Summer School 2018

Date: 26 - 30 November 2018

Venue: Australian National University, Canberra

The Centre’s annual Summer School is a flagship educational event on Australia’s linguistics calendar. Over the course of five days, we bring together leading national and international scholars to present the latest research in the field through intensive ‘deep dives’ across the multi-disciplinary breadth of the science of languages.

Summer School draws on expertise across the Centre’s programs, member universities and international partners to provide intensive training, enrich existing knowledge and catalyse new research collaborations. Participants range from advanced undergraduate students through to senior academics. Many of the courses require no previous knowledge or experience, only a burning curiosity about the dynamics of the world’s many and greatly varied languages.

This year’s Summer School will have a dual focus on the intersection of language and technology, and community engagement. Aspiring linguists, as well as students with backgrounds in engineering, AI and computer science, will have an opportunity to learn about computational linguistics and natural language processing, including practical, hands-on sessions using the latest software tools and practices. Prominent researches will bring their extensive insights and experience from the field working with Australian and other indigenous communities to document, study and revitalise their languages.

Summer School 2018 program

Summer School 2018 information


The 2018 Summer School program offers courses in streams over four days (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday). Each course consists of four 1.5 hour sessions over the four days and will have the same timeslot each day. 

Beginning with a daily masterclass on the foundations of language by Professor Stephen Levinson,  the program offers twelve courses, each delivered over four days. Other highlights include Professor Nick Evans’ popular linguistic field methods course on an Australian language, and Professor Leanne Hinton imparting a lifetime of knowledge on working as an academic with indigenous communities. Meanwhile Google’s Daan van Esch will need two sessions per day to get his students fully up to date with the latest tech in machine learning and automatic speech recognition.

Summer Schools have become famous for building a community of interest across the many disciplines of language science – and this year will be no different. We break up the intensive course program up on the Wednesday  with optional workshops on lighter topics, discussion sessions, opportunities for networking, and of course – a busy social calendar as well.

See the full program.

Public Lectures

On the evening of 27 November, the Centre is proud to present Dr Alpheaus Graham Zobule, Founder and Director of Kulu Language Institute of the Solomon Islands, who will recount a decades-long project that has allowed speakers of a vernacular tongue (Luqa) to study their own language in that language – an inspirational story of teaching literacy to strengthen an indigenous language.

Register here via Eventbrite.   

On 29 November, blogger, podcaster and linguistic communicator extraordinaire Gretchen McCulloch will regale and dazzle her audience on the linguistics of the internet. Informal written language - the sort found in text messages and social media post - can answer some longstanding questions, such as where to draw the boundaries on dialect maps. And new ones, such as how people are using emoji and punctuation to give writing a sense of gesture and tone of voice. 

Register here via Eventbrite.   BOOKED OUT


Summer School 2018 registrations are open. until Monday 19 November.

At just $300 for students and the unwaged (and $400 for others), the registration fee for Summer School has been intentionally set to give access to this special learning experience to the broadest possible spectrum of participants.

Please also use the registration form to sign up for the Summer School Dinner, other social events, and the two free public lectures.


Accommodation is now full.

We have secured affordable four, five and six night accommodation options on the ANU campus for those travelling to Canberra, which may be booked when registering. The accommodation is available on campus to book and will be paid as part of your main registration payment. 

Social events

Monday 26 November – Dinner on campus (two course meal) BOOKED OUT

6.30pm for 7pm John XXIII College, 51 Daley Rd, ANU Campus

This was paid for as part of your registration options. Drinks bar at own cost available on night.

Wednesday 28 November – Linguistics in the Pub

From 6:00 at Fellow Bar & Café, ANUCome by Fellows for a pint and a chat with your fellow Summer Schoolers for a Linguistics in the Pub session.

TOPIC: The future of Linguistics
How do you see linguistics continuing forward as a viable field of study? What does linguistics have to do to change in order to fit a changing world? How can we elevate linguistics in the public consciousness? What shortcomings do linguists have to address in order to stay relevant, and on the cutting edge of research?

Food and drink available at the venue at attendees own cost.

Friday 30 November – Unofficial gathering at BentSpoke Brewing Co.

From 5:30pm BentSpoke Brewing Co. 38 Mort Street, Braddon ACT 2612

After the close of the Summer School, several of us will be heading to BentSpoke Brewing Co., about a 25 minute walk from campus. Come join if you’d like! All food/drink at attendees own cost.


For more information contact:

  • Australian Government
  • The University of Queensland
  • Australian National University
  • The University of Melbourne
  • Western Sydney University