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Michael Walsh

Honorary Associate
Department of Linguistics
University of Sydney
michael.walsh at usyd.edu.au
Ph: +61-2-90365095
Fax: +61-2-93517525


Research interests:
Australian Aboriginal languages,
lexical semantics,
cross-cultural pragmatics,
language and law,
linguistic geography,
language revitalization,
song language and other expressive uses of language


Michael Walsh's research has focussed on the Top End of the Northern Territory over the last 30 years. This research includes descriptive and typological studies of Aboriginal languages as well as investigations into language use among indigenous Australians. An interest in lexical semantics has given rise to such studies as one on body part metaphors and another on nominal classification. In these and other studies I am interested in testing general assumptions about how languages are supposed to work against data collected in the field.

Outside of strictly linguistic matters he has carried out research or advised on land claims, assessment of Aboriginal witnesses in legal settings and Native Title matters. One spin-off of these interests is a focus on cross-cultural communication problems between indigenous and other Australians.


Selected Publications


Books and Monographs
(2005) co-edited with Colin Yallop. Language and Culture in Aboriginal Australia. Canberra: Aboriginal Studies Press. xviii+226 pp. [re-issue]

(1997a) co-edited with D. Tryon. Boundary Rider: Essays in Honour of Geoffrey O'Grady. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics, C-136. viii + 444pp.

(1997b) Cross Cultural Communication Problems in Aboriginal Australia. Darwin: North Australia Research Unit. Discussion Paper No.7/1997. 23pp.

(1993) co-edited with Colin Yallop. Language and Culture in Aboriginal Australia. Canberra: Aboriginal Studies Press. xviii+226 pp.

(1987) with P. Sutton. AIAS Wordlist for Australian Languages 2nd edition.. Canberra: Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies. 210 pp.

(1979a) with P. Sutton. AIAS Wordlist for Australian Languages. Canberra: Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies. v + 161 pp.

(1979b) with P. Sutton. Revised Linguistic Fieldwork Manual for Australia. Canberra: Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies. 64pp.

Articles
(In press a) Which way? Difficult options for vulnerable witnesses in Australian Aboriginal land claim and native title cases. Journal of English Linguistics, Special issue Michelle Aldridge and June Luchenbroers eds.

(In press b) Ten postulates concerning narrative in Aboriginal Australia. In Lesley Stirling, Tania Strahan & Susan Douglas (eds) Narrative in Intimate Societies . Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

(In press c) A polytropical approach to the `floating pelican' song: an exercise in rich interpretation of a Murriny Patha (northern Australia) song. In The Language of Song: A Special Issue of Australian Journal of Linguistics. Edited by Tonya Stebbins, Myfany Turpin and Stephen Morey

(2007a) with Linda Barwick, Allan Marett & Joe Blythe. 'Arriving, digging, performing, returning: an exercise in rich interpretation of a djanba song text in the sound archive of the Wadeye Knowledge Centre, Northern Territory of Australia'. In Moyle, R. M. (Ed.), Oceanic Encounters: Festschrift for Mervyn McLean. Auckland: Research in Anthropology and Linguistics Monographs. 13-24.

(2007b) The Crowley corrective: an alternative voice for language endangerment. In, Jeff Siegel, John Lynch and Diana Eades (eds.) Language Description, History and Development Linguistic indulgence in memory of Terry Crowley. Amsterdam: John Benjamins (Creole Language Library 30), 431-437.

(2007c) Indigenous languages: Transitions from the past to the present. In Gerhard Leitner and Ian Malcolm (eds.) The Habitat of Australia's Aboriginal Languages: Past, Present and Future. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 58-72.

(2007d) Australian Aboriginal song language - so many questions, so little to work with. Australian Aboriginal Studies (Special Issue edited by Allan Marett and Linda Barwick). 2007/2: 128-144.

(2005) Will Indigenous languages survive? Annual Review of Anthropology 34: 293-315.

(2005b) with Jakelin Troy. Languages Off Country? Revitalizing the 'Right' Indigenous Languages in the South East of Australia. In Nigel Crawhall and Nicholas Ostler (eds.) Creating Outsiders: Endangered Languages, Migration and Marginalization. (Proceedings of Ninth Conference of the Foundation for Endangered Languages, Stellenbosch, South Africa, 18-20 November 2005). Bath: Foundation for Endangered Languages, 71-81.

(2005c) with Linda Barwick, Allan Marett, Lys Ford and Nicholas Reid. Communities of interest: issues in establishing a digital resource on Murrinh-patha song at Wadeye (Port Keats), NT. Literary and Linguistic Computing 20(4):383-397. [Full text here]

(2003) Raising Babel: language revitalization in NSW, Australia. In Joe Blythe and R. McKenna Brown (eds) Maintaining the Links. Language, Identity and the Land. Proceedings of the Seventh Conference Presented by the Foundation for Endangered Languages. Broome, Western Australia, 22-24 September 2003. Bath: Foundation for Endangered Languages, 113-117. [pdf]

(2002a) Language ownership: a key issue for Native Title. In John Henderson and David Nash (eds) Language and Native Title. Canberra: Native Title Research Series, Aboriginal Studies Press, 230-244.

(1997a) with Darrell Tryon. Geoffrey O'Grady: pioneer of Australian Linguistics. In Darrell Tryon and Michael Walsh (eds.) Boundary Rider: Essays in Honour of Geoffrey O'Grady. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics, C-136, pp. 1-3.

(1997b) How many Australian languages were there? In Darrell Tryon and Michael Walsh (eds.) Boundary Rider: Essays in Honour of Geoffrey O'Grady. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics, C-136, pp. 393-412.

(1997c) Noun classes, nominal classification and generics in Murrinhpatha. In Mark Harvey and Nicholas Reid (eds.) Nominal Classification in Aboriginal Australia. Studies in Language Companion Series 37 (Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins), pp.255-292.

(1996) Vouns and nerbs: A category squish in Murrinh-Patha (northern Australia). in W.B. McGregor (ed.) Studies in Kimberley languages in honour of Howard Coate. München: Lincom Europa, pp. 227-252.

(1995a) Body Parts in Murrinh-Patha: Incorporation, Grammar and Metaphor. In Hilary Chappell and Bill McGregor (eds.) The Grammar of Inalienability: A Typological Perspective on Body Part Terms and the Part-Whole Relation Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, pp.327-380.

(1995b) "Tainted evidence": literacy and traditional knowledge in an Aboriginal land claim. In Diana Eades (ed.) Language in Evidence. Issues Confronting Aboriginal and Multicultural Australia. Sydney: University of New South Wales Press, pp.97-124.

(1993a) Classifying the World in an Aboriginal Language. In Michael Walsh and Colin Yallop (eds.) Language and Culture in Aboriginal Australia Canberra: Aboriginal Studies Press, 107-122.

(1993b) Languages and their status in Aboriginal Australia. In Michael Walsh and Colin Yallop (eds.) Language and Culture in Aboriginal Australia. Canberra: Aboriginal Studies Press), 1-13.

(1992) A Nagging Problem in Australian Lexical History. in Tom Dutton, Malcolm Ross and Darrell Tryon (eds.) The Language Game: Papers in Memory of Donald C. Laycock Canberra: Pacific Linguistics, pp 507-19.

(1991a) Conversational styles and inter-cultural communication:.an example from Northern Australia. Australian Journal of Communication 18(1): 1-12.

(1991b) Overview of indigenous languages. in Suzanne Romaine (ed.) Language in Australia. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), pp.27-48.

(1987) The Impersonal Verb Construction in Australian Languages. in Ross Steele and Terry Threadgold (eds.) Language Topics. Studies in honour of Michael Halliday. Amsterdam: Benjamins, pp.425-38.

(1986) with Harry Kulampurrut. Strange Food. In L. Hercus and P. Sutton (eds.) This is What Happened. Historical Narratives by Aborigines Canberra: Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies, pp.47-61.

(1982) with M.M. Brandl. Speakers of many tongues: towards understanding multilingualism among Aboriginal Australians. International Journal of the Sociology of Language 36, pp.71-81.

(1981) The lost "Macassar Language" of northern Australia. (with J. Urry) Aboriginal History 5. 91-108.