Dr. Michael Walsh

Michael Walsh is a senior lecturer at the University of Sydney and his research has focused on the Top End of the Northern Territory over the last 30 years.


Dr. Michael Walsh
Michael Walsh's research has focused 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.



1993. 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.

1994. Interactional styles and the courtroom: an example from Northern Australia. In John Gibbons (ed.) Language and the Law (London: Longman), 217-233.

1995. 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)

1995. 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.

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 . pp. 227-252 (München: Lincom Europa)

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

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

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

1997 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.

1997 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.

1997 The Land Still Speaks? In Deborah Rose and Anne Clarke (eds.) Tracking Knowledge in North Australian Landscapes. Studies in Indigenous and Settler Ecological Knowledge Systems . Darwin: North Australia Research Unit, pp.105-119.

1999 Interpreting for the transcript: problems in recording land claim proceedings in northern Australia. Forensic Linguistics 6(1), 161-195.

2000 Strong Language Strong Culture. New South Wales Strategic Language Study. Final Report and Strategy Action Plan. - prepared for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission by the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies. 64pp. (major author).

2001 A case of language revitalisation in 'settled' Australia. Current Issues in Language Planning 2(2&3), 251-258.

2001 Indigenous grammatical traditions in Aboriginal Australia. In Hannes Kniffka (ed.) Indigenous Grammar in Culture-Contrastive Perspective Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 297-314.

2001 Indigenous languages since 1788. In James Jupp ed. The Australian People. An Encyclopedia of the Nations, Its People and Their Origins . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 93-97.

2001 Review of Rob Amery Warrabarna Kaurna! Reclaiming an Australian Language. Current Issues in Language Planning 2(2&3), 300-302.

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

2002 Obituary. Stephen Wurm (1922-2001). Aboriginal History 25, 276-8 (with Luise Hercus and Harold Koch).

2002 Transparency versus opacity in Australian Aboriginal place names. In Luise Hercus, Flavia Hodges and Jane Simpson (eds) The Land is a Map. Place names of Indigenous Origin in Australia . Canberra: Pandanus Books, 43-49.

2002 Teaching NSW?s Indigenous Languages Lessons from Elsewhere. prepared for the Aboriginal Curriculum Unit of the NSW Board of Studies, 27pp. link

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.

(in press) Australian Indigenous languages. In Osahito Miyaoka, Osamu Sakiyama and Michael Krauss (eds) Vanishing Languages of the Pacific. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

(in press) California Down Under: Indigenous language revitalization in New South Wales, Australia. (with Kevin Lowe). In Wesley Leonard (ed.) ***

(in press) Communities of interest: issues in establishing a digital resource on Murrinh-patha song at Wadeye (Port Keats), NT. (with Linda Barwick, Allan Marett, Lys Ford and Nicholas Reid). Literary and Linguistic Computing

(in press) Learning while revitalizing: Aboriginal languages in New South Wales, Australia. International Conference on Language, Education and Diversity, School of Education, University of Waikato, 28 November 2003.

(in press) Terminology planning in Aboriginal Australia. (with Jakelin Troy). Current Issues in Language Planning

(in press) Will Indigenous languages survive? Annual Review of Anthropology 34.

Contact Details

Transient Building Room 229,
University of Sydney NSW 2006 Australia.
Phone: (02) 9351 4228
FAX: (02) 9351 7572
Email: Michael.Walsh@arts.usyd.edu.au
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