ALS 2017 Workshops


Title: TAM marking in languages of Australia and the Pacific
Abstract: Languages of Australia and the Pacific are well-recognised for their rich and morphologically complex systems of temporal, aspectual and modal expression (TAM).
In recent times there has been an increase in the detailed study of TAM in non-Indo-European languages, and new studies in this field have emerged for languages of Australia and the Pacific. In this workshop we aim to highlight these recent developments and build a stronger momentum in this field, bringing together researchers of Australian and Pacific languages working on TAM marking and expression. Some of the most interesting features of these languages relating to TAM include pronominals which are portmanteau TAM morphemes; realis/irrealis distinctions; and complex event description systems based on serial verbs/ complex predicates. Thus, topics of particular interest for this workshop include (but are not limited to):

  • Inter-relation between different TAM categories
  • Composite TAM phenomena
  • Interplay between semantic and pragmatic principles in giving rise to different TAM expressions (e.g. ‘tenseless’ and mood-prominent languages)
  • Discourse-level grammatical markers (discourse connectives, discourse particles and clitics, etc.) impacting temporal ordering Fieldwork methodology relating to TAM marking and expression


Title: Talking the Talkey: Popularising Linguistics
Abstract: The rise of ‘on demand’ media like podcasts and content platforms like The Conversation means that linguists are able to share their expert knowledge with a wider audience than ever before. This workshop brings together people who have worked to bring linguistics into the popular consciousness in different media. Some work in traditional media formats like radio, others are making the most of the podcasting boom. Others are taking a more personal approach, engaging with specific communities or schools or tailoring their message to particular social media platforms. This panel is of interest to a diverse audience, from linguists who want to find out what podcasts are all about, to those who would like to share their work with a larger audience in one-off pieces or interviews, or those who are thinking about setting up their own blog or podcast and want a glimpse behind the scenes.
The panelists will focus on practical advice as well as the broader importance of effective linguistics public engagement.

Title: Lexical development in Australian language revival and maintenance
Abstract: There is considerable lexical development occurring as part of language revival and as part of language maintenance of stronger languages. This is a relatively unexamined process. The workshop is an opportunity for linguists and others, especially community members involved in language revival and language maintenance, to look at the motivation for lexical development, to examine existing practices, to consider the principles involved in lexical development and to learn from each other.

Title: The language of poetry and song
Abstract: Poetry and song are artistic uses of language found in all cultures. These two forms of verbal art can be regarded as points on a continuum rather than discrete categories. They can be delivered in a variety of ways, such as by singing, chanting, intoning, or in various speaking styles. Poetry and song share a number of formal features including lineation, alliteration, as well as special vocabulary, and a constrained or set subject matter. In poetry and song the artistic function of language is brought to the fore, rather than its communicative function, which is what we find in speech. This workshop seeks to explore how poetry and song draw attention to the poetic function of language. How do poetry and song differ from spoken language? Are there tendencies or constraints on:

  • The number of syllables in a line?
  • The ways syllables and words are matched to poetic or musical rhythm and phrasing? What is the effect of musical pitch, duration and vocal quality on vowels, for example?
  • The semantic domains of songs and song genres?
  • The vocabulary and sound system including tonal categories?


Title: Emotion metaphors in Australian languages: the role of the body
Abstract: This workshop will explore emotion metaphors in Australian languages. Many Australian languages use body-part nouns – the belly, the heart, the throat, the eyes, among others – to describe emotions. These body-parts are typically involved in lexicalized expressions or constructions, like with the Dalabon compound kangu-kurduh(mu) ‘belly’+‘blocked’ lit. ‘have a blocked belly’ for ‘feel anxious’ (Gunwinyguan, Non-Pama-nyungan). Some languages have a large cohort of such expressions, organized around key metaphors such as the resistance (e.g. ‘blocked belly’ above) or accessibility of the body-part in question. One of the objectives of this workshop is to improve our knowledge of these specific body-based emotion metaphors available in Australian languages, and of their respective frequency and geographical distribution across the continent. The second question to be tackled is that of emotion metaphors that do not relate to the body. Ponsonnet has shown that in Dalabon, representations of emotions as parts of the body are remarkably prevalent. Emotions are quasi-systematically represented as parts or states of the person, and hardly ever represent as independent entities. That is, a metaphor like to fight one’s fear, where fear is depicted as an enemy (an independent, agentive entity), cannot occur in Dalabon. The only exception relates to anger, which is sometimes represented as an entity that can be found (yirru-ngalka ‘conflict, anger’+‘find’, ‘be/become angry’). One of the correlates of the rarity of such metaphors of emotions as independent entities is that Dalabon has very few emotion nouns: only two. What about other Australian languages? Do they have more emotion nouns, and if so which? Can they represent emotions as entities independent of the person, and if so, under which metaphors?