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Prof Carmel O'Shannessy delivers public lecture, 'React locally: How language creation can be a response to global language pressure' for Humanities Research Centre at The Australian National University 17 March 2015

Australian National University, Evolution, Shape

Date: 17 March 2015

On Tuesday 17 March, Carmel O'Shannessy delivered a well attended public lecture on her research into a mixed language of the Nothern Territory. She discussed how the Warlpiri community has reacted creatively to global pressure from English by incorporating elements of Warlpiri and varieties of English and Kriol systematically in a new way of speaking. The speakers incorporate the source languages into the new code in a pattern rarely seen in the world's languages – by combining noun structure from Warlpiri with verb structure from English and Kriol, and adding structural innovations not found in any of the source languages. She argued that the unusual structure is motivated by an interplay of multilingualism, child-directed speech, and peer-group social interactions; and that a community's response to global pressure can be one of dynamic creativity.

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