During the ALS conference, we have four workshops. Please find details below. To submit an abstract for these workshops, the process is as for regular papers through EasyChair with deadline of 1 September. At submission in EasyChair, please indicate if you would like your paper considered for a workshop and if so, which one.


Language Variation and Change – Australia 2 (LVC-A 2)

Organisers: Catherine Travis, Celeste Rodríguez Louro, Adam Schembri

Language Variation and Change – Australia 2 (LVC-A 2) is a one-day workshop which will bring together scholars applying quantitative methods to the study of language as used in its social context. It will provide a forum for exploration and discussion of variation in a range of structures, including phonetic, morphosyntactic and discourse-pragmatic variables. The workshop follows on from Language Variation and Change – Australia 1 (LVC-A 1), held in Melbourne in 2013, and responds to a growing interest in this field in the Asia-Pacific region (as seen in the newly established John Benjamins journal Asia Pacific Language Variation and the NWAV Asia-Pacific biennial international conference).

LVC-A 2 will close with an ALS plenary, given by Professor Gregory Guy (New York University). Professor Guy has played a leading role in advancing quantitative research methodology (the statistical modelling of variability) and probing the social aspects of variation.

We invite abstracts for work that presents an accountable empirical analysis, utilising a viable statistical method (so that observations are not just due to chance, but evaluated for statistical significance), and an interpretation and explanation that makes reference to (socio)linguistic theory. Abstracts should include information about the data and method(s) of analysis, as well as an indication of the results.

Abstract submission requirements: as for ALS 2015. Please indicate at submission in EasyChair if you would like your paper considered for this workshop.


Language and migration

Organisers: Ingrid Piller and Donna Butorac

International migration is widely perceived to have reached levels of complexity unprecedented in human history. A few international migration magnet destinations (Australasia, the Gulf States, North America and Western Europe) have been transformed into ‘super-diverse’ societies in the past few decades. Consequently, social questions related to migration (how to ensure social cohesion and sustainability; how to safeguard the rights of old-timers and newcomers; how to manage migration economically and ethically; etc.) have become pressing and hotly contested political issues in many societies around the globe, including Australia. Language is central to many of these debates.

While the social importance of migration can hardly be overstated and needs little justification, migration raises equally pressing theoretical questions for the discipline of linguistics: we are currently witnessing a paradigm shift from language understood as an object in space towards an understanding of language as a process in motion. Developing a new ‘sociolinguistics of mobility’ is widely considered as constituting the current frontier in (socio)linguistic theorizing.

The workshop is intended to showcase ongoing innovative Australian research exploring the relationship between language and migration and contributing to the sociolinguistics of mobility.

Abstract submission requirements: as for ALS 2015. Please indicate at submission in EasyChair if you would like your paper considered for this workshop.


Sociolinguistics of multilingualism in Aboriginal Australia

Organisers: Jill Vaughan and Ruth Singer

Multilingual practices are the norm in many Aboriginal communities. However research that engages explicitly with social aspects of multilingualism in the Australian context is limited. The complex dynamics of multilingualism in Indigenous Australia challenge established views in the fields of sociolinguistics and linguistic anthropology. Research on Australian languages, in turn, has much it could learn from recent advances in sociolinguistics and linguistic anthropology.

This workshop aims to facilitate connections and exchanges between these three fields of research: multilingualism in Indigenous Australia, sociolinguistics and linguistic anthropology. Greater interaction between these fields is central to motivating understanding of the practices that contribute to stable multilingualism, and of the sociolinguistic and cultural factors that shape the outcomes of language contact in Australia. This workshop will focus in particular on multilingualism in Arnhem Land, one of the most multilingual regions in the world, and will bring together researchers working on relevant topics in this region and beyond.

Abstract submission requirements: as for ALS 2015. Please indicate at submission in EasyChair if you would like your paper considered for this workshop.


The expressive use of voice quality in Aboriginal languages

Organisers: John Mansfield and Nick Reid

A number of grammar writers have described the use of special voice qualities or “phonetic settings” (Laver, 1980) in Australian Aboriginal languages. These encompass a range of techniques for manipulating the laryngeal or oral articulators to produce an unusual voice quality, a “marked voice”, with some expressive purpose.

Notable studies have described phonetic settings used for indexing patrilineal heritage (Nash, 1990) and “broadcast” speech directed at the residential group as a whole (Goddard 1985). But the study of voice manipulation also blurs the line between pragmatics and semantics, for example in the wide range of functions observed for sustained high intonation:

  • Durative/progressive aspect (Bishop 2002 p89-92)
  • Serial (coordination-type) listing
  • Quotation (Evans et al 1999)
  • ‘Tail to head low-high tone linkage” for foregrounding/backgrounding (Carroll, 1995: 86)

The study of special voice quality thus draws on both articulatory and intonational phonetics to explore how the voice is used as an expressive instrument in culturally specific ways. Voice quality can be seen as a distinct dimension of linguistic competence, and one deserving of study if we are to more fully appreciate the social and communicative uses of language.

Abstract submission requirements: as for ALS 2015. Please indicate at submission in EasyChair if you would like your paper considered for this workshop.


In addition, on Tuesday 8 December 2015 there are two pre-ALS workshops:

Learning Indigenous Languages - can universities help? (2015)

Enquiries: Sophie Nicholls and Jane Simpson

If you would like to present at this workshop please email your expression of interest to


From Home to School: Language Practices of Indigenous Children

Enquiries: Jane Simpson and Jill Wigglesworth