LINGUIST List 29.3076

Thu Aug 02 2018

Support: Anthropological Linguistics; Grammar Writing: PhD, James Cook University

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Date: 02-Aug-2018
From: Alexandra Aikhenvald <>
Subject: Anthropological Linguistics; Grammar Writing: PhD, James Cook University, Australia
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Department: LCRC, CASE
Web Address:

Level: PhD

Institution/Organization: James Cook University

Duties: Research

Specialty Areas: Anthropological Linguistics
Grammar Writing


Applications are invited, from suitably qualified students, to enter the PhD program of the Language and Culture Research Centre at James Cook University Australia. Supervision will be provided by Professor Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald, Professor R. M. W. Dixon, Professor Rosita Henry, Dr Alexander Walker, Dr Luca Ciucci, and Dr Michael Wood.

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. Their first fieldtrip lasts for six to nine months. After completing a first draft of the grammar, back in Cairns, they undertake a second fieldtrip of two to three months. Fieldwork methodology centres 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 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).

PhDs in Australian universities involve some coursework and a substantial dissertation. Candidates must thus have had thorough coursework training before embarking on this PhD program, including courses on morphology, syntax, semantics, and phonology/phonetics, taught from a non-formalist perspective. We place emphasis on work with 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).

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 Language and Culture Research Centre, which includes Research Fellows and a growing number of doctoral students.

The LCRC has strong links with anthropologists, archaeologists and educationalists, with scholars working on environmental issues, all within James Cook University. Further information is available at

The scholarship will be at the standard James Cook University rate, Australian $27.488 pa. Students coming from overseas are liable for a tuition fee; but this will be waived if scholarship is awarded. 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 and a half years. The deadline for application (starting in 2019) is 30 September 2018.

Successful applicants would take up their PhD scholarships between January and June 2019. (The academic year in Australia runs from February to November.) Application form and procedures for international students can be found at: (JCUPRS scholarships).

Prospective applicants are invited, in the first place, to get in touch with Professor Alexandra Aikhenvald at the contact information below, providing details of their background, qualifications and interests (with 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: 30-Sep-2018

Mailing Address for Applications:
        Attn: Prof Alexandra Aikhenvald
        D-3 JCU McGregor Drive PO Box 6811
        Cairns Queensland 4870

Web Address for Applications:

Contact Information:
        Prof Alexandra a
        Phone:61 7 42321117

Page Updated: 02-Aug-2018