ARC success for Language and Society Centre

A/Prof Adam Schembri from La Trobe and Dr Louisa Willoughby from Language and Society Centre, Monash University have been awarded an  ARC Linkage grant with Melbourne Polytechnic and the Victorian Deaf Society to investigate sign language teaching and learning. 

The project is entitled Bridging the theory-practice gap in the teaching of sign languages. Its aim is to improve our understanding of how to teach sign languages to adults as second/additional languages. Internationally, there is significant demand for sign language classes, but relatively little is known about the processes involved when hearing adults learn a sign language, or similarities and differences to second language learning of spoken languages. This project will develop and test the efficacy of a range of innovative teaching materials and approaches, as well as create the first standardised Australian Sign Language (Auslan) test for adults. It aims to significantly improve the quality of Auslan teaching at our partner institution and provide a model of best practice internationally.
Warm congratulations to our colleague Dr Louisa Willoughby for this significant success!


The 7th Annual Roundtable of Language and Society Centre

Call for papers for the Language and Society Centre 7th Annual Roundtable

November 19th – 20th, 2015

How cultural context shapes the production and (mis)interpretation of language

The Language and Society Centre (LASC) is pleased to announce that its 7th Annual Roundtable will explore ‘ How cultural context shapes the production and (mis)interpretation of language’. The Roundtable will be held November 19th -20th, 2015 and seeks to assemble scholars concerned with the relationship between cultural context and how language is produced and understood. Abstracts of up to 300 words are invited to be submitted to by the 31st August 2015.

This year we celebrate 50 years of linguistic and applied linguistic scholarship at Monash. Throughout this long history, Monash scholars have been concerned with how context, pragmatics and culture may contribute to a deeper understanding of language in society. Monash linguistics and applied linguistics scholars have been world leaders in the study of semantics and pragmatics, multilingualism, language in the workplace, language change, intercultural communication, and Cultural Linguistics.

As part of this celebration, the 7th Annual LASC Roundtable seeks to assemble scholars concerned with ‘how cultural context shapes the production and (mis)interpretation of language’. This Roundtable will approach the interrelationships between language production, perception and the cultural contexts in which (mis)communication takes place from five theoretical perspectives:

1. Intercultural pragmatics and (mis)understandings across cultures

2. Sociolinguistics: prescriptivism, views on variation, and the evaluation of dialects

3. Recipient design: accommodation and speaking for the hearer

4. Cultural presumptions and speech perception

5. The semantics/pragmatics interface: how context shapes meaning


Allan, K. (2014). Linguistic Meaning (Re-issue). London/New York: Routledge

Babel, M. (2010). Dialect divergence and convergence in New Zealand English. Language in Society, 39(04), 437-456.

Babel, M. (2012). Evidence for phonetic and social selectivity in spontaneous phonetic imitation. Journal of Phonetics, 40(1), 177-189.

Clyne, M. (1994). Inter-cultural Communication at Work: Cultural Values in Discourse. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Coupland, N. (2007). Style: Language Variation and Identity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Holmes, J., Marra, M. & Vine, B. (2011). Leadership, Discourse and Ethnicity. Oxford University Press.

Kecskes, I. (2013). Intercultural Pragmatics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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

Sharifian, F. & Jamarani, M (eds.) (2013). Language and Intercultural Communication in the New Era. New York/London: Routledge.

Keynote Speaker: A/Professor Molly Babel, University of British Columbia, Canada.

Keynote Speaker: Professor Emeritus Keith Allan, Monash University, Australia.

Conference Chair: Dr Alice Gaby, Monash University

Download the flyer for the LASC 7th Annual Roundtable… (PDF)


The Cultural Model of Ageing: The Australian Conceptualisation of the Third Age

Kate Burridge, Farzad Sharifian, Keith Allan, Réka Benczes (2014-2016). Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Grant. Project title: The Cultural Model of Ageing: The Australian Conceptualisation of the Third Age.


Réka Benczes and Kate Burridge: ‘Current attitudes to ageing as reflected in the names of Australian aged care facilities’

Réka Benczes, Keith Allan, Kate Burridge, Farzad Sharifian: ‘Ageing and Cognitive Linguistics: What Naming Practices Reveal about Underlying Cultural Conceptualisations’. Power point slides for the 13th International Cognitive Linguitics Conference, Northumbira University 20-26 July 2015

Keith Allan, Réka Benczes, Kate Burridge, Farzad Sharifian: ‘Ageing and Cognitive Linguistics: What Naming Practices Reveal about Underlying Cultural Conceptualisations’. Poster for the 14th International Pragmatics Conference, Antwerp 26-31 July 2015

Data base of ageing terms, compiled by Réka Benczes (this Excel file will download to your computer)

Would you like to take part in this exciting research on language and ageing and thus contribute to the outcome? If yes, then please click on the link below — it will take you to a Survey Monkey questionnaire that takes only a couple of minutes to do and is completely anonymous. Thank you very much for your time.


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