Newsletter February 2011

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.

Please note that (i) ALS membership payments for 2011 are now due, and (ii) the first call for papers for ALS 2011 is available now.

Andrea Schalley

ALS Membership Payments are now due

Membership payments for 2011 are now due and should be sent to Doug Absalom, either at his address, 32 Murray Rd., Cardiff, NSW, 2285, Australia, or else his email address, Full membership is $60 per annum, Joint membership (two people at one address, one copy of journal but two admissions to society activities, e.g. conferences) is $70 per annum, and student membership is $30 per annum. An early-bird discount of $10 is available on all of these fees if payment is received before March 1st. Payments may be made by cheque, Visa card or Mastercard.

Quite a number of members have missed out on paying 2010 memberships, partially due to Doug's inability to send out reminders last year. To find out your financial status, please look at the date displayed after your name on the label of your AJL. The first version for 2011 should be arriving about now. Doug will also try to lift his game and send reminders by email to all members within the next couple of weeks. Because of Doug's omission last year, early bird discounts will still apply to 2010 fees that are paid before March 1st this year.

Doug Absalom

News from Linguistics at University of Newcastle


Dr Anita Berghout retired from the Linguistics Discipline in December 2010. Anita will be continuing with the Discipline as a Conjoint Lecturer and Honorary Associate. This honorary position recognizes her many years of service to the University and the discipline, particularly her strong involvement in the discipline's teaching programs, and her many years of involvement with Yolngu communities in north-east Arnhemland, and with Dutch speaking communities in NSW.

Bill Palmer joined Mark Harvey as Discipline Co-convenor.

Endangered languages group

In November 2010 the Discipline launched a new Endangered Languages Documentation, Theory and Application Group (ELDTA). The group draws together existing research in the Discipline along with several new projects focus on endangered languages, especially those of Australia and the Pacific. The group was successful in attracting university-internal funding of $110,000 over two years through the university’s Humanities Research Institute, along with other university support, allowing the establishment of two PhD scholarships and the funding of various fieldwork expeditions by staff. ELDTA was formally launched in early November by Professor Nick Evans, accompanied by several media interviews raising the profile of endangered language research. The group’s website is at

Grants and research

Bill Palmer received funding from the Hans Rausing Endangered Languages Project for a three year project to document Ririo (Solomon Islands, 79 speakers) and Papapana (Bougainville, 120 speakers), the two most highly endangered languages of the Northwest Solomonic branch of Oceanic. The project includes funding for two PhD scholarships.

Mark Harvey has been awarded an AIATSIS grant to work with the Wagiman community in Pine Creek on their experiences of town and station life since the 1960s. Mark will be undertaking fieldwork in June-July 2011 to record materials with the Wagiman community. With ELDTA funding Mark carried out initial fieldwork with the Wagiman community in mid 2010, and the AIATSIS grant will continue from this.

In the first half of 2010 Alan Libert travelled to Turkey and China to examine some features of the grammar of Turkic languages, and was a visitor at Minzu University in Beijing. He continued his trip in July and August funded by ELDTA, visiting Urumqi and Yi Ning in the Xinjiang, China, investigating and recording minority varieties of Kyrgyz, Kazakh, Uyghur and Tajik, and to Simferopol and Sudak in Crimea, Ukraine, to investigate and record Crimean Tatar.

Catriona Malau continued her DoBeS funded project on Vurës and Vura’a, two endangered languages of the Banks Group, Vanuatu.

In her semester of study leave, Jean Harkins visited Adelaide, Auckland and Wellington to study endangered language revitalisation projects in South Australia and New Zealand, as part of ongoing research with Amanda Lissarrague on constructive solutions to issues arising in this kind of work in NSW.

Major Publications

In 2010 Mark Harvey, with Mengistu Amberber and Brett Baker, published Complex Predicates: Cross-linguistic Perspectives on Event Structure with Cambridge University Press.

Alan Libert and Christo Moskovsky's latest book, Aspects of the Grammar and Lexica of Artificial Languages, will appear in 2011, published by Peter Lang (Frankfurt). It looks at various features in a wide range of artificial languages, including affricates, digraphs, stress, plural formation, color terms, and terms for meteorological phenomena.

PhD students

  • Salih Alzahrani is focusing on topics in the grammar of Zahrani Spoken Arabic, an endangered Semitic language of southern Saudi Arabia and his native language. He is currently in the field.
  • Stephen Logan will document and describe the grammar of Ririo (Susuka village, Choiseul, Solomon Islands). He is funded by HRELP and will be leaving for an extended field visit in May.
  • John Olstad is investigating topics in the grammar of Nehan, an atoll-based Oceanic language spoken on the Green islands north of Bougainville, focusing on nominal classification, argument structure, and spatial language. He is funded by ELDTA and is currently in the field.
  • Emily Ondondo is working on an Optimality Theoretic account the phonology and morphology of her native Kisa, a dialect of the Bantu Luyia language spoken in Western Kenya.
  • Ellen Smith will document and describe the grammar of Papapana (Teperoi village, Bougainville). She is also funded by HRELP and will be leaving for an extended field visit in May.
  • Lana Takau will join the ELDTA group in March. She will investigate, document and describe the moribund Matanvat language (north coast of Malakula, Vanuatu). Lana is also funded by ELDTA.
Bill Palmer

News from Linguistics and Applied Linguistics, University of Melbourne

PhD completions

Adam Vogel has completed his PhD (Neuroscience+Linguistics) "Speech as a surrogate marker of central nervous system function: practical, experimental and statistical considerations", co-supervised by Janet Fletcher. He has commenced a lectureship in speech pathology at the Dept. of Otolaryngology University of Melbourne, and the Eye and Ear Hospital.

New colleagues

We are pleased to have two new postdoctoral fellows joining us this year.

Dr. Ruth Singer has taken up a three-year .5 position as part of the ARC grant "Structure and Meaning of Intonation in 3 Australian languages" held by Janet Fletcher, Ruth Singer and Marija Tabain.

Dr. Jenny Green has commenced her ARC-funded postdoc "Stories around a sand space: multimodal interaction in Central Australian Aboriginal sand drawing narratives".

Rachel Nordlinger

News from University of Queensland

The last few months have seen a whirlwind of activity and changes at the University of Queensland, none of which has been caused by floods or cyclones. Throughout 2010 our program moved bit by bit from the School of English, Media Studies and Art History to the School of Languages and Comparative Cultural Studies. I am pleased to report that we have all landed safely and are now all housed in the same building.

Staff Transitions

We farewell John Ingram, who retires early this year and wish him all the best in retirement. In July 2010 we welcomed Dr. Karen Sullivan, lately from UC Berkeley, Barcelona and Murcia, as our Semantics specialist, and in October 2010 we re-welcomed Dr. Myf Turpin, this time as an ARC postdoctoral fellow. She will be working on a project entitled "Singing the dreaming: Exploring the relationship between language and music in Arandic song-poetry". Dr Erich Round will be joining us from Yale in July this year to bring our numbers back up to a more manageable 4 teaching and research staff and 2 ARC postdoctoral fellows.

PhD Completions in 2010

Abdel El Hankari - "The Morphosyntax of Thraifith Berber"
Julie Steele - "A Hubterranean View of Syntax: An Analysis of Linguistic Form through Network Theory"


Ilana Mushin, Rod Gardner (Griffith Uni), together with the QLD Education Department as industry partner were successful in getting an ARC Linkage Project in July 2010: “Clearing the path towards literacy and numeracy: Language for learning in indigenous schooling”. The project combines Conversation Analysis, Pragmatics and Descriptive Linguistics to examine vernacular language use and classroom interaction in a Central Queensland community. The project feeds into ongoing work within the Education Department by Denise Angelo and others on language awareness of Indigenous vernacular languages in Queensland and its impact in schools.

Ilana Mushin also joined ranks with Mark Nielsen in Psychology on an ARC Discovery Project that was successful in the recent round entitled "Over-imitation, trial-and-error learning and the inter-generational transmission of information", examining learning strategies in preschool children from different cultural backgrounds in Australia and South Africa.

In Memoriam

We would also like to acknowledge with sadness the passing of Dr Julie Steele shortly after her PhD completion. Julie was a much loved member of our UQ Linguistics family. Her thesis was a stellar work of originality that received the best examiner’s reports I have ever seen.

Coming Event

10th Australian Languages Workshop 11-13 March, 2011. Check out the website:

Ilana Mushin

News from the Language and Culture Research Group at the Cairns Institute, James Cook University


Professor Alexandra Aikhenvald has been awarded a JCU Distinguished Professorship, for her 'exceptional scholarly contribution and international recognition as an authority on linguistic typology and general linguistics'. This is an honour conferred upon Professors who have made a truly outstanding scholarly contribution to their discipline. James Cook University now has seven Distinguished Professors with this year’s recipients joining our four Distinguished Professors from last year. Professor Aikhenvald is the only Distinguished Professor outside the Science Faculties.

PhD Students starting at LCRG in 2010

  • Hannah Sarvasy, from Harvard University, is starting her PhD course in May 2011. She will be working on a comprehensive grammatical description of a previously undescribed language from Morobe Province, Papua New Guinea.
  • Mikko Salminen, from Leiden University, is starting his PhD course in July 2011. He will be working on a comprehensive grammatical description of Huave, an isolate from Mexico.
  • Juliane Böttger, from the University of Leipzig, is starting her PhD course in July 2011. She will be working on a comprehensive grammatical description of a previously undescribed language from Papua New Guinea.

Cairns Institute Distinguished Visiting Fellow

On 8 November, Professor Anvita Abbi, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, presented a public lecture on "The Endangered Languages of the Andaman Islands: Reconstructing the knowledge-base of the Pre-Neolithic tribes of India". The lecture can be downloaded at

A Cairns Institute Distinguished Visiting Fellowship has been awarded to Professor Carol Genetti (University of California at Santa Barbara), an internationally recognised expert in Tibeto-Burman and general linguistics. She will be at LCRG in May-August 2011.

Dr Defen Yu (University of Melbourne) was at LCRG as a Visiting Fellow in the period between 21 December and 20 January, working on kinship terminology in a number of Tibeto-Burman languages, and a variety of grammatical topics in Lisu.

Dr Knut Olawsky (Senior Linguist, Kununurra Language Centre) will be undertaking research at LCRG in March-May, as a Special Visiting Fellow, working on the grammar of Miriwoong, from Western Australia.


The Language and Culture Research group has regular Round table meetings, focussing on various issues in linguistics and anthropology. The following talks were presented at LCRG during January 2010-11:

  • Anvita Abbi, 'The Semantics of inalienability and grammaticalization of body part terms in Great Andamanese'.
  • Defen Yu 'Grammatical encoding of kinship relations and kin ranking in some Tibeto-Burman languages'

Conference Presentations and Outside Lectures

Professor Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald co-organized an International Workshop on 'Perception and Cognition' with Prof Dr Anne Storch, at the University of Cologne (Germany), 25-27 November 2010. The materials of the Workshop will soon be submitted to a refereed scholarly publisher. As part of her Research Award by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (Germany) at the Institut für Afrikanistik, University of Cologne (2010-12), she gave the following lectures:

12 November 2010 'Evidentiality, with a focus on African Languages', Institut für Afrikanistik, University of Frankfurt

26 November 2010 'The Linguistic expression of perception and cognition in Manambu', International Workshop on the Linguistic Expression of Perception and Cognition, Institut für Afrikanistik, University of Cologne

17 December 2010 '"Double talk": parallel structures in the songs of the Middle Sepik area of Papua New Guinea', International Workshop 'Strategies of Translation: language contact and poetic language', 17 – 18 December 2010, Institut für Linguistik – Abt. Historisch-Vergl. Sprachwissenschaft, University of Cologne

Professor R. M. W. Dixon visited the University of Cologne between 11 November and 1 December. Aikhenvald and Dixon presented a joint seminar 'Areal features and regional traits' at the LUCL, University of Leiden (12 November) and at MPI Nijmegen (19 November). Dixon presented a talk:

26 November 2010, ' Perception and cognition in Dyirbal', International Workshop on the Linguistic Expression of Perception and Cognition, University of Cologne

Dr Mark Post organized 6th International Conference of the North East Indian Linguistics Society, with support from Cairns Institute and SASS.

Dr Anne Schwarz presented the following talks:

  • Schwarz, Anne. 2010e. 'On Non-prosodic Predicate-centered Focus Strategies.' Workshop on Predicate-centered Focus Types, SFB632, Project B7, Humboldt University, Berlin, 20–21 November 2010, Germany
  • "Possession" in the language of the Secoya (West Tucanoan). Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of the Indigenous Languages of the Americas, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 6-9 January 2011

New Books Published and Accepted for Publication

Aikhenvald, Alexandra Y. and Pieter Muysken. (eds.) 2011. Multiverb constructions: a view from the Americas. Leiden: Brill.

Hyslop, G., S. Morey and M. W. Post, Eds. (in press). North East Indian Linguistics Vol. 4. New Delhi, Cambridge University Press India.

R. M. W. Dixon's no-holds-barred academic autobiography I am a linguist was published by Brill (Leiden, the Netherlands) in December 2010. Available in paperback (EUR 59.90, USD $85) and in hardback.


Dr Mark Post, Post-doctoral Fellow at LCRG (CI, JCU), is currently undertaking fieldwork on the Upper Minyong language (Tibeto-Burman), in Arunachal Pradesh (India).

Yankee Modi, PhD student at LCRG (CI, JCU), is currently undertaking fieldwork on her native Milang language (Tibeto-Burman), in Arunachal Pradesh (India).

Sihong Zhang, PhD student at LCRG (CI, JCU), is currently undertaking fieldwork on Ersu language (Tibeto-Burman) in north-west China.

Dineke Schokkin, PhD student at LCRG (CI, JCU), is currently undertaking fieldwork on Paluai language (The Manus Province, PNG).

Chia-jung Pan, PhD student at LCRG (CI, JCU), is currently undertaking his second period of fieldwork on Lha'alhua, a Formosan language.


As a result of joint efforts by Professor Kenneth M. Sumbuk (PVC, UPNG) and Alexandra Aikhenvald, a conjoint research degree program between JCU and UPNG is now in operation.

LCRG 2011 Bulletin will be soon available.

Alexandra (Sasha) Aikhenvald

News from Linguistics, CAP & CASS, Australian National University


Congratulations to Mark Donohue on being awarded a highly competitive ARC Future Fellowship, which he will be taking up in the middle of next year. The fellowship will enable Mark to intensify his research to investigate human history through linguistic methodologies. The official description: "This project will calibrate our understanding of linguistic change, and explore social interaction in Asia in areas and times for which there are no written records. It builds on interdisciplinary work rewriting the Austronesian expansion across Southeast Asia (Current Anthropology), recent breakthroughs in the computational treatment of linguistic data, and ongoing collaborative work assessing the Asia/Melanesia dichotomy. It will assess linguistic evidence with geographic, biological and ethnographic materials, at selected sample points. This will improve our understanding of social interactions within and across Asia, and will advance our quantitative understanding of language change – a major objective for linguistic theory." In practise, this will mean that as of June 2011 Mark will no longer be doing 4 hours of administration every day, but will start research again. (Advertisement for the position to replace him will be out soon.)


Professor Anna Wierzbicka is one of only three academics acknowledged for their brilliance and awarded the so-called ‘Polish Nobel’ in December 2010. Held under the auspices of the Foundation for Polish Learning, the award ceremony took place at Warsaw’s Royal Castle, as tradition dictates. Awards are bestowed for outstanding work undertaken over a four year period. The awards are open to Polish academics, foreign academics who have worked in Poland for at least four years, and specialists working across the globe who are engaged in Polish fields of research. Professor Anna Wierzbicka, who works at the Australian National University, was recognised for her work in the Humanities, specifically for her wide-ranging comparative studies of languages. The awards for the Foundation of Polish Learning have been held since 1992, and each laureate wins the sum of 200,000 zl (49,600 euros).

Grants and Research Projects

Johanna Rendle-Short received a 12 month grant from The Trust Company Philanthropic Services for a project entitled "Helping children with High Functioning Autism or Asperger’s Syndrome Make and Keep friends". The project will use the methodology of conversation analysis to (1) further understand the communication difficulties experienced by school-aged HFA/AS children and (2) develop individualised social intervention programs to directly improve the ability of children with HFA/AS to make and keep friends.

The ARC-funded project on the languages of southern New Guinea has
started. The initial planning day was held in Canberra on 19th of
January 2011, attended by all team members (Nick Evans, Wayan Arka and
Jeff Siegel). The project website has been set up and available for
viewing at

Conferences and Workshops

Langfest 2011

The Australian National University will co-host Langfest (29 November – 9 December 2011), a multitude of linguistics events, including:

  • The first ALAA-ALANZ Postgraduate student workshop (29 November)
  • The 2nd combined conference of the ALAA & ALANZ) (30 November – 2 December)
  • The 42nd Annual ALS conference (2-4 December)
  • ALS Graduate Master Class (5-9 December)

The plenary speakers are Diana Eades for the joint day of ALAA, ALANZ, ALS conference, Katherine Demuth, Janet Fletcher and Birgit Hellwig for the ALS conference. Featuring the ALS Graduate Master Class are Fiona Jordan (MPI Nijmegen) ‘Cultural Phylogenetics’ and Joan Bresnan (Stanford) ‘Probabilistic syntax’.

2nd Workshop on Complexities of Grammar

The second workshop on complexities of Grammar (2-WCG) was held on 22nd of December 2010. Grammatical complexity is a hallmark of human language. The workshop is organised annually with different topics each year, addressing a range of issues on complexities in the grammar of human language from different perspectives. For the 2-WCG, the theme was complexities in nominal structures and nominalisation. While it was held late in December, just before Christmas, it was a successful workshop attended by around thirty participants. The workshop started with a paper by Asifa Majid on The codability of sensory experiences across languages, followed by other papers by Nick Evans on complex simplicities and simple complexities of kin reference, Avery Andrews on Noun phrases, Louise Jansen on The SLA of number concepts, features, orphs and agreement, Wayan Arka on Morphological simplicity and argument-structure complexity of derived nominals in Indonesian, Sébastien Lacampre on Noun phrases in Lelepa and Tatsuya on morphosyntactic complexities of body part terms in Ata. The workshop was finished with a discussion led by Mark Donohue.

Stef Spronck attended the international conference Grammaticalisation and (Inter)Subjectification in Brussels, Belgium. Apart from being able to hear a range of talks about modality, evidentiality and grammaticalisation this also gave him the opportunity to present some fresh fieldwork data.

A Workshop on ELAN and Toolbox conducted by Nick Thieberger (University of Melbourne) took place over two days on 20-21 December. This workshop was geared towards graduate students and others, beginners and seasoned users alike. It was well attended by over twenty people.

Nick Evans taught an intensive course at UNAM, Mexico City (November 2010), on Psychosocial Cognition and Grammatical Typology, to a very interesting class of around 30 people, and in the process gathering and analysing new data for his ARC project on Social Cognition. Nick has been impressed with the high levels of training given to speakers of indigenous languages in Mexico, through UNAM and CIESAS, many of whom attended the course.

Wayan Arka was in Merauke, Indonesia (18 November - 12 December 2010) doing fieldwork and organising a workshop for the local communities. The trip was funded by a small grant he won from CAP for his project entitled Endangered Languages of Merauke: workshop and fieldwork. The aim of the project was to combine his linguistic fieldwork with local capacity building effort in the domain of awareness of language maintenance and participation in language documentation. Dictionary making was chosen as the topic of the workshop after the consultation with the local communities. The workshop ran for six days as planned, focussing on basic knowledge and skills for starting a dictionary project. It was attended by twelve people representing eight languages in South-west New Guinea (Yeinan, Kanum, Marori, Marind, Pweragha, Muyu, Wambon and Mandobo). The feedbacks collected after the workshop show that the participants considered the workshop important and useful, but it was too short. There is a plan to have another follow-up workshop, possibly asking financial support from the local government.

Yusuf Sawaki attended the International Conference on Papuan Cultural Diversity, to be held in Jayapura for four days preceding the inaugural Melanesian Cultural Festival. Details about this event can be found at He then travelled to Tokyo to give a presentation at the symposium and regional meeting of The Consortium on Training in Language Documentation and Conservation (CTLDC) Planning Group, 12 to 16 November, 2010.

Nick Evans made a brief visit to Japan (November 2010), primarily to present an invited paper at a symposium on clause linkage organised by Honore Watanabe (ILCAA, Tokyo), but also taking advantage of being in Japan to work with Toshiki Osada, Masa Onishi and other colleagues at Chikyuken, Kyoto, who are translating Dying Words into Japanese.


Jeff Siegel (UNE) briefly visited the Department, to work with Nick Evans and Wayan Arka on the initial planning of their recently-awarded ARC grant on Languages of Southern New Guinea.

Rob Mailhammer came back to Australia for a 4-week Christmas break visit. He was based at RCLT at La Trobe University but came up for a catch-up visit with Ness and Owen in early January.

Asifa Majid (MPI Nijmegen) will be visiting from Dec 18-23 and will be presenting a paper about comparative studies on the semantics of smell.

Fieldwork trips

31 December-21 January 2011. Mark Donohue travelled to Fakfak to continue work on the languages of the Onin peninsula. On this trip he was joined by Sutriani Narfafan, a linguist working at the Centre for Endangered Language Documentation in Manokwari. Other people who have worked on this project so far include Harald Hammarström (Max Plank Institute, Leipzig, and Nijmegen) and Fanny Cottet. Fanny spent a month in Onin in August-September, and will be starting a PhD at ANU in 2011, working on the phonology of Mbahám, a language related to Iha (that Mark and Sutri have been investigating). Mbahám shows significant variation across dialects, and includes the labialvelar series that is a feature of many Papuan languages of Onin, and a challenging tone system.

Chikako Senge was back in mid December 2010 from the second field trip in Halls Creek, WA. The situation was harder than last year. However, she spent much time with elder people, especially Wanyjirra and Jaru speakers and attended local events and meetings with them not only to collect linguistic information but also to know their politics and social lives. During this field trip, she also visited her main consultant's traditional land in NT and met some potential Wanyjirra speakers in Kununurra (WA) and in Kalkaringi (NT) to collect more data.

Work with Tolaki, the Austronesian language investigated in Field Methods in Semester 1, has continued. At the beginning of November we discovered the verb:

'I made her cook it (rice) until crispy with (fire) for you.'

Owen Edwards, one of the participants in both Field Methods in Semester 1 and in the continuing Tolaki investigations, is now in Southeast Sulawesi, in Indonesia, the home of a quarter of a million Tolaki speakers, for four months' field work.

Aung Si returned from a two-month field trip to southern India, his second to the Solega community of the B. R. Hills. His Solega-Kannada-English trilingual dictionary is slowly taking shape (which is code for, "it's still only bilingual at this stage"), but it received enthusiastic support from his language consultants. It will be an illustrated dictionary, and will include colour photographs and line drawings of plant and animals species, cultural artefacts and landscapes. For this reason, Aung Si initiated collaborative links with an ornithologist, a botanist interested in taxonomy, a professional wildlife photographer, a biological illustrator and an anthropologist, all of whom are based in India.
Towards the end of his field trip, Aung Si was interviewed by a reporter from the Kannada newspaper Praja Vani "Voice of the People" - his research on the Solega language will be highlighted is a special edition of the newspaper commemorating the 2010 "Kannada Festival" to be held in December. Aung Si also presented his research findings to staff at the Bangalore-based NGO Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE) - the NGO that runs the field station he stayed at. Having to present ethnobiological knowledge in a Dravidian language to a room full of Dravidian-language-speaking biologists was quite an intimidating task!

Maïa Ponsonnet, who came back to Canberra on 27th November, after a field trip and some time in Europe, has recently published a paper on Dalabon expressions of emotions and feelings in The Australian Journal of Anthropology (21).

Tom Honeyman returned from 4 months of fieldwork in Papua New Guinea at the beginning of November. This is his third trip to Mori village, Sandaun Province. This time he also visited Mumuru and Savamui villages. Tom was difficult to contact while away, so only upon his return did he find out all the details of his Endangered Languages Documentation Programme grant. His grant will fund a 4th year of scholarship, and roughly £4,000 towards two short field trips, one of which will be to hand back completed documentation to the community.

PhD Thesis

Congratulation to Elisabeth EM Mayer, who has finished her PhD at the ANU. Her thesis entitled 'Syntactic variation in object arguments in Limeño Spanish contact varieties' was accepted in December 2010. It explores the complex relationship between primary agreement through object marking or differential object marking, and secondary agreement through clitics in non-standardized variation data from Limeño Spanish contact varieties.

Community service

Mark Donohue's PhD topic (a grammar of the Tukang Besi language of central Indonesia) has come back to bite him, and he is now working as an expert witness in a couple of trials of Tukang Besi speaking fishermen who are accused of violating Australian territory with refugees in boats on which they were crews. As a result of this accidental involvement Mark has seen the fascination of courtroom interaction and interpreting. Stay tuned!

Piers Kelly is assisting Kathy Robinson and Phil Winn on the 'Being Muslim in eastern Indonesia' project this month as he continues to cross the floor into Anthropology. Piers is also talking to Martyn Pearce of the Communications office about how to get more specialist language research out into the media. Please contact him with your bright ideas. If we don't promote our research, nobody else will.


Pacific Linguistics

Recent and forthcoming releases from Pacific Linguistics include:

  • Papers on six languages of Papua New Guinea edited by Joan Hooley (PL616)
  • Endangered Austronesian, Papuan and Australian Aboriginal languages: essays on language documantation, archiving and revitalization edited by Gunter Senft (PL617)
  • East Nusantara: typological and areal analyses edited by Michael C. Ewing and Marian Klamer (PL618)

For the complete list of PL publications, go to

In November a conference volume on syntactic change (co-edited by Rob Mailhammer with Ursula Lenker and Judith Huber) was published by John Benjamins.

Wayan Arka

News from RCLT and Linguistics, La Trobe University

Stephen Morey has been awarded an ARC Future Fellowship for the project "A multifaceted study of Tangsa - a network of linguistic varieties in North East India". The fellowship, for four years, includes funding for a number of field trips and will involve an additional PhD student.

In January 2011, Yvonne Treis gave talks at the University of Addis Ababa and University of Hamburg on switch-reference marking in Ethiopian languages.

Yvonne was recently awarded a short-term research fellowship at the CNRS laboratory "Langage, Langues et Cultures d'Afrique Noire" (LLACAN) in Paris (sponsored by the program "Research in Paris"). She will take up this fellowship on 28 February 2011. Her stay in Paris will build cooperative links between RCLT and LLACAN. The title of her research topis is "Versatile tools of grammar - multifunctional similative morphemes in the Ethiopian Language Area and beyond."

Tonya Stebbins

News from Macquarie University

For news of what's been happening in linguistics at Macquarie Uni, visit, where you can see all the latest news or check back in earlier issues of Lingline.

Verna Rieschild


Books and theses

E-proceedings of ALS 2008

Edited by Louise de Beuzeville and Pam Peters

The proceedings of ALS 2008 are available online at

Pam Peters

Expressing Opinions in French and Australian English Discourse: A semantic and interactional analysis

Kerry Mullan, RMIT University
John Benjamins Publishing Company
[Pragmatics & Beyond New Series, 200]
2010. xvii, 282 pp.
Hb 978 90 272 5604 1 EUR 95.00
Eb 978 90 272 8765 6 EUR 95.00

Based on the analysis of conversations between French and Australian English speakers discussing various topics, including their experiences as non-native speakers in France or Australia, this book combines subjective personal testimonies with an objective linguistic analysis of the expression of opinion in discourse.

It offers a new perspective on French and Australian English interactional style by examining the discourse markers I think, je pense, je crois and je trouve. It is shown that the prosody, intonation unit position, and the surrounding context of these markers are all fundamental to their function and meaning in interaction. In addition, this book offers the first detailed comparative semantic study of the three comparative French expressions in interaction.

The book will appeal to all those interested in linguistics, French and Australian English interactional style, cross-cultural communication, and discourse analysis. Students and teachers of French will be interested in the semantic analysis of the French expressions, the authentic interactional data and the personal testimonies of the participants.

For further information, please see and/or contact

Kerry Mullan

New Books Received, February 2011

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.

  • Beaken, M. (2011) The Making of Language (2nd edition). Dunedin Academic Press, Edinburgh.
  • Bril, I., ed. (2010) Clause Linking and Clause Hierarchy: Syntax and Pragmatics. John Benjamins, Amsterdam.
  • Cappelle, B. and N. Wada, eds. (2010) Distinctions in English Grammar: Offered to Renaat Declerck. Kaitakusha, Tokyo.
  • Chandralal, D. (2010) Sinhala. John Benjamins, Amsterdam.
  • Chelliah, S. L. and W. J. de Reuse (2011) Handbook of Descriptive Linguistic Fieldwork. Springer, Heidelberg.
  • Goebel, Z. (2010) Language, Migration, and Identity: Neighborhood Talk in Indonesia. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
  • Hobson, J., K. Lowe, S. Poetsch, and M Walsh, eds. (2010) Re-awakening Languages: Theory and Practice in the Revitalization of Australia’s Indigenous Languages. Sydney University Press, Sydney.
  • Mullan, K. (2010) Expressing Opinions in French and Australian English Discourse. John Benjamins, Amsterdam.
  • Trudgill, P. and J. Hannah (2008) International English: A Guide to the Varieties of Standard English (5th edition). Hodder Education, London.
  • Van Linden, A., J-C. Verstraete, and K. Davidse, eds. (2010) Formal Evidence in Grammaticalization Research. John Benjamins, Amsterdam.
Alan Libert

Upcoming Conferences

ALS 2011 First Call for Papers

Abstracts are invited for presentations at the 2011 annual meeting of the Australian Linguistic Society. The conference will be held in Canberra from Friday 2 - Sunday 4 December 2011.

Plenary speakers will be:

  • Katherine Demuth
  • Janet Fletcher
  • Birgit Hellwig

The conference is being planned in close association with the joint annual conferences of the Applied Linguistics Association of Australia and the Applied Linguistics Association of New Zealand, with a joint ALAA-ALANZ-ALS day on Friday 2 December. This joint day will especially highlight issues in Language and the Law, with Diana Eades as the plenary speaker.

Especially welcome are proposals for papers and workshops addressing Indigenous languages of Australia and the region, focusing on their maintenance, revival and pedagogy, as it is intended to run an Indigenous strand on the joint day which would cater for linguists and Indigenous people working with languages.

The conference will be followed by Graduate Master Classes from 5-9 December. These Master classes will be held at the ANU coastal campus at Kioloa and will be presented by Fiona Jordan and Joan Bresnan. One workshop will run in the mornings and the other will run in the afternoons. Students can elect to go to either or both (details to be announced in later circulars).

Note that only ALS members are eligible to present at an ALS conference. Non-members may have an abstract or workshop proposal accepted on the understanding that they take up a year’s membership by the beginning of the conference.

Presentation Formats

We invite proposals for papers, workshops, and posters.

Papers: 30 minute timeslot, consisting of a 20 minute lecture-style presentation followed by 10 minutes for questions/responses. Abstracts for papers should be no more than 200 words, with up to 100 more words for references and examples.

Workshops: Proposals for workshops on specific topics are invited. These proposals should be no more than 300 words, and should include an initial list of speakers and talk titles. The convenor of a workshop will be responsible for the structure of the workshop and for accepting abstracts. Abstracts not accepted for a workshop will be sent on to the Program Committee for consideration in the general sessions. Besides the information on the name of the proposed workshop and the name(s) of the convenor(s), proposals for workshops should include information on:

  • Who will be the convenor responsible for sending out abstracts to be assessed
  • Who will be the convenor responsible for liaising with the ALS Program Committee
  • How long the proposed workshop is expected to be (e.g. half day or full day)

Posters consist of display of material on a poster. Posters will be displayed throughout the conference with scheduled opportunities for the presenters to discuss the material with interested individuals. Your poster submission should describe the content of the poster in no more than 200 words. Your poster should be no more than two A1 sheets and should be planned to include opportunities to discuss the material with interested individuals.

Assessment of Submissions

Abstracts will be blind-reviewed by at least two independent experts selected by the ALS Program Committee. Reviewers will be asked to assess abstracts using the following criteria:

  1. Does the abstract make clear whether the analysis in the full paper is/will be grounded theoretically or empirically or both?
  2. Does the abstract provide evidence that the full paper will have a clear line of argument and/or a clear and specific focus?
  3. Does the abstract situate its problem/issue in a wider theoretical and/or empirical context including relevant literature, and does it indicate how the content of the paper is significant for Linguistic enquiry?
  4. In the case of a more theoretically-grounded paper, does the abstract include a brief but revealing description of how the analysis presented in the paper improves our understanding of some linguistic phenomenon? In the case of a more empirically-grounded paper, is the methodology (to be) used to examine the issue/problem, as well as the importance of the empirical study to some area of linguistic theory, made clear?
  5. Does the proposed paper appear to be feasible in the time allowed?
  6. Is the abstract clear and well written?

How to Submit

Submissions will be made electronically through the ALS 2011 Conference Website. Details of this website and how to submit an abstract through it will be sent out to ALS members in the near future and provided on the ALS website ( Proposals for workshops should be sent directly to Cynthia Allen ( as Chair of the Program Committee by Thursday 31 March 2011.

Final date for submission of abstracts is Monday 30 May 2011.

Notification of the acceptance/rejection of abstracts will be made by Friday 15 July.

Kerry Mullan

Jobs, grants, and scholarships

Postdoctoral research Fellowship in Anthropological Linguistics

Applications are invited for one two-year Postdoctoral Research Fellowship within the Language and Culture Research Group of the Cairns Institute, James Cook University, to work as part of a team with Professor Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald and Professor R.M.W. Dixon, within the framework of their joint project 'The grammar of knowledge: a cross-linguistic view of evidentials and epistemiological expressions'. The position is to commence on 1st May 2011, 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 a language that has not previously been described (not their native language) in terms of basic linguistic theory. The University may consider cases in which the period since the award of the doctorate 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 Language and Culture Research Group. Ideally, we are looking for a Postdoctoral Research Fellow who will work on a language from South America, or the New Guinea region or from the Tibeto-Burman family. However, applicants with primary interest in another area will be considered. The appointee is expected to undertake extensive fieldwork. The choice of language will be made after discussion between the successful applicant and Professors Aikhenvald and Dixon.

Closing date: Friday, 4 March 2011.

The key duty is to conduct research in anthropological linguistics, with particular attention to language analysis, producing high quality publications in refereed outlets.

Key selection criteria are:

  1. Thorough professional training in linguistics, with special reference to language description, anthropological linguistics and linguistic typology;
  2. PhD (conferred or pending) in descriptive linguistics, in terms of basic linguistic theory;
  3. Demonstrated ability to work, under direction, as a member of a research team;
  4. Demonstrated ability to work to a timetable, and produce results on time
  5. Demonstrated ability and commitment to disseminate the results of research in high quality publications within agreed timeframes; evidence of high level written, oral and interpersonal communication skills to diverse audiences.

Desirable selection criteria are:

  1. Ideally, to have produced a description of a language, preferably (a) a language for which there had previously been no good description; and (b) a language other than that of which they are a native speaker.
  2. Some training in anthropology.

It is essential to enter in contact with Professor Alexandra Aikhenvald (, prior to submitting an application. Application forms are available at Applicants must provide a full statement of qualifications and career, a statement systematically addressing the Selection Criteria, a completed Summary Application Form (available on the link), the name and addresses of three persons who have consented to act as referees and address it to the Human Resources Advisor, Faculty of Arts, Education & Social Sciences. The application should also contain a research project (discussed with Professors Aikhenvald and Dixon). Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Alexandra (Sasha) Aikhenvald

PhD Scholarships, Department of Languages and Intercultural Studies, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, UK

The Department of Languages and Intercultural Studies at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, UK, is offering two PhD Scholarships to start in the academic year 2011-12. The term of the scholarship is three years. Successful candidates will be expected to make a contribution to teaching and teaching-related activities in the Department in return for a fee-waiver, a maintenance allowance of £13,590 per annum and a research support allowance of £2,250 over the registered period of study.

The Languages PhD programme is highly successful and respected internationally. Recent graduates, who benefit from the extensive research contacts of staff across the world, have gained employment in a range of academic positions.

The Department of Languages and Intercultural Studies is committed to conducting theoretically advanced and socially-useful research which is relevant to the academic community and also engages with public interest. It incorporates two Research Units:

  • Centre for Translation and Interpreting Studies in Scotland (CTISS): The aims of the Centre include the investigation of processes and policies in translation and interpreting, and the dissemination of research. It is one of only four UK institutions that belong to CIUTI (Conférence Internationale d'Instituts Universitaires de Traducteurs et Interprètes).
  • Studies in European and International Culture and Societies (SEICS): The Group contributes to the study of societies, cultures, politics, language and identities through a combination of disciplines, including literary, cultural, film and media studies, history, political science, sociolinguistics, language policy and the sociology of language.

Applications in these two broad areas of research will be considered. Any language combinations may be proposed in any field, but the Department has particular research interests in French, German, Spanish, Chinese, English and minority languages, including Irish Gaelic, Galician and sign languages. Applications are particularly welcome from suitably qualified candidates interested in any aspect of the following themes:

  • Language use in the corporate and public sectors;
  • New technologies in translation research, practice and consumption;
  • Developing identities: the role of history, culture and translation;
  • Communication, justice and security.

We welcome applications by 31 March 2011.

For more information on eligibility, please contact Ms Caroline Murray ( who will be happy to guide you through the application process.

Professor Graham H. Turner
Director of Research, School of Management & Languages
Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh EH14 4AS, United Kingdom

Diana Eades

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. Information for the Newsletter should be sent to the Editor, Andrea Schalley ( 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 Andrea 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.