Professor Umberto Ansaldo

MA (Venice); PhD (Stockholm)
Head of School
Professor of Linguistics

A20 - John Woolley Building
The University of Sydney

Telephone +61 2 9351 6855

Biographical details

Umberto Ansaldo started his academic path as a student of Chinese language and literature at the University of Venice, Italy, and went on to earn a PhD in linguistics from the University of Stockholm, Sweden. Since then he has been conducting research on languages of East, South, and Southeast Asia with a focus on socio-historical and typological processes. He has also published and edited a number of volumes and articles on Pidgin and Creole languages, their evolution and their historiography. Between 2005 and 2010 Professor Ansaldo led a project that resulted in a comprehensive description and documentation of an endangered contact language known as Sri Lanka Malay. In July 2018 Professor Ansaldo took up a new post as Head of the School of Literature, Arts and Media (SLAM) at the University of Sydney. In the previous two decades Professor Ansaldo taught at the National University of Singapore, the University of Amsterdam, and most recently served as Head of the School of Humanities at the University of Hong Kong. Besides linguistics he has taught courses on modern Asia, conflict studies, and self-defence and his most recent interest is in higher education management and academic leadership.

Outside of work, Umberto is a keen practitioner of martial arts, which he has studied for over 2 decades. He also travels as frequently as possible, occasionally trying to learn a new language, most recently Japanese.

Research interests

  • language contact
  • sociolinguistics
  • typology
  • endangered languages

Current projects

Forthcoming (2019):

  • Fleming, Kara and Umberto Ansaldo. The linguistic bases of nationalism. Routledge.

In progress:

  • Umberto Ansaldo and Miriam Meyerhoff (eds). The Routledge Handbook of Pidgin and Creole Languages.
  • Vellupilai, Viveka and Umberto Ansaldo. The Linguistic Complexity Debate. (Oxford University Press).

Associations

Editorial Board Membership

  • Journal of Pidgin and Creole Languages. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 2011 - present.
  • Transactions of the Philological Society. Oxford: Wiley. 2011 - present.
  • Edinburgh Studies in Theoretical Linguistics. Edinburgh University Press. 2012 – present.
  • Journal of Language Contact. Boston/ Leiden: Brill. 2012 – present.
  • Studies in Language Contact and Dynamics of Language. Boston/ Leiden: Brill. 2013 – present.
  • Mind, Music and Language. A Journal for Empirical and Theoretical Research. Open Access. 2013 – present.

Selected publications

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Books

  • Lim, L., Ansaldo, U. (2015). Languages in Contact. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. [More Information]
  • Ansaldo, U. (2009). Contact Languages: Ecology and Evolution in Asia. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. [More Information]

Edited Books

  • Ansaldo, U., Enfield, N. (2016). Is the Language Faculty Nonlinguistic?. Lausanne: Frontiers. [More Information]
  • Ansaldo, U. (2012). Pidgins and Creoles in Asia. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company. [More Information]
  • Ansaldo, U., Don, J., Pfau, R. (2010). Parts of Speech: Empirical and Theoretical Advances. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company. [More Information]
  • Ansaldo, U., Matthews, S., Lim, L. (2007). Deconstructing Creole. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company. [More Information]

Book Chapters

  • Ansaldo, U., Lim, L. (2018). Citizenship theory and fieldwork practice in Sri Lanka Malay communities. In Lisa Lim, Christopher Stroud and Lionel Wee (Eds.), The Multilingual Citizen: Towards a Politics of Language for Agency and Change, (pp. 193-220). Bristol: Multilingual Matters. [More Information]
  • Ansaldo, U. (2017). Sri Lanka and South India. In Raymond Hickey (Eds.), The Cambridge Handbook of Areal Linguistics, (pp. 575-585). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. [More Information]
  • Ansaldo, U., Lim, L. (2013). English in Asia. In Raymond Hickey (Eds.), Areal Features of the Anglophone World, (pp. 187-210). Berlin and Boston: De Gruyter. [More Information]
  • Lim, L., Ansaldo, U. (2012). Contact in the Asian arena. In Terttu Nevalainen and Elizabeth Closs Traugott (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of the History of English. Oxford: Oxford University Press. [More Information]
  • Ansaldo, U. (2011). Metatypy in Sri Lanka Malay. In Rajendra Singh and Ghanshyam Sharma (Eds.), Annual Review of South Asian Languages and Linguistics 2011, (pp. 3-16). Berlin and Boston: De Gruyter. [More Information]
  • Ansaldo, U. (2011). The Asian typology of English: Theoretical and methodological considerations. In Nikolas Gisborne and Lisa Lim (Eds.), The Typology of Asian Englishes, (pp. 11-26). Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company. [More Information]
  • Ansaldo, U., Matthews, S., Smith, G. (2011). The Cantonese substrate in China Coast Pidgin. In Claire Lefebvre (Eds.), Creoles, Their Substrates and Language Typology, (pp. 289-301). Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company. [More Information]
  • Ansaldo, U. (2011). The Lankan adstrates of Sri Lanka Malay. In Claire Lefebvre (Eds.), Creoles, Their Substrates and Language Typology, (pp. 367-382). Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company. [More Information]
  • Ansaldo, U. (2010). Contact and Asian Varieties of English. In Hickey, Raymond (Eds.), The Handbook of Language Contact, (pp. 498-517). West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing. [More Information]
  • Ansaldo, U., Nordhoff, S. (2009). Complexity and the age of languages. In Enoch O. Aboh and Norval Smith (Eds.), Complex Processes in New Languages, (pp. 345-363). Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company. [More Information]
  • Ansaldo, U. (2009). Contact language formation in evolutionary terms. In Enoch O. Aboh and Norval Smith (Eds.), Complex Processes in New Languages, (pp. 265-289). Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company. [More Information]
  • Ansaldo, U. (2008). Sri Lanka Malay revisited: Genesis and classification. In K. David Harrison, David S. Rood and Arienne Dwyer (Eds.), A World of Many Voices: Lessons from Documented Endangered Languages, (pp. 13-42). Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company. [More Information]

Journals

  • Ansaldo, U. (2018). Complexity reboot: A rejoinder to Parkvall, Bakker and McWhorter. Language Sciences, 66, 234-235. [More Information]
  • Szeto, P., Ansaldo, U., Matthews, S. (2018). Typological variation across Mandarin dialects: An areal perspective with a quantitative approach. Linguistic Typology, 22(2), 233-275. [More Information]
  • Ansaldo, U. (2017). Creole complexity in sociolinguistic perspective. Language Sciences, 60, 26-35. [More Information]
  • Ansaldo, U., Enfield, N. (2016). Editorial: Is the Language Faculty Nonlinguistic? Frontiers in Psychology, 7, 1-2. [More Information]
  • Ansaldo, U., Lai, J., Jia, F., Siok, W., Tan, L., Matthews, S. (2015). Neural basis for processing hidden complexity indexed by small and finite clauses in Mandarin Chinese. Journal of Neurolinguistics, 33, 118-127. [More Information]
  • Ansaldo, U. (2014). SLM is dead, long live Sri Lanka Malay: A review article of Nordhoff 2013. Journal of Language Contact, 7(2), 381-391. [More Information]
  • Ansaldo, U., Lim, L. (2014). The Lifecycle of Sri Lanka Malay. Language Documentation and Conservation, Special Publication No. 7, 100-118. [More Information]
  • Ansaldo, U., Matthews, S., Smith, G. (2010). China coast pidgin: Texts and contexts. Journal of Pidgin and Creole Languages, 25(1), 63-94. [More Information]
  • Ansaldo, U. (2010). Foreword. Journal of Pidgin and Creole Languages, 25(1), 1-3. [More Information]
  • Ansaldo, U. (2010). Identity alignment and language creation in multilingual communities. Language Sciences, 32(6), 615-623. [More Information]
  • Ansaldo, U. (2010). Surpass comparatives in Sinitic and beyond: Typology and grammaticalization. Linguistics, 48(4), 919-950. [More Information]
  • Love, N., Ansaldo, U. (2010). The native speaker and the mother tongue. Language Sciences, 32(6), 589-593. [More Information]
  • Ansaldo, U. (2009). The Asian typology of English: Theoretical and methodological considerations. English World-Wide: a journal of varieties of English, 30(2), 133-148. [More Information]
  • Ansaldo, U., Don, J., Pfau, R. (2008). Parts of speech: Particulars, universals and theoretical constructs. Studies in Language, 32(3), 505-508. [More Information]
  • Ansaldo, U. (2004). Contact, typology and the speaker: The essentials of language. Language Sciences, 26(5), 485-494. [More Information]
  • Ansaldo, U., Matthews, S. (2001). Typical creoles and simple languages: The case of Sinitic. Linguistic Typology, 5(2), 311-325. [More Information]

Edited Journals

  • Ansaldo, U., Aboh, E. (2018). Languages as Adaptive Systems. Frontiers in Psychology. [More Information]

2018

  • Ansaldo, U., Lim, L. (2018). Citizenship theory and fieldwork practice in Sri Lanka Malay communities. In Lisa Lim, Christopher Stroud and Lionel Wee (Eds.), The Multilingual Citizen: Towards a Politics of Language for Agency and Change, (pp. 193-220). Bristol: Multilingual Matters. [More Information]
  • Ansaldo, U. (2018). Complexity reboot: A rejoinder to Parkvall, Bakker and McWhorter. Language Sciences, 66, 234-235. [More Information]
  • Ansaldo, U., Aboh, E. (2018). Languages as Adaptive Systems. Frontiers in Psychology. [More Information]
  • Szeto, P., Ansaldo, U., Matthews, S. (2018). Typological variation across Mandarin dialects: An areal perspective with a quantitative approach. Linguistic Typology, 22(2), 233-275. [More Information]

2017

  • Ansaldo, U. (2017). Creole complexity in sociolinguistic perspective. Language Sciences, 60, 26-35. [More Information]
  • Ansaldo, U. (2017). Sri Lanka and South India. In Raymond Hickey (Eds.), The Cambridge Handbook of Areal Linguistics, (pp. 575-585). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. [More Information]

2016

  • Ansaldo, U., Enfield, N. (2016). Editorial: Is the Language Faculty Nonlinguistic? Frontiers in Psychology, 7, 1-2. [More Information]
  • Ansaldo, U., Enfield, N. (2016). Is the Language Faculty Nonlinguistic?. Lausanne: Frontiers. [More Information]

2015

  • Lim, L., Ansaldo, U. (2015). Languages in Contact. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. [More Information]
  • Ansaldo, U., Lai, J., Jia, F., Siok, W., Tan, L., Matthews, S. (2015). Neural basis for processing hidden complexity indexed by small and finite clauses in Mandarin Chinese. Journal of Neurolinguistics, 33, 118-127. [More Information]

2014

  • Ansaldo, U. (2014). SLM is dead, long live Sri Lanka Malay: A review article of Nordhoff 2013. Journal of Language Contact, 7(2), 381-391. [More Information]
  • Ansaldo, U., Lim, L. (2014). The Lifecycle of Sri Lanka Malay. Language Documentation and Conservation, Special Publication No. 7, 100-118. [More Information]

2013

  • Ansaldo, U., Lim, L. (2013). English in Asia. In Raymond Hickey (Eds.), Areal Features of the Anglophone World, (pp. 187-210). Berlin and Boston: De Gruyter. [More Information]

2012

  • Lim, L., Ansaldo, U. (2012). Contact in the Asian arena. In Terttu Nevalainen and Elizabeth Closs Traugott (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of the History of English. Oxford: Oxford University Press. [More Information]
  • Ansaldo, U. (2012). Pidgins and Creoles in Asia. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company. [More Information]

2011

  • Ansaldo, U. (2011). Metatypy in Sri Lanka Malay. In Rajendra Singh and Ghanshyam Sharma (Eds.), Annual Review of South Asian Languages and Linguistics 2011, (pp. 3-16). Berlin and Boston: De Gruyter. [More Information]
  • Ansaldo, U. (2011). The Asian typology of English: Theoretical and methodological considerations. In Nikolas Gisborne and Lisa Lim (Eds.), The Typology of Asian Englishes, (pp. 11-26). Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company. [More Information]
  • Ansaldo, U., Matthews, S., Smith, G. (2011). The Cantonese substrate in China Coast Pidgin. In Claire Lefebvre (Eds.), Creoles, Their Substrates and Language Typology, (pp. 289-301). Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company. [More Information]
  • Ansaldo, U. (2011). The Lankan adstrates of Sri Lanka Malay. In Claire Lefebvre (Eds.), Creoles, Their Substrates and Language Typology, (pp. 367-382). Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company. [More Information]

2010

  • Ansaldo, U., Matthews, S., Smith, G. (2010). China coast pidgin: Texts and contexts. Journal of Pidgin and Creole Languages, 25(1), 63-94. [More Information]
  • Ansaldo, U. (2010). Contact and Asian Varieties of English. In Hickey, Raymond (Eds.), The Handbook of Language Contact, (pp. 498-517). West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing. [More Information]
  • Ansaldo, U. (2010). Foreword. Journal of Pidgin and Creole Languages, 25(1), 1-3. [More Information]
  • Ansaldo, U. (2010). Identity alignment and language creation in multilingual communities. Language Sciences, 32(6), 615-623. [More Information]
  • Ansaldo, U., Don, J., Pfau, R. (2010). Parts of Speech: Empirical and Theoretical Advances. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company. [More Information]
  • Ansaldo, U. (2010). Surpass comparatives in Sinitic and beyond: Typology and grammaticalization. Linguistics, 48(4), 919-950. [More Information]
  • Love, N., Ansaldo, U. (2010). The native speaker and the mother tongue. Language Sciences, 32(6), 589-593. [More Information]

2009

  • Ansaldo, U., Nordhoff, S. (2009). Complexity and the age of languages. In Enoch O. Aboh and Norval Smith (Eds.), Complex Processes in New Languages, (pp. 345-363). Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company. [More Information]
  • Ansaldo, U. (2009). Contact language formation in evolutionary terms. In Enoch O. Aboh and Norval Smith (Eds.), Complex Processes in New Languages, (pp. 265-289). Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company. [More Information]
  • Ansaldo, U. (2009). Contact Languages: Ecology and Evolution in Asia. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. [More Information]
  • Ansaldo, U. (2009). The Asian typology of English: Theoretical and methodological considerations. English World-Wide: a journal of varieties of English, 30(2), 133-148. [More Information]

2008

  • Ansaldo, U., Don, J., Pfau, R. (2008). Parts of speech: Particulars, universals and theoretical constructs. Studies in Language, 32(3), 505-508. [More Information]
  • Ansaldo, U. (2008). Sri Lanka Malay revisited: Genesis and classification. In K. David Harrison, David S. Rood and Arienne Dwyer (Eds.), A World of Many Voices: Lessons from Documented Endangered Languages, (pp. 13-42). Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company. [More Information]

2007

  • Ansaldo, U., Matthews, S., Lim, L. (2007). Deconstructing Creole. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company. [More Information]

2004

  • Ansaldo, U. (2004). Contact, typology and the speaker: The essentials of language. Language Sciences, 26(5), 485-494. [More Information]

2001

  • Ansaldo, U., Matthews, S. (2001). Typical creoles and simple languages: The case of Sinitic. Linguistic Typology, 5(2), 311-325. [More Information]

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