Summer School 2019

Date: 2 – 6 December

Venue: The University of Melbourne, Melbourne              

Save the date and start the preparations! The annual CoEDL summer school has been scheduled to take place at The University of Melbourne from 2 – 6 December.

We already have an exciting line up of speakers and content – here is a little teaser. Registrations will be opened in August at which time more detail regarding the program and other arrangements will be made available.

Proposed courses

Socio- and applied linguistics: from scholar to expert in court

Prof Diana Eades, University of New England

This course will cover:

  • role, ethics and rules for expert witness reports
  • specific lawyer questions which require socio- and applied linguistics expertise
  • similarities and differences between what is involved in being a scholar versus an expert for the law in these fields

An evolutionary approach to language change

Prof Bill Croft, The University of New Mexico

This course will describe a general framework for evolutionary change (biological and cultural), and how it can be applied to language change. We will focus on implications for specific issues in language change, and how a mathematical model can help to resolve some of these issues. 

 Speech and language profiles of neurological impairment

Dr Tony Angwin, The University of Queensland and Dr Adam Vogel, The University of Melbourne

This course will explore the speech and language changes associated with adult neurological impairment. The course will include an outline of current knowledge and approaches to investigating speech and language function, and will adopt a specific focus on the profiles associated with different forms of dementia and neurodegenerative diseases.

 Semiotic diversity in sign languages and spoken languages

Prof Trevor Johnston, Macquarie University

Very short description: Almost fifty years of linguistic research into sign languages is said to have shown that they are bona fide languages. In this short course, I examine the claims made in the literature about the characteristics of sign languages that show them to be “just like spoken languages” but suggest that the types of spoken languages and the theoretical models of (spoken) language that lie at the basis of this conclusion have potentially lead to so some misconceptions among otherwise well-informed linguists. I look at the type of semiotic diversity that neo-Peircean semiotics and the study of co-speech gesture and multi-modality in language are revealing about face-to-face language in sign or speech to re-frame what is shared between both sign and spoken language and thus what is ‘linguistic’.

 Morphological Complexity and Typology

Prof Marianne Mithun, University of California Santa Barbara

This course will examine the status of polysynthesis as a typological category, its diverse manifestations and varied implications for structure beyond the word, pathways by which it can come into existence over time and spread through space, and how it might be acquired by children. Such structures raise deeper questions about the nature of complexity and its documentation.

 Studying Sociolinguistic Variation

Prof James Walker, La Trobe University

This course looks at the study of variation in language and its conditioning by social and linguistic factors. We focus on variation at the level of the individual speaker and their relation to larger groups based on global and local considerations, such as sex/gender, ethnic group and socio-economic status or role. We also look at the interaction of social factors with linguistic contexts. Some examples are drawn from English-speaking communities but we attempt to illustrate topics from a cross-linguistic perspective.

Psycholinguistics in the field

Dr Rebecca Defina, The University of Melbourne

This course surveys the benefits and challenges of conducting psycholinguistic research in the field. We will examine previous studies and discuss the elements of designing and running your own experiments.

A Polynesian Languages

Dr Sally Akevai Te Namu Nicholas, The University of Auckland

This course will provide an introduction to the history, typology, general description, and socio-linguistics of Polynesian languages.

Running online experiments in linguistics

Dr Amy Perfors, The University of Melbourne

This class will be an introduction to the very basics of how to program and run your own online experiments.Init you'll learn how to create a simple task in Javascript, put it on the Google AppEngine server, and run in on Amazon Mechanical Turk. No prior experience in programming will be presumed, but you will need your own laptop.

Advanced statistics for linguists: tree-based and mixed-effects models in R

Dr Martin Schweinberger, The University of Queensland

In this workshop, we will have a close look at how tree-based models and mixed-effects models work. In addition to briefly recapitulating basic concepts of quantitative analysis, we will explore the theoretical underpinnings of tree-based models and mixed-effects models and we will use practical examples to see how such models are implemented in R. Participants are expected to have some experience in R and should be able to use R but participants do not have to be expert users.


Prof Janet Fletcher, Dr Debbie Loakes and Dr Rosey Billington, The University of Melbourne

In this workshop, we will cover different aspects of prosody, focusing on the following phenomena: stress, tone, rhythm and timing, phrasing, and the basics of intonation. Topics will include definitions of prosody, and how the components of prosody are realised phonetically and how they interact with one another. We will also explore the linguistic and paralinguistic uses of intonation and discuss prevailing models and annotation conventions.

Digital Environments of Indigenous Song

Assoc Prof Sally Treloyn, Dr Reuben Brown, Jared Kuvent (University of Melbourne) and Rona Charles (Winungarri Aboriginal Corporation)

Reintroducing knowledge of songs and performance, like revitalising languages, is an increasingly common activity in Australian Indigenous communities. For Indigenous singers and members of song communities, the format of archival audio recordings can give rise to frustration and apprehension which affects the usability and accessibility of the recordings. For researchers working with Indigenous song, investigation and tracing of songs across dispersed collections is a time consuming activity. This course will present a toolkit for preparing archival and new audio recordings of song for management and use in Indigenous song communities. The workshop will cover community queries around song collections, granularity of audiovisual files, wrangling of metadata using a new database tool (released in 2019), and output workflows to community access and curation platforms. The course will exemplify community collaboration and engagement in research methods and will be presented by a collaborative team from the Kimberley and the University of Melbourne.

Making linguistics accessible to those who need it

Emma Murphy,  Resource Network for Linguistic Diversity (RNLD)

We explore academic and community perspectives of working with Australian languages, then analyse some linguistic aspects of these languages in a practical, accessible way.

Proposed short courses

Transcription Acceleration for Language Documentation with ELPIS

Ben Foley, the University of Queensland

In this workshop we will use Elpis, an open source speech to text system, to train language models and obtain automated first-pass transcriptions for languages with low quantities of data. This workshop is suitable for linguists and language workers, no machine learning experience is required.

A welcome to R & RStudio for fresh users

Josh Clothier and Katie Jepson, The University of Melbourne

In this short course, we will introduce you to the very basics of R: how to get data in and out of R, how to install and load libraries (the tools that help you get stuff done), how to do some basic manipulations and calculations on the data, and how to troubleshoot when you come across problems. This will be a particularly good place to start if you're unfamiliar with R but are interested in taking the course Advanced statistics for linguists: tree-based and mixed effects models in R, or simply using R in your own research.

Beyond sound: Creating and Maintaining Speech Databases with Emu

Dr Hywel Stoakes, The University of Auckland

Large linguistic databases invariably require ways to keep time aligned text in synchronisation with audio recordings. As the volumes of audio and the associated annotations balloon, it is becoming increasingly important to have a standard transferable method for metadata storage and analysis. Emu Speech Database Management System ( and its associated R package EmuR are one way of managing these records.

This workshop will go through some of the basics of creating Emu Databases, including how to make databases from scratch and how to convert existing collections from, Praat textgrid, ELAN XML and plain text. We will then look at some simple analysis and statistical techniques concentrating on linguistic questions. We will touch on ways to incorporate this into modern speech recognition workflows such as ELPIS. A basic knowledge of R and RStudio will be assumed, but is not essential in order to complete the course. A familiarity with Tidy data and the "tidyverse", as well as a working knowledge of phonetic theory will be an advantage.

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