About

My name is Peter K. Austin and I am Emeritus Professor in Field Linguistics at SOAS, University of London, and Visiting Researcher, Oxford University. I retired from SOAS on 31 December 2018 after having worked there for 15 years. Previously, I was a Humboldt Researcher at Goethe University of Frankfurt (2002) and Foundation Professor of Linguistics at University of Melbourne, Australia (1996-2002). I spent a year as 客員研究社 Visiting Researcher at 東京外国語大学 Tokyo University of Foreign Studies (mid 1995-mid 1996) and one semester as Visiting Fellow at 香港大學 University of Hong Kong (early 1995). Prior to that I was Reader in Linguistics at La Trobe University (1981-1995).

My research covers descriptive, theoretical and applied linguistics, with a focus on the theory and practice of language documentation. I have carried out fieldwork on Australian Aboriginal languages (in New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia), and the Austronesian languages Sasak and Samawa spoken on Lombok and Sumbawa Islands in eastern Indonesia. I have also been involved in language revitalisation work with Dieri Aboriginal Corporation of South Australia and the Baiyungu Aboriginal Corporation in Western Australia. I am the author of various blogs, such as the Dieri language blog. Jiwarli language blog, Languages of the Gascoyne Region, Western Australia, and EL Blog. You can also find information about me on Wikipedia.

I grew up on a farm near Nemingha, northern New South Wales (about 10km from the town of Tamworth, famous for its annual Country Music Festival that attracts over 50,000 visitors annually). I started my linguistics career at the Australian National University in Canberra, with a BA (Asian Studies) majoring in Japanese and Linguistics, followed by a PhD on the Diyari language of South Australia. I have been fortunate to have travelled widely for employment, conferences, training courses, fieldwork, and short-term visiting appointments in France, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Iceland, Estonia, Poland, Russia, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Croatia, Greece, Japan, Hong Kong, India, Thailand, Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia, China, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina and USA. In 2002, the Humboldt Foundation, Germany, awarded me the Humboldt Prize and in 2010 and 2019-20 the Humboldt Research Award. In January 2015 I was awarded an Honorary Doctorate honoris causa by Uppsala University in recognition of my international work on endangered languages.