2020 / 2019 News

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

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).

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

Ana Suelly Arruda Câmara Cabral, from the National University of Brasília, just sent 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 (abralin.org) 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: aovivo.abralin.org.

For updates on the event's programme, follow Abralin at instagram.com/abralin_oficial. All the lectures are also available on Abrali'n YouTube channel: youtube.com/abralin.

Best wishes


Felix Ameka-Thumb

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

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 (www.langlxmelanesia.com).

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 https://www.langlxmelanesia.com/book-reviews

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

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


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).

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:

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.