People

Nicholas Evans Project Lead

Nicholas Evans

  • Title: Project Lead

Nicholas (Nick) Evans has carried out wide-ranging fieldwork traditional languages of northern Australia and southern Papua New Guinea. The driving interest of his work is the interplay between documenting and describing the incredible diversity contained in the world's endangered languages and the many scientific and humanistic questions they can help us answer.

In addition to book-length grammars and dictionaries of several Aboriginal languages (grammars: Kayardild, Bininj Gun-wok; dictionaries: Kayardild, Dalabon) and edited books on numerous linguistic topics from linguistics and prehistory, through indigenous art, to semantic typology, he has published over 140 scientific papers. His crossover book Dying Words: Endangered Languages and What They Have to Tell Us, which sets out a broad program for engaging with the world's dwindling linguistic diversity has been translated into French, Japanese, Korean and German.

He has also worked as a linguist, interpreter and anthropologist in two Native Title claims, and been involved in developing bilingual educational materials and writing systems in remote communities in indigenous Australia and Papua New Guinea.

Contribution to Laureate project

In addition to overall leadership of the project, Nick will continue his long-standing fieldwork programs documenting languages in Arnhem Land (Bininj Gun-wok, Dalabon, Iwaidja) and Papua New Guinea (Nen and neighbouring languages), turning particular focus to patterns of multilingualism there, and the dynamics of variation within and between speakers. He will also participate, less intensely, in the fieldwork at the Vanuatu and Samoan sites. Theoretically, he is especially interested in engaging the empirical findings of the project with a new coevolutionary approach to language which focuses on the interaction between multiple factors (cultural, functional, system-internal, cognitive) in shaping the pathways languages take to their diverse locations in the linguistic design space.

Recent Publications

  1. The Oxford Handbook of Polysynthesis

    Bibliography

    Michael Fortescue, Marianne Mithun, and Nicholas Evans. November 2017. The Oxford Handbook of Polysynthesis. : Oxford University Press.

  2. Artist Sally Gabori had a language of her own.

    Bibliography

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  3. The last speaker is dead – long live the last speaker!

    Bibliography

    Evans, Nicholas. June 2001. "The last speaker is dead – long live the last speaker!". In Linguistic Field Work, 250–281. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  4. A life of polysynthesis: Hans-Jürgen Sasse (1943–2015)

    Bibliography

    Nicholas Evans, Nikolaus P. Himmelmann, and Dejan Matić. January 2015. "A life of polysynthesis: Hans-Jürgen Sasse (1943–2015)." Linguistic Typology. 19 (2) doi: 10.1515/lingty-2015-0010.

  5. Typologies of agreement: some problems from Kayardild

    Bibliography

    Nicholas Evans. August 2003. "Typologies of agreement: some problems from Kayardild." Transactions of the Philological Society. 101 (2): 203–234. doi: 10.1111/1467-968x.00118.

Mark Ellison Postdoctoral Researcher

Mark Ellison

  • Title: Postdoctoral Researcher

Mark Ellison studied Pure Mathematics at the University of Sydney, but even then was interested in language change and reconstruction. At the University of Western Australia, this interest evolved into a PhD on machine learning and phonology. The focus on phonology lead to 3 years research work in Computational Phonology at the University of Edinburgh, and subsequent lecturing in Cognitive Science there. Mark left academia in 1998 to learn Polish and work in IT. Recently at the University of Western Australia, he's been using Experiment Semiotics to model language origins, but is now excited to join this project at ANU.

Contribution to Laureate project

Mark is computational modeller for the project. The project seeks the reasons behind language change and diversification. The reasons may take the form of identity issues, cognitive biases, or socially-conditioned biases. Simulations are a key ingredient in determining whether and how such can result in language splits or change. Mark will create a model of individual language use and the influences on it, and simulate computationally the interaction of many such agents. Manipulating the parameters will let us determine which influences are most important in explaining variation in language diversity.

Recent Publications

  1. Iconicity: From Sign To System In Human Communication and Language

    Bibliography

    Nicolas Fay, Mark Ellison, and Simon Garrod. December 2015. "Iconicity: From Sign To System In Human Communication and Language." Pragmatics & Cognition. 22 (2): 244-263. doi: 10.1075/pc.22.2.05fay.

  2. Automated Parsing of Interlinear Glossed Text From Page Images of Grammatical Descriptions

    Bibliography

    Erich Round, Jayden Macklin-Cordes, Mark Ellison, and Sacha Beniamine. 2020. "Automated Parsing of Interlinear Glossed Text From Page Images of Grammatical Descriptions". In Proceedings of the 12th Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC 2020), 2878–2883. Marseille, France.

  3. Applying the cultural ratchet to a social artefact: The cumulative cultural evolution of a language game

    Bibliography

    Nicolas Fay, Mark Ellison, Kristian Tylen, Riccardo Fusaroli, Bradley Walker, and Simon Garrod. 2018. "Applying the cultural ratchet to a social artefact: The cumulative cultural evolution of a language game." Evolution & Human Behavior. 39 (3): 300-309. doi: 10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2018.02.002.

  4. The sky is falling: Evidence of a negativity bias in the social transmission of information

    Bibliography

    Mark Ellison, Keely Bebbington, Colin MacLeod, and Nicolas Fay. 2017. "The sky is falling: Evidence of a negativity bias in the social transmission of information." Evolution and Human Behavior. 38 (1): 92-101. doi: 10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2016.07.004.

  5. The sky is falling: evidence of a negativity bias in the social transmission of information

    Bibliography

    Keely Bebbington, Colin MacLeod, Mark Ellison, and Nicolas Fay. 2017. "The sky is falling: evidence of a negativity bias in the social transmission of information." Evolution and Human Behavior. 38 (1): 92-101. doi: 10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2016.07.004.

Murray Garde Postdoctoral Reseacher

Murray Garde

  • Title: Postdoctoral Reseacher

Murray Garde was trained as a linguistic anthropologist at Charles Darwin University (Grad Dip. Arts) and Queensland University (PhD). Since 1988 he has been working with Bininj Gunwok speakers of Western Arnhem Land and also from 1996 with Sa speaking communities of Pentecost Island in Vanuatu. Murray's interests span an eclectic range of cross-disciplinary topics including studies of person reference and conversation analysis, translation and interpreting, kinship, social organisation and language variety, song language, ethnobotany and ethnozoology, language and ethnophysiography, toponomy and traditional ecological knowledge and its application in land management. He currently coordinates the Bininj Gunwok Language Project, funded by the Federal Government's Indigenous Language Support program. His recent book Culture, Interaction and Person Reference in an Australian Language (2013) is an ethnography of speaking focusing on person reference in Bininj Gunwok.

Contribution to Laureate project

Whilst the Wellsprings project will also investigate variation in large speech communities of 'world languages', a number of small scale speech communities of minority languages have also been chosen as field sites. Both Bininj Gunwok (approx 1500-2000 speakers) and Sa (approx 3000 speakers) represent two such small scale speech communities that still display high levels of dialectal variation. Pre-existing long-term relationships between researchers and speech communities will be an advantage for this kind of project and Murray looks forward to continuing his friendships and work with members of the Bininj Gunwok and Sa communities to investigate possible contributing factors that give rise to linguistic microdiversity. In keeping with his cross-disciplinary background, Murray hopes to integrate the linguistic data with the social and cultural contexts of such data-genealogy, social organisation, residence, mobility and ways of speaking across a variety of contexts.

Recent Publications

  1. The Importance of Language

    Bibliography

    Garde, Murray. 2019. "The Importance of Language". In Sustainable Land Sector Development in Northern Australia: Indigenous Rights, Aspirations, and Cultural Responsibilities, 153-4. CRC Publisher, Taylor & Francis Group.

  2. An-Me Arri-Ngun The Food We Eat: Traditional plant foods of the Kundjeyhmi people of Kakadu National Park

    Bibliography

    Gary Fox, and Murray Garde. 2018. An-Me Arri-Ngun The Food We Eat: Traditional plant foods of the Kundjeyhmi people of Kakadu National Park. Jabiru : Gundjeihmi ABoriginal Corporation.

  3. Ngayolyolme Balang Mawurndjul (Let me tell you some stories about Balang Mawurndjul)

    Bibliography

    Garde, Murray. 2018. "Ngayolyolme Balang Mawurndjul (Let me tell you some stories about Balang Mawurndjul)". In John Mawurndjul: I am the old and the new Exhibition Catalogue, 42-45. Australia: Museum of Contemporary Art Australia and the Art Gallery of South Australia.

  4. Something about emus: indigenous knowledge of emus from western Arnhem Land

    Bibliography

    Murray Garde. 2017. Something about emus: indigenous knowledge of emus from western Arnhem Land. Canberra, Australia : Aboriginal Studies Press.

  5. Something about emus: Bininj stories from Western Arnhem Land

    Bibliography

    Murray Garde. 2017. Something about emus: Bininj stories from Western Arnhem Land. Canberra : Aboriginal Studies Press.

Dineke Schokkin Postdoctoral Researcher

Dineke Schokkin

  • Title: Postdoctoral Researcher

After a BA in Dutch Language and Culture at Utrecht University, Dineke Schokkin did a research MA in Linguistics at University of Amsterdam. Her thesis was a sociolinguistic study focusing on the use of discourse markers and style shifting in the construction of identity by adolescents of Dutch, Turkish and Moroccan background. Dineke continued with a PhD at James Cook University, Cairns, which entailed a reference grammar of Paluai, an Oceanic language spoken on Baluan Island, Manus Province, Papua New Guinea. Based on two lengthy field trips, the grammar covers various aspects of the language including phonology, morphology, lexicon, syntax, semantics and discourse/pragmatics. While mainly focusing on synchronic language description, Dineke was at the same time interested in variation across the community: which social factors would come into play here and to what extent. Another area of specific interest were language contact phenomena in Paluai, in particular through contact with Tok Pisin, the creole serving as lingua franca in most parts of PNG.

Contribution to Laureate project

As a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Wellsprings project Dineke will primarily focus on Idi, a language from the Pahoturi River Family spoken in the Trans-Fly region of Southern New Guinea. Idi is in close contact with Nen and Nambu, the two other SNG languages studied within the project, but belongs to a different language family. Because Idi is scarcely documented, the first field trip in September-October 2014 will chiefly focus on data gathering for grammatical description and analysis, but at the same time Dineke will be on the lookout for possibly socially structured variation across different groups within the community, whether defined by gender, age, or place in society. She will also consider language contact and multilingualism and the role they play in language use by a variety of speakers.

Recent Publications

  1. Preverbal directionals as markers of associated motion in Paluai (Austronesian; Oceanic)

    Bibliography

    Schokkin, Dineke. 2021. "Preverbal directionals as markers of associated motion in Paluai (Austronesian; Oceanic)". In Associated Motion, 385–418. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton.

  2. Phonetics and phonology of Idi

    Bibliography

    Schokkin, Dineke, Gast, Volker, Evans, Nicholas, and Dohler, Christian. 2021. "Phonetics and phonology of Idi". In Phonetic fieldwork in Southern New Guinea, 76-107. University of Hawaii Press.

  3. Phonetic fieldwork in southern New Guinea

    Bibliography

    Kate Lindsey, and Dineke Schokkin. 2021. Phonetic fieldwork in southern New Guinea. : University of Hawaii.

  4. Introduction: Phonetic fieldwork in southern New Guinea

    Bibliography

    Lindsey, Kate, and Schokkin, Dineke. 2021. "Introduction: Phonetic fieldwork in southern New Guinea". In Phonetic fieldwork in Southern New Guinea, 1-4. University of Hawaii.

  5. Idi. Illustrations of JIPA.

    Bibliography

    Dineke Schokkin, Volker Gast, , and Christian Döhler. 2020. "Idi. Illustrations of JIPA.." Submitted to JIPA..

Ruth Singer Postdoctoral Researcher

Ruth Singer

  • Title: Postdoctoral Researcher

Ruth is a DECRA ARC postdoctoral fellow at the Research Unit for Indigenous Language, School of Languages and Linguistics, University of Melbourne. Her project looks at how language is used at Warruwi Community, a remnant site of small-scale multilingualism in western Arnhem Land (Australia). She also has a Discovery project with Prof Janet Fletcher and Dr Marija Tabain to look at intonation and information structure in three Australian languages. Ruth has a PhD in Linguistics from Melbourne University, has been a postdoctoral fellow with the Language and Cognition group, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics (Nijmegen, The Netherlands).

Contribution to Laureate project

Within the Wellsprings project Ruth will be looking at variation in Mawng, a small language of 300-500 speakers whose heartland is Warruwi Community. Mawng is one of a number of small languages that are still being used and being passed on to children at Warruwi Community. All Mawng speakers grow up in multilingual families, hearing a number of Indigenous languages spoken around them. Most Mawng-speaking adults have a good command of both Bininj Gun-wok and English. Mawng will be an interesting point of comparison with larger languages in the Wellsprings project because of its small size. It will also be a point of comparison with languages that are acquired in families that use a single language at home.

Recent Publications

  1. Ten years of Linguistics in the Pub

    Bibliography

    Lauren Gawne, and Ruth Singer. 2021. "Ten years of Linguistics in the Pub." Australian Journal of Linguistics. doi: 10.1080/07268602.2021.1974341.

  2. The expression of emotions in Kunbarlang and its neighbours in the multilingual context of western and central Arnhem Land

    Bibliography

    Isabel O’Keeffe, Ruth Singer, and Carolyn Coleman. 2020. "The expression of emotions in Kunbarlang and its neighbours in the multilingual context of western and central Arnhem Land." Pragmatics & Cognition. 21 (1): 83–138. doi: https://doi.org/10.1075/pc.00012.kee.

  3. CHIELD: the causal hypotheses in evolutionary linguistics database

    Bibliography

    Sean Roberts, Anton Killin, Angarika Deb, Catherine Sheard, Simon Greenhill, Kaius Sinnemäki, José Segovia-Martín, Jonas Nölle, Aleksandrs Berdicevskis, Archie Humphreys-Balkwill, Hannah Little, Christopher Opie, Guillaume Jacques, Lindell Bromham, Peeter Tinits, Robert Ross, Sean Lee, Emily Gasser, Jasmine Calladine, Matthew Spike, Stephen Mann, Olena Shcherbakova, Ruth Singer, Shuya Zhang, Antonio Benítez-Burraco, Christian Kliesch, Ewan Thomas-Colquhoun, Hedvig Skirgard, Monica Tamariz, Sam Passmore, Thomas Pellard, and Fiona Jordan. 2020. "CHIELD: the causal hypotheses in evolutionary linguistics database." Journal of Language Evolution. 5 (2): 101-120. doi: 10.1093/jole/lzaa001.

  4. Why Don’t Linguists Talk about Politics? Moving Forward on Language Endangerment—Together

    Bibliography

    Ruth Singer. 2020. "Why Don’t Linguists Talk about Politics? Moving Forward on Language Endangerment—Together." American Anthropologist. 122 (1): 177–17. doi: 10.1111/aman.13375.

  5. Multiple uses for old and new recordings: perspectives from the multilingual community of Warruwi'

    Bibliography

    Isabel O'Keeffe, Linda Barwick, Carolyn Coleman, David Manmurulu, Jenny Manmurulu, Janet Mardbinda, Paul Naragoidj, and Ruth Singer. 2018. "Multiple uses for old and new recordings: perspectives from the multilingual community of Warruwi'". In Communities in Control: Learning Tools and Strategies for Multilingual Endangered Language Communities. Proceedings of FEL XXI Alcanena 2017, 140-147. Alcanena, Portugal.

Miriam Meyerhoff Visiting Professor

Miriam Meyerhoff

  • Title: Visiting Professor

Miriam Meyerhoff works on language variation, especially in smaller, less well-documented languages. She has a particular interest in the structure and variability of languages that have emerged in situations of language contact; these include Bislama in Vanuatu, Pidgin in Hawai'i and Bequia English in the Caribbean. She also has an abiding interest in how variation is used to express and create social meaning, and has undertaken quantitative and qualitative analyses of the way variation in language helps to index gendered identities. Her work tackles variation at many levels of linguistic structure, and by positioning variation in relation to social structure, it intersects with the concerns of other disciplines in the humanities and social sciences.

Contribution to Laureate project

The significance of language contact for the study of variation has been under-researched and remains under-theorised in sociolinguistics. This is because the field has traditionally focused on monolingual speakers. In the Pacific, however, multilingualism is the norm and it is hard to see how we can adequately engage with the challenges of language description and language maintenance without also considering how variation in one language articulates with variation in another. Yet this very basic issue remains a mystery. As part of the Wellsprings project, Miriam will be advising on combining the insights of variationist sociolinguistics with language documentation, and will be considering ways in which the Wellsprings Project can help both fields develop, with mutually beneficial affordances.

Recent Publications

  1. Turning variation on its head: Analysing subject prefixes in Nkep (Vanuatu) for language documentation

    Bibliography

    Miriam Meyerhoff. May 2015. "Turning variation on its head: Analysing subject prefixes in Nkep (Vanuatu) for language documentation." Asia-Pacific Language Variation. 1 (1): 79-109. doi: 10.1075/aplv.1.1.04mey.

  2. Subject and object pronoun use in Bequia (St Vincent & the Grenadines)

    Bibliography

    Meyerhoff, Miriam, and Walker, James. February 2015. "Subject and object pronoun use in Bequia (St Vincent & the Grenadines)". In Language Issues in St Vincent and the Grenadines, 67-85. John Benjamins.

  3. The Routledge Handbook of Pidgin and Creole Languages

    Bibliography

    Umberto Ansaldo, and Miriam Meyerhoff. 2021. The Routledge Handbook of Pidgin and Creole Languages. New York : Routledge.

  4. Introduction: Variation in the Pacific

    Bibliography

    Eri Kashima, and Miriam Meyerhoff. 2020. "Introduction: Variation in the Pacific." Asia-Pacific Language Variation. 6 (2): 151–159. doi: 10.1075/aplv.00012.int.

  5. Order in the creole speech community: Marking past temporal reference in Bequia (St Vincent and the Grenadines)

    Bibliography

    Agata Daleszynska-Slater, Miriam Meyerhoff, and James Walker. 2019. "Order in the creole speech community: Marking past temporal reference in Bequia (St Vincent and the Grenadines)." Language Ecology. 3 (1): 58-88. doi: 10.1075/le.17007.dal.

Catherine Travis Project Advisor

Catherine Travis

  • Title: Project Advisor

Catherine is Professor of Modern European Languages in the School of Literature, Languages and Linguistics at the ANU, and is a CI in the Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language. Her research interest lies in the area of language variation and change. Her two current principal projects are testing of the convergence via code-switching hypothesis, through examination of the Spanish spoken in a bilingual community in New Mexico, USA (NMSEB project); and the study of social variation in English spoken in Australia, through a real and apparent time study of spontaneous speech of diverse social groups (including migrant communities) over the past 40 years (Sydney Speaks).

Contribution to Laureate project

As an advisor on the laureate project, Catherine will provide general advice, support and training on data analysis, and in particular, on the application of systematic, quantitative analysis to bilingual speech data. She will work more closely on specific PhD projects as a panel member.

Recent Publications

  1. Two languages, one effect: Structural priming in code-switching

    Bibliography

    Rena Torres Cacoullos, and Catherine Travis. August, 2016. "Two languages, one effect: Structural priming in code-switching." Bilingualism: Language and Cognition. 19 (4): 733-753. doi: 10.1017/S1366728914000406.

  2. Gauging convergence on the ground: code-switching in the community

    Bibliography

    Catherine Travis, and Rena Torres Cacoullos. August, 2015. "Gauging convergence on the ground: code-switching in the community." International Journal of Bilingualism (Guest editors - Special Issue). 19 (4): 365-480. doi: 10.1177/1367006913516042.

  3. Ethnic variation in real time: Change in Australian English diphthongs

    Bibliography

    James Grama, Catherine Travis, and Simon Gonzalez. 2021. "Ethnic variation in real time: Change in Australian English diphthongs". In Studies in Language Variation (Papers from the Tenth International Conference on Language Variation in Europe (ICLaVE 10), 292-314. Amsterdam.

  4. Categories and frequency: Cognition verbs in Spanish subject expression

    Bibliography

    Catherine Travis, and Rena Torres Cacoullos. 2021. "Categories and frequency: Cognition verbs in Spanish subject expression." Languages. 6 (3): 126. doi: https://doi.org/10.3390/languages6030126.

  5. Alternating or mixing languages

    Bibliography

    Travis, Catherine, and Torres Cacoullos, Rena. 2021. "Alternating or mixing languages". In English and Spanish: World languages in Interaction, 287-311. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Andrew Pawley Project Advisor

Andrew Pawley

  • Title: Project Advisor

Andrew Pawley is Emeritus Professor, School of Culture, History and Language, College of Asia and the Pacific, ANU. His main research interests are in the description and history of the languages and cultures of Pacific Island peoples and in developing richer models of linguistic competence. Andrew has undertaken fieldwork in Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Samoa and Tasmania, investigating Austronesian and Papuan languages and English, including collaborative research with archaeologists, ethnographers and biologists. Since 1963 he has been engaged in interdisciplinary research among the Kalam people in the Schrader Ranges, Papua New Guinea, focusing on language and perception and use of the natural environment. Since 1967 he has also pursued a similar project with the people of Waya Island, Western Fiji. For the last 20 years, Andrew has collaborated with Malcolm Ross and Meredith Osmond on a series of volumes that use lexical comparisons to reconstruct the culture and environment of speakers of Proto Oceanic, ancestor of most of the Austronesian languages of the Pacific Islands.

Contribution to Laureate project

Andrew will act as adviser regarding research on the nature of precontact linguistic diversity and homogeneity in various regions of the Pacific Islands, with special reference to Samoa.

Simon Greenhill Project Advisor

Simon Greenhill

  • Title: Project Advisor

Simon Greenhill is a ARC Discovery Fellow in the School of Culture, History & Language and ANU College of Asia and the Pacific at the Australian National University. He was previously a post-doctoral research fellow in the Psychology Department and Computational Evolution Group at the University of Auckland.

His main research focus is the evolution of languages and cultures. He has applied cutting-edge computational phylogenetic methods to language and cultural evolution, and used these methods to test hypotheses about human prehistory and cultural evolution in general. The questions he has explored so far include how people settled the Pacific, how language structure and complexity evolve, the co-evolution of cultural systems in the Pacific, and how cultural evolution can be modeled.

Recent Publications

  1. Cultural and Environmental Predictors of Pre-European Deforestation on Pacific Islands

    Bibliography

    Simon Greenhill, Quentin Atkinson, Ties Coomber, Sam Passmore, and Geoff Kushnick. May 27, 2016. "Cultural and Environmental Predictors of Pre-European Deforestation on Pacific Islands." PLoS ONE. 11 (5): e0156340. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0156340.

  2. D-PLACE: A Global Database of Cultural, Linguistic and Environmental Diversity

    Bibliography

    Simon Greenhill, Russell Gray, Kathryn Kirby, Fiona Jordan, Stephanie Gomes-Ng, and Hans-Jorg Bibiko. April 11, 2016. "D-PLACE: A Global Database of Cultural, Linguistic and Environmental Diversity." PLoS ONE. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0158391.

  3. The uses and abuses of tree thinking in cultural evolution

    Bibliography

    Cara Evans, Simon Greenhill, Joseph Watts, Johann-Mattis List, Carlos Botero, Russell Gray, and Kathryn Kirby. 2021. "The uses and abuses of tree thinking in cultural evolution." Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B. 376 (1828) doi: 10.1098/rstb.2020.0056.

  4. Kin Against Kin: Internal Co-selection and the Coherence of Kinship Typologies

    Bibliography

    Sam Passmore, Wolfgang Barth, Kyla Quinn, Simon Greenhill, Nicholas Evans, and Fiona Jordan. 2021. "Kin Against Kin: Internal Co-selection and the Coherence of Kinship Typologies." Biological Theory. 16 (3): 176–193. doi: 10.1007/s13752-021-00379-6.

  5. Blowing in the wind: Using "North Wind and the Sun' texts to sample phoneme inventories

    Bibliography

    Louise Baird, Nicholas Evans, and Simon Greenhill. 2021. "Blowing in the wind: Using "North Wind and the Sun' texts to sample phoneme inventories." Journal of the International Phonetic Association. doi: https://www.doi.org/10.1017/S002510032000033X.

Sonja Gipper Associate Investigator

Sonja Gipper

  • Title: Associate Investigator

Sonja is a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Linguistics, University of Cologne. She is working on Yurakaré, an endangered language isolate spoken in the Andean foothill area of central Bolivia. She did her PhD on the use of evidentials and intersubjective markers in that language (2011, MPI for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen). From 2011 until 2015, she taught linguistics at the University of Cologne. She started her project on variation in Yurakaré in 2016.

Contribution to Laureate project:

Sonja investigates different aspects of sociolinguistic variation in Yurakaré. One particular focus of her project is the study of linguistic attitudes and awareness of linguistic differences. How aware are speakers of the observed variation? What kinds of social meaning do they attach to different variants? And do those social meanings differ from those found in large Indo-European languages? Yurakaré is located in Amazonia, representing one of the world's linguistic diversity hotspots. You can find information about her research here.

Recent Publications

  1. Repeating responses as a conversational affordance for linguistic transmission: Evidence from Yurakare conversations

    Bibliography

    Sonja Gipper. 2020. "Repeating responses as a conversational affordance for linguistic transmission: Evidence from Yurakare conversations." Studies in language. 44 (2): 281-326. doi: 10.1075/sl.19041.gip.

  2. Life of =ti: Use and grammaticalization of a clausal nominalizer in Yurakaré

    Bibliography

    Gipper, Sonja, and Foong Ha, Foong Ha. 2019. "Life of =ti: Use and grammaticalization of a clausal nominalizer in Yurakaré". In Nominalization in Languages of the Americas, 363-390. John Benjamins.

  3. From similarity to evidentiality. Uncertain visual/perceptual evidentiality in Yurakaré and other languages

    Bibliography

    Gipper, Sonja. 2018. "From similarity to evidentiality. Uncertain visual/perceptual evidentiality in Yurakaré and other languages". In Evidence for Evidentiality, 257-280. John Benjamins.

  4. Pre-semantic pragmatics encoded: A non-spatial account of Yurakaré demonstratives

    Bibliography

    Sonja Gipper. 2017. "Pre-semantic pragmatics encoded: A non-spatial account of Yurakaré demonstratives." Journal of Pragmatics. 120: 122-143. doi: 10.1016/j.pragma.2017.08.012.

Luis Miguel Rojas-Berscia Associate Investigator

Luis Miguel Rojas-Berscia

  • Title: Associate Investigator

Luis Miguel is a PhD candidate within the Language in Interaction Consortium (LiI) in the Netherlands, currently based at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics and Radboud University Nijmegen. He was born in Peru, where he obtained a BAHons from Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (2012) with an initial description the syntax and semantics of causation of Shawi, an Amazonian language of the Upper Amazon. He then moved to the Netherlands to obtain a MA in Linguistics from Radboud University with a description of Selk'nam, an almost extinct language of Tierra del Fuego. He is interested in theoretical linguistics, historical linguistics, sociolinguistics and language description.

Contribution to Laureate project:

Luis Miguel's fieldsite is the Upper Amazon of Peru. He focuses on language description as well as on variation in Shawi from both a historical and variationist perspective.

Complemented by the analysis of historical sources as well as data collected in situ, this project wants to provide a first approach to understanding South America's rampant linguistic diversity. You can find information about his research here.

Recent Publications

  1. Pre-Historical Language Contact in Peruvian Amazonia. A dynamic approach to Shawi (Kawapanan)

    Bibliography

    Luis Miguel Rojas-Berscia. 2021. Pre-Historical Language Contact in Peruvian Amazonia. A dynamic approach to Shawi (Kawapanan). : John Benjamins.

  2. The Chachapuya language and Proto-Kawapanan: lexical affinities and hypothetical contact scenarios

    Bibliography

    Luis Miguel Rojas-Berscia. 2020. "The Chachapuya language and Proto-Kawapanan: lexical affinities and hypothetical contact scenarios." Indiana. 37 (1): 155-188. doi: 10.18441/ind.v37i1.155-188.

  3. Shawi (Chayahuita)

    Bibliography

    Luis Miguel Rojas-Berscia, Andrés Napurí, and Lei Wang. 2020. "Shawi (Chayahuita)." Journal of the International Phonetic Association. 50 (3): 417-430. doi: 10.1017/S0025100318000415.

  4. O português dos jovens da aldeia Afukuri: notas sobre o contato linguístico no Alto Xingu notas sobre o contato linguístico no Alto Xingu

    Bibliography

    Luis Miguel Rojas-Berscia, Douglas William Pereira, and Makukan Mehinaku Kuikuro. 2020. "O português dos jovens da aldeia Afukuri: notas sobre o contato linguístico no Alto Xingu notas sobre o contato linguístico no Alto Xingu." Brazilian Journal of Anthropological Linguistics. 12 (1): 17-35. doi: 10.26512/rbla.v12i1.31045.

  5. Mixing and semantic transparency in the genesis of Yilan Japanese

    Bibliography

    Rojas-Berscia, Luis Miguel, Smith, Norval, Veenstra, Tonjes, and Aboh, Enoch Oladé. 2020. "Mixing and semantic transparency in the genesis of Yilan Japanese". In Advances in Contact Linguistics: In hour of Pieter Muysken, 262-282. John Benjamins.

Eri Kashima PhD Student

Eri Kashima

  • Title: PhD Student

Eri is a PhD candidate who will form part of the Southern New Guinea contingency of the Wellsprings Project. She has completed two honours theses at the University of Melbourne; one in Anthropology (2007), and the other in Linguistics (2013). Eri researched into the distribution and semantics of the remote past tense in Papuan languages for her honours thesis. Her research interests lie in language contact and change phenomena, multilingualism, and sociolinguistic variation.

Contribution to Laureate project

Eri will be conducting a variationist study of the multilingual Nambu community of Southern Papua New Guinea. She will study both socially and linguistically conditioned speech variation, and will create a sketch grammar of this little-studied language. Through this project Eri also hopes to touch upon some methodological challenges unique to conducting a variationist study on a small speech community of an under-described language. These include how to construct an adequate corpus within a restricted time frame, how to integrate 'the variable of multilingualism' in a variationist study, and how to create an adequate population sample from a speaker base with low numbers.

Recent Publications

  1. The phonetics of Nmbo (Nɐmbo) with some comments on its phonology (Yam family; Morehead district)

    Bibliography

    Kashima, Eri. 2021. "The phonetics of Nmbo (Nɐmbo) with some comments on its phonology (Yam family; Morehead district)". In Phonetic fieldwork in Southern New Guinea, 53-75. University of Hawaii Press.

  2. Language In My Mouth: Linguistic Variation in the Nmbo Speech Community of Southern New Guinea

    Bibliography

    Eri Kashima. 2020. Language In My Mouth: Linguistic Variation in the Nmbo Speech Community of Southern New Guinea. Canberra : Australian National University PhD Thesis.

  3. Introduction: Variation in the Pacific

    Bibliography

    Eri Kashima, and Miriam Meyerhoff. 2020. "Introduction: Variation in the Pacific." Asia-Pacific Language Variation. 6 (2): 151–159. doi: 10.1075/aplv.00012.int.

  4. Word-initial [h]-drop variation in Nmbo: Change-in-progress in an egalitarian multilingual speech community of Papua New Guinea

    Bibliography

    Eri Kashima. 2020. "Word-initial [h]-drop variation in Nmbo: Change-in-progress in an egalitarian multilingual speech community of Papua New Guinea." Asia-Pacific Language Variation. 6 (2): 250–277. doi: 10.1075/aplv.20002.kas.

  5. The languages of Southern New Guinea

    Bibliography

    Evans, Nicholas, Arka, Wayan, Carroll, Matthew, Choi, Yun Jung, Döhler, Christian, Gast, Volker, Kashima, Eri, Mittag, Emil, Olsson, Bruno, Quinn, Kyla, Schokkin, Dineke, Tama, Philip, Tongeren, Charlotte van, Siegel, Jeff, and Palmer, Bill. 2018. "The languages of Southern New Guinea". In The Languages and Linguistics of the New Guinea Area, 641–774. De Gruyter.

Marie-France Duhamel PhD Student

Marie-France Duhamel

  • Title: PhD Student

Marie will be part of the team working in Vanuatu, on the language varieties of South Pentecost. For her Masters research (2010) she collected data on the islet of Atchin (northeast Malakula) to document features of the local language. As a research assistant she also worked on N'kep, a language of Espiritu Santo. Marie has particular interests in working on the lesser known languages, especially for what these can reveal in terms of cognition and linguistic typology. Investigating linguistic variation, its agents and how speakers respond to it, is another area of interest.

Contribution to Laureate project

As a PhD student, Marie will work on languages of Pentecost, Vanuatu. She will contribute to the detailed sociolinguistic case-study of the Raga language, spoken in North Pentecost, and compare aspects of it with the highly diverse Sa language, spoken in South Pentecost. In large speech communities, sociolinguistic studies have revealed the role of women, adolescents and members of the lower middle class as introducers and propagators of linguistic variation and innovation, but there have been few similar studies in small-scale speech communities. The variationist data that she will be collecting for the Wellsprings of Linguistic Diversity project will offer an exceptional opportunity for Marie to conduct this type of research.

Recent Publications

  1. The Concept of Taboo in Raga, Vanuatu: Semantic Mapping and Etymology

    Bibliography

    Marie-France Duhamel. 2021. "The Concept of Taboo in Raga, Vanuatu: Semantic Mapping and Etymology." Oceania. doi: doi:10.1002/ocea.5288.

  2. Variation in Raga - a quantitative and qualitative study of the language of North Pentecost, Vanuatu

    Bibliography

    Marie-France Duhamel. 2020. Variation in Raga - a quantitative and qualitative study of the language of North Pentecost, Vanuatu. Canberra : Australian National University PhD Thesis.

  3. Borrowing from Bislama into Raga, Vanuatu: Borrowing frequency, adaptation strategies and semantic considerations

    Bibliography

    Marie-France Duhamel. 2020. "Borrowing from Bislama into Raga, Vanuatu: Borrowing frequency, adaptation strategies and semantic considerations." Asia-Pacific Language Variation. 6 (2): 160–195. doi: 10.1075/aplv.19015.duh.

  4. The possessive classifiers in Raga, Vanuatu: an investigation of their use and function in natural speech

    Bibliography

    Marie-France Duhamel. 2019. "The possessive classifiers in Raga, Vanuatu: an investigation of their use and function in natural speech." Te Reo, the Journal of the Linguistic Society of New Zealand. 62 (1): 26-48.

Alexandra Marley PhD Student

Alexandra Marley

  • Title: PhD Student

Alexandra (Alex) is a PhD candidate in the Wellsprings Project who will be working in western Arnhem Land. Alex completed her MA in linguistics through the CRLD (La Trobe University) in 2013, focusing on language use and maintenance of multilingualism in a Qaqet Baining community (East New Britain, PNG). Her research interests are language maintenance and shift, language ideology and attitudes, perceptual dialectology, language contact, multilingualism and sociolinguistic variation, and particularly how these intersect.

Contribution to Laureate project

Alex will be examining the impact of dialect and language contact on inter-speaker variation in the Bininj Kunwok dialect chain, spoken in Western Arnhem Land and now parts of Kakadu. The Top End region where Bininj Kunwok is spoken is the most linguistically diverse area in Australia, however we have little understanding of how the many unrelated languages there came to be and survived (prior to European settlement) despite millennia of contact with one another. In addition to furthering our understanding of variation in Bininj Kunwok, Alex aims to also explore what roles language ideologies, social structure and identity, and land ties may play in the language’s maintenance and variation.

Recent Publications

  1. Kundangkudjikaberrk: Language variation and change in Bininj Kunwok, a Gunwinyguan language of Northern Australia

    Bibliography

    Alexandra Marley. 2020. Kundangkudjikaberrk: Language variation and change in Bininj Kunwok, a Gunwinyguan language of Northern Australia. Canberra : Australian National University PhD Thesis.

  2. Marlkawo Ngarri-wam: We went to Marlkawo

    Bibliography

    Sarah Bilis, Liz Newell, Murray Garde, and Alexandra Marley. 2015. Marlkawo Ngarri-wam: We went to Marlkawo. Melbourne : Children's Ground.

Hedvig Skirgard PhD Student

Hedvig Skirgard

  • Title: PhD Student

Hedvig is one of the PhD candidates in the Wellsprings project and her field site is Samoa. She is Swedish and has an MA from Stockholm University (2013). She has a background in grammatical typology, contact linguistics, cross-linguistic databases and languages of West Africa. She is interested in the diversity, disparity and complexity of linguistic systems and how we can improve our understanding of these topics by improving methodology in typology and more detailed first hand data collection suitable for systematic comparison.

Contribution to Laureate project

Hedvig's field site is Samoa and her topic variation in Samoan and the possible reasons behind it. The other field sites of the Wellsprings of Linguistic Diversity project display high linguistic diversity: western Arnhem Land, Morehead district of Southern New Guinea, and South Pentecost Island. Samoa, however, is at the other extreme with a very low diversity.

Why is this? Hedvig wants to investigate the relationship between societal structure and social networks and the spread of linguistic and cultural innovations. What is it that makes Polynesia so different from Melanesia?

Recent Publications

  1. Multilevel dynamics of language diversity and disparity in Oceania

    Bibliography

    Hedvig Skirgard. 2021. Multilevel dynamics of language diversity and disparity in Oceania. Canberra : Australian National University PhD Thesis.

  2. CHIELD: the causal hypotheses in evolutionary linguistics database

    Bibliography

    Sean Roberts, Anton Killin, Angarika Deb, Catherine Sheard, Simon Greenhill, Kaius Sinnemäki, José Segovia-Martín, Jonas Nölle, Aleksandrs Berdicevskis, Archie Humphreys-Balkwill, Hannah Little, Christopher Opie, Guillaume Jacques, Lindell Bromham, Peeter Tinits, Robert Ross, Sean Lee, Emily Gasser, Jasmine Calladine, Matthew Spike, Stephen Mann, Olena Shcherbakova, Ruth Singer, Shuya Zhang, Antonio Benítez-Burraco, Christian Kliesch, Ewan Thomas-Colquhoun, Hedvig Skirgard, Monica Tamariz, Sam Passmore, Thomas Pellard, and Fiona Jordan. 2020. "CHIELD: the causal hypotheses in evolutionary linguistics database." Journal of Language Evolution. 5 (2): 101-120. doi: 10.1093/jole/lzaa001.

Bianca Hennessy Project Administrator

Bianca Hennessy

  • Title: Project Administrator

Bianca’s role in the project involves fieldwork and conference coordination, communication between team members and general administrative support. She acts as a central contact for those interested in the activities of the project. Bianca is also a PhD student, researching indigenous epistemologies used in research and teaching in Pacific Studies.

Anyone interested in the activities of the project can email Bianca.hennessy@anu.edu.au.

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