I am currently working on several projects to document and describe individual languages spoken in Australia and Indonesia (producing grammars and bilingual dictionaries), cross-linguistic comparisons, and theoretical and practical issues in language structures and analysis. These are listed below. I was also involved in the Hans Rausing Endangered Languages Project (HRELP) from 2003 to 2015 — it is described here.
1. Syntax and Morphology
I do research on cross-linguistic patterns of sentence structures (syntax) and word structures (morphology), especially among Australian Aboriginal languages. This includes free word order (or non-confugrationality), case-marking, clause linkage, switch-reference, and applicatives and causatives. There is more information here.
2. Theory and Practice of Language Documentation, Description, and Support
I do research on the principles and practices of language documentation, language description, and language support (including revitalisation, maintenance, and policy development). This includes topics like data collection, data structuring and management, methods and tools for research, research ethics, history of research, and creation of outputs from research. There is more information here.
3. Sasak and Samawa
Sasak and Samawa are Austronesian languages spoken on Lombok and Sumbawa Islands respectively, in eastern Indonesia. I have carried out fieldwork on both languages, commencing in 1995, and have done research on the grammatical structure of both languages as well as their sociolinguistics. I am currently working on a project with Prof Bernd Nothofer of Frankfurt University supported by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation to study the complex speech levels system of Sasak and its historical origins. There is more information here.
4. Diyari Language
Diyari is an Australian Aboriginal language traditionally spoken in the far north of South Australia, to the east of Lake Eyre. There is more information about my research for 2021-2023 here.
5. Languages of the Gascoyne Region, Western Australia
Since 1978 I have been working on languages spoken in the region around the Gascoyne River in the far north-west of Western Australia. These languages belong to three main groups:
- Kartu — including Yinggarda, and other languages to the south
- Kanyara — namely Bayungu, Thalanyji, Burduna, and Binigura
- Mantharta — namely Tharrgari, Warriyangga, Jiwarli, and Thiin
You can read more about this project here.
6. Jiwarli Language
Jiwarli is an Australian Aboriginal language traditionally spoken in the far north of Western Australia, along the Henry River, inland from the town of Carnarvon. There is more information about my current research here.
7. Bayungu Language
Bayungu is an Australian Aboriginal language traditionally spoken in the far north of Western Australia, along the coast north of the town of Carnarvon from Point Cloates to Exmouth. There is more information about my current research here.
8. Guwamu Language
Guwamu is an Australian Aboriginal language traditionally spoken in central and southern Queensland. It belongs to the Maric group and is related to neighbouring languages to the north and west, including Bidjara, Margany and Gunya. The late Prof Steven A. Wurm did fieldwork on Guwamu in 1955 and gave copies of his materials to me in 1976. You can read more about my work on Wurm’s Guwamu materials here.
9. Malyangapa Language
Malyangapa is an Australian Aboriginal language traditionally spoken in the far west of New South Wales. The late Prof Steven A. Wurm did fieldwork on Guwamu in 1957 and gave copies of his materials to me in 1976. You can read more about my work on Wurm’s Malyangapa materials here.
10. Gamilaraay Language
Gamilaraay is an Australian Aboriginal language traditionally spoken in north-west New South Wales. It is closely related to Yuwaalaraay and Yuwaalayaay to its west, and more distantly related to Wiradjuri and Ngiyambaa, spoken to its immediate south. I have been working on this language and culture since 1972. You can read more about my project here.