Newsletter November 2006

Welcome to the November issue of the 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.

Thanks to all those who contributed to this issue. Enjoy the Newsletter!

Tim Curnow

ALS 2007

ALS 2007 will be held at the University of Adelaide, 26-28 September 2007. Two other conferences, Australex (25 Sept) and the Indigenous Languages Conference (25-27 Sept), will also be in Adelaide, adjacent to and overlapping with ALS 2007 - there's even a joint ALS-ILC day on 26 Sept. Put those dates in your diary now!

The ALS 2007 website is now up and operational at

The general call for papers plus a call for papers for two workshops at the Conference are to be found below in the conferences section of the Newsletter. Abstracts are due in March.

Tim Curnow

From the ALS Treasurer

Please remember that Doug Absalom ( holds the official address list for ALS. Changes of address should be sent to him, not to Taylor & Francis. Doug then sends the list of where to send the journal to the publishers.

Following on from the discussions and decisions at this year's AGM, we have now established our separate scholarship fund. Funds invested include $20,000 for the Michael Clyne prize and $20,000 for the Laves fellowship.

Doug Absalom

Surprise discovery of early anthropological papers in Adelaide

In late June 2006 I [Peter Sutton] was called to the front of the South Australian Museum in Adelaide where, a few days before, a man had come in with a rusty tin trunk and donated it to the Museum through the Indigenous help desk. It was stuffed with old papers and photographs, and riddled with dust, corroded paper clips, dead millipedes and flakes of paint. A staff member, Dr Philip Clarke, said he thought it looked like anthropological materials relating to my own primary field area of western Cape York Peninsula, Queensland. I am currently writing an ethnographic history of the area.

The trunk contained a significant portion of the papers and photographs of Ursula Hope McConnel (1888-1957), an Australian who was trained by A.R. Radcliffe-Brown at Sydney and Edward Sapir at Yale, among others, and carried out anthropological and linguistic field work with Aboriginal people in Cape York Peninsula, Queensland, in the period 1927-34 (see O'Gorman 1993 for a biography). Her 1927-28 and 1930 field work was under the supervision of Radcliffe-Brown, and her voluminous correspondence with him (but not his with her) survives in the University of Sydney Archives, giving some informal insights into the supervision process but also recording the extremely arduous field conditions in which she and her companion, Margaret Spence, at times operated. At Kendall River, to which they trekked with a packhorse team and their Aboriginal guide Jimmy Corporal, they were living beyond the effective limits of colonisation and pacification. In 1931-1933 she held a Rockefeller Fellowship at the Institute of Human Relations at Yale, and during this time carried out three months of field work with Klamath River Indians in California in 1932.

The correspondence in the trunk included letters from Edward Sapir, A.C. Haddon, W.J. Perry, Sidney Smith, A.R. Radcliffe-Brown, A.P. Elkin, Elton Mayo (who was McConnel's sister's husband), and T.G.H. Strehlow. There were also many notes which appear to be records of lectures in linguistics and anthropology given by Sapir, Wissler, Thurnwald , Buck and Loram at Yale 1931-33. Five of the courses she attended were Sapir's.

A number of us had searched in vain for the primary papers and photographs of McConnel for at least 30 years. Anne Perusco (née O'Gorman) attempted to contact Mary Bagnell of Adelaide in 1988, as Bagnell was McConnel's neice and was said to have inherited some of her papers, but this was not successful. The donor of the trunk to the Museum was Roger Langford, a property developer who had rescued the trunk from under a pile of junk in the back shed of a property he bought for demolition and redevelopment at Brighton (South Australia) in about 2003. He had never heard of the person whose papers they were, and had recently considered throwing them out. The former owner of the property had been Gordon Bagnell, husband of McConnel's niece. McConnel donated her primary material culture collection to the South Australian Museum (Adelaide) during her lifetime, even though she lived most of her life far away in Queensland, so it seems appropriate that this chance discovery should result in such a welcome addition to the same repository in Adelaide.

While some of McConnel's correspondence and some of her photographs were known to have been in various archives for some decades, this new discovery has added enormously to the primary documentary evidence for her work and for the lives of her host communities at a time when local records in such remote places were often minimal.

There were approximately 450 field photographs in the trunk. This probably quadruples the number of her photographs that had been known to be extant until now. Some were documented in notes by McConnel, and more can be identified using other source materials. There are some unique sequences of rituals photographed while in progress, and many relaxed portraits of individuals which show her informants in a different light from the generally very serious images published in her time. Few personal names can be seen anywhere, however, and there is an emphasis in the documentation on treating those snapshot moments in history as tokens of cultural system (e.g. 'Mother's brother marks man', 'Father in law touches head with wommera [throwing stick]'). Most of the images are from her time at Aurukun, Weipa and Mapoon missions in Cape York Peninsula, but some are from Flinders Island, Yarrabah mission and elsewhere.

The trunk also contained hundreds of pages of typewritten and handwritten drafts of her publications, a number of unpublished drafts and public lectures, plus some correspondence. There is a draft grammar of the Wik-Mungkan language which never reached print.

There are linguistic fieldnotes of about 100 pages on an American Indian language, including texts, which are most probably all in Karuk (Klamath River). These relate in turn to the phonograph record in the trunk, which has Phoebe Maddux telling a Bluejay myth and giving a Deer Formula and Sky Water Dog Formula in the Karuk language. The record is unfortunately in pieces. Maddux was an informant for J.P. Harrington and, briefly, Franz Boas. According to William Bright of the University of Colorado, the names of her other Karuk informants contained in the field notes include many he recognizes as having also been Harrington's teachers.

There is only one Australian field notebook, disappointingly, although it is the first such notebook of McConnel's to be discovered and it thus offers an insight into her ethnographic methods. It has about 55 pages and it relates to Wik and Wik-Way people of the Aurukun-Weipa area. It contains names, genealogies, linguistic and territorial associations and appears to have been an early effort, where she was feeling her way hesitantly as an ethnographer. It is undated but 1927 would be a good guess. There are also 14 loose sheets which appear to contain field notes.

McConnel was someone who cared deeply about her Aboriginal friends, as she called them, and wrote public statements criticizing the mistreatment of indigenous Australians in far north Queensland in the 1920s and 1930s. McConnel never gained a permanent academic position but her published contributions, especially her papers in the journal Oceania and the book which appeared just after her death in 1957, were significant contributions to anthropological knowledge of Australian Aboriginal people. This new discovery also adds significantly to sources for her biography and to the archival record of Aboriginal peoples living in remote places in the early twentieth century, as well as perhaps shedding a little more light on the global anthropological network of the inter-war years.


McConnel, Ursula 1957. Myths of the Mungkan, Melbourne: Melbourne University Press.

O'Gorman, Anne 1993. The Snake, the Serpent and the Rainbow: Ursula McConnel and Aboriginal Australians. In Julie Marcus (ed), First in their Field: Women and Australian Anthropology, pp84-109, 169-170. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press.

Peter Sutton

Linguistics-related ARC funding

On the basis purely of what I could find with a random search combined with hearsay evidence from a number of different sources, it would seem that the following Australian linguists were successful in gaining funding for their ARC Discovery projects:

  • David Bradley, La Trobe University
  • Andy Butcher, Janet Fletcher & Marija Tabain, (administered) Flinders University
  • Bob Dixon & Sasha Aikhenvald, La Trobe University
  • Phil Rose, Australian National University
  • Tonya Stebbins, La Trobe University
  • Ghil'ad Zuckermann, University of Queensland

In addition, Sasha Aikhenvald, Bob Dixon and Yaron Matras (University of Manchester) received funding for an ARC International Linkage Fellowship.

Congratulations to you all (and to anyone whom I might have accidentally missed)!

Tim Curnow

News from Monash

Keith Allan and Kate Burridge's new book Forbidden words: Taboo and the censoring of language, published by Cambridge University Press, was launched by Jill Kitson from Radio National on 16 November 2006.

Keith Allan


From the Linguistics Bulletin No. 3, May 1971

"Some members have not yet informed us if they are going to attend our meeting [and Conference] on August 23 and 24. Please let the Secretary know by May 30 (a) if you are coming, (b) if you require accommodation at Glenn College, La Trobe University, and for which nights, (c) the names of any students whom you may be sending and whether they require accommodation."

"Offers of papers are now being called for. Papers should be of 20 or 40 minutes' duration and should be classifed into one or more of the following sections: (a) Theoretical Linguistics, (b) Sociolinguistics, (c) Other Topics."

Tim Curnow

News from the University of Melbourne

Nick Thieberger has recently published his A Grammar of South Efate: An Oceanic Language of Vanuatu (Oceanic Linguistics Special Publication, No. 33) with the University of Hawai'i Press.

Nick Thieberger

News from the Australian National University

Phil Rose (Linguistics, School of Language Studies) has won a large ARC grant on the topic 'Catching criminals by their voice: Combining automatic and traditional methods for optimum performance in forensic speaker identification'. He is looking for Research Assistants to work on the project, contact him on for details.

Dr Wayan Arka has been appointed Research Fellow in the Department of Linguistics, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, for three years from 1 January 2007. He will continue working on the Rongga language of Flores, Indonesia (an ELDP-funded project) and will begin a new project 'Coding resources, functionality, and the development of 'isolating' languages: Austronesian vs. Papuan'. The latter is an extension of his current research investigating factors that have shaped the grammar of isolating languages, especially in eastern Indonesia. In addition, he will work with Matt Shibatani (Rice University) and Faye Wouk (University of Auckland) in an NSF-funded project on voice in the languages of Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia.

The Polynesian Society awarded Prof. Andrew Pawley the Nayacakalou Memorial Medal for services to Pacific anthropology, at a ceremony in Auckland in late July. He had to sing for his supper by giving a paper to the members of the Society. This paper, 'Explaining the aberrant languages of Melanesia: 150 years of debate', will be published in the September 2006 issue of the Society's journal.

Susan Love (Linguistics, RSPAS) was awarded a PhD in October for her thesis on Tahitian French: The vernacular French of the Society islands, French Polynesia, A study in language contact and variation. Sue's thesis is the first in-depth study of a very distinctive variety of French whose primary speakers are Polynesians but who also include Chinese, Demis and long-term French residents of Tahiti. Her supervisors were Darrell Tryon, John Bowden and Harold Koch.

Harold Koch, Andy Pawley

News from the University of Queensland

New Faces

Myfany Turpin will be joining us in the new year as a postdoctoral fellow working on a research project entitled Arandic Songs Project: documenting Aboriginal verbal art in Central Australia. Her three-year fellowship is funded by the School of Oriental and Asian Studies (SOAS, London) Endangered Languages Documentation Program. Myf's research project links in with the ARC-funded Warlpiri songlines project headed by Nicolas Peterson (ANU) and Mary Laughren (UQ) and which incorporates a PhD project being carried out by Georgia Curran. Myf's project will also articulate with the acoustic phonetics research on aspects of Australian languages being carried out by John Ingram and PhD students Jeff Chapman (Warlpiri prosody) and Christina Pentland (Lamalama Phonology).

Ghil'ad Zuckermann will also be joining our program in 2007. Ghil'ad won a five-year ARC Discovery Australian Research Fellowship (ARF) for his project Language 'Revival' in the Middle East: The Genesis of Israeli ('Modern Hebrew') - Lessons for Revival of No-Longer Spoken Australian Languages. His website is

Rod Gardner joined our program in 2006 (semester 2) as an honorary research advisor and has been active in our research activities bringing his expertise on conversation analysis to the study of Aboriginal language conversational practice in joint work with Ilana Mushin, in addition to presenting his current work on English conversation.

Events and visitors

LINQ2006, which comprised four conferences and the Australian Linguistics Institute, brought nearly 500 linguists to UQ in July. Our staff and students were very involved in all aspects of these exciting events and we all gained a lot from interacting with our visitors. The report on the ALS conference will appear in the next newsletter (we are still finalizing the finances).

Germanic syntax master class: Dianne Jonas (Harvard) presented a stimulating half-day master class for staff and students on Aspects of syntactic change in selected Germanic languages on August 18th.

Australian languages mini-conference: A one-day mini-conference on November 20 will provide a forum for our Honours and MA students who have just completed a thesis or major paper addressing some aspect of an Australian language to present their main findings in a formal but supportive setting. There will also be presentations from staff and from our guest Erich Round (PhD student, Yale, formerly U. Melbourne) who will be reporting on his recent field research on Kayardild and his current work on Tangkic languages. All are welcome to attend.

Student achievements

Four of our students gained their PhD in linguistics in 2006:

  • Elizabeth Cardell: Comprehension and well-formedness judgement in Broca’s Aphasia and Anomic Aphasia
  • Sacha Develle: The on-line processing of aspectual coercion: some psycholinguistic considerations
  • Kazuo Misono: Explorations in English Vowel Space: Regional Variants and their Perception by Japanese Learners of English
  • Hiromi Otake: The Mora, Foot and Geminates in Japanese

Alexandra Trueman and Larissa Weinglass will be the first students to graduate from our recently created Advanced MA in Linguistics at the December graduations. This program entails three semesters of coursework (MA in Linguistics) and a thesis-writing semester.

Five students completed our Honours program this year.

Students at the University have worked hard this semester to create a society of Languge and Linguistics, called 'Slang'. We achieved official union affiliation, and were able to organise a number of events, including social movie nights, a language conversation exchange program and peer mentoring sessions. (From Jessica Denniss)

Staff achievements

John Ingram's book Neurolinguistics will be available from CUP from June.

Mary Laughren

News from the RCLT

On 18 December 2006 the RCLT will celebrate its 10th year anniversary. This will be marked by a special brochure, and a dinner.


  • ARC Discovery Grant, R. M. W. Dixon and A. Y. Aikhenvald, 'Are some languages better than others?'
  • ARC International Linkage Fellowship, A. Y. Aikhenvald, R. M. W. Dixon and Yaron Matras (University of Manchester), 'A typology of grammatical borrowing'.


  • Dr Nerida Jarkey, of the Sydney University, will be at RCLT from 13th November 2006 till 8th February 2007
  • Dr Midori Osumi, of the Tokyo Women's Christian University will be at RCLT from 10th January 2007 till 2nd February 2007
  • Dr Françoise Rose, of CNRS, will be at RCLT from 10th January 2007 till 31st March 2007
  • Prof. Peter Trudgill (Adjunct Professor), of the University of Fribourg, will be at RCLT for the whole month of February

Books published

  • R. M. W. Dixon, Bruce Moore, W. S. Ramson and Mandy Thomas. Australian Aboriginal Words in English, their origin and meaning. 2nd edition, revised and enlarged - more than 30 new loanwords added plus one additional chapter, and all early materials updated. Oxford University Press, October 2006. This volume will be launched by Professor Michael J. Osborne at RCLT's 10th year anniversary dinner.
  • Aikhenvald, A. Y. 2003. A grammar of Tariana, from north-west Amazonia, CUP, has been reissued in paperback in September 2006.


  • Jingyi Du, a PhD student at RCLT, has undertaken preliminary fieldwork on Barok, an Oceanic language of New Ireland
  • Dr Rosemary Beam de Azcona, a Post-Doctoral Fellow, is undertaking fieldwork on Miwatec (Zapotec, Mexico) during the first 5 months of 2007
  • Dr Stefan Dienst, a Post-Doctoral Fellow, is undertaking fieldwork on Kanamari (Katuquina family, Southern Amazonia, Brazil) between November and February
  • Dr Stephen Morey, a Post-Doctoral Fellow, is undertaking fieldwork on Turung and neighbouring languages in Northeast India, October 2006-March 2007
  • Raoul Zamponi, a PhD student at RCLT is currently on fieldwork in Kuna-yala, Panama working on Cuna, until mid-2007
Siew-Peng Condon

News from La Trobe linguistics program

The main news from La Trobe Linguistics is that David Bradley and Tonya Stebbins both were successful in getting grants in the recent ARC round.

Randy LaPolla was also successful in getting a grant from the university's Publications Committee to support the production of the journal he edits, Linguistics of the Tibeto-Burman Area.

Theresa Savage received a PhD with the dissertation entitled 'The Effects of Commodification and Museumification of Ainu on Language Revitalisation and Maintenance'.

Randy LaPolla


Cognitive linguistics investigations (Luchjenbroers, ed)

A new book entitled Cognitive linguistics investigations across language, fields and philosophical boundaries has just appeared, edited by June Luchjenbroers. The introductory chapter, summarizing the papers included in the volume, has been posted at

The chapters of the book are:

  • Introduction
    • June Luchjenbroers, Research issues in cognitive linguistics
  • Part I: Cultural models and conceptual mappings
    • Gary Palmer, When does cognitive linguistics become cultural? Case studies in Tagalog voice and Shona noun classifiers
    • Seana Coulson & Todd Oakley, Purple persuasion: Deliberative rhetoric and conceptual blending
    • Teenie Matlock, Depicting fictive motion in drawings
    • June Luchjenbroers, Discourse, gesture, and mental spaces manoeuvers: Inside vs. outside F-space
  • Part II: Computational models and conceptual mappings
    • Li Ping, In search of meaning: The acquisition of semantic structure and morphological systems
    • Joost Schilperoord & Arie Verhagen, Grammar and language production: Where do function words come from?
    • Paul Warren, Word recognition and word merger
  • Part III: Linguistic components and conceptual mappings
    • Cliff Goddard, Verbal explication and the place of NSM semantics in cognitive linguistics
    • Robin Turner, "How do you know she’s a woman?": Features, prototypes and category stress in Turkish 'kadin' and 'kiz'
    • Iraide Ibarretxe-Antuñano, Cross-linguistic polysemy in tactile verbs
    • Maarten Lemmens, How experience structures the conceptualization of causality
    • Satoshi Uehara, Subjective predicates in Japanese: A cognitive approach
    • Dave Gough, Figure, ground and connexity: Evidence from Xhosa narrative
    • Pu Ming-Ming, Coding events in oral and written discourse
June Luchjenbroers

Thesis: Language contact and children's bilingual acquisition (O'Shannessy)

Carmel O'Shannessy, Language contact and children's bilingual acquisition: Learning a mixed language and Warlpiri in northern Australia. University of Sydney. Supervisors: Melissa Bowerman and Penelope Brown (MPI Nijmegen), and Jane Simpson (University of Sydney).

This dissertation documents the emergence of a new language, Light Warlpiri, in the multilingual community of Lajamanu in northern Australia. It then examines the acquisition of Light Warlpiri language, and of the heritage language, Lajamanu Warlpiri, by children. Light Warlpiri has arisen from contact between Lajamanu Warlpiri (a Pama-Nyungan language), Kriol (an English-based creole), and varieties of English. It is a Mixed Language, meaning that none of its source languages can be considered to be the sole parent language. Most verbs and the verbal morphology are from Aboriginal English or Kriol, while most nouns and the nominal morphology are from Warlpiri.

The language input to children is complex. Adults older than about thirty speak Lajamanu Warlpiri and code-switch into Aboriginal English or Kriol. Younger adults, the parents of the current cohort of children, speak Light Warlpiri and code-switch into Lajamanu Warlpiri and into Aboriginal English or Kriol. Lajamanu Warlpiri and Light Warlpiri, the two main input languages to children, both indicate A arguments with ergative case-marking (and they share one allomorph of the marker), but Lajamanu Warlpiri includes the marker much more consistently than Light Warlpiri. Word order is variable in both languages. Children learn both languages from birth, but they target Light Warlpiri as the language of their everyday interactions, and they speak it almost exclusively until four to six years of age. Adults and children show similar patterns of ergative marking and word order in Light Warlpiri. But differences between age groups are found in ergative marking in Lajamanu Warlpiri - for the oldest group of adults, ergative marking is obligatory, but for younger adults and children, it is not.

Determining when children differentiate between two input languages has been a major goal in the study of bilingual acquisition. The two languages in this study share lexical and grammatical properties, making distinctions between them quite subtle. Both adults and children distribute ergative marking differently in the two languages, but show similar word order patterns in both. However the children show a stronger correlation between ergative marking and word order patterns than do the adults, suggesting that they are spearheading processes of language change. In their comprehension of sentences in both Lajamanu Warlpiri and Light Warlpiri, adults use a case-marking strategy to identify the A argument (i.e. N+erg = A argument, No = O argument). The children are not adult-like in using this strategy at age 5, when they also used a word order strategy, but they gradually move towards being adult-like with increased age.

For copies, contact: Carmel O'Shannessy, Language Resource Officer, DEET NT, PO Box 1420, Alice Springs NT 0870, ph no: 08 89 517 006,

Carmel O'Shannessy

Thesis: Reconstructing linguistic history in a dialect continuum (Toulmin)

Matthew Toulmin. Reconstructing linguistic history in a dialect continuum: The Kamta, Rajbanshi, and Northern Deshi Bangla subgroup of Indo-Aryan. School of Language Studies, Australian National University. Supervisors: Harold Koch, Malcolm Ross, and Bethwyn Evans.

This historical linguistic study of an Indo-Aryan subgroup presents and applies an innovative methodological framework for historical linguistic reconstruction. The framework embraces the strengths of the comparative method (incorporating phonological and morphological reconstruction), dialect geography, and historical sociolinguistics. Central to the problem of reconstructing history in a dialect continuum is the chronological ambiguity of overlapping isoglosses. Lects that were previously divergent may undergo common innovations, and hence a widespread innovation may be more recent than a localised innovation—the very opposite sequencing to that implied by the splits in a family tree. The linguistic history of the KRNB lects is reconstructed with some detail from the proto-Kamta stage (AD1250-1550) up to the present day. Innovations are sequenced based on three types of criteria: linguistic, textual and sociohistorical. The old Kamta stage, and its relation to old Bangla and Asamiya, is reconstructed based on linguistic Propagation Events and Speech Community Events—two concepts central to the methodology.

Matt Toulmin

The academic presentation

Johanna Rendle-Short. 2006. The academic presentation: Situated talk in action. Directions in Ethnomethodology and Conversation Analysis. Ashgate Publishers. ISBN: 0 7546 4597 5. £55.00.

How is the task of giving a presentation accomplished? In this book the author unpacks this seemingly simple task to show the complexity that underlies it. Examining the academic presentation as a case in point, the author details when things go according to plan from the perspective of the listening audience and shows how seminar presenters interact with the audience and objects around them to produce a coherent whole that is the academic presentation.

Through detailed examination of talk-in-interaction the book throws light on one instance of talk as situated practice, demonstrating both the ordinariness of the academic presentation, and its intricate complexity of moment-by-moment talk. While audience members recognise that a seminar is underway, this book shows how this recognition comes about.

Starting with a discussion of the academic presentation as an instance of institutional talk, it assesses interaction within monologic talk, from both a non-CA perspective, and CA perspective. The analysis demonstrates the orderliness of the academic presentation and how to describe such order as an instance of situated talk.

The book is of interest to academics interested in the analysis of talk and interaction, situated talk, ethnomethodology and conversation analysis.

Johanna Rendle-Short

Upcoming Conferences

Call: ALS 2007

University of Adelaide, 26-28 September 2007

All Members of the Australian Linguistic Society wishing to present a 20 minute paper on any area of linguistic research followed by 10 minutes of discussion at the 2007 ALS Conference are invited to submit a one page abstract containing the following information:

  • Name(s) of author(s) (to be removed for refereeing purposes)
  • Institutional affiliation(s) (if any)
  • E-mail address
  • Title of proposed paper
  • Keywords
  • Abstract of proposed paper including list of references where applicable

You may like to think about a paper oriented to the shared day with the Indigenous Languages Conference on a topic of mutual interest to both linguists and Indigenous language workers.

All submissions will be anonymously refereed.

Only members of ALS may present a paper at the annual conference.

The deadline for submission of abstracts is 16th March 2007. The abstract should be in .rtf format. To reduce font problems, please attempt to use one of the standardly available fonts (e.g. Times New Roman, Helvetica), or one of the SIL Unicode fonts Charis SIL or Doulos SIL. If for some reason this is not possible, please consult with us first about the possible font issues. Abstracts should be submitted electronically as an email attachment with the filename YOURNAME_ALS2007 (where YOURNAME is the family name or surname of the first author). Please give the subject line of the email as "YOURNAME ALS abstract".

Send the abstract to

We will notify you of whether your paper has been accepted by April 30th 2007. Accepted abstracts will be posted on the ALS2007 website.

Following the conference, presenters will be invited to submit full versions of their papers to appear in DEST-level refereed conference proceedings.

Rob Amery

Call: Language of poetry and song (workshop)

ALS 2007, 26-28 September 2007, Adelaide

The 'Language of poetry and song' is a one-day cross-disciplinary workshop at the annual conference of the Australian Linguistic Society held at the University of Adelaide, September 26-28, 2007.

The workshop is an opportunity for researchers working on either recent or traditional musical genres within linguistics, ethnomusicology or anthropology to explore linguistic features of song/poetry with others working in this field.

Papers should address issues such as

  • How do musical form and linguistic form interact?
  • Are there restrictions on the types of grammatical structures found in song/poetry?
  • Can words be shortened or extended to fit song metre?
  • What sorts of special vocabulary do they contain? If there are 'fillers' what are their metrical purposes?
  • How do the intended meanings of song/poetry differ, or go beyond, the meanings in speech?
  • How do the meanings and broader significances of song/poetry relate to the local social context?

Papers addressing other issues relating to the language of song or poetry are also welcome. Presentations should be 20 minutes long with 10 minutes for questions.

Abstracts must not be longer than 300 words and be submitted by March 16th, 2007 in word or PDF format to

Myf Turpin

Call: Workshop on definiteness and referentiality

ALS 2007, 26-28 September 2007, Adelaide

A workshop on Definiteness and Referentiality will be held in conjunction with ALS 2007. We welcome papers on all aspects of definiteness (and specificity) in Australian, Austronesian, Asian and other natural languages, and in all areas of linguistics including sociolinguistics, language variation and change, first and second language acquisition, conversational analysis, and cognitive processing of definiteness.

The theme of the workshop will be Definiteness and Referentiality: Theory and Description. We welcome submissions dealing with any of the following:

  • data based studies of definiteness properties in particular languages
  • theoretical aspects of definiteness and/or specificity
  • the article systems of language group(s)
  • the interaction of definiteness/specificity with the grammar of a language
  • the behavior of subsystems within languages, e.g. polarity references and number and quantification of nouns
  • the acquisition and development of definiteness properties in child and second languages
  • language change in progress with respect to a property or subsystem of a language.

We plan to have both a general session and a poster session. Proposals for each session should include the author's name and affiliation, contact details (including e-mail and postal addresses), title of the paper, institutional affiliations (if any), keywords , and a one page abstract of no more than 500 words, excluding examples and references. Key references may include, but not be limited to, the work of Irene Heim, M. Enc, Kamp & Reyle (DRT), B. Partee, Donka Farkas, T. Givon, Christopher Lyons, J. Hawkins, and M. Haspelmath.

When submitting your abstract, please indicate whether it is for a paper or a poster, and, if for a paper, please state whether you would be prepared to be considered for a poster instead. Poster sessions are ideal for feedback on work in progress.

Papers in the general session will be 20 minutes in length, with a further 10 minutes question and discussion time.

Posters will be displayed for one whole day, with a specific timeslot allocated for discussion of them.

Each abstract will be blind reviewed on the basis of the following criteria:

  • Topic appropriate to the workshop
  • Paper contributing new knowledge on the topic
  • Argument supported by data from natural language
  • Clear statement of results
  • Overall quality as seen from the abstract

Submissions should be sent electronically to The submissions should be sent as attachments in pdf or rtf formats with filename: YOUR NAME_ALSDEFREFworkshop. In the e-mail subject line please write NAME ALSDEFworkshop where NAME is your family name or surname.

Deadline for abstracts is March 16th with notification of acceptance by April 2.

Selected papers from the workshop will be published in a special refereed volume devoted to the workshop theme edited by the workshop organizers: Brett Baker (University of New England), Marie Fellbaum Korpi (The Australian National University), Harumi Minagawa (The University of Auckland), and Lesley Stirling (The University of Melbourne).

Marie Korpi

Call: Workshop on the Phonetics and Phonology of Australian Languages

La Trobe University, 3-4 December 2007

I [Marija Tabain] am organizing a 2-day workshop to be held in Melbourne on Monday December 3 and Tuesday December 4, 2007, on the Phonetics and Phonology of Australian Aboriginal languages. The aim of the workshop is to create interaction between researchers working on the grammar of speech and those working on the physics of speech. I would like to invite papers, on any aspect of Australian languages phonetics and phonology, which are sympathetic to this goal.

There will be no registration fee and participation in the workshop is open to all. In addition, funding is available to cover travel costs for (hopefully all) presenters coming from interstate. Depending on numbers, there MAY be funds left over to cover accommodation costs for some presenters.

All presenters will be asked to contribute a full written paper after the workshop, and indeed this will be a condition of receiving travel funding. The papers from the workshop will be published either as a book or as a special issue of a journal (we are yet to organize this), to be edited by Jonathan Harrington and myself.

For now, I would like to ask anyone interested in either presenting or otherwise participating in the workshop to get in touch with me ( before the Christmas holidays, so that I can plan sessions and catering and talk to publishers about the proceedings. If you would like to present a paper, please give me a probable title for your talk (and a short outline if possible), and let me know where you'll be travelling from and if you might need accommodation in Melbourne. (I will need a final title and short abstract a month or two before the workshop.) If you would simply like to be there for the workshop without presenting, let me know that too for catering purposes.

I am very grateful to the Australasian Speech Science and Technology Association and to La Trobe University for providing funds to support this workshop. Please come along and help to make it a success!

Marija Tabain

Call: Workshop on Australian Aboriginal Languages

Universities of Sydney and Newcastle, 16-18 March 2007

About the workshop

The Sixth Annual Workshop on Australian Aboriginal languages will be held somewhere near Sydney, probably at the Crommelin Field Station at Pearl Beach, about 60 kms north of Sydney (93 km driving from University of Sydney), from Friday March 16th to Sunday March 18th, 2007. "Blackwood by the Beach" will be hosted by the Linguistics Departments at the Universities of Sydney and Newcastle. As in previous years, we may hold the first session in the Linguistics department at Sydney University on Friday (for those who can't come away for the weekend) and will then head to wherever on Friday evening for more sessions on Saturday and Sunday.

Update on location: As lovers of Papuan languages will know, in October the Field Station was eaten by termites and demolished… We are assured by the University staff member in charge that it will be rebuilt by March. Rest assured that we are watching… and if necessary will change the location…

Call for papers

At this stage we are calling for expressions of interest for individual papers for general sessions on any issue in Australian Aboriginal languages. We currently have no proposed thematic sessions, but are open to proposals for these also.

Titles for proposed papers and/or thematic sessions should be emailed to: Joe Blythe ( as soon as possible, or by February 1st, 2007 at the latest.

Please note that there will only be a limited number of spaces available for presenters. So don't leave it too late, as we operate on a first in-first served basis.


Non-presenters are also welcome to attend, if space permits (the conference room holds 35 max.), but it is important that you register your intention with Joe Blythe ( for catering purposes.

It would also be helpful if all potential participants could indicate whether they intend coming for the whole weekend or just for the Friday session in Sydney on March 16th (if it is to be held).

Jane Simpson

5th Conversation Analysis Symposium

Albury, 24-26 November 2006

This symposium will bring together people interested in research in conversation analysis. It will provide a community of experience, giving participants opportunities to present research, to share ideas, do data analysis, discuss issues in transcription and analysis, and to develop connections with colleagues. The symposium will provide a forum for ideas, for questions, for debate and for affirmation and will involve papers, data analysis sessions and keynote talks from two invited speakers: Anna Filipi and Susan Danby.

The strength of the symposium in previous years is that its focus and size allows participants to work closely together and to engage in in-depth discussion. We would like to invite anyone working within the field of CA to attend.

Johanna Rendle-Short

Jobs, grants, and scholarships

Lecturer in linguistics, University of Newcastle

Position no. 534

The School of Humanities and Social Science at the University of Newcastle is seeking to appoint a Lecturer in Linguistics, specialising in applied linguistics and/or sociolinguistics, who will be able to provide teaching input across the range of Linguistics courses, including those offered in the Bachelor of Speech Pathology.

The position is available on a full time, continuing basis.

Essential Criteria

  • PhD awarded by date of application
  • Research publications in applied linguistics and/or sociolinguistics
  • University teaching experience in linguistics

Desirable Criteria

  • Demonstrated potential for collaborative research with academic colleagues and/or industry
  • Involvement in research higher degree supervision
  • University level teaching and/or research experience in first language acquisition

The Position Classification Standard for Lecturer, Level B should be viewed before applying.

The position is Academic Level B, $63,785 to $75,746 per annum. Salary level within this range will be dependent on the qualifications and experience of the successful applicant. Compulsory contributory superannuation is a condition of employment plus generous employer contribution of 17%. The successful applicant will be offered employment on an Australian Workplace Agreement (AWA). You may choose to have your conditions of employment covered by an AWA or a Certified Agreement. Further information on benefits and conditions of employment is available at

For additional information on the position, please contact Dr John Germov, Acting Head of School of Humanities and Social Science on 49 216315.

Applications Close: 22 December 2006

Before submitting an application, please obtain additional information about the position in one of the following ways:
email: or
phone: +612 4921 5266

Mark Harvey

RCLT Postdoctoral Research Fellowships 2007

Applications are invited for two three-year Postdoctoral Research Fellowships in the Research Centre for Linguistic Typology at La Trobe University in Melbourne. They are to commence on 1st May 2007, or soon thereafter.

Applicants should have been awarded their doctorate within the last five years. They should have experience of linguistic fieldwork and will, ideally, have already completed a grammatical description of some previously undescribed language (not their native language) in terms of basic linguistic theory. The University may consider cases in which the period is in excess of five years due to special circumstances. Applications will be considered from candidates whose thesis is currently under examination. Applicants must hold a doctoral degree or have equivalent qualifications at the date of appointment. A Fellowship will not normally be awarded to an applicant who already holds an appointment within the University.

The successful applicant will work as part of a team with Professor Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald, Professor R.M.W. Dixon, and other members of the Research Centre. Ideally, we are looking for one Postdoctoral Research Fellow who will work on a language from South America and one who will work on a language from New Guinea. However applicants with primary interest in another area will be considered. Each appointee will undertake extensive fieldwork and will either (i) produce a comprehensive description of some previously undescribed language; or (ii) pursue an in-depth study of a language contact situation. Option (ii) will only be available to someone who already has good knowledge of one or more of the languages involved in a suitable contact situation (and has undertaken significant analytic on them). The choice of project will be made after discussion between the successful applicant and Professors Aikhenvald and Dixon.

The Fellowship will be a three-year appointment and is intended to advance the research activities of the University by bringing to or retaining in Australia a promising scholar.

Enquiries should be directed initially to the Associate Director of RCLT, Professor Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald (email, phone +61 3 9479 6402).

Further information concerning the Research Centre, and the application form, may be obtained from the RCLT World Wide Web Address

The application must be received by the Secretary of the RCLT Research Committee, no later than 29th January 2007. Applicants should supply the names of three referees who will be contacted by RCLT. Applicants should also send in hard copies of their thesis and/or dissertation, and of published work (including papers in press).

Salary Range: A$56,077 pa. - A$60,194 pa.

Closing Date: 29th January 2007.

Alexandra (Sasha) Aikhenvald

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. Copy for the Newsletter should be sent to the Editor, Tim Curnow ( 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 Tim 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.