and diversity in language policy: Global Perspectives. Bristol, UK: Multilingual Matters. [Includes papers from UoM staff Jill Wigglesworth, Tim McNamara, John Hajek, Yvette Slaughter, Leo Kretzenbacher, among many others.]

Taylor, John and Nick Thieberger. 2011. Working Together in Vanuatu: Research Histories, Collaborations, Projects and Reflections. Canberra: ANU Epress.

Gawne, Lauren (2011). Lamjung Yolmo - Nepali - English Dictionary. University of Melbourne.

PhD theses submitted

  • Ha Do: ‘Social and cognitive aspects of SLA: The case of English agreements and disagreements’
  • Catriona Fraser: ‘Rapport building strategies in institutional intercultural interactions’
  • Sasha Rixon: ‘Facilitated workshop interaction: A conversation analytic study’
  • Belinda Ross: ‘Prosody and grammar in Dalabon and Kayardild’
  • Maureen Saclot: ‘Event structure in Tagalog’

Talks, appointments, interviews

Nick Thieberger was interviewed by Radio Australia’s Pacific Mornings program about PARADISEC for the UNESCO World Day for Audiovisual Heritage (27/10/11). He was also invited to present at the workshop 'Potentials of Language Documentation: Methods, Analyses, and Utilization', Leipzig, organised by the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology - Department of Linguistics, November 2011. AND was appointed to the Humanities and Social Sciences expert working group of the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research development of a Strategic Roadmap for Australian Research Infrastructure.

Rachel Nordlinger was an invited plenary speaker at the International LFG Conference in Hong Kong, July 2011. Her presentation was entitled ‘LFG and Language Documentation’.

Field Methods

The end of this semester meant winding up the 2011 Field Methods class here at the University of Melbourne. This semester, Dr Brett Baker and 10 of the Honours cohort worked with a speaker of Lopit, an Eastern Nilotic language spoken in the Republic of South Sudan. Working on the Lopit language presented the class with many challenges but also many very interesting discoveries, and led to diverse projects for the students. As a result of the investigations it appears that Lopit has not just lexical tone, but also morphosyntactic (distinguishing grammatical functions in some cases, such as relative clauses). It has a fiendishly complex set of noun conjugations for number, with dozens of distinct morphological realisations of either a marked singular, marked plural, or both. It has at least two genders, masculine and feminine, which can be facultatively alternated to indicate size of an entity (where Feminine implies 'bigger' and Masculine implies 'smaller'). Modifiers of nouns agree both for gender and number of their heads, with mass nouns being specified lexically for singular or plural agreement. Verbs agree primarily for subject but in some combinations of subject and object (first and second person), agreement morphology is apparently sensitive to the contrastiveness (in a discourse sense) of the subject. (Brett wonders if this is possibly the most difficult language ever attempted by a field methods class in linguistics, and would welcome feedback!) Lopit has not received previous documentary attention, and there is a lot more interesting work to be done on this language and the many other under-documented languages from this region. Rosey Billington will be continuing work on Lopit phonetics as part of her PhD. We are very grateful to Lobong (Arkangelo) Lohine, a postgrad student in linguistics at Monash, for being such a fantastic teacher.


The University of Melbourne is organising and hosting the PARADISEC conference ‘Sustainable Data from Digital Research’ from 12-14th December 2011.

Digital methods for recording information are now ubiquitous. In fieldwork-based disciplines, like linguistics, musicology, anthropology and so on, recordings are typically of high cultural value and there is great benefit in the proper curation of these recordings, to the researcher, to the community in which they worked, and to the broader society. This conference will address the costs and benefits of these technologies.

To see the conference schedule and for registration, see here:

Rachel Nordlinger

News from Linguistics / RCLT at La Trobe

We have been enjoying a visit from Professor Nicolas Tournadre, University of Provence and a specialist in Tibetic languages, who is a visiting fellow at RCLT (September - December 2011), and has been making a number of seminar presentations:

  • 'Evidentiality inTibetan: the grammaticalization of self-awareness' (21st October)
  • 'Classical Tibetan case markers and their transcategoriality' (4th November)
  • 'Classification of the Tibetic language family' (25th November)

We also welcomed Shuichiro Nakao of Kyoto University during September.

Many of our members are currently away in the field:

  • Birgit Hellwig is currently on fieldwork in Sudan.
  • Stephen Morey is on fieldwork in Northeast India in connection with his Future Fellowship A multifaceted study of Tangsa - a network of linguistic varieties in North East India.
  • Anthony Jukes is on fieldwork in Sulawesi.
  • Melanie Viljeon is on fieldwork in Cameroon.
  • Tim Brickell is on fieldwork in Sulawesi, Indonesia.

Welcome to Alex Marley who has recently arrived as an MA student on Birgit Hellwig's ELDP funded project Language socialisation and the transmission of Qaqet Baining (Papua New Guinea): Towards a documentation project.

Tonya Stebbins

News from Macquarie University

For news of what's been happening in linguistics at Macquarie Uni, visit, where you can see all the latest news or check back in earlier issues of Lingline.

Verna Rieschild


New Books Received, November 2011

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.

  • Cairns, C. E. and E. Raimy, eds. (2011) Handbook of the Syllable. Brill, Leiden/Boston.
  • Evans, N., A. Gaby, S. C. Levinson, and A. Majid, eds. (2011) Reciprocals and Semantic Typology. John Benjamins, Amsterdam/Philadelphia.
  • Hagège, C. (2010) Adpositions. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  • Haiman, J. (2011) Cambodian. John Benjamins, Amsterdam/Philadelphia.
  • Kittilä, S., K. Västi, and J. Ylikoski, eds. (2011) Case, Animacy and Semantic Roles. John Benjamins, Amsterdam/Philadelphia.
  • Meakins, F. (2011) Case-Marking in Contact. John Benjamins, Amsterdam/Philadelphia.
  • Rumsey, A. and D. Niles, eds. (2011) Sung Tales from the Papua New Guinea Highlands. ANU E Press, Canberra.
Alan Libert

New Books

The Cambridge Handbook of Pragmatics , ed. by Keith Allan and Kasia M.Jaszczolt.

Salience and Defaults in Utterance Processing, ed. by Kasia M. Jaszczolt and Keith Allan.

Keith Allan

Upcoming Conferences

Audio theory and practice for Language Documentation Workshop at ALS 2011

Sunday, 4thDecember 2011, 9:30am - 12:30pm
Convenor: David Nathan, ELAR, SOAS
Australian National University, Canberra

[Run as part of the ALS 2011 Conference]

  • What makes a good audio recording for language documentation?
  • What equipment and techniques should I use to make good audio recordings?
  • How do I make good audio language documentation in noisy environments?

If you have asked these questions, this workshop is for you. The workshop is in two parts. First is a theoretical discussion where we consider what criteria can be used to decide if a recording is "fit for purpose" for language documentation. It is crucial to decide, for a given context, what makes a good recording before thinking about how to make one. The second part is practical, approaching learning about recording techniques by learning how to listen to the different capabilities of various microphones and configurations in simulated field situations. Special attention will be paid to recording in noisy environments, and to the benefits of capturing spatial information by recording in stereo.

Participation: The Workshop is open to all people registered for the ALS conference, but we can only handle a maximum of 15 participants due to the practical nature of the workshop. Therefore, pre-booking is strongly recommended. To pre-book, email David Nathan ( with your booking request. Please use the Subject line "ALS-AUDIO". In your email, please write 1 or 2 lines about your experience in audio language documentation, and describe what you would like to gain from this workshop.

For further details and updates, see

David Nathan

ALS 2012

ALS2012 will be held at the University of Western Australia in December next year.

The main conference will run from Wednesday December 5 to Friday December 7, 2012. We will also be inviting specialist tutorials/masterclasses for the preceding Monday and Tuesday.

Accommodation will be available at Trinity

Information on submitting abstracts will be available online early in 2012.

For all enquiries, please email the conference admin

John Henderson

Australian Languages Workshop (ALW) 2012

Next year ALW will be held on 9-11 March on North Stradbroke Island just off Brisbane.

The workshop will not have a theme. Instead we are encouraging presentations on work and projects currently underway. We hope that the mix of papers reflects all of the work going on in Australian languages in universities, language centres and community groups around Australia.

We are calling for titles of proposed papers, not just an expression of interest. The deadline for sending us titles is 12 December 2011 5pm. Please note that a 'first in' policy applies i.e. the earlier you send us a title, the better chance you have of presenting. Presentation slots often fill fast, which means that submitting a title by 5pm on 12 December will not guarantee a paper slot. Nonetheless papers which are submitted by the deadline, but miss out on a slot, will be allocated to a waiting list.

The venue will be the UQ Moreton Bay Research Station. There is accommodation at the research station, and food will be provided. The cost of the weekend will probably be around $170.

Information about how to get to North Stradbroke Island is available on the 2011 ALW website.

More information about the 2012 workshop will be available on the School of Languages and Comparative Cultural Studies at the University of Queensland website in early 2012.

Felicity Meakins

12th International Conference on Austronesian Linguistics

2-6 July 2012
Bali, Indonesia

The 12th International Conference on Austronesian Linguistics (12th·ICAL) will be held in Bali, Indonesia, 2-6 July 2012.

Scholars are invited to present papers on any aspect of language or linguistics specifically related to Austronesian languages, including but not limited to:

  • phonetics and phonology, including prosody,
  • morphosyntax,
  • pragmatics and discourse,
  • semantics and lexicography,
  • linguistic typology,
  • historical and comparative matters, including the interfaces between linguistics and archaeology, linguistics and genetics, etc.,
  • language preservation and language policies,
  • socio-linguistics and language endangerment,
  • language contact studies,
  • language acquisition,
  • language documentation and archiving resources,
  • anthropological linguistics,
  • oral literature,
  • computational linguistics including natural language processing, grammar engineering, computational morphology, computational lexicography and lexical acquisition, etc.
To present a paper at main conference of 12th·ICAL, please email an abstract of 100-500 words to with the subject "ABSTRACT-Surname-Initials" (e.g. ABSTRACT-Smith-J). If you want your abstract to be included in one of the panels, please contact the panel convenor directly. More information on panels and workshops can be found on
  • The submission deadline for abstracts is January 5, 2012
  • The notification of acceptance for abstract will be in early February, 2012

Presenters are expected to have 30 minutes each – 20 for presentation and 10 for discussion (subject to change).

Keynote speakers

Bill FOLEY (The University of Sydney)
Andy PAWLEY (The Australian National University)

Important dates

Individual abstracts deadline: January 5, 2012
Notification of acceptance: February 4, 2012
Early registration deadline: April 7, 2012


The conference will be held in Udayana University, in Bali’s capital Denpasar.

Local and travel information

Please check our conference website for more information on accommodation and updates:

Any other e-mail enquiries may be sent to:

Organising Committee

I Wayan Arka (The Australian National University/Udayana University)
David Gil (Max Planck Institute)
Meladel Mistica (The Australian National University)
Yusuf Sawaki (ANU/UNIPA)
I Nyoman Aryawibawa (Udayana University)
Ida Bagus Putra Yadnya (Udayana University)
Nyoman Sedeng (Udayana University)
Ida Ayu Puspani (Udayana University)
Mas Indrawati (Udayana University)
IGA Sosiowati(Udayana University)
Seri Malini(Udayana University)
I Made Netra (Udayana University)
I Wayan Sukerta (Udayana University)
Yana Qomariana (Udayana University)
Ni Made Wati (Udayana Univerisity)

Wayan Arka

Society for the History of Linguistics in the Pacific (SHLP 2012) Conference

5th & 6th July 2012
The University of Adelaide

South Australia has been a centre for the study of the history of linguistics in Australia, with important contributions from missionaries and from researchers in both the university and in the South Australian Museum. It is fitting then that the third conference of the SHLP is to be held in the Department of Linguistics at The University of Adelaide.

Papers on any theme relating to the history of linguistics in the Pacific region will be considered. Please send abstracts of no more than 300 words to:

Bill McGregor:
Clara Stockigt:

Important dates

Deadline for receipt of abstracts: 1st February 2012
Notification of acceptance: 1st April 2012
Conference date: 5th-6th July 2012

Bill McGregor

The 17th International Lexical Functional Grammar Conference (LFG12)

Call for papers

28 June - 1 July 2012
Udayana University, Bali, Indonesia

Conference website:
Conference e-mail (NOT for abstract submission):
Abstract submission receipt deadline: 15 February 2012, 11:59 pm GMT

Abstracts should be submitted online using the online submission system at

LFG 2012 welcomes work within the formal architecture of Lexical-Functional Grammar as well as typological, formal, and computational work within the 'spirit of LFG' as a lexicalist approach to language employing a parallel, constraint-based framework. The conference aims to promote interaction and collaboration among researchers interested in non-derivational approaches to grammar, where grammar is seen as the interaction of (perhaps violable) constraints from multiple levels of structuring, including those of syntactic categories, grammatical relations, semantics and discourse.

Further information about LFG as a syntactic theory is available at the following sites:, or

Submissions: Talks and posters

The main conference sessions will involve 45-minute talks (30 min. + 15 min. discussion), and poster/system presentations. Contributions can focus on results from completed as well as ongoing research, with an emphasis on novel approaches, methods, ideas, and perspectives, whether descriptive,theoretical, formal or computational. Presentations should describe original, unpublished work.

Dissertation session

As in previous years, we are hoping to hold a special session that will give students the chance to present recent PhD dissertations (or other student research dissertations). The dissertations must be completed by the time of the conference, and they should be made publicly accessible (e.g., on the World Wide Web). The talks in this session should provide an overview of the main original points of the dissertation; the talks will be 20 minutes, followed by a 10-minute discussion period. The International LFG Association (ILFGA) will pay the conference fees for the students presenting at the dissertation session.

Students should note that the main sessions are certainly also open to student submissions.


Deadline for abstracts: 15 February, 2012
Acceptances sent out: 30 March, 2012
Conference: 28 June - 1 July, 2012

Submission specifications

Abstracts for talks, posters/demonstrations and the dissertation session must be received by February 15, 2012. The language of the conference is English, and all abstracts must be written in English. All abstracts should be submitted using the online submission system. Submissions should be in the form of abstracts only. Abstracts can be up to two A4 pages in 10pt or larger type and should include a title. Omit name and affiliation, and obvious self-reference. Note: we no longer ask for a separate page for data and figures (c-/f- and related structures). They can be included in the text of the abstract, obeying the overall two-page limit. Please submit your abstract in .pdf format (or a plain text file). If you have any trouble converting your file into pdf please contact the Program Committee at the address below.

The number of submissions is not restricted. However, the number of oral presentations per participant is limited. The author of a single-authored paper which is accepted for oral presentation cannot also appear as the sole author or first author of a second orally presented paper. Participants may be listed as the first author of at most two jointly submitted papers accepted for oral presentation. Authors may want to keep this in mind when stating their preferences concerning the mode of presentation of their submissions.

All abstracts will be reviewed by at least three people. Papers will appear in the proceedings, which will be published online by CSLI Publications. Selected papers may also appear in a printed volume published by CSLI Publications.

Organisers and their contact addresses

If you have queries about abstract submission or have problems using the EasyChair submission system, please contact the Program Committee.

Program Committee (Email:
Mary Dalrymple, University of Oxford, United Kingdom
Dag Haug, University of Oslo, Norway

Local conference organizers (Email:

I Wayan Arka (Australian National University and Udayana University)
David Gil (Max Planck Institute)
I Nyoman Arya Wibawa (Udayana University)
Meladel Mistica (Australian National University)

Rachel Nordlinger

14th Australasian International Conference on Speech Science and Technology (SST)

December 3-6, 2012
Macquarie University

We are pleased to announce that Macquarie University will host SST 2012. In the spirit of interdisciplinary tradition, we invite you to take part in this exciting event to foster collaboration among speech scientists, engineers, psycholinguists, audiologists, linguists, speech/language pathologists and industrial partners. The conference will also host workshops on speech perception and production.

Topics include

Acoustic phonetics, Audiology, Clinical phonetics, Emotional speech and voice, Forensic phonetics, L1/L2 acquisition (production / perception), Pedagogical technologies for speech and singing, Phonetics and phonology of Australasian languages, Sociophonetics, Speech engineering / modelling, Speech production / perception, Speech prosody, Speech science and technology applications, Speech synthesis / recognition.

Invited speakers

Anne Cutler (MPI Nijmegen, MARCS UWS)
Janet Fletcher (University of Melbourne)
Jim Patrick (Cochlear)
James Scobbie (Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh)
Stefanie Shattuck-Hufnagel (MIT)

4-page paper submission deadline: 01 May 2012

Organising Committee

Co-chairs: Felicity Cox, Katherine Demuth
Joanne Arciuli, Denis Burnham, Karen Croot, Susan Lin, Robert Mannell, Catherine McMahon, Sallyanne Palethorpe, Jason Shaw, Kimiko Tsukada, Ivan Yuen

For more information contact Ivan Yuen

Ivan Yuen

Fourth Annual Roundtable of Language and Society Centre

Monash University
16-17 February 2012

Teaching and Learning Languages for International/Intercultural Communication

Globalization continues to bring people from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds together, to live and to work, at an unprecedented speed. This phenomenon had given rise to a significant increase in and a demand for the learning and use of languages for international/intercultural communication. Teaching and learning languages for international communication involve issues that may have until recently been irrelevant within the context of teaching/learning and using 'foreign' languages. For example, there have been vigorous debates about the 'ownership' of an international language, in particular in reference to the ownership of English as an international language. In the context of pedagogy of languages that are used for international communication, issues such as the native/non-native divide and the use of a teaching 'model' have been subjects of much controversy and debate.

The Fourth Annual Roundtable of Language and Society Centre (LASC) will provide an opportunity for researchers working in areas related to the teaching and learning of languages for international/intercultural communication to share their research with each other.

Key themes include:

  • Pedagogy of languages for international/communication
  • Acquisition of languages for international/intercultural communication
  • Lingua franca communication
  • The use of multiple languages in international communication
  • The role of identity in the context of learning an international language
  • Cultural basis of international languages

Confirmed Keynote speaker: Professor Sandra McKay, San Francisco State University

Also cf.

Farzad Sharifian

Jobs, grants, and scholarships

Grants & scholarships

News on grants (in particular ARC Discovery grants) and scholarships are interspersed in the news items.

Andrea Schalley

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. Information for the Newsletter should be sent to the Editor, Andrea Schalley ( 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 Andrea 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.