The following is a list of current Members & Affiliates of the CRLC, in alphabetical order of family name. Click on the links to see more detail, or e-mail
The CRLC promotes, coordinates and sponsors research on all aspects of language change and on the history of particular languages and language families.
The Centre is a focus for all research in this field at the Australian National University (ANU), combining interests previously divided amongst the Department of Linguistics in the Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies (RSPAS), the School of Language Studies in the Faculty of Arts, various centres in the Faculty of Asian Studies, and members of the Departments of Anthropology and of Archaeology and Natural History, RSPAS, and the School of Archaeology and Anthropology, Faculty of Arts.
We seek to actively promote the formulation of cross-campus and inter-university projects and seek appropriate funding for them, support directly selected projects or aspects of them, organise seminars, lectures and conferences, publish appropriate works and publicise the interests and achievements of historical linguistics at the ANU. The CRLC is unique in the world. There is no other centre devoted exclusively to research on language change across language families. ANU scholars connected with the Centre will play a role in defining the discipline on a world scale.
I created the chameleon mascot for the CRLC to symbolise change. Also chameleons symbolise the 'exotic' language families we are involved in with our research (Chamaeleontidae lizards are found in Africa and Madagascar). Harold Koch suggested I make him pop his tongue out to show a dynamic representation of change, and also because the word 'language' in English is derived historically from the Latin root (lingua) meaning 'tongue'. The different colours are used on the CRLC's web page to distinguish the different pages and the CRLC's areas of interest, e.g. events, education, research, members, etc. Some may argue that theoretically we shouldn't be able to see our chameleon at any time on the web page because of the chameleon's remarkable camouflaging ability, but where's the fun in that?
When asked by the committee to come up with a logo for the CRLC, I was a little stumped. How do you represent 'change' with an unmoving image? Playing around with shapes, Paul Sidwell noticed how one my triangles looked like the Greek 'delta' symbol (uppercase). Knowing more logic than I did, he remarked how the symbol is used in logic to symbolise change. I slanted it a little to the right to emphasise the CRLC's aims in the future and our aim to make advances in the field of historical linguistics.
News [back to top]
The Centre for Research on Language Change was officially inaugurated by the Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Chubb on the 20th August, 2001. Over 50 people attended the launch which was held at the Manning Clark Centre, ANU. The Director, Dr. Malcolm Ross first described how the Centre came to be, and its objectives. Dr. Harold Koch introduced the guest speaker Professor Alice Harris (Vanderbilt University) who presented a Public lecture: 'Words within Words' describing how Udi (Caucasian language) verbs appear to be 'split' by person/number marking clitics, although an historical account of the Udi verbs suggests that these words were derived from two morphemes (and thus the clitics behave quite 'normally'). Cynthia Allen thanked the speakers. This was followed by an opulent reception with drinks and nibbles. The night was a great success and we even had the weather on our side (downpours once all guests had arrived, which miraculously stopped just in time before going home!). Thank you to all who helped organise the 'gala' event and especially Ingrid Ross who prepared the exotic feast and Meredith Osmond who also helped on the night.
Readers may wonder why we have included in the name of our Centre the term language change rather than historical linguistics. Several considerations have informed our decision.
In the first place, language change seems more user-friendly and informative to those who are not specialists in linguistics. It states openly and directly what our subject matter is without hiding behind disciplinary labels. It further avoids possible confusion with the history of linguistics or the literary history of languages.
Secondly, it allows the subject matter to be understood more broadly. It admits interdisciplinary approaches to language change, such as exploring the cultural correlates of language spread, shift, and contactusing evidence from archaeology, anthropology, and history. It admits approaches to language change which come from hyphenated linguistic disciplines, such as sociolinguistic network theory, or the psycho-social study of attitudes toward language.
We do as well include in our understanding of langauge change the traditional aspects of describing, reconstructing, and explaining diachronic alterations to the phonological, morphological, syntactic, semantic, and lexical systems of particular languages and families of languages; modeling the historical relations between languages; and contributing to the general theory of linguistic change.
It is a great privilege for me to be able to pursue my research project at the ANU as a Postdoctoral Fellow and member of the Centre for Research on Language Change.
In January of 2000 I submitted an application for an Australian Research Council (ARC) Australian Postdoctoral Research Fellowship (APD) for a project entitled Linguistic prehistory in Southeast Asia: 2000 years of contact between Austroasiatic and Austronesian Speakers. In tha tI proposed using the techniques of comparative linguistic reconstruction to shed some light on the undocumented history of the establishment of the Chamic and Khmer kingdoms in Southeast Asia and the histories of the Austroasiatic hill tribes that inhabit the Annamite Mountains and who have been in ongoing and intimate contact with the Khmers and Chams for at least 2000 years.
As it turned out, I was not offered an APD in the first round, and instead took up a clerical position with the Department of Immigration in Canberra. Luckily, and to my great relief, I didnt languish too long in the Public Service as Professor Bernard Comrie of the Max Planck Institute (Leipzig) offered me a one year research position. I took this up in April 2001, basing myself at ANU. For the next 3 months I concentrated on revising the genetic classification of the Bahnaric language family, and completed a paper on the topic for Mon-Khmer Studies.
While enjoying the Max Planck position I finally received an offer from the ARC, and eventually moved into the Department of Linguistics in the RSPAS in July 2001. I am now hard at work comprehensively revising the reconstruction of Proto Bahnaric and Proto Katuic, a task that will take at least a year.
In addition to my historical linguistic research, I have been collaborating for several years with Pascale Jacq in fieldwork on and description of West Bahnaric languages of Southern Laos. In November 2001 Pascale and I will return to Laos to continue this work, concentrating on the endangered Nhaheun language, and surveying the Boloven Plateau region for other minority languages.
We are sad to announce that our Foundation Member Professor Rhys Jones passed away on the 26th September, after a lengthy illness.
During the second semester, 2001 a course Study of a Language Family is being offered, featuring the Tai-Kadai family. The course is convened by CRLC member Tony Diller, with substantial participation by our affiliate Professor Jerold Edmondson of the University of Texas at Arlington, who was a Visiting Fellow at ANU July-September.
Events [back to top]
CRLC linguists were well represented at the 15th International Conference on Historical Linguistics, Melbourne 12-18 August. Cynthia Allen gave a plenary address Typology, deflexion and the development of the genitive in English. Claire Bowern (Harvard University and Visiting Fellow, ANU) and Harold Koch organised a Workshop on Reconstruction and Subgrouping in Australian Languages, which included 14 papers plus a panel discussion.
The following papers were given by CRLC members:
The ANU Historical Linguistics Seminars 2001 series was held during the months June-August, as follows (click on links to view abstract):
Upcoming Conferences [back to top]
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This document last modified: 6th March 2002
Copyright© 2001 by the Centre for Research on Language Change, ANU.
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