Australian languages, histories of documentation, description and revival

Online workshop, 1–2 December 2022

Organisers: James McElvenny and Clara Stockigt

This workshop will bring together linguists, anthropologists and historians to discuss the history of the documentation, description and revival of the Aboriginal languages of Australia. Central questions to be addressed by the workshop include:

1. Who over the past 250 years has studied Australian languages? What motivations lay behind documentation and revival efforts? What were the material conditions under which this work took place?

2. What roles have Aboriginal people played, whether as informants, collaborators or drivers of language documentation and revival? What ideas and innovations have they brought along?

3. What encounters have there been in Australia between different linguistic and philological traditions? What theoretical traditions have informed language documentation and revival, including the implicit theories contained in language learning textbooks?

4. What links have there been between those working in the field and the academic world? How has empirical data from Australian language shaped the development of academic linguistic theory? What role have descriptions of Australian languages played in the worldwide circulation of linguistic knowledge?

The workshop will take place online 1–2 December 2022. Please send abstracts of no more than 300 words to James McElvenny ( by 1 May 2022. Notifications of acceptance will be sent by 1 June.

Papers will be 20 minutes in length followed by 10 minutes of discussion.

Selected papers will be invited for inclusion in an edited volume to be published in open access.

Posted in Announcements, Conferences and workshops

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