Announcement of 2012 Scholarships and Prize

The judging panels would like to thank all those who submitted applications this year for the ALS scholarships (Gerhardt Laves Scholarship, Susan Kaldor Scholarship), and the Michael Clyne Prize, jointly administered by ALS and ALAA.

Congratulations to the 2012 awardees!

Tim Connell    Tim Connell, MA student at University of Canterbury (Supervisors: Dr Heidi Quinn, Prof Beth Hume), has been awarded the 2012 Gerhardt Laves Scholarship. Tim will use the funds to support his fieldwork to produce a sketch grammar of a language referred to locally as Matek, an undescribed language of West Kalimantan, Indonesia, which belongs to the Land Dayak subgroup of Austronesian. Tim will work with Matek speakers who are keen to be involved in a description of their language.
Qandeel Hussain    Qandeel Hussain, PhD student at Macquarie University (Supervisors: Prof Katherine Demuth, A/Prof Felicity Cox), has been awarded the 2012 Susan Kaldor Scholarship. In his PhD project, Qandeel is investigating the phonological processes underlying loanword incorporation into Punjabi. Qandeel will use the Susan Kaldor Scholarship funds to support his attendance at relevant summer school courses at the Linguistic Society of America Institute Universality and Variability at the University of Michigan in June-July 2013.
Donna Butorac    Dr Donna Butorac has been awarded the 2012 Michael Clyne Prize for her 2011 PhD thesis, "Imagined Identity, Remembered Self: Settlement Language Learning and the Negotiation of Gendered Subjectivity", Department of Linguistics, Macquarie University (Supervisors: Prof Ingrid Piller, Department of Linguistics, Macquarie University, and Dr Kimie Takahashi, Graduate School of English, Assumption University, Bangkok, Thailand). See her thesis summary below. As part of her prize, Donna will be presenting at the ALAA conference in Perth in December 2012.


Imagined Identity, Remembered Self: Settlement Language Learning
and the Negotiation of Gendered Subjectivity
D. Butorac, PhD

This ethnographic study explores the impact of English language learning on gendered subjectivity, specifically in the context of transnational migration. With interactions spanning a twenty-two month period, it follows the language learning and settlement trajectories of a group of nine recent women migrants to Australia. The resulting analysis is based on a large corpus of narrative data derived from personal interviews, discussion groups, email journals, blogs, and personal communication. Adopting a critical, feminist approach, the study foregrounds the reported experience of migrant women in order to understand how coming into voice in English impacts a learner's sense of self and settlement aspirations. The study also explores the way that identity is articulated in both theory and practice, ultimately proposing an inclusive approach, one that aims to advance the theorisation of identity in sociolinguistics by accommodating a poststructuralist multiplicity alongside the individual's perception of a core self.

Examining data from three interactional domains, corresponding to the experience of subjectivity in family, society and work, the analysis looks at issues related to language, race, and gender that impacted the participants' settlement trajectories. It finds that the effect of attitudes to language and race in Australia, as well as the ways that migration is a gendered process, are deeply involved in the impact that learning English has on aspiration and selfhood in this context.

In relation to language, the study finds that a continuing monolingual mindset (Clyne, 2005) in the discursive construction of the nation state results in migrant English language learners being seen as language deficient, rather than as emerging multilinguals, and significant language capital being denied within the Australian labour market. In such an environment, language is also conflated with race in the perception and experience of labour market success, and the economic value of English competence is found to vary, such that where job seekers are competing for positions based on their use of English alone, their level of English may be considered inadequate, yet in the few cases where they are hired for their bilingual competence, a similar level of English competence may be considered good enough to get the job.

In relation to gender, the study finds that although Australia is a developed country where women have equal rights in law and good employment opportunities, migration to Australia is initially seen to impact a woman's sense of self and aspiration by advancing a more traditional gendered power differential within the family, where the woman's primary work identity is constructed in the subjectivities of financially dependent wife and mother. This results from the combined effects of the positioning of applicants in the migration process, the experience and perception of a disconnect between pre-and post-migration norms for combining work and family goals, and labour market barriers related to language, race and qualifications.

The thesis can be downloaded in full from Language on the Move.


Clyne, M. 2005. Australia's language potential. Sydney: UNSW Press.