News & Events

2021 News

On July 8, 2021, Mario Arrien, adjunct at LCRC, held a talk on Los sermones y los mitos: Ritual y diluvio universal en el carnaval chiquitano [Sermons and myths: Ritual and universal flood in the Chiquitano carnival] at II Congreso Internacional Patrimonio Religioso de Iberoamérica: Expresiones tangibles e intangibles (Siglos XVI – XXI), [II International Congress on Religious Heritage of Ibero-America: Tangible and Intangible Expressions (16th-21st Century)], Universidad Privada de Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Santa Cruz de la Sierra (Bolivia).


Pier Marco Bertinetto – has advised of the availability of the Special publication of the Italian Journal of Linguistics featuring materials from the joint 2018 Workshop. The publication features work by many of the LCRC members.

You can access a copy of the journal cover.

You will see that the special section starts on p.69.

Congratulations to the participants.

Two LCRC members held a talk at the 2nd Meeting on Oral Memory and Voices from America / II Encuentro Memoria Oral y Voces de América hosted at the Universidad Católica de la Santísima Concepcíon (Concepción, Chile).

Dr. Luca Ciucci, Postdoctoral Research Fellow at LCRC, held a talk on ‘Historical linguistics and oral memory / Lingüística histórica y memoria oral’.

Mario Arrien, Adjunct at LCRC, held a talk on ‘Intangible cultural heritage: the Chiquitano festivals’ ‘Patrimonio cultural inmaterial: las festividades chiquitanas’.

Link to the event:

First day of the meeting (June 30), with talk by Luca Ciucci:

Second day of the meeting (July 30), with talk by Mario Arrien:

See the following links (you can also download the documents):

Memoria Oral y Voces de América

Talks on Historical linguistics and oral memory


Chary Gumenta y Luca Ciucci

Talks on ‘Historical linguistics and oral memory’


Tomicha - De la Cruz y Arrien

Talks on Historical Memory

The Austronesian and Papuan Languages and Linguistics Research Group presented its thirteenth international conference – APLL13. It was hosted fully online by the University of Edinburgh on 10-12 June, 2021. Presenters at the conference included Robert Bradshaw, Dr René van den Berg, Dr Hannah Sarvasy and Dr Dineke Schokkin. The talks and posters are now available on YouTube and Twitter, where presenters have given permission to publicise them. View the APLL Conference abstracts of LCRC members.

The purpose of the APLL conferences is to provide a venue for presentation of the best current research on Austronesian and Papuan languages and linguistics, and to promote collaboration and research in this area. APLL13 follows a successful online instantiation of APLL, hosted by the University of Oslo, as well as previous APLL conferences held in Leiden, Surrey, Paris and London, and the Austronesian Languages and Linguistics (ALL) conferences held at SOAS and St Catherine's College, Oxford.

On the 9th of July 2021, Luca Ciucci presented an online talk for the 700 years of the death of Dante hosted by the Universidad Mayor de San Andrés (La Paz, Bolivia). The talk was in Spanish and the title of the talk was 'Reflexiones sobre el Sexto Canto del Paraíso' [Considerations on the Canto VI of Dante´s Heaven]. Watch the talk below or on Facebook.

Alexandra Aikhenvald: One woman's quest to preserve endangered Languages - an interview on ABC Radio National  Tuesday 25 May 2021  withy Phillip Adams. Access the interview on the ABC website.

A laudatory review of Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald's The art of grammar: a practical guide, by L. Hodieb, published in the journal Traitement Automatique des Language 60, 1: 48-51, 2019, special issue Varia, edited by Cécile Fabre, Emmanuel Morin, Sophie Rosset, Pascale Sébillot. Access the review here or the full volume here.

Language and Culture Research Centre PhD candidate Rob Bradshaw has been involved with the Doromu-Koki speaking community since 2001. Doromu-Koki is an endangered Papuan language of Central Province, Papua New Guinea, nestled in the Owen Stanley ranges to the Southeast of the capital, Port Moresby. Read more about Rob’s involvement with this language in The Cairns Institute Newsletter ( page 10, April 2021 ed)

I Saw a Dog: An ode to languages and the intricacies of communication. See the Irish Times Book review: "Alexandra Aikhenvald’s breadth of linguistic knowledge fills this study with fascinating nuggets of information."

13-14 April 2021 (online): 13 y 14 de abril (en línea): 13 i 14 d’abril (en línia)

‘Verb and context’ is an international conference based at the University of Alicante, or Alacant, Valencia, Spain. The conference aims at exploring the impact of shared knowledge on verb categories. Shared knowledge is viewed in a wide sense, as a perspective that comes across different semantic and discursive categories –i.e. (external and internal) temporality, modality, evidentiality, (inter)subjectivity, and mirativity at the opposite side–, but it also allows us to approach certain issues related to information structure and even to the conception of meaning.

The conference includes numerous international speakers. For more information visit the Verb and Context site, and view the schedule here.

Luca Ciucci will give a talk on the topic of The interaction of grammar and society in Ayoreo (Bolivia, Paraguay) on the 9th of April at Coloquio de Investigación Lingüística 2021-1

Este evento tiene como principal propósito abrir un foro de discusión e intercambio de ideas entre estudiantes, egresados y profesores de este programa de posgrado, así como de otros invitados. Asimismo, se busca consolidar las relaciones interinstitucionales que se sostienen para fortalecer las LGAC del CA-USON-81, de la Maestría en Lingüística y de la red académica RICIDIL.

The main purpose of this event is to open a forum for discussion and exchange of ideas among students, graduates and professors of this graduate program, as well as other guests. Likewise, it seeks to consolidate the inter-institutional relationships that are maintained to strengthen the LGACs of CA-USON-81, the Master's in Linguistics and the RICIDIL academic network.

Robbins Burling was a great scholar (everyone, including JCU students who did Anthropological linguistics at JCU, know his books!). And his contribution to the Tibeto-Burman field was outstanding. Robbins passed away peacefully on January 2, 2021. Read Mark Post's obituary of him.

Date: Fri, 12 Feb 2021 08:34:27
From: Mark Post []
Subject: Prof. Em. Robbins Burling, 1926-2021

Robbins Burling, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology and Linguistics at the University of Michigan, passed away peacefully on January 2, 2021, at the age of 94. A giant in the fields of anthropological linguistics, language evolution and language pedagogy, Burling was particularly known for his pioneering work in ethnography and linguistics of north eastern India, where he conducted his doctoral fieldwork and to where he returned for research visits until the latter years of his life. Burling’s work has played a seminal role in the development of Trans-Himalayan (Tibeto-Burman) linguistics, inspiring generations of scholars and producing some of the field’s formative works.

Rob’s early career saw the publication of several groundbreaking works in linguistics and anthropology, including A Garo Grammar (1961) – the first modern grammar of a northeast Indian language – a reconstruction of Proto-Bodo (in Language, 1959) – the first reconstruction of a Trans-Himalayan language at the subgroup level – a pioneering study of early child language acquisition in a minority language setting (in Word, 1959), an ethnographic monograph Rengsanggri: Family and Kinship in a Garo Village (1963), a popular textbook Hill Farms and Padi Fields: Life in Mainland Southeast Asia (1965, re-issued in 1992), and an influential reconstruction of Proto-Lolo-Burmese in 1967. Over the following five decades, Burling published more than 130 articles, chapters and reviews across the fields of social and cultural anthropology, descriptive and historical linguistics, language pedagogy and linguistic theory. In many of these works, he engaged in some of the major debates of his era, especially regarding the nature and origin of human language.

Throughout his career, Rob Burling’s work was marked by scholarly excellence, a solid empirical grounding in first-hand field data, and uncompromising methodological rigor. Yet all who knew Rob could not fail to also be impressed by the love he felt for the northeast Indian region, its people, and their languages, and this sense of love and joyful intimacy pervaded his work. His lifelong fascination with the Garo language culminated with a 2004 three-volume study The Language of the Modhupur Mandi (Garo), which uniquely presented a modern, comprehensive analysis of Garo grammar and lexicon in a highly accessible prose style. His fascination with language evolution culminated around the same time in a popular volume The Talking Ape: How Language Evolved (2005). And Rob’s skill as a teacher is nowhere better epitomized than by his 1992 introductory linguistics textbook Patterns of Language.

After retirement, Rob continued to travel and write (he made it to all seven continents). In 2016, he was honoured with a Festschrift on the occasion of his 90th birthday at the 8th International conference of the North East Indian Linguistics Society (NEILS) – a conference Rob had attended faithfully since its inception in 2005. That same year he published a treatise on spelling, Spellbound, written from his lifetime perspective of being both a passionate and prolific writer, and yet a terrible speller.

Rob will be deeply missed by his family and friends around the world and across all walks of life, by the many students that he mentored, and by his many colleagues around the world.

Further reading: Language and Culture in Northeast India and Beyond: In Honor of Robbins Burling (available for free download at contains an Introduction which provides more information about Rob Burling’s life and work, as well as a chapter by James A. Matisoff which offers a detailed critical assessment of several of Rob’s contributions to Trans-Himalayan linguistics from a specialist’s perspective. It also contains several photographs, and a comprehensive bibliography of Burling’s work up to 2015.

Linguistic Field(s): Anthropological Linguistics
Historical Linguistics
Language Documentation

Subject Language(s): Bodo (boy)
Garo (grt)

Language Family(ies): Tibeto-Burman

21 February 2021 will be the ‘Mother language Day' – See the article written by Bianca de Loryn (JCU College of Arts, Society and Education) about its importance. The article also provides and insight into Prof. Sasha Aikhenvald's  background.

The Essence of linguistic analysis: an integrated approach published by Brill on 5 February 2021. This is a momentous monograph which clarifies numerous analytical and terminological issues in linguistic analysis, and puts to bed any potential misconceptions. It is highly readable – I am sure you will enjoy it! We are planning to have a launch later this year.

The Essence of Linguistic Analysis Book Cover

Professor Alexandra Aikhenvald and her team from Sydney University has received a grant close to $500,000 AUD to do a project at James Cook University to help Hmong Australian language survive.

Professor Aikhenvald, Nathan White, Dr Gary Lee Yia and Vang Yee Chang President of Hmong Australian Association Cairns branch share their insights on SBSHmong 'Saving Hmong Australian language'.

Clause chains are a special type of complex sentence, found in hundreds of languages outside Western Europe, in which clauses are dependent but not embedded, and dozens of clauses can be combined into a single morphologically-indicated syntactic unit. Clause chains in some languages contain a further special feature: switch-reference marking, in which speakers must announce in advance whether the subject of the following clause will differ from that of the current clause. A comprehensive typological study of clause chains across languages is underway; I report a few known parameters of variation.

Comparison of child clause chain productions in six languages (Japanese, Korean, Turkish, Ku Waru, Nungon, and Pitjantjatjara) yields a major finding for child language research: children seem to universally go through a two-clause production phase first. These studies also have ramifications for typology more broadly, however: i) children learning at least one clause chaining language, Nungon (Papuan), have special distributions of complex sentence types, and ii) production of switch-reference marking depends on the distribution in the ambient language, which varies greatly across languages.

Psycholinguistic work has not targeted clause chains, but they would seem specially suited to exploration of long-distance associations, working memory, and planning scope. I show preliminary results from eye-tracking and EEG studies of switch-reference marking in Nungon clause chains.

The presentation can be viewed at Abralin ao Vivo website.

The anthropologist and LCRC Adjunct Research Fellow Mario Arrien was the invited expert in the television program Sociedad Abierta [Open Society], presented by the journalist Enrique Fernández. The topic of the program was the concept of ‘Culture’. The program was filmed in Santa Cruz de la Sierra (Bolivia) and broadcasted on the Bolivian channel SNTV on March 18, 2020 at 22:30. Watch the interview below.

Interview with Luca Ciucci (LCRC), José Chuvé, Brittany Hausen, Andrey Nikulin and Claudia Vaca, organizers of the conference Bobikíxh - I Encuentro de lenguas originarias de la región chiquitana [First meeting on the languages of the Chiquitania region] in the program Voces Indígenas Urbanas, Radio Santa Cruz 92.2. November 14, 2020.

Unserdeutsch (ISO 639-3 language code: uln) is an endangered creole language in the South Pacific, nowadays spoken mainly in Australia and to a small extent also in Papua New Guinea. It represents the only documented case of a German-lexified creole among the numerous creole languages of the world. Further information from Péter Maitz about the Unserdeutch Project read the article on the Institute of Germanic Languages and Literatures website.

Previous News (2019 / 2020)

From Pema Wangdi (Linguistics PhD candidate at JCU, Language and Culture Research Centre)  - who tells us more about growing up in a country with some of the tallest mountains in the world, how people used to find love and why prayer flags matter during . See this article "Bhutan: Preserving the languages of the mountains" written by Bianca de Loryn, College of Arts, Society and Education, JCU

Women in Research

More than 300 women in academia registered for the ‘Resilience in Research’ webinar in the Women in Research 'Small Wins' series, and 100+ women joined us live!

A very special thank you to ARC Laureate Fellow Professor Alexandra Aikhenvald and ARC Centre of Excellence Director Professor Janeen Baxter, who so graciously participated in the panel and shared their practical tips on resilience, summarised below:

Photo of Sharon

Sharon's summary of the evidence:

  • Change how you think about adversity with the ABCDE model of optimistic thinking:
  • Adverse event - Beliefs - Consequence - Disputation - Energisation
  • Proactively build high-quality connections and support networks
  • Re-frame how you reflect on setbacks, adversity and rejection by seeking and building social support.

Photo of Janeen

Janeen's tips:

  1. Strategies that might work for you as an ECR, may not be the same strategies that you use later in your career (and vice-versa).
  2. Things don’t always work out as you planned, and that's okay.
  3. Getting rejections is part of our work [as researchers]. To deal with rejections take the feedback on board, accept the bits that are useful, and try again.
  4. Seek advice and support from your mentors and confidants – they can be someone outside of your discipline area.
  5. There will be times where you feel down, and that is normal. Employ strategies to try and turn the situation around.
  6. Exercise helps with reducing stress.

Photo of SAlexandra

Alexandra's tips:

  1. It is important that whatever happens, you keep on going.
  2. If you feel you are needed, help others - especially those who are facing injustice and mistreatment due to discrimination.
  3. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
  4. Have a hobby to help you temporarily “step out” of your job and responsibilities.
  5. If you are from a culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) background, don't be afraid to thrive on your cultural identity.

If you missed the live event, you can still view the recording and download the presentation slides, also available on the Being Resilient webpage on the Women in Research website.

Business card

Dr. Luca Ciucci paid a posthumous tribute to Professor Gabriella Erica Pia at the beginning of the second day of the International Virtual Congress of Rock Art “Roboré, the Story of History”. Professor Gabriella Erica Pia was a pioneer of anthropological and archaeological studies in Bolivia (and in other Latin American countries).

El Dr. Luca Ciucci hizo un homenaje póstumo a la Profesora Gabriella Erica Pia al comienzo del segundo día del Congreso Virtual Internacional de Arte Rupestre “Roboré, el Relato de la Historia”. La Profesora Gabriella Erica Pia fue una pionera de los estudios antropológicos y arqueológicos en Bolivia (y en otros países de Latinoamérica).

A Hmong girl in Vietnam

A James Cook University researcher and her team are studying how the language and culture of the Hmong people can better survive in Australia – several decades after the ethnic group came here as refugees following the Vietnam war.

Professors Alexandra Aikhenvald, Professor RMW Dixon from JCU, and Associate Professor Nerida Jarkey from the University of Sydney have received nearly $500,000 in Australian Research Council Linkage funding for the project.

Professor Aikhenvald said the Hmong were a nomadic hill people and distinct ethnic group living in Vietnam and Laos when they were recruited to fight on the US side during the war, and then forced out after the allies’ defeat in 1975.

“Australia took them in as refugees and many initially were sent to Melbourne and the southern states, but after a Hmong family bought a banana plantation in Innisfail, many more moved to the Innisfail, Cairns and Atherton areas,” said Professor Aikhenvald.

More than 20 families eventually bought banana farms in the region.

The project’s key researcher is JCU Research Fellow and PhD candidate Nathan M. White. Mr White has been working closely with the Hmong community in North Queensland since 2017 and with Hmong communities in the USA since 2013.

He said there are now at least 1000 Hmong people in North Queensland.

“The Hmong in Australia are a closely-knit community with a distinct language, but due to the pressure from English, it appears that Hmong is no longer acquired by younger generations in its full form,” said Mr White.

He said the project will investigate how the Hmong language survives in the Australia, with a focus on how the language transforms itself depending on the environment it finds itself in.

“We’ll be doing a systematic investigation of a new variety of the Hmong language developed in North Queensland that appears to blend the two main dialects,” said Professor Aikhenvald.

She said the work will involve examining the results Mr White has obtained working with older speakers and compare those with the ways younger people use the language, by recording, observation, and interviews.

“A focal point of the project is the Hmong Medical Corpus, building on Nathan’s work. The aim of the corpus is to improve the Hmong people’s access to medical knowledge, breaching the gap between different generations of the Hmong community and the general public, and thus making their life better,” said Professor Aikhenvald.

She said the practical aim of the project was to try and help the language survive.

“Based on my personal experience, when people move countries, their original languages become endangered, under the pressure from the main language.

“They lament it later, because language is an integral part of a person’s identity, and they feel lost,” she said.

Professor Aikhenvald said the project will serve as a means of encouragement for younger Hmong to preserve their language and their heritage, providing them with motivation and materials to make sure the language stays healthy.


Mr Nathan White

Professor Alexandra Aikhenvald

Dear LCRCers

I would like to share with you a link to a fascinating film, Guardianes de la lengua", recommended by our colleagues from Argentina -

Simon Foale has just shared the following message –

A note from the Pacific Librarian at ANU, Tom Foley:

The Australian National University Library has recently completed digitisation of an extensive collection of  Pacific language bibles and supporting grammars

This collection of Pacific linguistics bibles was gifted to the Australian National University in 2014 by the Australian Bible Society. It is a rare collection containing 337 publications and 11 supporting grammar folders. The bibles range in size and feature many Pacific languages. The collection is now open to the world via the ANU Open Research Repository and has already been viewed more than 11,000 times.

The most downloaded item to date is Rotuman grammar and dictionary : comprising Rotuman phonetics and grammar and a Rotuman-English dictionary

The most viewed item to date is  Learning to speak the Enga language in the Mai and Raeapo dialects : workbook : language lessons for New Guinea Lutheran Mission-Missouri Synod staff / prepared by O.C. Hintze.

Very exciting – thanks to Simon!

Best wishes


This recording is a plenary presentation by Distinguished Professor Alexandra Aikhenvald at Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Language, Health and Well-being in Asia & the Pacific 25-27 November 2020

A brief synopsis:

Ways of talking about diseases, ailments, convalescence, and well-being vary from language to language. In some, an ailment 'hits' or 'gets' the person; in others, the sufferer 'catches' an ailment, comes to be a 'container' for it, or is presented as a 'fighter' or a 'battleground'. In languages with obligatory expression of information source, the onslaught of disease is treated as 'unseen', just like any kind of internal feeling or shamanic activity. How can we capture the nature of the traditional attitudes and thoughts about the origins of adverse conditions through the language? How are diseases understood to be inflicted and spread? And what are the patterns involved in describing traditional healing practices and 'getting better'? Our special focus is on languages from hot-spots of linguistic diversity and diseases of all sorts — especially Papua New Guinea and the Pacific.

See the YouTube presentation

Access PDF file here

Access PowerPoint presentation here

Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald, PhD, DLitt, FQAAS, FAHA

Distinguished Professor and Australian Laureate Fellow

Director of the Language and Culture Research Centre

James Cook University

PO Box 6811, Cairns, Queensland 4870, Australia

mobile 0400 305315, office 61-7-42321117

fax 61-7-4232 1880

Luca Ciucci interview by Voces Indígenas Urbanas on Radio Santa Cruz 92.2 about the online conference we are organizing (Bobikíxh - I Encuentro de lenguas originarias de la región chiquitana). Watch Voces Indigenas Urbanas on Facebook

Homage to Lucy Seki from Sasha Aikhenvald from Sasha Aikhenvald

From Alexandra Aikhenvald:

Ana Suelly Arruda Câmara Cabral, from the National University of Brasília, just sent me this piece.

It talks about Tapi, a Yawalapiti (Arawak) man from Xingu who is about to defend his MA (with Ana Suelly as the supervisor, and myself as a member of the examining committee).

‘There are no words’: As coronavirus kills Indigenous elders, endangered languages face extinction. An article by Terrence McCoy and Heloísa Traiano in the Washington Post Oct.7 2020

"RIO DE JANEIRO — The old man knew he was dying. The disease he'd been warning of for weeks had taken hold, and it wouldn't be long now. He looked to his son, who would soon be the leader of what remained of their people.

The old man was fluent in five languages, but the one he chose to speak now was one that virtually no one else in the world could understand.

“Awiri nuhã,” Aritana Yawalapiti, 71, said in the language of the Yawalapiti, an Indigenous tribe in the Amazon rainforest. “Take care of the people. Take care of the land. Take care of the forest.”

Dear Unserdeutsch family! I have very good news to report. It looks like Germany just cannot get enough of you. Even after five years of unserdeutsching and despite all the interviews and reports of the past years, your community and your language continue to fascinate people in Europe. Last Sunday, the Frankfurter Allgemeine, one of the leading high-profile national newspapers in Germany, published another long article on the „Unserdeutsch phenomenon“.

As always, Craig and me tried our best to make sure you will be happy with the outcome. But this time, as you will see, the biggest and most important support came from Kimbe, from someone most of you may not have seen for decades. Many thanks to him: Willy Schulze and, of course, to Fabian von Poser from the Frankfurter Allgemeine for the great job they did for the entire community.

For the online version of the article please click on the following link. The PDF print version can be accessed here.

Aufpasen bite, bleib ale gesund und safti und ni fergesen fi washen dein hende!

On-line Conference in La Paz with Dr Luca Ciucci (16:40 to 17:20 Bolivian hour 9-25-20)  (06:40 to 07:20 Australia hour 9-26-20) "Seminario fonéticos-fonológicos y morfosintácticos de las lenguas originarias"

Aspectos fonéticos-fonológicos y morfosintácticos de las lenguas originarias

Seminario Virtual Internacional: Aspectos fonéticos-fonológicos y morfosintácticos de las lenguas originarias Fecha: 25 y 26 de Septiembre Hora: 16:00 Moderadores: M.Sc. Miriam Cayetano Dr. Mauro Constantino Inscripciones. Transmisión a través de.

International Virtual Seminar: Phonetic-phonological and morphosyntactic aspects of native languages ​​Date: September 25 and 26 Time: 16:00 Moderators: M.Sc. Miriam Cayetano Dr. Mauro Constantino Registration Transmission through.

Texts in the Indigenous Languages of the Pacific (TILP) series is a supplement to Language and Linguistics in Melanesia. call for proposals

To: All staff

From: Professor Christine Bruce - Dean, Graduate Research

Approved by: Professor Christine Bruce

Date: 11 June 2020

The Medal for Excellence for a Higher Degree by Research (Doctoral or Masters) Thesis is awarded to a candidate whose higher degree by research (doctoral or masters) thesis was judged to be passed ‘cum laude’.

Nominations are made taking into account several criteria, including:

  • The thesis is excellent in that it shows flair and originality beyond what would usually be expected for a Doctoral Research thesis.
  • The thesis displays excellent capacity for independent research.
  • The thesis presents an outstanding contribution to scholarship and a significant contribution to knowledge.

The award must be endorsed as eligible to receive the Medal for Excellence for a Higher Degree by Research (Doctoral or Masters) Thesis by the student’s Advisory Panel and the Dean, Graduate Research.

Recipients are invited to accept the Medal for Excellence at a Graduation Ceremony. Due to Covid-19 this has not yet been possible in 2020, which must be extremely disappointing to the recipients.

I would like to take this opportunity to formally acknowledge the following recipients and their advisory panels.


Dr Junwei Bai - A Grammar of Munya

Advisory Panel: Professor Alexandra Aikhenvald, Professor Robert Dixon and Doctor Simon Overall

Dr Karen Cheer - Balancing it out: The process by which midwifery students provide care to women following stillbirth in Papua New Guinea

Advisory Panel: Professor Komla Tsey, Associate Professor David MacLaren and Doctor Jennifer Kelly

Dr Galiina Ellwood - A shared history forgotten: Aboriginal miners and prospectors of tropical Queensland, from pre-contact times - c.1970

Advisory Panel: Doctor Janice Wegner and Doctor Mike Woods

Dr Ann Kraeuter - Ketogenic diet as a potential novel treatment for schizophrenia in translational animal models

Advisory Panel: Professor Zoltan Sarnyai and Professor Alan Baxter

Dr Jing Li - No Signal Here: Self-Development and Optimal Experience from Digital-Free Tourism

Advisory Panel: Professor Phillip Pearce, Professor David Lowe and Doctor Tingzhen Chen

Dr Donald McKnight - Life finds a way: The recovery of frog populations from a chytridiomycosis outbreak

Advisory Panel: Professor Kyall Zenger, EMPRO Ross Alford, Professor Lin Schwarzkopf and Doctor Deborah Bower

Dr Ben Menadue - Science fictions, cultural facts. A Digital humanities approach to a popular literature

Advisory Panel: Professor Komla Tsey, Associate Professor Richard Lansdown, Doctor  Susan Jacups and Doctor Kristi Giselsson

Dr Eleanor Wilkinson - More than the power of two: Leading school improvement in Indigenous education

Advisory Panel: Professor Brian Lewthwaite and Professor Suzanne McGinty

Dr Stephen Zozaya - Using pheromones to understand cryptic lizard diversity

Advisory Panel: Doctor Conrad Hosking and Doctor Megan Higgie

You are invited to join me for a lecture in the Abralin Linguists Online series on July 7, 2020 at 10 am BRT ( = -3 UTC), that is 13 hours GMT; 15 hours CET.

You can use the following text to spread the message about Linguists Online in your Social media networks:

Abralin ao Vivo - Linguists Online is an initiative of the Brazilian Linguistics Association ( in cooperation with several linguistics associations.

It was designed to give students and researchers free access to state-of-the-art discussions on the most diverse topics related to the study of human language during this difficult quarantine period. For more information about , please visit:

For updates on the event's programme, follow Abralin at All the lectures are also available on Abrali'n YouTube channel:

Best wishes


Felix Ameka-Thumb

    Dear friends, prezados amigos e parentes

    I will be giving a talk:

    The grammar of well-being: how to talk about health and illness in tropical societies’ ou A gramática do bem-estar: o discurso de saude e doença nas sociedades tropicais’

    This will take place on Friday, May 22 at 8PM (BRT: Brazil Time; UTC -3), Saturday 9 am Cairns time (Australia)

    A pdf copy of the PowerPoint presentation can be downloaded here 

    The abstract is as follows:

    ‘Ways of talking about diseases, ailments, convalescence, and well-being vary from language to language. In some, an ailment 'hits' or 'gets' the person; in others, the sufferer 'catches' an ailment, comes to be a 'container' for it, or is presented as a 'fighter' or a 'battleground'. In languages with obligatory expression of information source, the onslaught of disease is treated as 'unseen', just like any kind of internal feeling or shamanic activity. Do the grammatical means of  talking about diseases and ailments reflect traditional attitudes and thoughts about the origins of adverse conditions? How are diseases inflicted and spread? And what are the patterns involved in describing traditional healing practices and 'getting better'? Our special focus is on languages from hot-spots of linguistic diversity and diseases of all sorts — especially Amazonia, with special attention to Tariana, an Arawak language spoken in the multilingual Vaupes River Basin area, and the problems of translating COVID19 information brochures into this and other languages.’

    The power point will be in English, and the talk in Portuguese. Dr Heronides Moura will be the chairman/moderator for this event.

    General information about this series of events:

    The Brazilian Linguistics Association (, in a joint project with the Permanent International Committee of Linguists (, the Asociación de Lingüística y Filología de América Latina (, the Sociedad Argentina de Estudios Lingüísticos ( and the Linguistic Society of America ( is organizing a virtual event: Abralin ao Vivo – Linguists Online. The event is designed to give students and researchers free access to state-of-the-art discussions on the most diverse topics related to the study of human language during this difficult quarantine period.

    For more information about Abralin ao Vivo - Linguists Online, please visit: For updates on the event's programme, follow Abralin at All the lectures are also available on Abrali'n YouTube channel:

    Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald, PhD, DLitt, FQAAS, FAHA

    Distinguished Professor and Australian Laureate Fellow

    Director of the Language and Culture Research Centre

    James Cook University

    PO Box 6811, Cairns, Queensland 4870, Australia

    mobile 0400 305315, office 61-7-42321117

    fax 61-7-4232 1880

Robert Bradshaw's Book Review of "A Grammar of Nungon: A Papuan Language of Northeast New Guinea by Hannah S. Sarvasy"

Nathan White

First Hmong grammar book and Hmong medical corpus (In English)

An interview with Nathan White (Language and Culture Research Centre) on SBS radio (By Vixay Vue, 24 Nov 2019).

This interview can be accessed at the following link:

Subject: Book reviews in Language & Linguistics in Melanesia, a message on behalf of Professor Craig Volker

Dear Colleagues,

As Review Editor for Language & Linguistics in Melanesia, I'd like to invite reviews of recently published books that you have found useful or insightful.

Language & Linguistics in Melanesia is the online journal of the Linguistic Society of PNG (

Besides being of interest to overseas researchers working in Melanesia, it is one of the first places PNG students of linguistics go for information. Your review of books you use will be valuable guidance for undergraduate students at PNG universities that lack good library resources. And, of course, a review is a relatively easy way for graduate students to add to their publication lists.

Books should have been published in the past two years. In many cases I can help get a review copy of a book. The book does not need to be specifically focused on Melanesia, but in your review, you should show how it is relevant for linguistics in Melanesia.

For more information, please see

Tenkyu tru,



LLM invites review copies from publishers of recently released books on any subject related to the languages of Melanesia or the study of linguistics in our region.

Craig Alan Volker

Adjunct Professor

Language and Culture Research Centre

The Cairns Institute

James Cook University, Australia

Firew Worku farewell lunch - photos

Lunch attendees

Guests at the lunch

Junwei Bai (Abe) farewell lunch - photos

Everyone at table

Kasia Bob with book Luca Abe

Pema Firew Nathan Rob

Group photo

Photos from Santa Cruz de la Sierra and San Javierto (courtesy of Luca Ciucci)

Presentation in Santa Cruz de la Sierra

Adoration of the Virgin in San Javierito Bolivia

PhD Student Christoph Holz is presently in Papua New Guinea on an extended field trip. Part of that research has brought him to Ukarumpa where the community has had the opportunity to see and hear one of Chris's many talents. Thanks to a quick update from Dr René van den Berg, we can follow Chris's journey.

A quick update on Chris’s visit. He arrived in Ukarumpa on Tuesday afternoon and left this morning for Goroka. He did what he came to do: gave a good presentation on number words in Tiang, got some feedback from those present (around 15), talked to Rebekah Drew, the SIL translator working on Tiang, and searched the archives. I also showed him the training centre, and he talked to various people. In addition, he gave an impromptu piano recital last night at the Meeting House! This was attended by some 30-40 people and well-received. He is a very talented young man. See attached photo

So, all in all a positive visit for him and for us.

All the best,


Dear LCRCers

Luca Ciucci, who is now in Bolivia, has just sent me some updates.

He has just given a talk in La Paz which went very well. It has been put on the UNESCO site, within the International year of indigenous languages - see

They made a video and put it online. The video has over 1400 views, which is an unbelievable achievement.

Here is the video -

Well done!!!

Best wishes


JCU staff and students hail from all over the globe, creating a vibrant, culturally diverse atmosphere on campus. Just ask these academics from India, Zimbabwe, Brazil/Russia and Persia.

An informative and interesting video showcasing JCU's cultural diversity has been published.  Among a host of interesting people, you will find our own Prof Alexandra (Sasha) Aikhenvald and some current PhD students. The following link will take you there:

Prof Dr Maarten MOUS, (7 July to 24 August 2019)

Maarten Mous (PhD University of Leiden) is one of the leading experts in African linguistics, and African studies in general, with a focus on Cushitic languages, Bantu languages, language and identity, and also derivation and valency-changing devices. In his capacity as a Partner Investigator of the ARC DP 'The integration of language and society' (CIs Distinguished Professor Alexandra Aikhenvald, Professor R. M. W. Dixon and Dr Nerida Jarkey), he will spend July-August at LCRC working within the framework of the project professor of African linguistics Leiden University, member of the Netherlands Royal Member of Sciences and a Visiting Fellow at LCRC, has worked on Cushitic languages of East Africa (two grammars, a dictionary and a lexical reconstruction, overview articles) and Bantu languages (two grammars, numerous articles). Areas of interest include language contact, language and identity, verbal derivation, gender and number. He will bring unparalleled knowledge and expertise in Cushitic and Bantu languages, and their social structures, and the construction of language identity, working closely together with the members of the team on establishing correlations between societal structures and linguistic structures in the focal areas. Collaboration with Prof Dr Mous is essential for expanding studies of linguistic and social structures in PNG, Australia, and Amazonia in a wide perspective. During his stay, he will work on a number of papers, and prepare and present a paper at the International Workshop, “The Integration of Language in Society”

Prof Felix AMEKA (31 July to 31 August 2019)

Felix Ameka lectures in African Languages and Cultures at the Leiden University Centre for Linguistics and is an Associate Researcher, Language and Cognition Group at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen. He is interested in language documentation and description, typology, cross-cultural semantics, pragmatics, the sociocultural, and cognitive motivations of grammar, anthropological and contact linguistics. His empirical specialisation is West African languages, mainly Kwa languages and other languages of wider communication, namely, Hausa and Fulfulde, with a focus is on Gbe, i.e. Ewe, Gen Aja and Fon; Ghana-Togo-Mountain languages, especially Likpe; Guang and Akanic languages. The purpose of his visit will be to undertake research work within the framework of the ARC DP 'The integration of Language and Society' (CIs Distinguished Professor Alexandra Aikhenvald, Professor R. M. W. Dixon and Dr Nerida Jarkey). The project will draw on his academic experience in the field of African languages, language and cognition and the interrelationship between language and culture. In addition, during his stay at JCU he will deliver a keynote address at the International Workshop 'The Integration of language and society' and present a seminar at the LCRC.

Dr Gerda (Dineke) Hendrike SCHOKKIN (6 August to 27 August 2019)

Dineke Schokkin is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific. She is an expert on Paluai, an Oceanic language of Baluan (Manus Province, PNG) and also Idi, a language from the Pahoturi River Family spoken in the Morehead District of Southern New Guinea. She will be working on various issues in these languages and take part in the discussion panel at the LCRC International Workshop 'The integration of language and society'.

Dr Timothy Henry-Rodriguez (6 August to 22 August 2019)

Tim Henry-Rodriquez (PhD UCSb) is a lecturer in linguistics in Fullerton University, USA. He is a major expert on Ventureño and other Chumashan languages, will be visiting LCRC, working on various grammatical topics in Chumashan languages and also Papuan languages of Madang Province, in close cooperation with Dr Alexander Walker, Research Fellow at LCRC.

Dr Katarzyna (Kasia) I. WOJTYLAK (10 August to 12 November 2019)

Dr. Katarzyna I. Wojtylak at present is an academic researcher at the University of Regensburg (Germany). She is an expert in Witotoan languages spoken in North Amazonia. In 2017, she graduated from JCU with the 'Cum Laude' distinction for her PhD thesis "A grammar of Murui (Bue), a language of Northwest Amazonia". After her graduation, she worked as a postdoctoral research fellow at the Language and Culture Research Centre (LCRC) at JCU in Cairns. Her main interests include language documentation, anthropological linguistics, typology, and language contact, with a particular focus on languages spoken between the Caquetá-Putumayo region in Northwest Amazonia. Her research fits in with the research priority 'Peoples and societies of the tropics', and will contribute to our understanding of the role of language contact in the context of South America. Proposed activities will include: i) research activities in the analysis of various features of Amazonian of Colombia; ii) preparing high-quality publications in international peer-reviewed journals (papers and books chapters) that deal with the relevant topics in descriptive and anthropological linguistics; iii) expanding our knowledge of previously undescribed tropical languages, especially those of Amazonia, iv) enhancing outreach activities and impact of our work with regard to community involvement and collaboration with indigenous peoples, empowering them in documenting their own languages, v) strengthening already existing links with the University of Regensburg (Germany) making an important contribution to the internationalization of research at JCU. She will also take part in the discussion panel at the LCRC International Workshop 'The integration of language and society'

Dr Stephen Andrew WATTERS (10 August – 25 December 2019)

Dr Steve Watters is an established expert in Tibeto-Burman languages and cultures, and has additional expertise in the languages of Nepal and Bhutan. His special areas of strength lie in the domain of marking information source and noun categorization - the focal issues of the ALF Project 'How gender shapes the world: a linguistic perspective', under the leadership of Dist Prof Aikhenvald. His expertise is highly relevant for JCU and the LCRC, as Tibeto-Burman languages and the languages of South Asia, and their unusual typological features, are one of the high points of our investigation (especially relevant for a number of international HDRs, e.g. Pema Wangdi and Junwei Bai). Dr Watters' stay will bring immense benefits to the LCRC members in terms of contributing to our understanding of Tibeto-Burman languages and cultures. He himself will profit from the productive environment and interactions with students and staff. He will also take part in the discussion panel at the LCRC International Workshop 'The integration of language and society'.

Dr Nerida Jarkey (20 August to 24 August 2019)

Nerida Jarkey is Senior Lecturer at The University of Sydney (Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, School of Languages and Cultures, Japanese Studies). She is a major expert in Japanese and also in Hmong and Hmongic languages, with special focus on language gender, politeness, noun categorization, serial verb constructions, and the interaction between language and culture. In her capacity as a Chief Investigator on the ARC DP Project 'The integration of language and society', alongside Distinguished Professor A. Y. Aikhenvald and Professor R. M. W. Dixon, she will be working on the project, and will present a paper at the International Workshop, “The Integration of Language in Society”.

Professor Anne Storch (20 August to 24 August 2019)

Anne Storch is Professor of African Linguistics, Department of African Studies and Egyptology, School of Arts and Humanities, University of Cologne and is among the half-dozen top experts in African Linguistics, and African Studies in general, spanning the study of languages and the contexts within which they are spoken, the anthropology and history of the African continent within an ethnographic and sociological perspective. She is recipient of the prestigious Leibnitz award. Her expertise and achievements encompass in-depth studies of numerous languages and societies in East and West Africa (with a special focus on Benue-Congo, Nilotic and Atlantic language areas), in addition to her recent engagement with the language of tourism and the African and German diaspora communities in Jamaica. In her capacity as a Partner Investigator of the ARC DP 'The integration of language and society' (CIs Distinguished Professor Alexandra Aikhenvald, Professor R. M. W. Dixon and Dr Nerida Jarkey), she will be at the LCRC in August 2019 working within the framework of the project and will present a paper at the International Workshop, “The Integration of Language in Society”

Dr Knut OLAWSKY (13 September to 13 December 2019)

Knut Olawsky has been conducting linguistic research in the tropics for more than two decades (Ghana, 1993-1999; Peru, 2000-2005; Australia, 2005 ongoing) and has written grammars of the Dagbani and Urarina languages. Since 2005 he manages the Mirima Dawang Woorlab-gerring Language and Culture Centre in Kununurra (East Kimberley), where he works with the Miriwoong people to document and revitalise their language. Dr Olawsky has also published a range of linguistic book chapters and journal articles on languages of his expertise as well in the areas of linguistic fieldwork and language revitalisation. He has been a member of the Executive Board of the Resource Network for Linguistic Diversity (Melbourne) and is widely connected within the field of language maintenance and revitalisation within Australia.

Dr Gwendolyn Hyslop (8-10 October 2019)

Gwen Hyslop (PhD U of Oregon) is Senior Lecturer at University of Sydney and a major expert in Tibeto-Burman languages, with a focus on the languages of Bhutan, and various issues in grammar, including egophoricity, mirativity, and evidentiality. She will give a lecture on a topical issue in Tibeto-Burman linguistics and interact with the members of the LCRC, with special focus on the experts in Tibeto-Burman.

Professor Dr Iwona Kraska-Szlenk (11-18 November 2019)

Iwona Kraska-Szlenk (PhD University of Warsaw), of the University of Warsaw, is a major expert in African languages (including Swahili) and various issue in general linguistics, with a focus on cognitive aspects, and language and cognition. During her stay at the LCRC, she will be working on issues related to studying body part terms, with a focus on cognitive linguistics approach (embodiment as key to “universal” conceptualizations, metaphor, metonymic chains, cultural conceptualizations, etc.), but also with an eye on a cross-linguistic perspective and the problems we encounter here (body partonomy and metonymy observed in “corporeal” senses, equivalence of extended senses, semantic extension vis-à-vis morphological derivation, etc.). She will be working on a collaborative focusing on the documentation of the data from multiple languages, generalizations as to: (ir)regularity of semantic change, common domains of semantic extension due to embodiment and shared culture, etc.). She will also offer a talk within the LCRC seminar series.

Professor Heronides MOURA (1 December to 22 December 2019)

Prof Dr Moura has an extensive knowledge of grammatical aspects of Brazilian Portuguese. His current research project focuses on interesting typological properties of Brazilian Portuguese. Unlike Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese shows directed motion with goal PPs (or telic path adverbs) and resultative constructions. On the other hand, Brazilian Portuguese behaves like Spanish, presenting (albeit residual) DOM (Differential Object Marking). These combined properties make Brazilian Portuguese an interesting case among Romance languages. His unique expertise in Portuguese, Spanish, and other Romance languages. His project during his stay at JCU will involve investigating a number of features of Brazilian Portuguese in typological perspective, especially in the light of indigenous languages of South America (a major focus of the LCRC), with special focus on directed motion, resultatives, and object marking. Prof Dr Moura's expertise is highly relevant to LCRC's and JCU's focus on languages of South America and potential contact-induced change. His visit will bring substantial benefits to Research Fellows and PhD students at the LCRC working on minority languages of South America. The Visiting Fellow will benefit from being exposed to an enhanced typological perspective on different languages and interaction with researchers at different levels. His visit will further reinforce international collaborative links between LCRC, JCU, and the Brazilian academic community. During his stay, Prof Dr Moura will present a seminar on typological features of Brazilian Portuguese, and interact with student and staff in various areas of linguistics, focusing on Romance languages and the languages of South America. The specific benefits to JCU and the LCRC lie in fortifying connections with the Brazilian academic community, and expanding our knowledge on Brazilian Portuguese in relationship to the indigenous languages of the tropics (a major focus of the linguistic research at LCRC).

We have now released our LCRC Bulletin for 2019

Luca Ciucci makes Headlines "Da Livorno all’Australia «Come Indiana Jones scopro le lingue più antiche del mondo» "(Francesca Suggi: Il Tirreno 5 August 2019 viii)

Read the article

In May 2019, Dr Luca Ciucci gave a television interview that is now available on YouTube. The interview can be viewed below:

Townsville Bulletin review of Prof Bob Dixon's 'Australia's original languages'

Come and work in an exotic location, investigating a language which has never previously been described! Applications are invited from suitably qualified students to enter the PhD program of the Language and Culture Research Centre at James Cook University, Australia. Supervision will be provided by Professor Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald, Professor R. M. W. Dixon, Professor Rosita Henry, Dr Alexander Walker, Dr Luca Ciucci, and Dr Michael Wood.

Applications are invited from suitably qualified students to enter the PhD program of the Language and Culture Research Centre at James Cook University, Australia. Supervision will be provided by Professor Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald, Professor R. M. W. Dixon, Professor Rosita Henry, Dr Alexander Walker, Dr Luca Ciucci, and Dr Michael Wood.

Our PhD candidates generally undertake extensive fieldwork on a previously undescribed (or scarcely described) language and write a comprehensive grammar of it for their dissertation. They are expected to work on a language which is still actively spoken, and to establish a field situation within a community in which it is the first language. Their first fieldtrip lasts for six to nine months. After completing a first draft of the grammar, back in Cairns, they undertake a second fieldtrip of two to three months. Fieldwork methodology centres on the collection, transcription and analysis of texts, together with participant observation, and — at a later stage — judicious grammatical elicitation in the language under description (not through the lingua franca of the country). Our main priority areas are the Papuan and Austronesian languages of New Guinea and surrounding areas, and the languages of tropical Amazonia. However, we do not exclude applicants who have an established interest in languages from other areas (which need not necessarily lie within the tropics).

PhDs in Australian universities involve some coursework and a substantial dissertation. Candidates must thus have had thorough coursework training before embarking on this PhD program. This should have included courses on morphology, syntax, semantics, and phonology/phonetics, taught from a non-formalist perspective. We place emphasis on work that has a sound empirical basis but also shows a firm theoretical orientation (in terms of general typological theory, or what has recently come to be called basic linguistic theory).

Distinguished Professor Alexandra (Sasha) Aikhenvald is Australian Laureate Fellow and Research Leader for People and Societies of the Tropics. Together with Professor R. M. W. Dixon, she heads the Language and Culture Research Centre, which includes Research Fellows and a growing number of doctoral students. In addition, senior scholars from across the world opt to spend their sabbatical at the Language and Culture Research Centre.

The LCRC has strong links with anthropologists, archaeologists and educationalists, with scholars working on environmental issues, all within James Cook University.

The scholarship will be at the standard James Cook University rate, Australian $27,488 per annum. The scholarship is for 3.5 years. Students coming from overseas are liable for a tuition fee; but this will be waived if scholarship is awarded. A small relocation allowance may be provided on taking up the scholarship. In addition, an adequate allowance will be made to cover fieldwork expenses and conference attendance.

The deadline for application (starting in 2019) is 30 September 2018.

Successful applicants would take up their PhD scholarships between January and June 2019. (The academic year in Australia runs from February to November.)

Application form and procedures for international students can be found at: Applications will be fully open in early July 2018.

Prospective applicants are invited, in the first place, to get in touch with Professor Alexandra Aikhenvald at, providing details of their background, qualifications and interests (including a curriculum vitae). Applicants are advised to send samples of their written work in linguistics (at least some of this should be in English).

Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald, PhD, DLitt, FAHA, FQAAS
Distinguished Professor and Australian Laureate Fellow
Director, Language and Culture Research Centre

James Cook University
PO Box 6811
Cairns, Queensland 4870, AUSTRALIA

Mobile/Cell +61 (0)400 305 315
Office +61 (0)7 4232 1110

In June 2014, Kasia Wojtylak and Kristian Lupinski were awarded a Firebird Foundation for Anthropological Research Fellowship for the documentation of oral literature among the Murui people in Colombian parts of the Amazon. Kasia is a PhD student in linguistics at the Language and Culture Research Centre (LCRC). She has been studying the Murui language since 2009 and has a substantial knowledge of the Murui culture. Her Research Master thesis dealt with the Murui phonology and verbal morphology (VU University, Amsterdam 2012). Kristian, on the other hand, is gifted BA student of the Creative Industries program at the James Cook University. He is an aspiring cinematographer with a great deal of experience in media design and film production. The couple is passionate about documenting indigenous languages and cultures. Both Kasia and Kristian are active members of ALTAR (Anthropological Laboratory for Tropical Audio-visual Research). Currently, they are preparing for their fieldwork in Colombia, which will commence in November 2015.


To follow their project see more here.

Upcoming Workshops

Will be held at 4.00p.m. in Room D3-150 at The Cairns Institute building, James Cook University, 14-88 McGregor Road, Smithfield.

Organisers: Prof Sasha Aikhenvald and Prof Bob Dixon

Meetings continue to be by invitation only (COVID-19). Please apply to:

Previous workshops

Date: 24 March 2021, 4.00p.m Room D3-150  (The Cairns Institute)

'Non-verbal predicates and copula clauses in Tariana (Arawak, Brazil)'

Presentation by Prof Sasha Aikhenvald

Organisers: Prof Sasha Aikhenvald and Prof Bob Dixon


Meetings continue to be by invitation only (COVID-19). Please apply to:

Date: 10 March 2021, 4.00p.m Room D3-150  (The Cairns Institute)

Organizers: Prof Sasha Aikhenvald and Prof Bob Dixon

Please Note - Meetings continue to be by invitation only (COVID-19).  Contact either organizer if you wish to attend -

Dates: 25-27 November 2020, JCU Cairns

Organizers: Luca Ciucci, Rob Bradshaw, Pema Wangdi, Alexandra Aikhenvald

To be held at The Cairns Institute (D3), James Cook University, 14-88 McGregor Road, Smithfield, QLD 4878

More information

13–14 de noviembre de 2020

(An online conference on the languages of Chiquitania co-organized by the Language and Culture Research Centre)

further information

Group Photo of attendees

Group Photo, International Workshop 'Possession and Ownership', JCU, 2010

Key From Left to Right:
Back Row:
Prof Zygmunt Frajzyngier, Prof Isabelle Bril, Dr Felix Ameka, Dr Tianqiao (Mike) lu, Prof Lev Michael, Dr Yongxian Luo, Dr Michael Wood
Middle Row:
Dr Anne Schwarz, Associate Prof. Rosita Henry, Prof Anne Storch, Dr Gloria Gravelle, Dr Mark Post
Front Row:
Prof Sasha Aikhenvald, Prof Bob Dixon, Elena Rhind, Prof Alan Dench

Intensive block course for graduate and postgraduate candidates

When faced with people at your field site who speak a language different from your own, how to proceed?

JCU’s Language and Culture Research Centre (LCRC) will run the highly successful Linguistic Skills for Ethnographic Research Masterclass on 5-6 April 2018 at JCU Cairns (Room D3.144, The Cairns Institute).

This free two-day workshop may be credited towards the elective component of RD7003: Professional Development.

Organised by Dr Kasia Wojtylak, the masterclass will host invited speakers Dr Alex Walker, Dr Luca Ciucci, and PhD students in linguistics Abe Bai Junwei and Nathan White.

The course has been designed for anthropologists and other researchers who conduct fieldwork in areas where non-written and lesser-known languages are spoken. It will introduce candidates to reasons why competency in the local language could be important to their research, and give them introductory concrete, practical methods for language learning and linguistic documentation.

Interested candidates should contact Dr Kasia Wojtylak by email to by 20 March 2018.

Masterclass Program

Day 1 | Thurs 5 April 2018

  • 0900-1030 Introduction to language, linguistics, and fieldwork research (Kasia Wojtylak)
  • 1030-1100 Break
  • 1100-1230 Language sounds and the IPA (Luca Ciucci)
  • 1230-1330 Break
  • 1330-1400 Monolingual demonstration with speaker of non-European language (Kasia Wojtylak)
  • 1400-1530 Introduction to morphological analysis (Kasia Wojtylak)
  • 1530-1600 Break
  • 1600-1700 Further discussion of practical field techniques related to the day's topics (Kasia Wojtylak)

Day 2 | Fri 6 April 2018

  • 0900-1030 How phonology relates to phonetics (Alex Walker)
  • 1030-1100 Break
  • 1100-1230 Understanding syntax (Nathan White)
  • 1230-1330 Break
  • 1330-1430 Interesting topics in linguistics: genders and noun class markers, evidentiality, case marking (Kasia Wojtylak and Abe Bai Junwei)
  • 1430-1500 Analysis of undescribed language morphology (Kasia Wojtylak)
  • 1500-1530 Break
  • 1530-1600 Ethics of linguistic fieldwork (Kasia Wojtylak)
  • 1600-1700 Existing software for dictionary building and language analysis (Abe Bai Junwei)
  • 1700-1730 Summary, addressing individual questions, and wrap-up (Kasia Wojtylak)

LCRC 2018 Workshop: Number systems in grammar

Distinguished Professor Aikhenvald presents a Position paper for this workshop and the points to address 'What to investigate'.

Number systems in grammar position paper

What to investigate

What to investigate

News and photos from the April 2018 workshop

You are faced with people at your field site who speak a language different from your own: how to proceed?

The LCRC ran the highly successful Linguistic Skills for Ethnographic Field Research Masterclass on 5-6 April 2018 at The Cairns Institute, JCU.

The Masterclass, organised and run by Dr Kasia Wojtylak, also included lectures by LCRC linguists, Dr Alex Walker, Dr Luca Ciucci, and the PhD students, Bai Junwei (Abe) and Nathan White.

The course was designed for anthropologists and other researchers who conduct fieldwork in areas where non-written and lesser-known languages are spoken. The course introduced students to reasons why competency in the local language could be important to their research, and gave them introductory concrete, practical methods for linguistic research.

Masterclass topics included:

  • introduction to language
  • language sounds
  • morphological analysis
  • syntax
  • ethics of linguistic fieldwork, and
  • demonstration of software for dictionary-building and language-analysis.

Nathan White, together with Bai Junwei, led a special event during the course – a monolingual demonstration with a speaker of non-European language – or, in other words – what do you do when you meet someone and you have no language in common? The workshop sparked a series of vibrant conversations among students discussing intricacies of the grammatical systems of world’s languages.

See the photos here.

Special workshop convened by the LCRC and the University of Augsburg

Download Program and Abstracts (PDF, 952 KB)

Start Date: 11th Jul 2018 1:45pm
End Date: 12th Jul 2018 5:30pm

Special workshop - 'Word': Its manifestations and functions

Download Program (PDF, 222 KB)

See the photos here.

Start Date: 3rd Oct 2018 9:30am
End Date: 4th Oct 2018 5:30pm


  • Prof.R.M.W.(Bob) Dixon's cover for his paperback edition of Edible Gender, Mother-in-Law Style, and Other Grammatical Wonders (Released 05 May 2020) See cover here
  • Prof. R. M. W. (Bob) Dixon launches three new volumes of work on one of the original languages of North Queensland. Read more here.
  • Murui language documentary film by Kristian Lupinski and PhD student Kasia Izabela Wojtylak. Read more here.
  • Feature article: 'Gender, shape, and sociality: How humans are special in Manambu'. Read more here.