Newsletter May 2007

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.

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

Tim Curnow

ALS 2007

The early-bird registration deadline has been extended until 31 May 2007! You can go direct to the registration form at Once you fill in the form and the total, remember the total so that you can fill in the pay-by-credit-card form on the next page!

Abstract submissions have now closed, the abstracts have been reviewed, and the program is currently being worked out. Visit the conference website at for the latest details.

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 September.

The ALS 2007 website is at

Tim Curnow

Help your journal!

The Australian Journal of Linguistics needs support. The editors (, need you and any other researchers in linguistics you know to submit high quality articles to the journal. AJL welcomes submissions on all branches of linguistics, with preference given to articles of theoretical interest with an international and/or Australian focus.

Thanks to all AJL's readers (reviewers) in recent times: Alice Gaby, Barry Alpher, Bill McGregor, Carlota Smith, Cathy Elder, Claire Bowern, Cliff Goddard, Douglas Biber, Farzad Sharifian, Felicity Cox, Finex Ndhlovu, Hans-Jürgen Sasse, Heather Bowe, Herman Batibo, Jacques Guy, Jae Song, Jim Martin, Joanne Winter, John Ingram, Keith Brown, Marija Tabain, Mark Donohue, Mark Harvey, Mark Post, Mie Tsunoda, Nicholas Himmelmann, Nick Evans, Olav Kuhn, Paul Black, Paul Warren, Peter Collins, Richard Watts, Sally Humphrey, Simon Musgrave, Stefan Kaufmann, Stephen Morey, Steven Bird, Taylor Roberts, Tim Curnow, Vladimir Zegarac, Willemijn Vermaat, William Poser, Zhengdao Ye, Zosia Golebiowski.

Keith Allan

Pitjantjatjara performance and on-line language project

Ngapartji Ngapartji is a Pitjantjatjara performance/online language learning project being running out of Alice Springs. It has been very successful at the last two Melbourne International Arts Festivals, the Sydney Arts Festival, and the Perth Arts Festival. The general premise is explained on the following websites:

Kerry Mullan

2007 Gerhardt Laves Scholarship awarded

The Gerhardt Laves scholarship for 2007 has been jointly awarded to two applicants:

  • Jeremy Hammond (University of Sydney) for fieldwork on the Whitesands language of Vanuatu
  • Laura Dimock (Victoria University of Wellington) for fieldwork on the Nahavaq language of Vanuatu

They will each receive $1000 towards the cost of their research and a full year's membership of ALS.

Rachel Nordlinger

PARADISEC donations tax-deductible

The Pacific and Regional Archive for Digital Sources in Endangered Cultures (PARADISEC, is now a deductible gift recipient.

Paradisec has been digitising early field recordings and now has over 1700 hours of recordings from over 50 countries safely stored using internationally recognised standards. We are seeking donations and sponsorship of collections to allow us to convert more existing tape collections into archival formats. Donations of $2 or more to Paradisec (Inc) are tax deductible under the Australian tax system. For more information see

Nick Thieberger

News from La Trobe University linguistics program

Tonya Stebbins received a Canadian Asia Pacific Grant for $10,000 for the project 'Principles of corpus construction from archival materials in minority endangered languages: development of an electronic corpus of early Sm'algyax texts.'

Randy LaPolla

News from RSPAS, ANU

John Bowden was recently awarded a research grant from the Endangered Languages Documentation Programme based at SOAS in London. The award, for 32,000 pounds, will enable him to undertake a comprehensive documentation of the Helong language, and provide seed funding to set up a Language Documentation Centre in Kupang, West Timor. Helong is the language which was formerly spoken in the region of Kupang, but the spread of Malay in the region of the provincial capital means that Helong has only survived in a few peripheral areas, in some of which it is now severely endangered.

Paul Sidwell has been awarded a research grant for his 'Mon-Khmer Languages Project' (NEH grant PM50012, for $349,950). He will continue to be based at RSPAS as a Visiting Research Fellow at the Department of Linguistics, but he will be employed by the Centre for Research in Computational Linguistics (CRCL) Bangkok. The two-year grant (mid 2007 to mid 2009) will enable him to create essential research and reference resources for the Mon-Khmer language family.

Wayan Arka


From the News Bulletin of the Linguistic Society of Australia, June 1972:

The President referred to a decision made at the 1971 AGM to approach University authorities about the present state of linguistics in Australia, and confessed that the Executive had not yet taken any action. This was partly because nobody seemed very clear as to what exactly should be done. Any member who has a suggestion to make about this is requested to write to the Secretary, who will pass it on to the new Executive.

Tim Curnow

News from the RCLT, La Trobe University


A local Workshop on Word-class-changing derivations in typological perspective meets fortnightly, on Wednesday from 4.00-5.30pm, commencing on 14 March 2007. At the first meeting, Sasha Aikhenvald presented a position paper detailing criteria for identifying varieties of word-class-changing derivations, and their parameters of variation across the world's languages. At subsequent meetings, members of the Workshop each give a 30 minute presentation on word-class-changing in a language on which they have specialised knowledge. At the end, we will attempt to put forward appropriate inductive generalisations. All linguists (particularly from the Melbourne area) are warmly invited to take part in this local Workshop. The contents of the Position Paper for the local Workshop is available on the RCLT website at A hard copy of the paper can be obtained by writing to Sasha Aikhenvald, at

All Australian linguists are invited to attend our International Workshop on 'The Semantics of Clause Linking', which will take place between 13 and 18 August 2007. The full program is available on the RCLT website at The participants at the Workshop, and the languages they will be discussing, are:

  • R. M. W. Dixon (RCLT), Boumaa Fijian (Oceanic branch of Austronesian family)
  • Frank Lichtenberk (University of Auckland), Toqabaqita (Oceanic branch of Austronesian family, Solomon Islands)
  • Tonya Stebbins (La Trobe University), Mali (Baining family, Papua New Guinea)
  • Alan Dench (University of Western Australia), Martuthunira (Australian linguistic area)
  • Maarten Mous (Leiden University), Konso (Cushitic branch of Afroasiatic family, Ethiopia)
  • Birgit Hellwig (RCLT), Goemai (Chadic branch of Afroasiatic family, Nigeria)
  • Guy Deutscher (Leiden University), Akkadian (Semitic branch of Afroasiatic family)
  • Ho-Minh Sohn (University of Hawai'i at Manoa), Korean
  • Alexandra Aikhenvald (RCLT), Manambu (Ndu family, Papua New Guinea)
  • Simon Overall (RCLT), Aguaruna (Jivaroan family, Peru)
  • Lev Michael (University of Texas), Iquito (Zaparoan family, Peru)
  • J Randolph Valentine (University of Wisconsin-Madison), Nishnaabemwin (or Ojibwe, Algonquian family)
  • Mark Post (RCLT), Galo (Tani subgroup of Tibeto-Burman family, India)
  • David Watters (University of Kathmandu), Kham (Tibeto-Burman family, Nepal)
  • Yaron Matras (University of Manchester), Romani (Indic subgroup of Indo-European family)

Books published

Alexandra, Aikhenvald (Guest Editor). 2007. Linguistic Fieldwork, a special issue of Sprachtypologie und Universalienforschung (STUF), 60-1. The table of contents and introductory chapter are available on the website

Olawsky. Knut, J. 2006. A grammar of Urarina. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. This is the first reference grammar of Urarina, an isolate from the Loreto province of Peru, a highly complex language located in a difficult and remote area. It is a major achievement and a highlight of the year.

New Research Fellow appointed

Dr Cynthia Schneider, awarded a three-year RCLT Postdoctoral Fellowship, will be working on Kairak, a Baining language spoken in East New Britain (Papua New Guinea).


  • Dr Azeb Amha, of the University of Leiden, a leading expert on Omotic and Cushitic languages, will be at RCLT between September and November 2007. She will be finalizing a descriptive grammar of Zargulla, an endangered Omotic language spoken in south-west Ethiopia, with a special focus on the chapters on speech act distinctions in Zargulla morpho-syntax: declarative, interrogative, imperative etc. She will be looking at the expression of these categories in other Omotic languages for comparative purposes.
  • Professor Ellen Basso, Professor Emerita of the University of Arizona, a major expert on South American anthropology and on Carib-speaking groups of Xingu Park in Brazil, will be a Visiting Fellow at RCLT, for three months, starting from early June. She will be working on a grammar of Kalapalo, a Carib language of her expertise, in addition to a variety of grammatical topics.
  • Dr Guy Deutscher, of the University of Leiden,a leading expert in Akkadian and Sumerian linguistics, Semitic languages and historical linguistics in general, will be a Visiting Fellow at RCLT from August to December 2007. His main project at RCLT will be a comprehensive account of the correlations between grammar and culture, with special focus on the interactions between various components of the grammar of a language and the nature of the society in which the language is spoken.
  • Professor Yaron Matras, of the University of Manchester, a leading expert on language contact, on Romani linguistics and linguistic typology, will be a Visiting Fellow at RCLT and a Special IAS Visiting Fellow, from 7 June until 15 January 2008. He is also the recipient of an ARC International Fellowship (with Prof. Aikhenvald and Prof. Dixon as Australia-based Chief Investigators). The title of the project is 'Development of mechanisms for understanding language contact and cross-cultural communication'. He will be working on a comprehensive grammar of Domari, a Romani language, and investigating language contact and convergence.
  • Lev Michael, of the University of Texas (Austin), an expert on Nanti (Campa, Arawak family) and Iquito (Zaparoan family) will be a Visiting Fellow at RCLT between October and February 2008. He will continue his work on a comprehensive grammar of Iquito, in addition to a variety of grammatical topics.
  • Professor Ho-Min Sohn, the Director of the Center for Koren Studies and Professor of Korean Linguistics at the University of Hawaii, a leading expert on Korean, Japanese and on Oceanic languages, will be a Visiting Fellow at RCLT and a Special IAS Visiting Fellow, between July and December 2007. He will be working towards completing a monograph with the provisional title Grammaticalization in Korean, and also completing a comprehensive monograph Politeness and Honorifics in Korean.


  • Jingyi Du, a PhD student at RCLT, is undertaking fieldwork on Barok, an Oceanic language of New Ireland.
  • Raoul Zamponi, a PhD student at RCLT, is undertaking fieldwork on Cuna, a Chibchan language of Panama.
  • Dr Rosemary Beam de Azcona, a Postdoctoral Fellow, is undertaking fieldwork on Miwatec (Zapotec, Mexico) during the first 5 months of 2007.
  • Dr David Fleck, a Research Fellow, is undertaking fieldwork on Matses (Panoan), in Peru, May-August 2007.
  • Dr Renée Lambert-Brétière, a Postdoctoral Fellow, has just returned from undertaking fieldwork on Kwoma (Washkuk) in the East Sepik Province of Papua New Guinea, December 2006-May 2007.

Siew-Peng Condon

News from Monash University

Three books have recently appeared by Monash linguists:

Kate Burridge has been a regular panel member on ABC TV's Can We Help? for several months already. This is a follow up to her long-time achievement taking linguistics to the masses in regular and irregular radio broadcasts.

Mark Donohue, along with other colleagues, will be organising the 15th Annual Conference of the Austronesian Formal Linguistics Association, to be held next year in July in Sydney, in conjunction with the Australian Linguistics Institute.

Keith Allan

News from the ANU Linguistics Program

There is currently a great deal of activity at the ANU in Aboriginal language research and projects.

Jo Caffery is teaching 'Language in Indigenous Australia' in first semester. In second semester Harold Koch plans to teach 'Study of a Language Family' focusing on comparative Pama-Nyungan.

Harold Koch in April returned to Kaytetye country to do research for a native title application. He continues working on early documentation of the Canberra and Monaro Aboriginal language, and during 2007 will be revising the Australian section of the Linguistic Atlas of the Pacific.

Harold Koch and Luise Hercus are nearing completion a co-edited volume on Aboriginal Placenames Old and New, which is being published by ANU E-press in the Aboriginal History Monographs series.

Visiting Fellow Luise Hercus is currently finalising her ARC project on Simpson Desert songs (which includes research assistance by Grace Koch and Shannon Clarke). Luise is returning to Birdsville for further fieldwork later in May.

ANU visiting research scholar Jo Caffery and PhD researcher Jutta Besold were invited participants in a two day workshop to inform and assist the local Ngunnawal people with their language revival project at The Thirteenth Ngunnawal Elders Camp in March. Future involvement in the Ngunnawal language revival project is pending funding.

PhD researcher John Giacon is working on a PhD on a reconstructed grammar of Gamilaraay and closely related languages. He recently published the Gamilaraay/Yuwaalaraay picture dictionary and is teaching 'Speaking Gamilaraay' for the second year at the University of Sydney. The same material was taught in March and April at TAFE in Tamworth. Part of this '101' was also taught in Ngaawa-Garay, a one week summer school last January at the Koori Centre of Sydney University. These courses attracted over 20 Indigenous participants and were not only successful but also proved to be an emotional journey for participants learning about their language for the first time.

Jutta Besold continues her analysis of the NSW south coast languages as part of her PhD and continues her involvement in the Dharawal/Dhurga language teaching projects on the NSW South Coast, developing Dhurga language teaching material for Vincentia High School and the Broulee Primary School.

Visiting Fellow David Nash was invited to present at a two day workshop at Parkes in March, to assist the Wiradjuri in schools programs fostered by the NSW Board of Studies. He has been asked to talk (on language policy, and on some languages of the east Pilbara) at a WA State Languages conference hosted by Wangka Maya at Port Hedland in late May.

Visiting Fellow and AIATSIS staff member Patrick McConvell is contributing to the Loanword Typology datatabase on Gurindji ( and is working on Gurindji and other languages for the Victoria River District project of the Endangered Languages Project DOBES (

Visiting Fellow and AIATSIS staff member Kazuko Obata continues her work on the web-based Australian Indigenous Languages Database, AUSTLANG. She has been compiling data in a FileMaker file, and programming work for a web-based version is expected to commence shortly.

Harold Koch

News from the University of Melbourne

Recent visitors to the Department include:

  • Volker Gast (Freie Universität Berlin), supported by a Feodor Lynen Fellowship, who is working on a Reciprocals data-base and gathering material on veridicality expressions (like even) in Aboriginal languages
  • Robert Mailhammer (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich), also supported by a Feodor Lynen Fellowship, working on Amurdak morphology, both its synchronic analysis and its implications for the historical linguistics of the Iwaidjan family
  • Louisa Sadler (Essex University), who is working with Rachel Nordlinger on a British Academy of the Humanities project 'Coordination in Australian Aboriginal Languages'

Recent and impending departures:

  • Nick Thieberger, who completed his PhD at Melbourne and has been an ARC Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department has accepted a position as Assistant Professor in Language Documentation and Conservation in the Department of Linguistics, University of Hawai’i, Manoa

Old friends:

  • Jean-Christophe Verstraete, who has been a regular visitor to the Department in recent years on a series of Belgian Postdoctoral Fellowhsips, and has been carrying out work on Umbithamu and Umbuygamu (Princess Charlotte Bayregion), has recently been awarded a tenured research position at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
  • Jeanie Bell, who completed her M.A. here in 2003 and has been working at VACOL in Melbourne, has recently taken up a position at Batchelor College in the Northern Territory

Janet Fletcher


Publications received, February 2007

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.

  • Barton, D. (2007) Literacy: An Introduction to the Ecology of Written Language (2nd edition). Blackwell, Oxford.
  • Bošković, Ž. and H. Lasnik, eds. (2007) Minimalist Syntax: The Essential Readings. Blackwell, Oxford.
  • Butt, M., M. Dalrymple, and T. H. King (2006) Intelligent Linguistic Architectures: Variations on Themes by Ronald M. Kaplan. CSLI Publications, Stanford, CA.
  • Clark, J., C. Yallop, and J. Fletcher (2007) An Introduction to Phonetics and Phonology (3rd edition). Blackwell, Oxford.
  • Hale, M. (2007) Historical Linguistics. Blackwell, Oxford.
  • Roeper, T. (2007) The Prism of Grammar: How Child Language Illuminates Humanism. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA.
  • Salaberry, R. and B. A. Lafford, eds. (2006) The Art of Teaching Spanish: Second Language Acquisition from Research to Praxis. Georgetown University Press, Washington, DC.
  • Sharifian, F. and G. B. Palmer, eds. (2007) Applied Cultural Linguistics. John Benjamins, Amsterdam.
  • Siegel, J., J. Lynch, and D. Eades (2007) Language Description, History and Development: Linguistic Indulgence in Memory of Terry Crowley. John Benjamins, Amsterdam.
  • Teschner, R. V. and E E. Evans (2000) Analyzing the Grammar of English: A Brief Undergraduate Textbook (2nd edition). Georgetown University Press, Washington, DC.
  • Thieberger, N. (2006) A Grammar of South Efate. University of Hawai'i Press, Honolulu.
Alan Libert

Frontiers of Korean language acquisition (Song)

Jae Jung Song (ed). 2006. Frontiers of Korean Language Acquisition. London: Saffron Books. ISBN 1 872843 61 1 HB, ISBN 1 872843 62 X PB.

This collection brings together original contributions from leading scholars in the field of Korean language acquisition research. Six of the eight articles in the book address various aspects of the L1 or L2 acquisition of Korean, with the remaining two dealing with Korean speakers' L2 acquisition of English or providing a general discussion of L1/L2 acquisition in the context of linguistic typology. Frontiers of Korean Language Acquisition represents these scholars' concerted effort to bring some of the pioneering work in Korean language acquisition to the wider international scholarly community. The collection will be of great interest to researchers in Korean language acquisition in particular and language acquisition in general. In addition, advanced students of first or second language acquisition, psycholinguistics, bilingualism, language and cognition, and general Korean linguistics will also find articles of interest in the collection.

Table of Contents:

  1. Jae Jung Song: Introduction
  2. Soonja Choi: Language-Specific Spatial Semantics and Cognition
  3. Euen Hyuk (Sarah) Jung: The Acquisition of Spoken Features in Korean as a Second Language
  4. Jeong-Young Kim: Tensification vs Intervocalic Voicing in L2 Acquisition: The Production of Korean Stops by English and Finnish Speakers
  5. Hae-Young Kim & EunHee Lee: The Development of Tense and Aspect Morphology in L2 Korean
  6. William O'Grady & Sun-Young Lee: Classifiers and Learnability: The Role of Recasts
  7. Sunyoung Oh: Liquid Acquisition in Korean: A Case Study of Bilingual and Monolingual Children
  8. Se Eun Krainz: The Acquisition of Spatial Relations by Adult Korean Learners of English
  9. Jae Jung Song: Linguistic Typology and L1/L2 Acquisition: An Overview

Jae Jung Song

Upcoming Conferences

Laboratory Phonology 11

Victoria University of Wellington, NZ, 30 June - 2 July 2008

The organising committee is pleased to announce that Laboratory Phonology 11 will be held at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, 30 June - 2 July 2008.

The overall theme of the conference will be 'Phonetic detail in the lexicon', with the following sub-themes:

  1. Accessing the lexicon
  2. Social information in the lexicon
  3. Phonetic cues to lexical structure
  4. Generalising over the lexicon

Abstracts for proposed papers must be submitted by 7 December 2007.

Further details are available on the conference web-page at

Note that this conference will be immediately followed at the same venue by the 5th conference of the International Gender and Language Association (IGALA5).

Paul Warren, Jen Hay

Pearl Beach/Blackwood Australianist Workshop 2008

Kioloa Research Station, NSW South Coast, 28-30 March 2008

The tradition of annual Australianist workshops has taken a new turn. After being organised by Melbourne University linguists at Blackwood for many years, and by Sydney University linguists at Pearl Beach for the last three years, the 2008 workshop is being organised by Canberra linguists from ANU and AIATSIS. The 2008 'Kioloa Australianist workshop' will be held at ANU's Kioloa research station on the NSW South Coast. Dates have been set for 28–30 March 2008. Put it in your diary now!

Jo Cafferty

Jobs, grants, and scholarships

Two positions, SOAS, London

The Endangered Languages Academic Programme (ELAP) in the Department of Linguistics at the School of Oriental and African Studies is seeking to fill two new three-year posts available from September 2007.

1. Research Fellow to carry out research, teach, and supervise students in Language Support and Revitalisation. Applicants should clearly describe their research plans for the three years of the post. Teaching will include involvement in an existing MA half-unit 'Applied Language Documentation and Description' and an undergraduate half-unit 'Language, Society and Communication' plus contributions to planned new half-units in 'Language Revitalisation' and 'Multimedia and Language Support'. Applicants should hold a PhD in Linguistics with a focus on language support and revitalisation, have relevant publications, and demonstrated ability to teach at university level. Field experience, preferably through working with an endangered language community, would be an advantage. Annual salary will be £31,189 – £40,582. For further details and application procedures see The closing date for applications is 30th May 2007.

2. Post-doctoral Researcher to carry out research, teach, and supervise students in Language Documentation and Technology. Applicants will be expected to propose a 3-year research project in the area of theory and application of information and media technologies in language documentation. Teaching is normally one course per term and will include involvement in an existing MA half-unit 'Technology and Language Documentation' and in a planned new half-unit 'Multimedia and Language Support', with the opportunity to develop new courses in the future. Applicants should hold a PhD in Linguistics with a focus on language documentation and technology, and relevant publications. Teaching and field experience, preferably through working with an endangered language community, would be an advantage. Annual salary will be £22,986 - £25,321. For further details and application procedures see The closing date for applications is 22nd May 2007.

ELAP currently has six full-time academic staff (three permanent staff and three post-doctoral fellows), 26 post-graduate students and several visitors and research associates. Appointees will be expected to work closely with staff and students in the Department of Linguistics, including the ELAP, and the Endangered Languages Archive. For further information about the Endangered Languages Project see

Peter Austin

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.