Linguistics and Applied Linguistics Seminar Series

Monash University, Clayton Campus
Room E561, Menzies building (20 Chancellors Walk)
Time: 11am-12:30pm
Followed by lunch in the seminar room

Semester 1, 2017

March 14

Language contact and attrition in German heritage speakers in Australia

Claudia Maria Riehl (LMU Munich, Germany)

This paper starts from the different notions of contact-induced language change, individual language attrition and societal language loss. It will discuss the different processes involved (transfer, restructuring and simplification strategies), both from a cognitive and linguistic perspective. The particular processes will be illustrated by examples from the German-English language contact in Australia. While the focus will be on first and second generation speakers of German as a heritage language, the paper will also give an insight into the development of the German-English language contact in the German enclave in Barossa Valley where the last speakers of this contact-variety had been interviewed in recent years.          

March 21

The cultural conceptualisation of ‘LOVE’ in Malay:  A corpus-based analysis

Hajar Abdul Rahim (Universiti Sains Malaysia) 

The Malay language has three words, namely kasih, sayang and cinta that are commonly used to mean or to refer to the notion of ‘love’.  While similar at the denotative level, they seemingly possess different reputations due to the connotations that are inherited in language use.  This is the issue of interest in the current corpus-based study of the conceptualisation of ‘love’ in Malay.  Using Malay corpora of approximately 100 million words, the study uses empirical data to analyse the semantic prosody of each word. This analysis will reveal the emerging cultural nuances and connotations of each word in naturalistic language context which set them apart beyond the denotative level.  These findings in turn will provide an understanding of the cultural conceptualisation of the notion of ‘love’ in Malay. Attempts will be made to link the findings to the social and cultural issues in Malay language use.

April 4

Advertising and language landscapes: the presence of English-language advertising in contemporary Croatia

Prof. Diana Stolac (University of Rijeka, Croatia)

Over the last 20 years, the term linguistic landscape has become an established one, referring to “the visibility and salience of languages on public and commercial signs” (Landry and Bourhis 1997: 23). Study in this area of linguistics has been advanced by the work of Gorter (2006) and Shohamy and Gorter (2009). This paper discusses the diversity of semiotic manifestations in advertising discourses present in Croatia. Advertising discourse can be seen as a text type that is highly invasive through its ambient presence in almost all public spaces. Advertisements can also feature examples of linguistic diversity characteristic of different varieties of Croatian. These and other characteristics are revealed in a large corpus of advertisements that have been documented in commercial and public places over the last decade in four cities in Croatia – Rijeka, Zagreb, Split and Osijek. These characteristics include instances of bi- or multi-lingual texts that feature the use of English, Italian and other foreign languages. They also include instances of non-standard varieties of Croatian, including the use of dialectal and colloquial forms. A distinction is made in the corpus between official or top-down signs that have been sanctioned by a state or local authority, and private, commercial or bottom-up signs that are created by private individuals or commercial organisations. This paper focuses on the latter. Comparison is also made between findings from this corpus and those from other urban spaces (cf. Edelman 2010; Grbavac 2013).


Edelman, L. (2010): Linguistic Landscapes in the Netherlands – A Study of Multilingualism in Amsterdam and Friesland. LOT: Utrecht. 170 str.

Gorter, D. (ur.) (2006): Linguistic landscape: A new approach to multilingualism. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters. 89 str.

Grbavac, I. (2013): Linguistic landscape in Mostar. Jezikoslovlje, (14) 2-3, str. 501-515.

Landry, R. – Bourhis, R. Y. (1997): Linguistic landscape and ethnolinguistic vitality: An empirical study. Journal of Language and Social Psychology, 16 (1), str. 23-49.

Shohamy, E. – Gorter, D. (ur.) (2009): Linguistic landscape: Expanding the scenery. New York: Routledge, str. viii + 352.

Spolsky, B. (2006): Language Policy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, str. ix + 250.

Prof. Diana Stolac’s (Dept. of Croatian Language and Literature, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Rijeka, Croatia) areas of expertise include: historical linguistics, linguistic typology, Slavic linguistics, corpus planning and terminology in Croatian, sociolinguistics and diaspora varieties of Croatian. She has authored four books and over 100 research papers. Recently, she has led ERASMUS- and EU-funded projects in the fields of sociolinguistics, marine terminology. Prof. Stolac is a member of the sociolinguistic panel of the prestiguous International Slavic Committee, the peak academic body in Slavic Studies. Since 2007 she has also been a faculty director of higher-degree research studies in her field.

April 11

Inhabiting inter-sequential lapses in Finnish everyday interactions: an exploration of co-presence

Dr. Anna Vatanen (University of Helsinki)

According to Goffman (1978: 813), “[i]n every society, one can contrast occasions and moments for silence with occasions and moments for talk.” This paper aims to empirically explore interactional moments that can be characterized by the absense of speech. In face-to-face encounters, however, actions are accomplished not only through talk but via various embodied means, and still there may be occasions where (ostensibly) ‘nothing happens’. In this paper, data from videotaped, naturally occurring everyday interactions among intimates will be examined with conversation analytic methods. Participants in the data are speakers of Finnish, who are typically regarded as favouring silence in situations where speakers of many other languages assumedly prefer talk. I will thus also discuss the stereotype of “the Silent Finn”.

Previous research has targeted several types of conversational silence. Within established focused interaction, pauses within turns and gaps after first pair-parts (such as questions) have received abundant attention. Finally, Hoey (2015) presents several ways, both verbal and embodied, in which participants manage lapses that occur between sequences, marking the lapses as possibly problematic. Also the current Finnish data include various such devices, both linguistic and multimodal, such as certain particles as well as yawning, self-grooming, and drinking.

However, in the Finnish data, there are lapses where the participants utilize none of the devices described above. Instead, they just remain silent, with constant bodily orientations, not engaged in (visible) side involvements (Goffman 1963), in a relaxed co-presence. The participants’ observable behavior thus suggests that they share an intersubjective understanding of a momentary mutual disengagement from interaction – but not from co-presence: they are still in a social situation (Goffman 1961, 1963). It is suggested that this behavior might be indicative of a special way of orienting to ‘silence’ in (Finnish) interaction.


Goffman, Erving (1978). Response cries. Language 54(4), pp. 787-815.

Goffman, Erving (1961). Encounters: Two Studies in the Sociology of Interaction. Bobbs-Merrill, Indianapolis.

Goffman, Erving (1963). Behavior in public places. New York, NY: The Free Press.

Hoey, Elliott M. (2015). Lapses: How People Arrive at, and Deal With, Discontinuities in Talk. Research on Language and Social Interaction 48(4), pp. 430-453.

Dr. Anna Vatanen is a postdoctoral researcher at the Finnish Centre of Excellence in Research on Intersubjectivity in Interaction and at the Department of Finnish, Finno-Ugrian and Scandinavian Studies, both at the University of Helsinki. She specializes in interactional linguistics and conversation analysis and works on data from naturally occurring everyday interactions in two Finno-Ugric languages, Finnish and Estonian. Vatanen’s research topics concern various aspects of grammar and interaction. Right now she is working on her project “Sporadic talk and the stereotype of the Silent Finn”. 

May 2

Honours showcase

Exploring Space: Frame-of-Reference Selection in English

Tom Poulton (Monash University)

Spatial reference is an area of language and cognition that has received particular attention in recent decades. In responding to spatial tasks, speakers can draw of different ways to conceptualise spatial relations, which have been termed frames of reference. Previous research has shown that speakers of different languages may have different preferences in their framesof- reference selection. It has also been shown that contextual factors may influence speakers in their frame selection when faced with a certain task. This study investigates contextual preferences of English speakers in their frame selection. The results show that, contrary to previous findings reported in the literature, English speakers generally adopted the intrinsic frame, i.e. a system that is based on the internal facets of the objects being referenced, rather than the relative frame, i.e. a system based on the viewer’s body axes. The study also explored speakers’ preferences for different subtypes of the relative frame as well as their responses to cardinal prompts, which were designed to elicit responses in line with the absolute frame of reference. Most participants were unable to identify their orientation in terms of cardinal directions and compensated in this task by using a strategy that construed cardinal terms in a relative rather than absolute way. The results from this study give insight not only into the preferences of English speakers in their frame selection, but also some of the contextual factors that can prime English speakers to adopt a particular strategy.

Country as Interlocutor in Indigenous Australia: A Habermasian Perspective

Dima Rusho (Monash University)

This study endeavours to arrive at a new perspective on the use of ancestral languages to relate to country in Indigenous Australia by bridging two different epistemological approaches to language: a Western philosophical approach, exemplified by Jürgen Habermas’s theory of communicative action, which focuses on language use as a vital tool for reaching mutual understanding between social actors in a deliberative democracy, and an Indigenous Australian approach which emphasises the role of ancestral languages in expressing and facilitating the complex and multifaceted relationship between Indigenous people and country.

A central premise that acts as a nexus point between these two approaches is that Indigenous people and country coexist in a state of intersubjective communication that sets the necessary conditions for mutual understanding between them. The principal argument made in this study is that Indigenous people and country traditionally engage in a dialogical communicative process that allows people to position themselves on country, care for it and directly communicate with it, and that this process is impeded by the loss of ancestral languages. This study therefore proposes an extension of the parameters of Habermas’s theory in order to recognise the Indigenous conceptualisation of country as a hearing and speaking subject with the rationality, agency, and linguistic competency required to participate in communicative action. Finally, the study posits that acknowledging the importance of intersubjective communication between Indigenous people and country is central for reaching mutual understanding between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in contemporary Australia.

May 23

Margaret Carew (Monash University)

Title and abstract to come


Semester 2, 2016

August 2

On the use of case particles in Japanese: A quantitative analysis of data from corpora and experiments

Satoshi Nambu (Tsuda College, Tokyo)

This study investigates what kind of and how linguistic and external-linguistic factors affect a choice of linguistic variants in language use. In Japanese, we observe a variable use of case particles, and one of the cases is the particles -ga and -no to mark a subject in some subordinate clauses.

In historical linguistics of Japanese, it is recognized that the distribution of the particles –ga and –no has been changing for more than 500 years toward a complementary distribution. Based on an analysis of corpus data from a variationist sociolinguistic perspective, this study confirms that the change is still ongoing in Modern Japanese, while identifying effects of other linguistic factors on the change.

In addition, the results of our psycholinguistic experiments shed light on the properties of the particle –no as a subject marker, providing evidence for its narrower use in comparison to –ga and suggesting its plausible reasons.

Satoshi Nambu is currently a post-doctoral research fellow of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, primarily engaging in his research at Tsuda College in Tokyo, Japan. Prior to the current position, he worked at the Department of Language Change and Variation of the National Institute for Japanese Language and Linguistics. He earned his MA in Linguistics from University of Pennsylvania, and his PhD from Osaka University. His primary area of research is Japanese linguistics, mainly conducting quantitative analyses of data from corpora and experiments in order to pursue answers to questions on language use. His recent research focuses on language variation in Japanese, such as case alternation, from sociolinguistic, theoretical and psycholinguistic points of view.

August 9

Honours showcase: 2016 Honours students’ research 

Valence increasing suffix -kan and its relation to prepositions in Indonesian 

Clarice Campbell

This honours project examines the use of the valence increasing suffix –kan and its relation to prepositions in the Austronesian language, Indonesian. With the use of –kan as a valence increasing suffix onto a verb stem, the preposition should be omitted however this is not always the case. I will ask the questions when and under what conditions can –kan and prepositions co-occur? Corpus data will be used to determine whether there is a correlation between the use of –kan and prepositions with certain verbs, and if so, whether there are conditions for their use.

The Effects of Word Predictability on Language Processing in Picture Description Tasks: Examining The Role of “Giveness” in Facilitating Fluency

Robert McDonald

This project examines predictability effects found in a picture description task by speakers narrating a comic strip from the AphasiaBank database. By using two conditions for context, other potential factors that influence acoustic reduction from the effects of context are controlled for. From this, the most predictable words in the stories (i.e words that are the most “given”), are then analysed to see if these words facilitate greater lexical access and fluency in the participants with, and without aphasia.

A(n un)fair shake of the sauce bottle: gendered media portrayal in contemporary Australian politics

Nicholas McIndoe

Contemporary Australian politics has been characterised by unprecedented instability; there have been five Prime Ministerial changes in the last decade. In 2010, Julia Gillard made history by ousting incumbent Kevin Rudd to become Australia’s first female Prime Minister. Three years later, Rudd returned the favour, adding to a ‘revolving door’ of leadership. Many studies around the world have contended that gendered media portrayal has negatively impacted the careers of female politicians. Several have also specifically considered the role of media outlets in influencing voting behaviour in electoral campaigns. There exists a gap in literature, however, regarding the impact of print media after key political events. In this study, I adopt a Critical Discourse Analysis approach to examine underlying ideologies of two major Australian newspapers (The Herald Sun and The Age) in their framing of both leaders. In particular, I analyse articles published the day after two key events: Gillard’s ascension to power on 24 June 2010, and Rudd’s ascension to power on 26 June 2013. Through a mixed methods approach (qualitative and quantitative analyses), I aim to highlight the linguistically gendered coverage of both leadership spills. Ultimately, this study may contribute to wider understandings of gender, politics and the media in what is an increasingly progressive society. It may also inform future research in the field of political framing.

A Habermasian perspective of language endangerment in Australia

Dima Rusho

In this thesis I examine language endangerment in Australia from a critical theory perspective, with a particular focus on Jurgen Habermas’s theory of communicative action, which, I argue, provides a useful tool in elucidating the way Indigenous Australians negotiate country. I contend that competency in Indigenous languages allows Indigenous people to engage in communicative action with country, with the aim of reaching mutual understanding with all it elements, and that language endangerment impedes this process. I also argue that the parameters of Habermas’s theory should be extended to allow for the recognition of the Indigenous conceptualisation of country as a rational, linguistically competent subject, and to illustrate the impact of language endangerment on the Indigenous people’s ability participate in the intersubjective communicative process required for mutual understanding.

The Development of /l/ Vocalisation in Australian English

Kelly Southworth

/l/ vocalisation is a feature which has been slowly creeping into spoken English for over a century, having been noticed as early as 1903 in Wiltshire in the UK by Swedish linguist John Kjederqvist. It refers to the phenomenon whereby speakers do not fully realise an /l/ sound, typically in a post-vocalic position, or at the end of a syllable.

This study will be specifically looking at the development of /l/ vocalisation in Australian English, by comparing data collected by Simon Musgrave of adolescent speech in 2015 with Mitchell and Delbridge’s extensive documentation of Australian adolescents’ speech in 1965. Using varied frameworks of previous studies looking into /l/ vocalisation in other dialects of English (Borowsky & Horvath, 1997; Johnson & Britain, 2007), this study aims to give sociophonetic reasons as to why changes like this occur in spoken language.

Criteria for quality app learning

Sam Shlansky

Foreign language classrooms have evolved to embrace smartphones and applications (apps) that can enrich learning. Indonesian studies is an important language to Australia but student participation drops from high school to university. Popular language learning apps exist but criteria to estimate quality do not. Evaluation criteria has been developed for CALL previously. Filling this gap requires an understanding of user, context, and theory. This thesis aims to develop a deeper understanding in each of these regards. From this several existing apps can be evaluated. Consistent criteria will allow educators and learners to be able to make informed choices when enhancing their education. This will provide a rich, quality addition to education.

Understanding the fairytales of Luigi Capuana from a structural perspective

Brittany Lum

Narratives are an important way in which we communicate with one another. To fully understand how they are used to convey meaning, an understanding of their structure is necessary. This project looks at how the fairytale as a specific type of narrative is structured. William Labov’s approach to oral narrative is used jointly with Vladimir Propp’s structuring of fairytale to examine how Luigi Capuana, a prominent 19th century Italian author, structured his collection of fairytales in his book C’era una volta. It is hoped that by using these two methodologies to explore how different elements of narrative come together, a more complete understanding of how Capuana created meaning in his tales can be gained.

August 23

Cultural Conceptualizations of body parts term in Turkmen

Ruben Benatti (Universita’ del Piemonte Orientale)

The study of cultural conceptualizations is vital for an adequate understanding of the relationship between language and culture. In this paper I analyze expressions  featuring lexical items related to body parts in the Turkmen language, underlining some differences in comparison to languages like English and Italian.

Turkmenistan is a very peculiar country, where an anomalous sociopolitical system and old nomadic traditions have a great impact on metaphors and conceptualizations, especially those involving body part, and those related to animals. Turkmen belongs to the Eastern branch of the Oghuz family, a subfamily of the Turkic languages. Turkmen conforms to all the typological aspects of Turkic (and, in general, Altaic) languages.

The theoretical framework I adopt is that of Cultural Linguistics (Palmer, 1996; Sharifian, 2011, 2015): a multidisciplinary area of research related to Linguistic Anthropology; Anthropological Linguistics (Duranti, 1997; Foley, 1997); and Cognitive Linguistics (i.e. Evans and Green, 2006).

This paper shows that in Turkmen time is conceptualized using the verticality image schema. Other dimensions of time like duration and end are also conceptualized in terms of the body image schema. Interesting features about the opposition between heart, liver, and soul (yürek, bag and göwun) and other body parts terms will be outlined.

The data included in this study were gathered from interviews with students of the courses of Italian I ran while in Turkmenistan. The contrastive analysis shows, besides certain similarities, some remarkable differences in the way Italian, English, and Turkmen use different body parts to conceptualize emotions.


Duranti, A. (1997), Linguistic Anthropology, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

Evans, V., Green, M. (2006), Cognitive Linguistics. An Introduction. London, Lawrence Erlbaum.

Foley, W. A. (1997), Anthropological Linguistics. An Introduction, Oxford, Blackwell Publishing.

Palmer, G. (1996), Toward a Theory of Cultural Linguistics. Austin, University of Texas Press.

Schönig, C. (1998), Turkmen. In Johanson L., Csató E. (eds.), The Turkic Languages. New York-London, Routledge, 261-272.

Sharifian, F. (2011), Cultural Conceptualization and Language: Theoretical Framework and Applications. Amsterdam/Philadelphia, John Benjamins.

Sharifian, F. (ed.) (2015), The Routledge Handbook of Language and Culture. New York/London, Routledge (Taylor and Francis Group).

September 13

Gender-specific variation of voiceless plosives /p t k/ by Australian English-speaking children

Casey Tait (La Trobe University)

Sociophonetic research on the variation of voiceless plosives /p t k/ in Australian English has expanded in recent years, focusing on the production of these variables by adolescent or adult speakers. While there is some research on these variables in the speech of children in other varieties of English, sociophonetic research on variation in the speech of Australian English-speaking children has not been undertaken. Once children reach school age (around 5 or 6 years) their speech begins to become more like that of their peers, and becomes more so as they move toward adolescence. The primary school years are therefore the transition period where children move from home-based care into wider society and into adolescence. Examining this age period could give us important insight into the development of gender-specific phonetic variation. This talk will present preliminary findings on the variation of the voiceless plosives /p t k/ in the speech of Australian English-speaking primary school-aged children (ages 5-12), and the development of this variation as they move toward adolescence.

Casey Tait is currently a PhD student at La Trobe University under the supervision of Marija Tabain and Gerry Docherty (Griffith University). Her doctoral research focuses on the acquisition of sociophonetic cues to gender by primary school-aged children in Australian English.

October 11

Sociophonetics: what is it, where are we?

 Debbie Loakes (The University of Melbourne)

Sociophonetics is a field which uses phonetic techniques, principles and theoretical frameworks to examine the social patterning of speech variants (e.g Foulkes and Hay 2015). It is on one hand a relatively new field, while on the other it is steeped in a long tradition of socially-oriented linguistic research; it has been described as having “a long past but a short history” (Foulkes 2010). As well as the many ways that phonetic analysis can be carried out (comprising acoustic, perceptual and often articulatory analysis), research in the field also draws on computational, anthropological and psycholinguistic approaches to better understand variability.

The field of sociophonetics has, in a sense, expanded dramatically in recent years because advances in technology have meant that the ways in which we can now approach experimental research have also changed. For example, on the perception side, we can now easily manipulate sound files to create highly nuanced listening experiments to determine how listener intuitions manifest (e.g. Campbell-Kibler 2010). On the production side, we need only think back to 15-20 years ago, when acoustic(and articulatory) phonetic analysis was not the norm in any sociolinguistic research. There are numerous examples from that time of researchers expounding the benefits of acoustic-phonetic research, and discussing the ways in which analyses of fine-phonetic detail could be the key to understanding apparently random variation (e.g. in Docherty et al. 1997). While now essentially long-forgotten, this was also a key concern for forensic linguistics at the turn of the century (e.g. Nolan 2004). Now, it is a given that researchers interested in the social aspects of speech will make use of freely and widely available software to show how variation patterns according to e.g. macrosocial categories such as age or regional background, or microsocial categories such as speaker stance or political beliefs – and that they will use appropriate quantitative modeling to demonstrate findings.

In this talk, I give an overview of the history of sociophonetics, defining some of the major concepts and methods in the field and illustrating how these form part of a toolkit that allows us to better investigate some of the major theoretical problems in linguistics today. I also talk about some of the major research articles that have contributed to the evolution of the field, and about some of my own work on the production and perception of regional variation in mainstream Australian English and Aboriginal English.


Campbell-Kibler, K. (2010). Sociolinguistics and Perception. Language and Linguistics Compass. 4/6: 377-389.

Docherty, G. J., Foulkes, P., Milroy, J., Milroy, L., & Walshaw, D. (1997) Descriptive adequacy in phonology: A variationist perspective Journal of Linguistics 33: 275-310.

Foulkes, P. (2010) Exploring social-indexical variation: a long past but a short history. Laboratory Phonology 1(1): 5-39.

Foulkes, Paul and Jennifer Hay. (2015). The Emergence of Sociophonetic Variation. In B. MacWhinney and W. O’Grady, (Eds.), The Handbook of Language Emergence. John Wiley and Sons, Inc. Hoboken, NJ, USA. 292-313.

Nolan, F. (2004) Speaker identification by experts. In: P. Bogan (ed.), Identification: investigation, trial and scientific evidence. London: Legal Action Group.


Semester 1, 2016

March 8

On cultural linguistics and CULTURAL LINGUISTICS: Applied ethnolinguistics in search of a home

Bert Peeters (Griffith University)

COGNITIVE LINGUIST Ronald W. Langacker wasn’t talking about CULTURAL LINGUISTICS (which didn’t exist yet) when, in 1994, he saw the advent of COGNITIVE LINGUISTICS as “a return to cultural linguistics”. It is important to distinguish between the use of a label to identify a broad field of scientific endeavour and the use of the same label to identify a much more narrowly defined framework within that field. CULTURAL LINGUISTICS saw the light of day in 1996, but it was not until 2007 that it became really prominent thanks to the work of Farzad Sharifian, who further increased its interdisciplinary base and replaced Gary B. Palmer’s references to imagery with references to cultural conceptualizations. The latter are the analytical tools CULTURAL LINGUISTICS uses to examine aspects of cultural cognition and its instantiation in language; they

include cultural schemas, cultural categories, and cultural metaphors. Instances of these exist in all the languages of the world. Oddly enough, the term cultural value appears to be shunned in CULTURAL LINGUISTICS, where it is used rather sparingly. This raises the question of whether any bridges can be built between CULTURAL LINGUISTICS, on one hand, and APPLIED ETHNOLINGUISTICS, on the other. APPLIED ETHNOLINGUISTICS is a by-product of the natural semantic metalanguage approach; it was developed without reference to either CULTURAL LINGUISTICS or cultural linguistics and makes prolific use of the term cultural value, which it sees as absolutely fundamental to its endeavours. Closer inspection reveals that CULTURAL LINGUISTICS does acknowledge the importance of cultural values: even though the term is not used in a technical sense, cultural values are captured in the cultural conceptualizations that speakers draw on. Thus, detailed study of culturally specific schemas, categories, and metaphors may lead to a better understanding of the cultural values that are upheld in particular language communities. In spite of this more or less hidden similarity, there appears to be little prospect for an eventual amalgamation of the two frameworks. Rather, it is argued that lessons can be learned and small adjustments made on both sides, in the interest of overall clarity, and that APPLIED ETHNOLINGUISTICS finds its home in the broader field of cultural linguistics, where it is hoped it will be able to provide a useful methodology for the study of language and cultural values.

Bert Peeters (PhD 1989, ANU) is an adjunct associate professor at Griffith University. He also holds an honorary appointment at the Australian National University. Previously employed at the University of Tasmania (1989-2006) and at Macquarie University (2007-2013), he recently (2015) guest-edited a special issue of the International Journal of Language and Culture (edited by Farzad Sharifian) on language and cultural values. He is currently working on a monograph focussing on French; its aim is to show how evidence for previously identified French cultural values can be found in the language, and how observation of the language can help the cultural outsider recognize and explore previously unidentified values or values that are only superficially known. Other work includes Diachronie, phonologie, et linguistique fonctionnelle (1992), Les primitifs sémantiques (ed., 1993), The lexicon-encyclopedia interface (ed., 2000), Semantic primes and universal grammar (ed., 2006), Tu ou vous: l’embarras du choix (ed. with N. Ramière, 2009) and Crossculturally speaking, speaking cross-culturally (ed. with K. Mullan and C. Béal, 2013).


March 22

Honours showcase: 2015 honours students

Jodie Langford, Breanna Osborn (Monash University)

How are authors of Japanese manga revolutionising the use of loan words in Japanese society?

Jodie Langford

Over the years gairaigo (translated as ‘loan words’), have been considered problematic by Japanese scholars and the general public alike. With the influx of gairaigo from languages such as English into the Japanese vocabulary, some scholars have taken a new approach, looking at the phenomenon in terms of how it is actually impacting language use. Previous research has looked extensively at how gairaigo are presented in the media (Tomoda, 2009). Despite this, with nonconventional uses of Japanese orthography use on the rise, as described by Tranter (2008), there are new openings for these words to be presented in innovative ways. Authors use these new methods and orthographic styles to assist in understanding the use and meaning of these gairaigo as well as enjoying the use of word play.

One of the biggest sources of gairaigo and the most well-known medium for nonconventional language play is manga comics. Within the genre of manga itself there are different methods authors use to convey gairaigo to the reader through orthographic and other choices. This thesis explores how the many ways that orthographic choice and the pictorial nature of manga conveys meaning and understanding. With these tools, manga is a vital source through which people in Japan can access new conventions and fun ways to develop their English vocabulary.

Tomoda, T. (2009). The Foreign Word Tsunami: Perceptions, politics and policies on loanwords (gairaigo) in contemporary Japan. VDM Verlag Dr. Muller. Retrieved from
Tranter, N. (2008). Nonconventional script choice in Japan. International Journal of the Sociology of Language, 2008(192), 133–151.

Second Language Identities and Investment in Japanese Language Learning

Breanna Osborn

This honours project investigates how access to a second language (L2) identity affects a language learner’s investment in studying Japanese language in Australia. Previous studies on motivation in Japanese learning in Australia tend to focus on learners studying Japanese in order to consume Japanese culture and other instrumental and integrative reasons. The current study posits that we may consider identification with Japanese culture, and the desire to affiliate with groups associated with that culture as driving investment in language learning.

Semi-structured interviews were completed with six learners from the proficient to advanced levels of Japanese language study at an Australian university. Data analysis revealed that learners performed their L2 identities through drawing on linguistic and cultural capital and that they were able to do this in varying degrees across different contexts.

Participant data indicated investment in learning Japanese language was not only facilitated by imagined communities but that learner’s investment was shaped by their ability to access their L2 identity which may have been stigmatised or unavailable in a first language context. The analysis also established certain conditions that a learner was subject to, that either facilitated or inhibited access to their L2 identity.

The findings highlight the complex relationship between L2 identity and investment. Understanding that learner investment expands beyond cultural consumption to also include an L2 identity in a speaker’s imagined community is important for both learners and educators in order to build on how investment in learning Japanese may be initiated and sustained over time.


April 12

The Multimodal Linguistic Landscape of Translation in Japanese Museums

Cathy Sell (Monash University)

The research presented in this seminar will examine the limitations and possibilities of translation scope in art museum exhibitions, with attention to the effects that different translation strategies and disseminations methods have on the communicative function of the museum in consideration of the visitor experience.

Linguistic Landscape theory has been applied to facilitate a multilingual analysis of the museum environment and Systemic Functional Linguistics has been applied to facilitate a multimodal analysis of exhibition texts.

The target language visitor experience and communicative function of the museum are largely influenced by the number and scope of languages provided, as well as the choice of dissemination methods and how they contribute to the Linguistic Landscape of the institution. In particular, partial translation scope results in reduced functionality. In response to this, personal or augmented linguistic environments as achieved through the use of supplementary texts can increase the potentiality of participation, however supplementary texts used for translation dissemination of the primary communicative mode of the exhibition can result in issues of integration and accessibility.

Combined, the variety that exists within the museum text typology of both public and personal texts offers numerous strategies for the creation of a bilingual or multilingual environment. Negotiation of resource constraints in light of multimodal factors allows provision of a linguistically inclusive landscape for visitors, ultimately assuring the conveyance of museum communicative intent and facilitating the visitor experience.

April 26

The English of the Sleeping Lady: A sociolinguistic and variationist exploration of the emerging English of Kosrae

Sara Lynch (University of Bern, Switzerland)

Kosrae, or ‘The Island of The Sleeping Lady’ as it is known to locals, is the most remote island of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), located in the western Pacific. FSM is an independent sovereign nation consisting of four state in total: Pohnpei, Chuuk, Yap and Kosrae.

First claimed by the Spanish, who were forced to cede FSM to Germany in 1899. In 1914, the Japanese took military possession of the region resulting in considerable economic, social and political change for the islands’ inhabitants. By 1947 after WWII, the islands formed part of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands commissioned by the UN and administered by the US. The FSM became an independent nation in 1986 while still retaining affiliation with the US under a ‘Compact of Free Association’ encouraging the officiating of English as a language of FSM, alongside local languages.

In my talk, I present an analysis based on a corpus of 96 Kosraean English speakers, compiled during a three month fieldwork trip to the island. The 45 minute, sociolinguistically sensitive recordings are drawn from a corpus of old and young, with varying levels of education and occupations, and off-island experiences.

Firstly, I give an overview of Kosraean culture, history, and my personal experience conducting sociolinguistic fieldwork. Secondly, based on the collected corpus, I discuss factors affecting the formation of Kosraean English, both intralinguistic and extralinguistic. A qualitative examination of the sociolinguistic factors producing language change is presented, with an emphasis on mobility as a key instigator. Next, I provide a quantitative analysis of salient linguistic features of the variety, with a focus on the practise of /h/ insertion and /h/ deletion, and pragmatic marker like. Finally, statistical analyses of this variable are shown to demonstrate how the distinct effects of mobility shape linguistic behaviour and language variation on the island.

Sara Lynch studied Anthropology and Spanish at National University of Ireland, Maynooth, before going on to pursue an M.A. in Linguistics in University College Dublin in 2013. She spent 2013-2015 in Madrid working as part of the Spanish Ministry of Education’s National Bilingual Programme. Her main research interests are sociolinguistics, corpus linguistics, socio-pragmatics, language documentation and lesser known varieties of English. She joined the University of Bern in April 2015, and is currently working as an assistant in the English Department of Bern, whilst pursuing her PhD as part of the SNF-funded project “English in paradise?: Emergent varieties in Micronesia”. The project focuses on the history, development and structure of Kosraean English, and other varieties of the Western Pacific, (for further information see


May 10

The emergence of a unique case of sign language contact: “International Sign” as a lingua franca for globalising Deaf communities

Lori A. Whynot (Macquarie University, Monash Adjunct Research Fellow)

There is much to be learned about cognition and language in the visual-spatial mode exemplified by signed languages. The unique case of “International Sign” is an under-researched form of sign language contact. International Sign (abbreviated ‘IS’) is a type of contact signing used in international settings where deaf people attempt to communicate with others who do not share the same conventional, natively-occurring signed language. The term has been broadly used to refer to a range of semiotic strategies of interlocutors in multilingual signed language situations, whether in pairs, or for small or large group communications. Sign languages in contact have not been the subject of research investigation until recently (Quinto-Pozos, 2007, Moreover, there is a lack of distinction in the limited literature between IS and other forms of sign language contact. IS has been compared to foriegner talk (Stone & Russell, 2016), and termed, “international gestures” (Moody, 1987). It has been characterised as a complex situational pidgin that ‘behaves like a language’ (Supalla & Webb, 1995) for deaf people in international exchanges. IS has become a de facto lingua franca for increasingly globalised deaf communities.

The visibility and recognition of IS juxtaposes two incompatible ideas about language in the visual-gestural modality. On one hand and contrary to myth, there is no singular, universal signed language. Signed languages are numerous and diverse linguistic systems. Yet IS has become highly visible in Europe and in other international conference venues.

Due to demand for interpreting services using this type of contact language, a special designation that identifies ‘qualified’ IS interpreters was recently established by a World Association of Sign Language Interpreters (WASLI) and World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) task group “to regulate and montor the standards of IS interpreting in international contexts” (Best, Napier, Carmichael, & Pouliot, 2016; Turner & Napier, 2014). The presence of IS alongside native, fully conventional signed languages (and at times in place of some) brings an interesting juxtaposition for provision of “language” access by sign language interpreters.

Studies indicate that IS incorporates grammatical, iconic and gestural elements in IS that are common to natural sign languages (Suppalla 1991; Allsop, 1996; Webb & Supalla, 1994; McKee & Napier, 2002; Rosenstock, 2004), but distribution of these elements are different from full signed languages (Whynot 2015, 2016). Some forms appear more understandable than others and more so to Western sign language users (Rosenstock, 2004). Varied sociolinguistic factors are correlated with improved comprehension of IS conference presentations (Whynot, 2015). Whether it occurs as interpreted target messages, or direct lecture by deaf presenters, comprehension is quite varied (Whynot, 2015; Rosenstock, 2002).

Language, by definition is conventional. Gestures, which are generally non-conventional, flexible, and context-dependent, play an important part alongside linguistic information in discourse (Kendon, 2004, Liddel, 2003; Wilcox, 2004 ; Schembri et al, 2005). Of interest is the interplay between conventional linguistic and non-conventional gestural elements of International Sign and how composition affects comprehension. This presentation describes findings from a recent doctoral research project that examined unanswered questions about linguistic conventions that make IS an effective (or not as effective) medium for cross-linguistic communication.

Lori Whynot, PhD, is a professional interpreter and educator with 25 years of experience, with qualifications by the US Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) in the USA and NAATI in Australia. Her working languages are English, American Sign Language, Auslan, French, and International Sign contact. Originally from Boston, she lives in Melbourne, where she interprets, teaches, and presents on topics linguistics and interpreting. Her research interests are in signed languages, contact linguistics and interpreting/translation practice. Lori holds a Bachelor’s degree (Psychology), a Master’s degree (Intercultural Relations), and recently her PhD (Linguistics) from Macquarie University. Lori is a new Adjunct Research Fellow at Monash University.

May 24

Life, love and money: Is it all a matter of language?

Reka Benczes (Monash University)

The starting point of the presentation is Benjamin Lee Whorf’s theory of linguistic relativity, one of the most exciting – yet controversial – ideas within modern-day linguistics. According to Whorf, the language that we speak influences the way we see and think about the world. But is this indeed the case? Does the Whorfian effect exist?

Mainstream linguistics has taken a very critical tone towards Whorf’s ideas – Steven Pinker (1994: 57), for instance, condemned linguistic relativity by stating that its “factuality” can be compared to the mass suicide of lemmings: we might have heard something about it somewhere, but there is no scientific evidence to support it. Nevertheless, the past three decades have witnessed a growing number of research in linguistic anthropology, cognitive psychology and psycholinguistics that have demonstrated the influencing effect of language on thought and have called for a re-evaluation of Whorf’s views in light of these results.

Usage-based models such as cognitive linguistics have stressed the significance of culture in meaning-making (Kövecses 2006; Kövecses & Benczes 2010); studying language use has become synonymous with the study of culture, especially in the form of cultural metaphors and cultural schemas – a field of study that has now become a discipline in its own right, known as cultural linguistics (Sharifian 2015).

Following a cognitive/cultural linguistic framework, the presentation will set out to explore how linguistic data can be employed to understand the conceptualizations of three key concepts – love, life and money, and how this knowledge can then be applied to hypothesize about the construction of national identities (more specifically the Hungarian and American national character), and ultimately to determine the nature of the relationship between language, thought and culture.


Kövecses, Zoltán. 2006. Language, Mind and Culture. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Kövecses, Zoltán and Benczes Réka. 2010. Kognitív nyelvészet [Cognitive linguistics]. Budapest: Akadémiai.

Pinker, Steven. 1994. The Language Instinct. Harmondsworth: Penguin.

Sharifian, Farzad. 2015. Cultural Linguistics. In: Farzad Sharifian (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Language and Culture. New York & London: Routledge.

Réka Benczes (PhD 2005) is a Research Fellow at the School of Languages, Literatures, Cultures and Linguistics, Monash University, where she is studying the conceptualization of ageing in Australian English with Keith Allan, Kate Burridge and Farzad Sharifian. She has taught cognitive and cultural linguistics at Eötvös Loránd University (Budapest, Hungary) and Indiana University (Bloomington, USA). She is the author of Creative Compounding in English (2006, John Benjamins), Kognitív nyelvészet ([Cognitive linguistics], 2010, with Zoltán Kövecses, Akadémiai) and dozens of articles on lexical creativity, cognitive semantics, English word-formation, and language and conceptualization. Most recently she co-edited Wrestling with Words and Meanings: Essays in Honour of Keith Allan (2014, Monash University Publishing) with Kate Burridge.