Learning Indigenous languages — can universities help?


We are planning a workshop "Learning Indigenous languages — can universities help?" preceding the Australian Linguistics Society Annual Conference. We gratefully acknowledge the support of the Wollotuka Institute in putting this workshop on, along with the Australian Linguistics Society Conference organising team.

Date: Tuesday 9 December,

Time: 12 - 5 pm

Place: Wollotuka Institute, Birabahn Building, Callaghan Campus, University of Newcastle, Ring Road (near Design Bus Stop and Parking areas P2 and P6. See campus map (Building SA S, just south of Oval 4).


Indigenous language awareness is essential for professions such as teachers, legal and health professionals, community and language revitalisation workers. And yet training in Indigenous languages is rarely available to them through university courses on Indigenous Australian languages. Nor are there many tertiary courses for speakers of Indigenous languages to enrich their study of their first language. None of the languages still spoken by children have a university on their country, thus restricting their access. This workshop aims to bring together people who want to improve the situation, and to discuss what universities could do to get more language skills into the hands of people doing grass-roots language work.

This workshop will provide input into an Office of Learning and Teaching sponsored web portal to make languages more visible in Australian universities, including Indigenous Australian languages.


Session 1 "showcase" format of 10 minute presentations on what people are doing

Session 2: workshop groups exploring focus questions

If you would like to present we would be grateful to receive one paragraph descriptions of presentations, and one to two focus questions for discussion. We encourage participants to prepare a poster, or single Powerpoint slide, to accompany their brief presentation.

If you wish to participate but not give a presentation, you are still welcome to propose one or two focus questions that you would like to have discussed in a workshop group, and bring with you some kind of visual representation of your work or interests.

Deadline 1 December for expressions of interest in presenting and/or attending e-mail: James Wafer,


Pre-ALS workshop on ‘The VP in Austronesian’: Call for participants


On 9 December 2014, the day before the start of ALS, the Linguistics discipline at the University of Newcastle is hosting a workshop entitled ‘The VP in Austronesian’.

Many theoretical approaches assume the VP to be language-universal; at the same time, it has been debated to what extent the concept can be applied to Austronesian languages. For example, many Austronesian languages show apparent VSO word order, which speaks against a traditional notion of the VP as being a constituent formed by V and O; and for Oceanic languages it has sometimes been argued that the syntactic association between V and O is a fairly loose one and that a more useful analytical concept is the ‘verb complex’, which does not include the O. The purpose of this workshop is to explore the concept of the VP as it applies to Austronesian languages. We are interested in contributions discussing criteria for establishing a VP, or properties of the VP, in particular languages or groups of languages. If you are interested in participating with a 20-25 minute presentation, please send a short abstract to Åshild Næss ( by 24 October; notification of acceptance will be shortly after this date. If you would like to attend the workshop but not present a paper, please also get in touch so that we know how many participants to expect.


NSM: Working with Explications


Cliff Goddard, Zhengdao Ye, Bert Peeters (


This half-day workshop is intended to help participants develop skills in applying the NSM method of semantic explication. The organisers will provide short briefings about particular issues of theory and practice (e.g. semantic molecules, semantic templates, dealing with polysemy, working with a corpus), but the main focus will be how to use the paraphrase methodology to tackle real problems in lexical-semantic analysis. Participants will spend some time working in small groups with experienced NSM researchers playing the role of coach or guide. Participants will be invited to register in advance and to nominate their preferences for certain topic areas (such as: verbs of physical affect, e.g. grind, tear, peel; evaluative adjectives, e.g. wonderful, interesting, terrible) and the organisers will endeavour to ensure that participants get the chance to work on an area of their first or second preference. The workshop gives a "hands on" introduction to NSM semantic analysis.


Structures in Romance Languages


Professor Catherine Travis, ANU; Dr Elisabeth Mayer, ANU; Dr Manuel Delicado Cantero, ANU (


This workshop will bring together scholars with an interest in exploring the structure of Romance languages. We interpret structures in the broad sense, to include those of a lexical, phonetic or morphosyntactic nature, and welcome papers that examine such structures either in a specific Romance language, or across Romance languages, and from diverse theoretical perspectives. The motivation for the workshop is the following: Australia hosts several scholars working on Romance Linguistics, as reflected in the recently formed Romance Linguistics in the Antipodes virtual centre (RomLA:, based at the ANU. This RomLA workshop represents a valuable opportunity to strengthen this network: it would provide a venue for scholars with a shared interest to exchange their research and ideas, and in so doing, would attract more such scholars to ALS. The workshop follows on from one offered at ALS in 2011, titled ‘Romance Linguistics in the Pacific: Variation in time and space’, organized by Elisabeth Mayer and Manuel Delicado, and from which an AJL Special Issue on the topic was published in 2013 (edited by Elisabeth Mayer and Manuel Delicado).