LINGUIST List 26.3173

Tue Jul 07 2015

Support: Austronesian; Papuan; South American; Language Documentation / Australia

Editor for this issue: Erin Arnold <>

Date: 07-Jul-2015
From: Dist Prof Alexandra Aikhenvald <>
Subject: Austronesian; Papuan; South American; Language Documentation, PhD, James Cook University, Australia
E-mail this message to a friend

Department: Language and Culture Research Centre
Web Address:

Level: PhD

Institution/Organization: James Cook University

Duties: Research

Specialty Areas: Language Documentation
Papuan; South American


Applications are invited, from suitably qualified students, to enter the PhD program of the Language and Culture Research Centre (LCRC) at James Cook University Australia. Supervision will be provided by Professors Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald, R. M. W. Dixon, Dr Valérie Guérin, Dr Elena Mihas and Dr Simon Overall.

Duties and Responsibilities:

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. They are expected 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 centers 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.

The scholarship will be at the standard James Cook University rate, Australian $25,849 pa. Students coming from overseas are liable for a tuition fee; but this may be waived in the case of a student of high merit. A small relocation allowance may be provided on taking up the scholarship. In addition, an adequate allowance will be made to cover fieldwork expenses and conference attendance.

The scholarship is for three years (with the possibility of a six month extension). The deadline for application by international students (starting in 2015) is 31 August 2015; the deadline for students with Australian and New Zealand passports is 31 October 2015. Applicants will be notified of their success in December 2015.

Successful applicants would take up their PhD scholarships between January and June 2016 (the academic year in Australia runs from February to November.)

Our main priority areas are the Papuan and Austronesian languages of New Guinea and surrounding areas and the languages of tropical Amazonia. However, we do not exclude applicants who have an established interest in languages from other areas (which need not necessarily lie within the tropics).

Distinguished Professor Alexandra (Sasha) Aikhenvald is Australian Laureate Fellow and Research Leader for People and Societies of the Tropics. Together with Professor R. M. W. Dixon, she heads the LCRC, which includes Research Fellows and a growing number of doctoral students. In addition, senior scholars from across the world opt to spend their sabbatical at the Language and Culture Research Centre. The LCRC has strong links with anthropologists, archaeologists and educationalists, with scholars working on environmental issues, all within James Cook University.


PhDs in Australian universities generally involve no coursework, just a substantial dissertation. Candidates must thus have had thorough coursework training before embarking on this PhD program. This should have included courses on morphology, syntax, semantics, and phonology/phonetics, 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).

How to Apply:

Prospective applicants are invited, in the first place, to get in touch with Professor Aikhenvald at, providing details of their background, qualifications and interests (including a curriculum vitae). Applicants are advised to send samples of their written work in linguistics (at least some of this should be in English).

Applications Deadline: 31-Aug-2015

Mailing Address for Applications:
        Attn: Prof Alexandra Aikhenvald
        LCRC JCU
        PO Box 6811
        Cairns Qld 4870

Web Address for Applications:

Contact Information:
        Prof Alexandra Aikhenvald

Page Updated: 07-Jul-2015