Newsletter February 2008

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 membership fees

It's that time of year again when your annual membership fees are due. Fees remain the same as they were for last year, $50 for full membership, $60 for joint membership and $20 for student membership. There is a $5 discount applicable if the fees are paid before April 1. There is also the possibility of having your fees deducted 'automatically' each year at the discount price by sending your credit card details to the treasurer, Doug Absalom at 32 Murray Rd., Cardiff, NSW, 2285. Some "Auto" members who have new cards or new expiry dates should also contact Doug with their updated information. Payments can be made by cheque or credit card (Visa and Master only) to Doug at the above address, or else he can be contacted on email at

Doug Absalom

Lingfest 2008 (including ALS2008)

Lingfest 2008 will be held at the Univeristy of Sydney from 30 June - 11 July 2008. Lingfest 2008 is a series of six events covering a wide range of topics in and approaches to the study of linguistics. The events will include plenary sessions, lectures, workshops and more. The following associations are participating in Lingfest 2008:

  • Austronesian Formal Linguistics Association (AFLA XV) Annual Conference, June 30 - July 2
  • Applied Linguistics Association of Australia (ALAA), July 4-6
  • Australian Linguistic Society (ALS), July 2-4
  • International Lexical-Functional Grammar (LFG) Annual Conference, July 4-6
  • Australian Linguistics Institute (ALI) 2008, July 7-11
  • Indigenous Languages Institute (ILI), July 8-10

Check out the portal website  for updates on LingFest08.

The first week includes  the annual conferences of the Australian Linguistic Society (, the Applied Linguistics Association of Australia, the Austronesian Formal Linguistics Association, and the International Lexical Functional Grammar Association.

There will be workshops on Second Language Acquisition, Instrumentals, Interactional sociolinguistics, and Japanese.

In the second week the Australian Linguistics Institute will be held This is a five-day winter school of introductory and advanced intensive courses in linguistics and applied linguistics There will be an Indigenous Languages Institute (July 7, 2008 - July 11, 2008).

 Information on the Australian Linguistics Institute programme is also now available through the portal, or   Courses include

  1. Additional Language Learning and Identity Development - Dr. William S. Armour (UNSW)
  2. Bi- and Multilingualism - Michael Clyne (Hon Professorial Fellow, University of Melbourne, also Emeritus Professor, Monash University)
  3. Features - Greville G. Corbett (University of Surrey, UK)
  4. First Language Acquisition: Syntax and Semantics - Stephen Crain (MACCS) and Rosalind Thornton (Linguistics/MACCS)
  5. Listening to Speech: Universal Processing Shaped by Language-Specific Structure - Anne Cutler (MPI for Psycholinguistics and University of Western Sydney)
  6. Implemented LFG grammars: Using the XLE Grammar Development Platform - Mary Dalrymple (Professor of Linguistics, University of Oxford)
  7. Sign Language Linguistics and Grammaticalisation - Louise de Beuzeville and Trevor Johnston (Sign Language Linguistics Group Macquarie University)
  8. Grammars, Parsers and Realisers - Mark Dras, Robert Dale Centre for Language Technology, Macquarie University)
  9. Sociolinguistics and the law - Diana Eades (University of New England)
  10. Complex words and Complex predicates - Mark Harvey (Newcastle) and Brett Baker (UNE)
  11. Sociophonetics - Jennifer Hay (University of Canterbury)
  12. Encoding the speaker's perspective in grammar: A case study of Japanese - Nerida Jarkey, University of Sydney, and Harumi Minagawa, University of Auckland.
  13. Introducing Feminist Conversation Analysis - Celia Kitzinger (Feminist Conversation Analysis Unit University of York, UK)
  14. Linguistic diversity and implications for L2 instruction: World Englishes and beyond - Ryuko Kubota (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) and Ahmar Mahboob (University of Sydney)
  15. Critical Discourse Analysis - J R Martin, Linguistics, University of Sydney
  16. Australian Aboriginal Languages in Lexical-Functional Grammar - Rachel Nordlinger (University of Melbourne)
  17. Multimodal InterAction Analysis - Sigrid Norris (Auckland University of Technology, NZ)
  18. Language and Cultural Values - Dr Bert Peeters, (Macquarie University), Prof Cliff Goddard, (University of New England, Armidale); Prof Anna Wierzbicka, (Australian National University, Canberra).
  19. Language Test Development: From Test Specifications to Test Use -  Aek Phakiti, (The University of Sydney)
  20. Quantitative Methods - Carsten Roever, (The University of Melbourne)
  21. Contact language typology - Ian Smith (York University)

 Students who wish to get credit for attending ALI and carrying out assessable tasks should talk to people at their own institutions as to how this may be done.  Or they may enrol in the Winter School unit Cross-Cultural Communication LNGS7006 at the University of Sydney if they wish to take particular combinations of the units.  Contact Jane Simpson ( for further information on this option.

Andrew Yip

News from Linguistics at La Trobe


OzPhon07 (Workshop on the Phonetics and
Phonology of Australian Aboriginal languages), organized by Marija Tabain, was
very successful, with about 30 participants from all over Australia and a great
exchange and coming together of ideas. The programme can be found at
, and
selected handouts/presentations/soundfiles can be found at
. OzPhon08 will be
held in Brisbane as part of Interspeech:
. There will be an oral session for
OzPhon, and a poster session held in conjunction with PANZE (Phonetics of
Australian and New Zealand English).

Staff and PhD activities

Tonya Stebbins is on OSP this semester, and will be spending it at the
Research Centre for Linguistic Typology at La Trobe.

Alec Coupe has heavily revised and published his
doctoral dissertation:  Coupe, A.R. 2007. A grammar of Mongsen Ao.
Mouton Grammar Library 39. Berlin and New York: Mouton de Gruyter. Details
available at

Tania Strahan is at the Háskóla Íslands (The
University of Iceland), in the Humanities Faculty, working with people in the
Icelandic and English Departments, on a 12 month research postdoc from the
Nordic MicroComparative Syntax (NORMS,
) Project, which is a collaboration of seven main
institutions across Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Iceland, with its HQ in
Tromsø, Norway. She is in the Syntactic Variation Group (led by Höskuldur
Þráinsson), looking at syntactic variation in Icelandic, Danish, Norwegian and
Faroese, in particular the variation associated with the different distributions
of the possessive and objective reflexives.

PhD completions

We had several PhD completions:

Susan Douglas: “The semantic and syntactic
development of verbs in the language of children with autism”

Abstract: This thesis investigates the
acquisition of verbs in children with autism using an observational and an
experimental study design.  The observational study was primarily concerned with
the semantic development of verbs, with a supplementary focus on prepositions. 
It was hypothesised that there would be evidence of atypical development in
categories which encode concepts associated with cognitive impairments in
children with autism such as psychological states.  The corpus consisted of
transcripts of conversational data from ten children with autism of varying ages
and abilities.  Verb use within semantic categories was profiled according to
the following parameters: frequency of use within the individual lexicons of
each child, expressed as a percentage of total verb use; lexical diversity; and,
subjects encoded.  Prepositions were analysed on the same criteria.  The results
indicate that, while often delayed, the path of semantic development does not
appear to be atypical.  It is argued that theory of mind ability appears to
influence the rate of semantic development in children with autism.

In light of recent debate regarding the developmental relationship between
language and cognition, the production of complex sentences with psychological
state verbs by children with autism was examined.  The data raised questions
about the extent to which general cognitive development informs language
acquisition.  The experimental studies were chosen to further explore this
issue.  Five children with autism recruited for the observational study
participated in three tasks: two experiments eliciting complex wh-questions and
a theory of mind task.  The results indicated that three children conformed to
the syntactic constraints governing the formation of such questions, and two did
so where the target questions could be elicited.  Four of the five children
passed the theory of mind task.  The implications of the results from both
studies for theories of language acquisition in autism and typical development
are discussed.

Catherine Easton: “Discourses of orthography development: Community-based
practice in Milne Bay (P.N.G.)”

Abstract: This thesis explores the roles of linguists and communities in
language development. A case study of community-based orthography development in
Milne Bay, Papua New Guinea, is used to illustrate the discursive frameworks
active in linguistic and community processes of language development. The thesis
aims to deepen our understanding of the conflicts that arise between linguists
and community members, and considers how an understanding of the frameworks that
produce the tensions underlying conflict can foster a situation of mutual
learning and empowerment.

Copies of the thesis are available in PDF format from Tonya Stebbins (

Ya-ting Chung: “Production Errors in L2 Chinese Speakers and the Reasons for
their Occurrence”

Abstract: The aim of this thesis is to apply LaPolla’s (LaPolla & Poa 2002,
LaPolla 2003) theory of Language as Constraints on Interpretation to explore the
linguistic phenomena of the use of Chinese measure words and possessive
structures by English-speaking learners of Chinese from pragmatic and
sociolinguistic points of view. The purpose is to give better explanations for
the occurrence of the linguistic phenomena of second language learning.

From the data of my study, I found that participants tend to use some
particular patterns of language. I discuss the possible effects of first
language and Chinese L2 instruction for L2 learning and apply LaPolla & Poa
(2002) and LaPolla’s (2003) theory of Language as Constraints on Interpretation
to explain the production phenomena of L2 learners using possessive structures
and measure words. I conclude that the reason why second
language learners produce errors mainly is the difference of habits of use of
the two languages that are first and second languages, not the differences
between two languages themselves.

In the last chapter (Chapter 6), the limitations of
the study are discussed with a view to improvement of future research on this
topic, and some suggestions are given to L2 researchers, L2 instructors, and L2

Randy LaPolla

News from the RCLT

Books to be reissued in paperback

Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald. and Dixon, R. M. W. eds. 2006. Grammars in Contact: a cross-linguistic typology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


Dr Stephen Morey – awarded a three-year fellowship from the Volkswagen Stiftung, Germany, under their DoBeS program, for a multi-disciplinary project involving scholars from four countries: ‘The Traditional Songs and Poetry of Upper Assam – a Multifaceted Linguistic and Ethnographic Documentation of the Tangsa, Tai and Singhpo Communities in Margherita, Northeast India’ - €300,000 (=c AUD $500,000).

Dr Gerd Jendraschek – awarded a prestigious Charles La Trobe Research Fellowship for 2008-2011.

New Research Fellows appointed

  • Simon Overall appointed to a three-year RCLT Post-doctoral Fellowship (pending completion of his PhD). He will be working on the Jivaroan languages, with particular focus on Aguaruna and Huambisa.
  • Dr Yvonne Treis (University of Cologne) was awarded a three year La Trobe University Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, to commence in April.  Yvonne will be working on ‘A Grammar of Kwama’, a previously undescribed Nilo-Saharan language of Ethiopia.

New PhD students accepted

  • Dionysios Mertyris (from Athens) will commence in September 2008. He is planning to work on a previously undescribed language.
  • Chia-jung Pan (from Taiwan) will commence in May 2008. He will be working on Tsou, an Austronesian language from Taiwan.


  • Dr Anna Bugaeva, of Chiba University (Japan), an expert on Ainu, will be at RCLT between 15 December 2007 and 15 March 2008, working on valency changing categories in the Saru and Chitose dialects of Ainu.
  • Professor Peter Trudgill, Professor of Linguistics at the University of Fribourg, is a leading expert on sociolinguistics, dialectology and linguistic typology, having published seminal works on many topics. He has been appointed Adjunct Professor at RCLT for an initial period of three years, starting from 2006.  He will be at RCLT between 24 February and 22 March 2008, and will be working on his book on Sociolinguistic Typology.
  • Professor Jackson Sun, of the Institute of Linguistics, Academia Sinica, a major expert on Tibeto-Burman languages, will be a Visiting Fellow at RCLT, from 1 March until 31 May 2008. He will be working on a grammar of Caodeng rGyalrong, a morphologically complex Tibeto-Burman language of north-western Sichuan.
  • Professor Dr. Willem F. H. Adelaar, Professor of Native American Languages and Cultures at the University of Leiden, a leading expert in South American languages, will be a Visiting Fellow at RCLT between 1 April and 31 May 2008. He will be working on the typological characteristics of the Andean languages and their genetic relationships.


Roberto Zariquiey Biondi, a PhD student at RCLT, is undertaking fieldwork on Cashibo-Cacataibo (Panoan) in Peru, October 2007 - June 2008.

Siew-Peng Condon

2009 ALS Conference

The 2009 ALS Conference 'Advances in Linguistic Typology' will be held 6-8 July, 2009. It is sponsored by the RCLT and Linguistics Program at La Trobe University, and will be held in Melbourne, at the Hotel Ibis, Therry Street, Melbourne.

Call for Papers on any area of linguistic research

All Members of the Australian Linguistic Society wishing to present a thirty minute paper followed by 10 minutes discussion at the 2009 ALS Meeting are invited to submit a one page abstract using the instructions for authors at

Appropriately formatted abstracts should then be sent to, as per the instructions on the website.

Deadline for submission of abstracts: Wednesday 1st April 2009
Notification of acceptance: Friday 1st May 2009

All submissions will be anonymously refereed. Accepted abstracts will be posted on the ALS2009 website.

Poster presentations are also welcome. Please use the same instructions as above, indicating that your proposal is for a poster.


There will also be workshop sessions at the Conference. It is envisaged that each Workshop would be made up of 3 or 6 speakers.

Proposals for workshop sessions are welcome, submitted according to the instructions at Please provide the titles of the papers within the workshop as part of your package. The ALS Organising Committee will vet these proposals and advise accordingly.

Deadline for submission of workshop proposals: Wednesday 1st April 2009
Notification of acceptance: Friday 1st May 2009
Accepted workshop proposals will be posted on the ALS2009 website.

Note that only members of ALS may present a paper or workshop at the annual conference.

Siew-Peng Condon

Concerning the National Curriculum

Towards the end of 2008 Lynn Wales wrote to the Minister for Education, Julia Gillard, pointing to the need to ensure that the grammar taught in the National Curriculum (NC) would be consistent with the analyses generally agreed upon in modern linguistic research. She did so because in her research on the National Literacy Strategy in the UK she discovered that the curriculum designers, while covering well the international educational research on literacy programs, had failed to consult either individual professional linguists, or the LAGB as a body, on the grammar content in the curriculum. As a result, UK government materials on grammar advice to teachers have been 'a patchwork of the good, the wrong and the imprecise' (Cajkler in Language and Education 2004: 13).

After Christmas Lynn received a reply from Scott Lambert, Acting Branch Manager of the NC Branch, writing on Ms Gillard's behalf and inviting her to forward her comments to the interim NC Board. She has not had time during the holiday season to attend to this matter but now thinks also that colleagues might appreciate some information from Mr Lambert's letter, which is below:

Work to develop Australia's first national curriculum is well underway and is being progressed by the interim National Curriculum Board. The interim Board recently released a framing paper on national English curriculum, which aims to elicit feedback and to generate broad-ranging discussion in the community. The paper and other information about the development of national curriculum can be accessed at

If you have time to read the framing paper you will discover that the deadline for your feedback is 28 February, and the paper gives a method for providing feedback. Lynn was also invited to forward comments on the framing paper and is preparing to do so. If you do not wish to make lengthy comment yourself, you could, if you wish, forward brief comments to Lynn for incorporation in her document. Such comments would have to reach her by 24 February, by emailing them to

Lynn Wales

News from UNE

UNE Linguistics very happy to welcome on board two new staff: Dr Cindy Schneider (formerly at RCLT, La Trobe) and Dr Anna Gladkova (from ANU). We're looking forward to a dynamic contribution from Cindy and Anna over the coming years. We would also like to thank Dr Helen Fraser for her many contributions to the teaching and research culture of linguistics and cognitive science generally at UNE, and wish her the best in future endeavours. Liz Ellis will be based in Alice Springs in 2009, though still very much part of the UNE team. Nick Reid will be taking a well-earned study leave in Hawai'i and elsewhere. We welcome Dr Ines Anton-Mendez, visiting psycholinguist from the University of Utrecht and Ms Christina Almann Levisen, who will both be contributing to the teaching program in 2009.

Theses passed

  • Stephen Hill's PhD thesis 'Yolŋu Matha and English Learning at Galiwin'ku, an Indigenous Community in North-east Arnhem Land' has passed examination, subject to minor amendments. (Supervisors: Liz Ellis and Nick Reid)
  • Michele Herrington's Honours thesis 'Helping children learn to spell: five case studies using coloured clay modelling to assist in the explicit instruction of spelling'. (Supervisor: Helen Fraser)
  • Rosemary Melville's Honours thesis 'Re-establishing vitality, strength and relevance for Aboriginal peoples in Ontario: The potential for bilingual and bi-cultural education programs' (Supervisor: Liz Ellis)


  • Many years in the making, the Ngan'gi dictionary, compiled by Nick Reid and Patricia Marrfurra McTaggart, has been published by Australian Linguistics Press.
  • The volume Discourse and grammar in Australian languages, edited by Ilana Mushin and Brett Baker (John Benjamins), has appeared.
  • Ellis, E.M. (ed) 2008, Monolingualism. Special issue of Sociolinguistic Studies, Vol. 2(3) is available at
  • Cross-Linguistic Semantics, edited by Cliff Goddard (John Benjamins), also appeared in 2008.

Research contracts

  • Ellis, E.M, Eades, D., Edwards, H. and Brooks, M. with the ACT Government 2009: Review and research the impact of Aboriginal English (or Torres Strait Creole) on learning outcomes for indigenous children in ACT pre-schools and pre-school programs.

Brett Baker

Geoff O'Grady passes away

Prof GN O'Grady (1928-2008) died on 28 December 2008 at Victoria, British Columbia. Geoff's 1959 BA Hons was supervised by Dr Capell, University of Sydney, and he then completed a PhD at U Indiana under Prof Voegelin. More at, which also links to a couple of newspaper obituaries.

David Nash

News from the newly established LCRG at James Cook University

The Language and Culture Research Group has been established within the Cairns Institute at James Cook University.

The Cairns Institute is an exciting new initiative which aims to establish JCU as the world's leading research university in the area of peoples, societies and cultures of the tropics. Our mission is consistent with that of the Cairns Institute as a whole - to enhance human life in the tropics, with particular focus on Australia, the Pacific and South America, so as to materially contribute to a brighter, more enriching future for tropical peoples. This will be achieved by assisting them with linguistic and cultural maintenance and understanding of their identity and heritage, and through globally-informed scholarship, research excellence, and a mobilising commitment to social justice.

Alexandra (Sasha) Aikhenvald has been appointed Professor and Research Leader (People and Societies of the Tropics) at the Cairns Institute in James Cook University. Professor R. M. W. (Bob) Dixon has been appointed Adjunct Professor within the Institute.

They have jointly established the Language and Culture Research Group (LCRG) which brings together linguists, anthropologists, social scientists and those working in the humanities. The mission statement of LCRG is to appear on the web-site of the Cairns Institute.

The Group comprises a number of students and research staff. Its scope includes work within a number of projects funded by the Australian Research Council. Each year, we plan to attract PhD students and Post-doctoral Fellows, and invite leading national and international scholars as Visiting Fellows and Honorary Visiting Fellows, to spend their sabbatical in the vibrant intellectual atmosphere of the Cairns Institute at JCU. We envisage working in close collaboration with colleagues from the Department of Anthropology, Archaeology and Sociology, in particular, Associate Professor Rosita Henry, Dr Mike Wood, Dr Nigel Chang, and Professor Bruce Kapferer, the Cairns Institute's International Strategic Advisor.

The Inaugural Workshop of the LCRG, entitled 'Not to lose you, my language', will be held on 16-17 April 2009 in the Cairns Institute. It will feature presentations by Ernie Grant, a Dyirbal Elder, R.M.W. Dixon, Rosita Henry, Mike Wood, Nicholas Evans, Kate Burridge, Yongxian Luo, and Sasha Aikhenvald. International workshops on topics in ethnolinguistics and linguistic typology will be held in following years, continuing the tradition laid by A. Y. Aikhenvald and R. M. W. Dixon who have organized nine Workshops at the ANU, and in Melbourne, since 1997.

Books published and forthcoming

Semantics of clause linking: a cross-linguistic typology, edited by R. M. W. Dixon and Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald (volume 5 of Exporations in Linguistic Typology). Oxford: Oxford University Press, is forthcoming in mid-2009.

Basic Linguistic Theory

For the past couple of decades Bob Dixon has been engaged in writing a three-volume work entitled Basic Linguistic Theory. The first two volumes were submitted to Oxford University Press in May 2008 and have been enthusiastically accepted for publication. The publisher's blurb is as follows:

In Basic Linguistic Theory R.M.W. Dixon provides a new and fundamental characterization of the nature of human languages and a comprehensive guide to their description and analysis. In three clearly written and accessible volumes, he describes how best to go about doing linguistics, the most satisfactory and profitable ways to work, and the pitfalls to avoid. In the first volume he addresses the methodology for recording, analysing, and comparing languages. He argues that grammatical structures and rules should be worked out inductively on the basis of evidence, explaining in detail the steps by which an attested grammar and lexicon can be built up from observed utterances. He shows how the grammars and words of one language may be compared to others of the same or different families, explains the methods involved in cross-linguistic parametric analyses, and describes how to interpret the results. Volume 2 and volume 3 (to be published in 2011) offer in-depth tours of many underlying principles of grammatical organization, as well as many of the facts of grammatical variation. 'The task of the linguist,' Professor Dixon writes, 'is to explain the nature of human languages - each viewed as an integrated system - together with an explanation of why each language is the way it is, allied to the further scientific pursuits of prediction and evaluation.

Basic Linguistic Theory is the triumphant outcome of a lifetime's thinking about every aspect and manifestation of language and immersion in linguistic fieldwork. It is a one-stop text for undergraduate and graduate students of linguistics, as well as for those in neighbouring disciplines, such as psychology and anthropology.

Classic grammar made available again

Cambridge University Press are issuing digital reprints of a small number of classic monographs from yesteryear. Among these is R.M.W. Dixon's 1972 grammar The Dyirbal language of North Queensland. This will shortly be on sale again in an inexpensive paperback edition.

Further achievements

Professor Alexandra Aikhenvald has been selected as a Fellow at the Centre for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (CASBS) in Palo Alto, California.

Professor Alexandra Aikhenvald has been awarded a First professorship at the University of Colorado, to present a course on 'Linguistic diversity: Amazonia and beyond.

International visitors

Professor Masayoshi Shibatani (Rice University, Houston) will be visiting the LCRG 16-19 February.

Professor Oscar E. Aguillera F., Professor of Linguistics at the University of Santiago (Chile) and the expert on languages and cultures of Tierra del Fuego (in charge of the Kawesqar revitalization program) will be visiting the Cairns Institute from 21 to 28 March, together with Professor José Tonko, a representative of the Kawesqar community and one of the last speakers of Kawesqar. On 27 March, Professor Aguillera will be giving a seminar in the Cairns Institute and within the School of Anthropology, Archaeology and Social Sciences, on 'Cultures and languages of Tierra del Fuego: salvaging what we can'. The abstract for the talk follows:

Kawesqar and Yaghan are the only two extant languages of the southernmost region of South America. Nowadays, Kawesqar is used on a day-to-day basis by just seven people. Yaghan is highly endangered, with just one speaker. The documentation of language and culture of Kawesqar undertaken some years ago was aimed at the academic community, with very little participation of the speakers themselves except as informants. The product of research projects rarely reached the community, and their evaluation of these results ranged from approval to indiference, indignation, and concern. Approval because the language was going to be known by scholars and it would not disappear undocumented; indifference because language death was not something they should care about; indignation because they found out that some of the information they had provided such as songs or visual documentation were commercially used without their permission or compensation; concern because the direct descendants of the community would never know the language and culture of their forebears. The purpose of this talk is to describe how the last survivors of this thousand-year old culture have worked to preserve their heritage, how much it has been salvaged and what are the uncertain prospects for the future.

See Jobs/Grants below for two postdoctoral positions.

Alexandra (Sasha) Aikhenvald


Publications received, February 2008

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. If there is a book you are interested in reviewing but it is not on the list, please contact Alan as it is possible that ALS could then obtain a review copy from the publisher.

  • Allan, K. (2007) The Western Classical Tradition in Linguistics. Equinox, London.
  • Amberber, M. (ed.) (2007) The Language of Memory in a Cross-Linguistic Perspective. John Benjamins, Amsterdam.
  • Blake, B. (2007) Playing with Words. Equinox, London.
  • Bowern, C. (2008) Linguistic Fieldwork. Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, Hampshire.
  • Filopović, L. (2007) Talking about Motion. John Benjamins, Amsterdam.
  • Healy, A. (ed.) (2008) Multiliteracies and Diversity in Education. Oxford University Press, Melbourne.
  • Honda, M. and W. O'Neil (2008) Thinking Linguistically: A Scientific Approach to Language. Blackwell. Oxford.
  • McCarthy, J. J. (2007) Hidden Generalizations: Phonological Opacity in Optimality Theory. Equinox, London.
  • Munat, J. (ed.) (2007) Lexical Creativity, Texts and Contexts. John Benjamins, Amsterdam.
  • Romeo, N. (2008) Aspect in Burmese. John Benjamins, Amsterdam.
  • Schalley, A. C. and D. Khlentzos (eds.) (2007) Mental States. Volume 1: Evolution, Function, Nature. John Benjamins, Amsterdam. 
  • Schalley, A. C. and D. Khlentzos (eds.) (2007) Mental States. Volume 2: Language and Cognitive Structure. John Benjamins, Amsterdam.
Alan Libert

Australian Aboriginal Studies (special edition on Aboriginal song)

The latest issue of Australian Aboriginal Studies (issue 2, 2007) is a special issue on Aboriginal song, looking at both musical and linguistic aspects.  For further details of the papers and abstracts, please visit

Michael Walsh

Upcoming Conferences

Institute on Field Linguistics and Language Documentation

University of California Santa Barbara, June-July 2008

The Institute on Field Linguistics and Language Documentation is designed for field linguists, graduate students, and language activists to receive training in current techniques and issues in language documentation, language maintenance, and language revitalization.  The application deadline is 29 February 2008.

Workshops: June 23rd - July 3, 2008

Field Training: July 7-August 1st, 2008


  • Steps in language documentation
  • Models of language documentation and revitalization
  • Language activism
  • Introduction to linguistics for language activists
  • Language resources and the community
  • Grant writing for language activists or linguists
  • Web and WIKIs for language documentation
  • Audio recording
  • Video recording
  • Lexicography
  • Orthography
  • Discourse
  • Transcription
  • Principles of archiving, metadata, media, file formats
  • Principles of database design
  • Toolbox
  • Field phonetics
  • Life in the field
  • Problematizing the field experience
  • Intellectual property rights

Field Training (Intensive field methods)

  • Patricia Shaw (University of British Columbia) - Language: Kwakwala
  • Tucker Childs (Portland State University) - Language: Mende
  • Carol Genetti (UC Santa Barbara) - Language: TBA

For application and complete information, visit


U.S. National Science Foundation and the U.S. National Endowment for the Humanities: Documenting Endangered Languages Program             

University of California, Santa Barbara: Division of Humanities and Fine Arts, the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center, and the Department of Linguistics

Margaret Florey

Australian Languages Workshop

ANU Kioloa Coastal Campus, 28-30 March 2008

The Seventh annual Workshop on Australian languages will be held at ANU Kioloa Coastal Campus, about 200 km east of Canberra, from Friday 28 March to Sunday 30 March, 2008. The workshop is a good opportunity to catch up with current research on Australian languages in a less formal environment. We have a program with both oral and poster presentations, as well as an excursion. The workshop is also a good opportunity to get to know each other in a relaxed environment at the field station. For details, please visit the workshop website  (NB: 'comferences' is not a typo. That's how it appears in our content management system and I cannot change it!)

Kazuko Obata

Jobs, grants, and scholarships

Gerhardt Laves Scholarship

In 2006 the Australian Linguistic Society established the annual Gerhardt Laves Scholarship to encourage postgraduate researchers into the field of indigenous languages, by helping cover linguistic fieldwork expenses.

Details of the Scholarship, including eligibility requirements, and the application process and timing, are as follows:

(a) The Gerhardt Laves Scholarship is open to students who are

(i) enrolled in a University undertaking an Honours or postgraduate research degree; and

(ii) undertaking fieldwork on an indigenous language of Australia or its immediate region as part of their research towards that degree.

Students who have already received a Laves Scholarship are permitted to reapply, but preference will be given to new applicants by the committee.

(b) Applications should be submitted to the ALS president before the deadline of March 31st. The name and contact details of the current ALS president can be found by clicking here ( The recipient (and unsuccessful applicants) will be notified in late April.  Retrospective claims for fieldwork conducted or begun earlier in the year (between Jan 1st and late April) will be considered.

(c) Applications should include:

(i) a 1 page summary of the research plan;

(ii) a budget;

(iii) a supporting letter from the supervisor;

and (iv) contact details of both the applicant and the supervisor.

There is no form, just a Word document is sufficient.

(d) Applications are assessed by a panel of 3 ALS members selected by the president who have interests in field-based linguistics. Membership of the panel is determined on a yearly basis.

(e) The scholarship consists of an amount, approximately $2,000, to cover costs (e.g. travel, accommodation, subsistence, consultant's payments, etc.) that the recipient will encounter in undertaking fieldwork. A year's membership of the Australian Linguistic Society is also provided.

(f) Scholarship recipients are asked to account for their budget in a letter to the ALS president within 12 months and return any unspent funds to ALS. A list of recipients is maintained on the ALS website.

(g) The scholarship may not be awarded in any given year if none of the applicants are of a suitable standard (as determined by the panel).

Ilana Mushin

PhD Linguistics/Anthropology, Australian National University

Expressions of interest are being sought from potential doctoral candidates interested in enrolling in a PhD at the Australian National University, starting in the first half of 2008. An ARC scholarship is available with a stipend of $26,140 per annum for 3 years in the first instance.

The research topic is related to an ARC Discovery Project Tracing change in family and social organisation in Indigenous Australia, using evidence from language, whose chief investigators are Harold Koch and Ian Keen. The PhD scholar will be expected to carry out fieldwork in a northern Australian Indigenous community (probably in Arnhem Land) where more than one traditional language is spoken and where different kinship systems intersect. They will produce a thorough description of the semantics and pragmatics of all linguistic terminology used for discussing family and social relations in both of the traditional languages, and possibly in the local variety of English, as well as the social practices determined by kinship relations. Special attention will be devoted to how people negotiate between the different systems encoded by the different languages.

The student should have a background in both Linguistics, some familiarity with Australian languages being desirable, and Anthropology, with knowledge of kinship systems desirable.

Interested candidates should contact Dr Harold Koch in the School of Language Studies, ANU, email, telephone (02) 6125 3203.
Harold Koch

Michael Clyne Prize 2008, Immigrant bilingualism and language contact

The Applied Linguistics Association of Australia and the Australian
Linguistic Society invite submissions for the annual Michael Clyne Prize, to be
awarded to the best PhD or MA (Research) with a focus on some aspect of
immigrant bilingualism and language contact. The thesis must have been passed or
the degree awarded at an Australian university in 2007.

The winner will be awarded a $1000 cash prize and a contribution of up to
$500 to cover costs (e.g. travel, accommodation, conference registration) for
the recipient to attend either ALS or ALAA in 2008 to present a paper on the
research. The recipient will be guaranteed a slot at their chosen conference.

Submissions should include: (i) a copy of the examiners' reports; (ii) a
300-500 word summary of the thesis and its main findings; (iii) a supporting
letter from the supervisor(s).

Further details of rules governing the prize are available on the ALAA (
and ALS (

Please submit documents in both electronic and paper form by Friday 4th April
2008 to:

Dr. Ilana Mushin
Linguistics Program
School of English, Media Studies and Art History
University of Queensland
St Lucia, QLD 4070

Tel: (07) 3365 2982

Ilana Mushin

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.