Special Issue "Australian Languages Today"

A special issue of Languages (ISSN 2226-471X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 January 2021) | Viewed by 15940

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Elisabeth Mayer
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Literature, Languages and Linguistics, The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia
Interests: syntax–discourse interface; language contact and change; bilingualism; language acquisition; language policies; Spanish; Quechua; Shipibo; Asháninka
Dr. Carmel O'Shannessy
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Literature, Languages and Linguistics, The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia
Interests: Australian contact languages; language acquisition; multilingualism; languages in education; language variation and change; Warlpiri; Light Warlpiri
Prof. Dr. Jane Simpson
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
ARC Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language, The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia
Interests: Australian Indigenous languages; structure of languages; lexicography; language policy; language history; Warumungu; Warlpiri; Kaurna

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The goal of this Special Issue is to highlight works that add new perspectives to research on Australian languages, on a range of topics.

Current research on Australian languages includes theoretically informed in-depth analyses on essential topics ranging across structures of traditional and newer languages and varieties, multiple modalities of communication, contact languages, language ecologies, language-in-interaction, language variation and change, languages in education, language renewal, language acquisition and more. Emerging research brings exciting new perspectives to each area.

This Special Issue aims to collate a range of these new works, creating a timely locus of information for international and national audiences. With the UNESCO Decade of Indigenous Languages beginning in 2022, this Special Issue of Languages also aims to be an excellent forum for bringing together cutting-edge works on Australian languages for an international audience. Papers by Indigenous and emerging researchers, including collaborative papers, are strongly encouraged.

We request that, prior to submitting a manuscript, interested authors initially submit a proposed title and an abstract of 400–600 words summarizing their intended contribution. Please send it to the guest editors <[email protected]> or to the Languages editorial office ([email protected]) by the deadline 31 August 2020.

Abstracts will be reviewed by the guest editors to ensure proper fit within the scope of the Special Issue. Full manuscripts will undergo double-blind peer-review. Note that an advantage of publication in the journal is that papers are published online as they are ready, even if other papers in the collection are not yet ready.

Tentative completion schedule:

  • Abstract submission deadline: 31 August 2020
  • Notification of abstract acceptance: 20 September 2020
  • Full manuscript deadline: 31 January 2021

References

Bowern, Claire, and Koch, Harold. Eds. 2004. Australian languages: classification and the comparative method. Current Issues in Linguistic Theory 249.  Philadelphia/Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Bowern, Claire. Ed. In prep. Oxford Handbook of Australian languages. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Koch, Harold, and Nordlinger, Rachel. Eds. 2014. The languages and linguistics of Australia: a comprehensive guide:  The world of linguistics. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.

Leitner, Gerhard, and Malcolm, Ian G. Eds. 2007. The habitat of Australia's Aboriginal languages: past, present and future. Trends in linguistics, Studies and Monographs 179.  Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Meakins, Felicity, and Carmel O'Shannessy. Eds. 2016. Loss and renewal: Australian languages since colonisation. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter

Dr. Elisabeth Mayer
Dr Carmel O’Shannessy
Prof. Dr. Jane Simpson
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Languages is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Australian languages
  • sign languages
  • contact languages
  • language structures
  • language history
  • language ecologies
  • language maintenance
  • revitalization and renewal
  • language interaction
  • language variation and change
  • multilingualism
  • language acquisition

Published Papers (13 papers)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

Article
Identifying Salient Aktionsart Properties in Anindilyakwa
Languages 2021, 6(4), 164; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages6040164 - 09 Oct 2021
Viewed by 580
Abstract
This article considers the identification and classification of salient Aktionsart properties in Anindilyakwa (Gunwinyguan, Australia). Through examining the grammatically permissible (and impermissible) distribution and co-occurrence of various temporal adverbials and morpho-syntactic structures, I identify key Aktionsart properties exhibited in Anindilyakwa. I demonstrate that [...] Read more.
This article considers the identification and classification of salient Aktionsart properties in Anindilyakwa (Gunwinyguan, Australia). Through examining the grammatically permissible (and impermissible) distribution and co-occurrence of various temporal adverbials and morpho-syntactic structures, I identify key Aktionsart properties exhibited in Anindilyakwa. I demonstrate that the properties of dynamism and atomicity are particularly important to consider in this language, while telicity is less prominent. The detailed description and analysis of Aktionsart properties in this article contributes towards a more nuanced understanding of the aspectuo-temporal system of Anindilyakwa. In addition, it provides novel perspectives with which to consider cross-linguistic aspectuo-temporal research, particularly with a focus on smaller-scale, under-described languages. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Australian Languages Today)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
On the Integration of Dative Adjuncts into Event Structures in Yapa Languages
Languages 2021, 6(3), 136; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages6030136 - 13 Aug 2021
Viewed by 753
Abstract
Warlpiri and Warlmanpa (Ngumpin-Yapa languages of Australia) exhibit a complex predicate construction in which a class of preverbs introduces a single argument that is not shared by the argument structure of the inflecting verb, nor is there necessarily any shared event structure. This [...] Read more.
Warlpiri and Warlmanpa (Ngumpin-Yapa languages of Australia) exhibit a complex predicate construction in which a class of preverbs introduces a single argument that is not shared by the argument structure of the inflecting verb, nor is there necessarily any shared event structure. This is problematic for many theories of linking structures of complex predicates, since no arguments or events are shared between the predicative elements of the complex predicate. The same grammatical relation is instantiated by a beneficiary adjunct. In light of new research in event and argument structure, I propose a lexical rule which introduces an applicative argument to account for the beneficiary construction; and that the preverbs take another predicate as one of their arguments to account for the complex predicates. The applicative rule and the preverbs both introduce an argument of the same grammatical relation, leading to interesting interactions, given that two grammatical relations of the same type are not expected to co-occur within a single clause. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Australian Languages Today)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Definiteness, Information Structure, and Indirect Modification in the Kunbarlang Noun Phrase
Languages 2021, 6(3), 111; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages6030111 - 22 Jun 2021
Viewed by 795
Abstract
Kunbarlang shows considerable variation in the word order patterns of nominal expressions. This paper investigates these patterns, concentrating on the distribution of noun markers (articles) and on attributive modification. Based on examination of spontaneous discourse and elicitation, I identify two main contributions of [...] Read more.
Kunbarlang shows considerable variation in the word order patterns of nominal expressions. This paper investigates these patterns, concentrating on the distribution of noun markers (articles) and on attributive modification. Based on examination of spontaneous discourse and elicitation, I identify two main contributions of the noun marker: definiteness and predicative reading of modifiers. Furthermore, the order of adjectives with respect to the head noun is shown to correlate with information-structural effects. Taken together, these facts strongly support a hierarchical structure analysis of the NP in Kunbarlang. In the second part of the paper, Kunbarlang data are compared to the typology of determiner spreading phenomena. Finally, I entertain the prospects of a more formal analysis of the data presented and indicate their theoretical and typological relevance, including expression of information structure below the clausal level, typology of adnominal elements, and architecture of attributive modification. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Australian Languages Today)
Article
Interdisciplinary and Intercultural Development of an Early Literacy App in Dhuwaya
Languages 2021, 6(2), 106; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages6020106 - 15 Jun 2021
Viewed by 1036
Abstract
Phonological awareness is a skill which is crucial in learning to read. In this paper, we report on the challenges encountered while developing a digital application (app) for teaching phonological awareness and early literacy skills in Dhuwaya. Dhuwaya is a Yolŋu language variety [...] Read more.
Phonological awareness is a skill which is crucial in learning to read. In this paper, we report on the challenges encountered while developing a digital application (app) for teaching phonological awareness and early literacy skills in Dhuwaya. Dhuwaya is a Yolŋu language variety spoken in Yirrkala and surrounding areas in East Arnhem Land. Dhuwaya is the first language of the children who attend a bilingual school in which Dhuwaya and English are the languages of instruction. Dhuwaya and English have different phonemic inventories and different alphabets. The Dhuwaya alphabet is based on Roman alphabet symbols and has 31 graphemes (compared to 26 in English). The app was designed to teach children how to segment and blend syllables and phonemes and to identify common words as well as suffixes used in the language. However, the development was not straightforward, and the impact of the linguistic, cultural and educational challenges could not have been predicted. Amongst these was the inherent variation in the language, including glottal stops, the pronunciation of stops, the focus on syllables as a decoding strategy for literacy development and challenges of finding one-syllable words such as those initially used with English-speaking children. Another challenge was identifying culturally appropriate images which the children could relate to and which were not copyrighted. In this paper, we discuss these plus a range of other issues that emerged, identifying how these problems were addressed and resolved by the interdisciplinary and intercultural team. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Australian Languages Today)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Reflexive and Reciprocal Encoding in the Australian Mixed Language, Light Warlpiri
Languages 2021, 6(2), 105; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages6020105 - 10 Jun 2021
Viewed by 1265
Abstract
Mixed languages combine significant amounts of grammatical and lexical material from more than one source language in systematic ways. The Australian mixed language, Light Warlpiri, combines nominal morphology from Warlpiri with verbal morphology from Kriol (an English-lexified Creole) and English, with innovations. The [...] Read more.
Mixed languages combine significant amounts of grammatical and lexical material from more than one source language in systematic ways. The Australian mixed language, Light Warlpiri, combines nominal morphology from Warlpiri with verbal morphology from Kriol (an English-lexified Creole) and English, with innovations. The source languages of Light Warlpiri differ in how they encode reflexives and reciprocals—Warlpiri uses an auxiliary clitic for both reflexive and reciprocal expression, while English and Kriol both use pronominal forms, and largely have separate forms for reflexives and reciprocals. English distinguishes person and number in reflexives, but not in reciprocals; the other source languages do not distinguish person or number. This study draws on naturalistic and elicited production data to examine how reflexive and reciprocal events are encoded in Light Warlpiri. The study finds that Light Warlpiri combines near-maximal distinctions from the source languages, but in a way that is not a mirror of any. It retains the person and number distinctions of English reflexives and extends them to reciprocals, using the same forms for reflexives and reciprocals (like Warlpiri). Reflexives and reciprocals occur within a verbal structure (perhaps under influence from Warlpiri). The results show that a mixed language can have discrete contributions from three languages, that the source languages can influence different subsystems to different extents, and that near-maximal distinctions from the source languages can be maintained. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Australian Languages Today)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Matjarr Djuyal: How Using Gesture in Teaching Gathang Helps Preschoolers Learn Nouns
Languages 2021, 6(2), 103; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages6020103 - 07 Jun 2021
Viewed by 1483
Abstract
There are important efforts being made to revitalise Aboriginal languages in Australia, which are both pedagogically and culturally appropriate. This research seeks to expand the current knowledge of the effectiveness of gesturing as a teaching strategy for young children learning the Gathang language. [...] Read more.
There are important efforts being made to revitalise Aboriginal languages in Australia, which are both pedagogically and culturally appropriate. This research seeks to expand the current knowledge of the effectiveness of gesturing as a teaching strategy for young children learning the Gathang language. An experimental method was used to investigate the effectiveness of gesture by employing a context in which other variables (e.g., other teaching pedagogies) could be held constant. Participants, age range 4–5.2 years, were taught Gathang nouns with gesture and without gesture, alongside verbal and pictorial instruction. After the teaching sessions, each child was assessed for their receptive and expressive knowledge of the Gathang nouns, at two time points, two days after instruction (post-test 1) and one week after (post-test 2). At post-test 2, children had stronger receptive knowledge for words they had learned with gesture than without. These findings contribute to a growing body of research attesting to the effectiveness of gesture for improving knowledge acquisition amongst learners. In the context of Aboriginal language revitalisation, gesture also aligns with traditional teaching practices and offers a relatively low-cost strategy for helping teachers assist their students in acquiring Aboriginal languages. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Australian Languages Today)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Enduring and Contemporary Code-Switching Practices in Northern Australia
Languages 2021, 6(2), 90; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages6020090 - 18 May 2021
Viewed by 1115
Abstract
In Maningrida, northern Australia, code-switching is a commonplace phenomenon within a complex of both longstanding and more recent language practices characterised by high levels of linguistic diversity and multilingualism. Code-switching is observable between local Indigenous languages and is now also widespread between local [...] Read more.
In Maningrida, northern Australia, code-switching is a commonplace phenomenon within a complex of both longstanding and more recent language practices characterised by high levels of linguistic diversity and multilingualism. Code-switching is observable between local Indigenous languages and is now also widespread between local languages and English and/or Kriol. In this paper, I consider whether general predictions about the nature and functioning of code-switching account for practices in the Maningrida context. I consider: (i) what patterns characterise longstanding code-switching practices between different Australian languages in the region, as opposed to code-switching between an Australian language and Kriol or English? (ii) how do the distinctions observable align with general predictions and constraints from dominant theoretical frameworks? Need we look beyond these factors to explain the patterns? Results indicate that general predictions, including the effects of typological congruence, account for many observable tendencies in the data. However, other factors, such as constraints exerted by local ideologies of multilingualism and linguistic purism, as well as shifting socio-interactional goals, may help account for certain distinct patterns in the Maningrida data. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Australian Languages Today)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
“I Speak My Language My Way!”—Young People’s Kunwok
Languages 2021, 6(2), 88; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages6020088 - 14 May 2021
Viewed by 1268
Abstract
Bininj Kunwok is a Gunwinyguan language (a non-Pama-Nyungan) spoken in west Arnhem Land and Kakadu National Park, NT, Australia. With around 2500 speakers and children learning it as a first language, Kunwok is one of the strongest Indigenous languages in Australia. Despite its [...] Read more.
Bininj Kunwok is a Gunwinyguan language (a non-Pama-Nyungan) spoken in west Arnhem Land and Kakadu National Park, NT, Australia. With around 2500 speakers and children learning it as a first language, Kunwok is one of the strongest Indigenous languages in Australia. Despite its small speech community, it exhibits considerable variation, much of which has been the subject of recent research. One of the primary findings from this study into variation in Kunwok is the rich interspeaker diversity, particularly between different generations of Kunwok speakers. Comparing the speech of young adults and children with that of their elders through a multigenerational corpus has revealed a language change in progress (demonstrated both in real time and apparent time). This paper will discuss three of the key differentiating features of young people’s Kunwok: word-initial engma production, pronominal forms and paradigms and loanwords. We will also examine community members’ perspectives on young people’s Kunwok on the basis that they provide insight into the ideological frameworks that support the linguistic variation and change documented in the community. In conclusion, the paper will summarise the findings, outlining the main features of young people’s Kunwok, and then reflect on the trajectory of Kunwok and the contributions of this study to our understanding of language change in the Australian Aboriginal context. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Australian Languages Today)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Exploring Phonological Aspects of Australian Indigenous Sign Languages
Languages 2021, 6(2), 81; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages6020081 - 30 Apr 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1235
Abstract
Spoken languages make up only one aspect of the communicative landscape of Indigenous Australia—sign languages are also an important part of their rich and diverse language ecologies. Australian Indigenous sign languages are predominantly used by hearing people as a replacement for speech in [...] Read more.
Spoken languages make up only one aspect of the communicative landscape of Indigenous Australia—sign languages are also an important part of their rich and diverse language ecologies. Australian Indigenous sign languages are predominantly used by hearing people as a replacement for speech in certain cultural contexts. Deaf or hard-of-hearing people are also known to make use of these sign languages. In some circumstances, sign may be used alongside speech, and in others it may replace speech altogether. Alternate sign languages such as those found in Australia occupy a particular place in the diversity of the world’s sign languages. However, the focus of research on sign language phonology has almost exclusively been on sign languages used in deaf communities. This paper takes steps towards deepening understandings of signed language phonology by examining the articulatory features of handshape and body locations in the signing practices of three communities in Central and Northern Australia. We demonstrate that, while Australian Indigenous sign languages have some typologically unusual features, they exhibit the same ‘fundamental’ structural characteristics as other sign languages. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Australian Languages Today)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Multilingual Repertoires at Play: Structure and Function in Reported Speech Utterances of Alyawarr Children
Languages 2021, 6(2), 79; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages6020079 - 23 Apr 2021
Viewed by 1173
Abstract
While there is increasing international interest in approaching language analysis with the prism of repertoire, research on repertoire on the Australian continent is still very much in the shadow of “traditional” language-centric documentary work. This paper will explore the question of how users [...] Read more.
While there is increasing international interest in approaching language analysis with the prism of repertoire, research on repertoire on the Australian continent is still very much in the shadow of “traditional” language-centric documentary work. This paper will explore the question of how users of Australian, English-lexified contact varieties exploit their multilingual repertoires to achieve local, conversation–organizational ends. Drawing upon a corpus of video recordings from Ipmangker, a Central Australian Aboriginal community, and using the analytical methods of interactional and comparative variationist linguistics, I examine the production of reported speech by four 6- to 7-year-old Alyawarr children in a play session at home. A set of prosodic, phonological, morphological and discourse-pragmatic features are shown to form a coherent set of linguistic elements with which these multilingual children can contrast reported speech from the surrounding talk. Moreover, the use of reported speech in play not only allows the children to organize their interaction, but responds to and constructs the epistemic landscape of play. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Australian Languages Today)
Article
They Talk Muṯumuṯu: Variable Elision of Tense Suffixes in Contemporary Pitjantjatjara
Languages 2021, 6(2), 69; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages6020069 - 07 Apr 2021
Viewed by 1070
Abstract
Vowel elision is common in Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara connected speech. It also appears to be a locus of language change, with young people extending elision to new contexts; resulting in a distinctive style of speech which speakers refer to as muṯumuṯu (‘short’ speech). [...] Read more.
Vowel elision is common in Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara connected speech. It also appears to be a locus of language change, with young people extending elision to new contexts; resulting in a distinctive style of speech which speakers refer to as muṯumuṯu (‘short’ speech). This study examines the productions of utterance-final past tense suffixes /-nu, -ɳu, -ŋu/ by four older and four younger Pitjantjatjara speakers in spontaneous speech. This is a context where elision tends not to be sociolinguistically or perceptually salient. We find extensive variance within and between speakers in the realization of both the vowel and nasal segments. We also find evidence of a change in progress, with a mixed effects model showing that among the older speakers, elision is associated with both the place of articulation of the nasal segment and the metrical structure of the verbal stem, while among the younger speakers, elision is associated with place of articulation but metrical structure plays little role. This is in line with a reanalysis of the conditions for elision by younger speakers based on the variability present in the speech of older people. Such a reanalysis would also account for many of the sociolinguistically marked extended contexts of elision. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Australian Languages Today)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Communities of Practice in the Warlpiri Triangle: Four Decades of Crafting Ideological and Implementational Spaces for Teaching in and of Warlpiri Language
Languages 2021, 6(2), 68; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages6020068 - 06 Apr 2021
Viewed by 1237
Abstract
Warlpiri communities in Australia’s Northern Territory (NT) have long advocated for the inclusion of Warlpiri language, values and knowledge in their government-run schools. After the first bilingual programs were established in the NT in the 1970s, educators and community members from four Warlpiri [...] Read more.
Warlpiri communities in Australia’s Northern Territory (NT) have long advocated for the inclusion of Warlpiri language, values and knowledge in their government-run schools. After the first bilingual programs were established in the NT in the 1970s, educators and community members from four Warlpiri communities formed a professional network known as the Warlpiri Triangle, a platform for meetings and professional development focusing on teaching and learning in and of Warlpiri language in schools. On these platforms, educators have consistently articulated the goal of the Warlpiri programs as maintenance of Warlpiri pirrjirdi, ‘strong Warlpiri language’. In this paper we seek to explore the development, refinement and consolidation of a consensual ideology around teaching and learning of and in Warlpiri pirrjirdi, ‘strong Warlpiri language’ that has informed Warlpiri language-in-education management. We analyse interviews with five Warlpiri educators at Yuendumu school in 2018/9 and a body of grey literature from four decades of Warlpiri educator professional development activities that has been less widely acknowledged and visible in local education policy discourse. We draw on the theoretical concept of communities of practice to understand the ways in which Warlpiri educators negotiate ideological and implementational spaces for inclusion of Warlpiri language teaching in the context of an ambivalent language-in-education policy environment. The results of this study exemplify the reiteration and reproduction of language-in-education goals through a community of practice in a sustained arena of action, the Warlpiri Triangle. The findings render more visible the vital efforts of Warlpiri educators and their professional networks in shaping language-in-education policy and practice to realise community aspirations of Warlpiri language maintenance in the school context. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Australian Languages Today)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Variable Modality in Pintupi-Luritja Purposive Clauses
Languages 2021, 6(1), 52; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages6010052 - 18 Mar 2021
Viewed by 1381
Abstract
This paper investigates the modal and non-modal uses and readings of the purposive suffix in the Western Desert (Pama-Nyungan) language Pintupi-Luritja. It is shown that the suffix is associated with a range of root-modal readings, with some variability in modal force. The modal [...] Read more.
This paper investigates the modal and non-modal uses and readings of the purposive suffix in the Western Desert (Pama-Nyungan) language Pintupi-Luritja. It is shown that the suffix is associated with a range of root-modal readings, with some variability in modal force. The modal readings are investigated in a variety of non-upward-entailing environments and compared with those of other variable modal force languages as described in the literature. I suggest that the purposive suffix does not behave in the same way as in these languages, which suggests that the typology of variable force modality is not uniform. I conclude by suggesting a connection to the modality described in non-finite and nominalised environments in a number of other languages. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Australian Languages Today)
Back to TopTop