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Linguistics

Raiders of the Lost Archives

Raiders of the Lost Archives

Last week, Indigenous languages got some media attention when it was revealed that documents discovered in the archives of the NSW State Library are shedding new light on some little-known languages. Claire Bowern has more on the story and describes how interesting, challenging and worthwhile archival materials can be for efforts to strengthen Aboriginal languages.

Not-so-conservative science on 'ultraconservative' words

Not-so-conservative science on 'ultraconservative' words

A team of scientists claim they have demonstrated a super-family of languages the spans most of Europe, northern Asia and some of the Arctic. But are other linguists convinced by their evidence? Lauren Gawne and the Fully (sic) team look at their findings.

The relationship between language and culture for Sherpa speakers

The relationship between language and culture for Sherpa speakers

Lauren Gawne writes: Given that the average PhD thesis would take a full day to read aloud, it’s no mean feat for a research student to distill the importance of their work into just a couple of minutes. That is what University of Melbourne research student Sara Ciesielski has done in this two minute animated […]

Up-goer Five

Up-goer Five

Big words and jargon confound and conceal - it's a common claim. James McElvenny looks at the recent Up-goer Five craze of explaining complex topics using only the 1,000 most common words.

Are we talking Aussie?

Are we talking Aussie?

The Australian dialect is a recurring topic here at Fully (sic). Guest blogger Nenagh Kemp from the University of Tasmania tells us about her recent research into one of its most distinctive features, hypocoristics.

TAFE turns a blind eye to the deaf

TAFE turns a blind eye to the deaf

Guest blogger and sign language expert Adam Schembri writes: It has been a confusing and disturbing week for the deaf community of Victoria, for Auslan students at TAFE, and for those of us who work for and with deaf community organisations. On Monday, Kangan Institute of TAFE announced that, following cutbacks to the TAFE sector, […]

The importance of supporting endangered languages

The importance of supporting endangered languages

Yesterday on Radio Australia, Phil Kafcaloudes interviewed linguists Vaso Elefsiniotis, Simon Musgrave, and Ghil’ad Zuckerman about Australia’s endangered languages. Phil asks some tough but good questions, revolving around a central theme that I’ve heard many times before; why we should be ‘preserving’ or ‘maintaining’ these languages when no one is speaking them, to which Zuckerman […]

Hopefully – Not the end of the world

Hopefully – Not the end of the world

The Associated Press have conceded that 'hopefully' as a sentence adverb ('it is to be hoped that') is legitimate usage. But will it bring about the cataclysmic destruction of the civilised world as prophesied? Aidan Wilson thinks not.

Fry's Planet Word: A blind review

Fry's Planet Word: A blind review

Stephen Fry's newest documentary series has agitated some linguists and attracted harsh reviews, but does that mean we shouldn't still watch and enjoy it? Aidan Wilson doesn't think so.

A flood of interesting place names

A flood of interesting place names

The recent flooding around southern NSW and northern Victoria has brought a few of Australia's more interesting place names into the news. Some of them are interesting just for being a bit longer than the normal place name, such as Tallygaroopna. Digging a little further, a number of unusual place names pop out, mostly from local indigenous languages - Boomahnoomoonah, Koonoomoo, Numurrkah, and more. That said, some of them not only look unusual, but are pronounced in an unusual way.