Researcher biography

I am a Professor of Linguistics in the School of Languages and Cultures. I am also a Fellow in the Academy for Social Sciences Australia (ASSA), a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Humanities (AAH) and a member of the ARC College of Experts.

I just completed a Future Fellowship which focused on language evolution and contact processes across northern Australia where I have worked for the past two decades. I was also the Deputy Director of the UQ node of the ARC Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language which finished in late 2022.

In 2021, I won the Eureka Award for Interdisciplinary Scientific Research together with Cassandra Algy, Lindell Bromham and Xia Hua. In 2021, I also won the Linguistic Society of America (LSA)'s Kenneth L Hale Award for linguistic fieldwork.

I studied at the University of Queensland between 1995-2001. Between 2001-04, I worked as a community linguist at Diwurruwurru-jaru Aboriginal Corporation facilitating revitalisation programs for Bilinarra and Ngarinyman people. I joined the Aboriginal Child Language project (University of Melbourne) in 2004 as a PhD student. I completed my PhD in 2008 and continued documenting Gurindji, Bilinarra and Gurindji Kriol as a part of the Jaminjungan and Eastern Ngumpin DOBES project, then with my own ELDP grant at the University of Manchester and finally returned to UQ with an ARC APD and then an ARC DECRA. I have also held an ARC DP which studied contact between Mudburra and Jingulu and Mudburra and Kriol.

I have co-compiled four dictionaries (Gurindji, Bilinarra, Ngarinyman and Mudburra) and two grammars (Bilinarra and Gurindji) and two ethnobiologies (Bilinarra/Gurindji/Malngin and Jingulu/Mudburra). I am also the author of Case-Marking in Contact (Benjamins, 2011), co-author of Understanding Linguistic Fieldwork (Routledge, 2018) and Songs from the Stations (Sydney University Press, 2019) and co-editor of Loss and Renewal: Australian Languages since Colonisation (Mouton, 2016) and Yijarni: True Stories from Gurindji Country (2016, Aboriginal Studies Press). I have also authored over 55 papers on language contact and change in academic volumes and journals.

Featured projects Duration
Something old, something new: Indigenous languages since colonization
ARC Future Fellowship

Areas of research