The vision driving the Language and Culture Research Centre (LCRC) is to deepen our understanding of interrelationship between language, culture and cognition, addressing the issues of language and culture loss and the impact of globalisation, documentation and maintenance of indigenous languages and indigenous knowledge with a focus on tropical areas known for their linguistic diversity (and also for biodiversity). We also address practical outcomes (such as educational initiatives for the regional communities, such as the Jirrbal of North Queensland, the Manambu of the Sepik area of PNG, and numerous others). Building on reliable descriptive studies, members of the LCRC put forward inductive generalisations about human languages, cultural practices and cognition.

This vision is realised through a plethora of joint research projects involving members of the LCRC and national and international scholars, in addition to members of indigenous communities.

Our objectives include:

  1. Investigating interrelationships between language, culture and cognition, with a focus on peoples of the tropical areas, especially the Pacific, Amazonia and Aboriginal Australia, via empirical research and immersion fieldwork.
  2. Understanding the key issues relevant to language and culture survival and maintenance for the peoples of the focal areas, through developing educational resources and conducting workshops.
  3. Investigating bio-cultural diversity, including linguistic diversity, among the peoples of the focal areas, and its importance for well-being and sustainable development.
  4. Investigating indigenous knowledge of environment and its sustainable use, within the context of western scientific knowledge and current economic developments.
  5. Salvaging and preserving indigenous knowledge through recording and documenting languages, cultures and histories of the focal peoples, in close collaboration with indigenous communities in PNG, Amazonia and North Queensland.
  6. Establishing and maintaining an electronic archive of Languages and Cultures of the Tropics (Tropical languages and cultures archive), as an international interactive resource for storing and disseminating data and results.
  7. The LCRC remains committed to organising national and international conferences, workshops and forums, dealing with the interaction between language and culture, producing high-quality publications, conducting various events, and attracting high-status International Visiting Fellows, with a further aim of creating a highly productive intellectual and research environment across the University, and an avenue for formulating policies relevant for preservation and maintenance of linguistic and cultural resources world-wide.

The LCRC builds on, and expands, the achievements of Language and Culture Research Group (operational since 2009), and incorporates the legacy of the Research Centre for Linguistic Typology established by Professors Dixon and Aikhenvald at the ANU in 1996. The LCRC is now established as a major focus of linguistic typology and linguistic analysis in Southern Hemisphere.