Professor Peter K. Austin
Märit Rausing Chair in Field Linguistics
Peter Austin joined SOAS in October 2002 after having held a Humboldt Prize at Goethe University, Frankfurt. He was previously Foundation Professor of Linguistics at the University of Melbourne (1996-2002) and Reader in Linguistics at La Trobe University (1981-1996). He has held visiting appointments at University of Frankfurt, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics Nijmegen, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, University of Hong Kong, and Stanford University. He studied at the Australian National University, completing a BA with first class Honours in Asian Studies (Japanese and Linguistics) in 1974, and a PhD in 1978 on the Diyari language spoken in the far north of South Australia. He taught at the University of Western Australia (1978), held a Harkness Fellowship for post-doctoral research at UCLA and MIT (1979-80), and in 1981 returned to Australia to set up the Department of Linguistics at La Trobe University.
Peter's research interests cover descriptive, theoretical and applied linguistics. He has extensive fieldwork experience on Australian Aboriginal languages (northern New South Wales, northern South Australia, and north-west Western Australia) and in 1996 co-authored with David Nathan the first fully hypertextual dictionary on the World Wide Web, a bilingual dictionary of Gamilaraay (Kamilaroi), northern New South Wales, as well as publishing seven bilingual dictionaries of Aboriginal languages. Since 1995 he has been carrying out research on Sasak and Samawa (or Sumbawan), Austronesian languages spoken on Lombok and Sumbawa islands, eastern Indonesia. His theoretical research is mainly on language documentation, syntax (with a focus on Lexical Functional Grammar), morpho-syntactic typology, computer-aided lexicography and multi-media for endangered languages. He has also published on historical and comparative linguistics, typology, and Aboriginal history and biography.
Peter is currently working with the Dieri Aboriginal Corporation on a language revitalisation project funded by an Indigenous Languages Support grant -- you can read about the project and its activities on this blog.
Peter currently is a member of the following bodies:
Peter is currently supervising 8 PhD students (and on the PhD committees of 6 others) working on languages spoken in Australia, Ghana, Nepal, Sarawak, Taiwan, Solomon Islands, and Iran. See here for their names and provisional thesis titles.
Since February 2007 Peter has been an occasional contributor to the "Endangered Languages and Cultures" blog. You can access all his blog posts in reverse chronological order here. He also contributes to EL Blog from the Endangered Languages Archive.
You can follow Peter's work and download recent draft papers and publications on Academia.
Selected publications | Hard to find papers | Websites | Podcasts | Blog posts | PhD students | Del.ici.ous bookmarks | Links
Note: to download prepublication versions of these papers click the highlighted links.
Austin, Peter K. 2013 Language documentation and meta-documentation. In Sarah Ogilvie and Mari Jones (eds.) Keeping Languages Alive: Documentation, Pedagogy and Revitalization. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Austin, Peter K. 2013 Too many nasal verbs: dialect variation in the voice system of Sasak. To appear in Nusa35.
Austin, Peter K. 2012 Tense, aspect, mood and evidentiality in Sasak, eastern Indonesia. In Peter K. Austin and Stuart McGill (eds.) Language Documentation and Description, Volume 11. London: SOAS
Austin, Peter K. 2012 Language documentation. In Mark Aranoff (ed.) Linguistics Bibliography. New York: Oxford Bibliographies Online.
Austin, Peter K. 2010 Reading the lontars: endangered literary practices of Lombok, eastern Indonesia. In Mark Turin & Imogen Gunn (eds.) Language Documentation and Description, Volume 8. London: SOAS.
Austin, Peter K. (ed.) 2010 Language Documentation and Description, Volume 7 London: SOAS
Austin, Peter K. 2010 Current issues in language documentation. In Peter K. Austin (ed.) Language Documentation and Description, Volume 7, 12-33. London: SOAS
Austin, Peter K. 2010 Communities, ethics and rights in language documentation. In Peter K. Austin (ed.) Language Documentation and Description, Volume 7, 34-54. London: SOAS
Austin, Peter K. 2010 Applying for a language documentation research grant. In Peter K. Austin (ed.) Language Documentation and Description, Volume 7, 285-299. London: SOAS
Austin, Peter K. 2009 Review of Christopher Moseley (ed.) "Encyclopedia of the world's endangered languages" Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde, 165(1):134-138.
Austin, Peter K. (ed.) 2009 Language Documentation and Description, Volume 6 London: SOAS
Austin, Peter K. (ed.) 2008 1,000 Languages London: Thames and Hudson; and Berkeley: University of California Press.
See here, here and here.
A review in the New York Times says: "Anyone interested in world culture or the history of mankind should take a look at One Thousand Languages: Living, Endangered, and Lost, edited by Peter K. Austin, the director of the endangered languages program at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. I know I found it irresistible."
Translations are now available in Dutch, German, Icelandic, Spanish, Italian, Rumanian, Estonian, and Japanese.
Austin, Peter K. 2008 The classification of Pinikura, Western Australia. In Claire Bowern, Bethwyn Evans and Luisa Micelli (eds.) Morphology and Language History: In honour of Harold Koch, 31-41. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Austin, Peter K. 2008 The Gamilaraay (Kamilaroi) Language, northern New South Wales — A Brief History of Research. In William McGregor (ed.) Encountering Aboriginal languages: studies in the history of Australian linguistics, 37-58. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics.
Austin, Peter K. 2008 Training for language documentation: Experiences at the School of Oriental and African Studies. In Margaret Florey and Victoria Rau (eds.) Documenting and Revitalising Austronesian Languages,25-41. Language Documentation and Conservation Special Publication No. 1. Hawaii: University of Hawaii Press
Austin, Peter K. 2008 Survival of Languages. In Emily F. Shuckburgh (ed.) Survival: The Survival of the Human Race, 80-98. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Austin, Peter K. 2006 Content questions in Sasak, eastern Indonesia: an optimality theoretic syntax account. In Fritz Schulze and Holger Warnk (eds.) Insular Southeast Asia: Linguistic and Cultural Studies in Honour of Bernd Nothofer, 1-12. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag.
Austin, Peter K. 2006 Data and language documentation. In Jost Gippert, Nikolaus Himmelmann and Ulrike Mosel (eds.) Essentials of Language Documentation, 87-112. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
Austin, Peter K. 2006 Gamilaraay. In Keith Brown (ed.) International Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics, 2nd edition, 4:724-727. Oxford: Elsevier.
Austin, Peter K. 2006 Jiwarli. In Keith Brown (ed.) International Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics, 2nd edition, 6:125-129. Oxford: Elsevier.
Austin, Peter K. 2006 Australia: Language Situation. In Keith Brown (ed.) International Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics, 2nd edition, 1:580-585. Oxford: Elsevier.
Austin, Peter K., Oliver Bond, Monik Charette, David Nathan and Peter Sells (eds.) 2009 Proceedings of Conference on Language Documentation and Linguistic Theory 2. London: SOAS.
Austin, Peter K., Oliver Bond and David Nathan (eds.) 2007 Proceedings of Conference on Language Documentation and Linguistic Theory. London: SOAS.
Austin, Peter K. and Lenore Grenoble 2007 Current Trends in Language Documentation. In Peter K. Austin (ed.) Language Documentation and Description, Vol 4, 12-25. London: SOAS.
Austin, Peter K. and Luise Hercus 2004 The Yarli languages. In Claire Bowern and Harold Koch (eds.) Subgrouping and Australian Languages, 227-244. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Austin, Peter K. and Stuart McGill (eds.) 2011 Endangered Languages. Oxford: Routledge. Critical Concepts in Linguistics Series. Further details
Austin, Peter K. and Simon Musgrave (eds.) 2008 Voice and Grammatical Functions in Austronesian Languages. Stanford: CSLI Publications.
Austin, Peter K. and Julia Sallabank (eds.) 2011 The Cambridge Handbook of Endangered Languages. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Further details
Austin, Peter K. and Andrew Simpson (eds.) 2007 Endangered Languages. Linguistische Berichte Sonderheft 14. Hamburg: Helmut Buske Verlag.
Lise Dobrin, Peter K. Austin & David Nathan 2009 Dying to be counted: the commodification of endangered languages in language documentation. In Peter K. Austin (ed.) Language Documentation and Description, Voume 6, 37-52. London: SOAS.
Dobrin, Lise, Peter K. Austin and David Nathan 2007 Dying to be counted: commodification of endangered languages. In Peter K. Austin, Oliver Bond and David Nathan (eds.) Proceedings of Conference on Language Documentation and Linguistic Theory, 59-68. London: SOAS.
Margetts, Anna and Peter K. Austin 2007 Three participant events in the languages of the world: towards a cross-linguistic typology Linguistics 45:393-451.
Some hard to find papers and work in progress
Austin, Peter K. 2011 Tense, aspect, mood and evidentiality in Sasak, eastern Indonesia. Paper presented at Workshop on Syntax of Indonesian Languages, Tokyo, 17-18 February 2011.
Austin, Peter K. 2010 Dialect variation in the voice system of Sasak: when is a nasal-verb not a nasal-verb? Paper presented at Workshop on Syntax of Indonesian Languages, Tokyo, July 2010.
Austin, Peter K. 2005 Clitic pronouns in Sasak, eastern Indonesia. SOAS manuscript.
Austin, Peter K. 2002 Developing interactive knowledgebases for Australian Aboriginal languages - Malyangapa. University of Melbourne, MS [Presented at 2003 E-MELD workshop]
Austin, Peter K. 2001 Word order in a free word order language: the case of Jiwarli. In Jane Simpson, David Nash, Mary Laughren, Peter Austin and Barry Alpher (eds) Forty years on: Ken Hale and Australian languages, 305-324. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics.
Austin, Peter K. 2001 Verbs, valence and voice in Balinese, Sasak and Sumbawan La Trobe Working Papers in Linguistics 11
Austin, Peter K. 1997 Causatives and applicatives in Australian Aboriginal languages. In Kazuto Matsumura and Toru Hayashi (eds.) The dative and related phenomena, 165-225. Tokyo: Hituzi Syobo.
Austin, Peter K. 1992 Word order in a free word order language: the case of Jiwarli La Trobe Working Papers in Linguistics 5
Austin, Peter K. 1990 Classification of Lake Eyre languages La Trobe Working Papers in Linguistics 3
Gamilaraay (Kamilaroi) bilingual dictionary
Gresham College Symposium: Rare and Endangered Languages
A podcast about Endangered Languages Week 2011
A podcast about Endangered Languages Week 2008, recorded by Cathy Edwards 23 April 2008
Interview with Patrick Cox on The World in Words number 23 on 26 September 2008
Peter is an occasional contributor to the Endangered Languages and Cultures blog based in Australia. All his posts from now back to February 2007 can be found here.
Current PhD students
Nana Ama Agyeman 'Complex predication in Effutu, southern Ghana'
Gerardo De Caro 'Argument coding in Talyshi, northern Iran'
Cephas Delalorm 'Sekpele noun classes'
Golden Ekpo "Narratives in Oro, Nigeria"
Charlotte Hemmings "Documentation and description of Kelabit"
Douglas McNaught "Documentation of Kanakanavu, Taiwan"
Narayan Sharma 'Morphosyntax of Puma, Nepal'
Radu Voica 'Documentation of Blablanga, Solomon Islands'
Louise Ashmore 'Documentation of Wik Ngatharr, Cape York Peninsula, Australia'
Tracey Carro-Noya 'Verbal morphosyntax of Chamacoco, Paraguay'
Karolina Grzech "Documentation and description of Tena Kichwa and research into the use of evidentials in the language"
Burcin Mustafa 'The politics of translation'
Rachel Watson 'A documentation of Mlomp and research into its nominal and verbal derivational morphology'
Birgul Yilmaz 'Kurdish language and identity'
Completed PhD students (main supervisor)
Henrik Bergqvist 'Temporal reference in Lakandon Maya'
Peter Budd 'Realis and irrealis in Biriebo, Vanuatu'
Mary Chambers (nee Raymond) 'Spatial location in Kubakota, Solomon Islands'
Chaithra Puttaswamy 'Verbs in Malto'
Stuart McGill 'Agreement in Cicipu, north-west Nigeria'
Go here for tagged links to various materials and resources on endangered languages.
SOAS Linguistics Department