LINGUIST List 14.2196

Tue Aug 19 2003

Support: Grammatical Description: PhD Funding, La Trobe

Editor for this issue: Sarah Murray <>


  1. Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald, Grammatical Description: PhD Scholarship, La Trobe University

Message 1: Grammatical Description: PhD Scholarship, La Trobe University

Date: Mon, 18 Aug 2003 18:13:56 +1000
From: Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald <>
Subject: Grammatical Description: PhD Scholarship, La Trobe University

PhD scholarships in grammatical description

The Research Centre for Linguistic Typology at La Trobe University in
Melbourne, Australia, invites applications from suitably qualified
students to enter the PhD program.

Our PhD candidates generally undertake extensive fieldwork on a
previously undescribed (or scarcely described) language and write a
comprehensive grammar of it for their dissertation. We prefer
students to work on a language which is still actively spoken, and to
establish a field situation within a community in which it is the
first language. Fieldwork methodology should be centred on the
collection, transcription and analysis of texts, together with
participant observation, and at a later stage judicious grammatical
elicitation in the language under description (not through the lingua
franca of the country). Our main areas of specialisation are the
languages of Amazonia, the Papuan languages of New Guinea, and the
Aboriginal languages of Australia.

PhDs in Australian universities generally involve no coursework, just
a substantial dissertation. Candidates must thus have had a thorough
coursework training before embarking on this PhD program. This should
have included courses on morphology, syntax, semantics,
phonology/phonetics and comparative-historical linguistics, taught
from a non-formalist perspective. We place emphasis on work that has a
sound empirical basis but also shows a firm theoretical orientation
(in terms of general typological theory, or what has recently come to
be called basic linguistic theory).

The Research Centre for Linguistic Typology consists, at any one time,
of about twenty scholars, working on a variety of languages and
typological issues. Besides the permanent staff of Professor R M W
Dixon (Director) and Professor Alexandra Y Aikhenvald (Associate
Director) we have an array of Research Fellows and PhD students; each
year a number of senior scholars from across the world spend from
three to six months with us as Visiting Fellows. Our personnel this
year includes specialists on spoken languages from the following
families or areas: Tsimshian, Mayan, Athapaskan, Eskimo-Aleut, Arawak,
Araw´┐Ż, Tacanan, Indo-European, Chukchee, Afro-asiatic, Niger-Congo,
Khoisan, Tai-Kadai, Tibeto-Burman, Austro-asiatic, Papuan,
Austronesian and Australian.

There is also an excellent Department of Linguistics in the Faculty of
Humanities and Social Sciences at La Trobe University, whose faculty
includes Professor Barry Blake, Associate Professor David Bradley, and
Dr Hilary Chappell. And there are fine Departments of Linguistics at
the University of Melbourne and at Monash University.

The scholarship will be at the standard La Trobe University rate,
Australian $16,832 p.a. Students coming from overseas are liable for
a visa fee (effectively, a tuition fee); we will pay this. A small
relocation allowance may be provided on taking up the scholarship. In
addition, an appropriate allowance will be made to cover fieldwork
expenses. The scholarship is for three years. The deadline for
international applicants is 30 September.

Further information about RCLT is at our website:

See, in particular, our February 2003 Newsletter, available on this
web site.

Prospective applicants are invited to get in touch with Professor
Aikhenvald at, providing details of their
background, qualifications and interests.
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