December, 2015

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From milk bars and potato cakes to delis and fritters: a taste of Australian English regionalisms

, Dec 14, 2015

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In Australia, we sometimes have multiple words for the same thing. Sydney Kingstone reports on her current research into who says what where.
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Does big data equal big problems?

, Nov 13, 2015

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Researchers are making use of 'big data' more and more these days. Technology makes it so easy! But can it go wrong? Fear not! Andreea Calude is here to give us a heads up on its potential pitfalls.
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Big Brother is watching (your grammar)

, Jul 02, 2015

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Who would watch Big Brother in this day and age? Maybe not who you might expect. Isabelle Burke explains how reality TV is proving to be an ideal way to study language.

The relationship between language and culture for Sherpa speakers

, Feb 03, 2013

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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 […]
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Maintaining Indigenous languages: revering a distant past or contributing to a better future?

, Nov 01, 2012

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Special guest Dr. Bill Fogarty argues that Indigenous language maintenance and education is not about reverence for some distant past for esoteric reasons. Rather it is an important asset that can play a role both in developing a future for Indigenous communities and in benefiting the socio-economic fabric of the Australian Nation.

Our Land, Our Languages and Preserving Our Heritage

, Sep 21, 2012

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It's pretty rare that Indigenous languages (IL) get a day in the sun in such a spectacular way. The bread and butter of IL reporting most months is along the lines of "here's a new phone app that's going to save a language." Sorry to rain on anyone's parade, but phone apps don't save languages, people do. Specifically, speakers do: the only way to "save a language" is to make it easier for people to learn and speak it, and that requires actions which are integrated through a community.

First language education is a matter of common sense

, Sep 18, 2012

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The Our Land Our Language report unequivocally calls for the reinstatement of bilingual education programs in remote areas, for compulsory English as an Additional Language training in teaching degrees, and for changes to be made to how NAPLAN testing is carried out. But what do these measures mean and how effective will they be in ensuring that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in remote areas get the best education we can provide?
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NZ Herald ignores facts, perpetuates fears

, May 30, 2012

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The NZ Herald reported on a research paper on migrant intergration and specifically multilingual signs, but as Lauren Gawne writes, their article didn't faithfully represent the research.
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TAFE turns a blind eye to the deaf

, May 26, 2012

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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, […]
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The monolingual mindset isn’t just an Aussie problem: A Kiwi case

, May 21, 2012

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Lauren Gawne writes: We reported a week ago that the Monolingual Mindset cropped up again in Victoria, with the Department of Human Services declining to have a residents’ survey translated for the roughly 60% of intended surveyees for whom English is not a first language. It seems that there are similar attitudes towards languages other […]

The importance of supporting endangered languages

, Apr 24, 2012

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 […]

The grammar of LOLcats

, Dec 09, 2011

Aidan Wilson writes… In Canberra last weekend the Australian Linguistics Society held their annual conference. Ordinarily, we at Fully (sic) wouldn’t write about such esoteric events as, well to be brutally honest, not much of it appeals to anyone outside the academic world, or even outside the discipline. But this time around there was at […]

Beware of scientists bearing expertise

, Nov 04, 2011

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James McElvenny writes… The title of this post is probably a bit misleading. This is not an anti-science rant as such. My title is simply intended to evoke Beware of speech experts bearing science, a recent post from Aidan Wilson here on this blog that could considered an example of the ‘Respect mah authoritah!’ genre […]
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Culturomics and Google Books

, Feb 18, 2011

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James McElvenny writes: As many of Fully (sic)’s readers will be aware, there’s been quite a bit of buzz lately about a project led by Erez Lieberman Aiden and Jean-Baptiste Michel at Harvard University that bills itself as the beginning of ‘culturomics’, a new paradigm for studying cultural trends using large amounts of textual data. […]

Word nerds are the next national heroes

, Feb 03, 2011

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The academic field of linguistics is hardly something that leaps to front of Aussie minds when thinking of sources of national pride. But based on the scorecards handed out to Australian universities this week...

Beyond monomedia

, May 03, 2010

Claire Bowern writes: We can now easily link sound recordings to a transcript, we can create sound and video clips so that online dictionaries have auditory pronunciation guides, and we can make dictionaries in lots of different formats (like the mobile phone dictionary for the Kaurna language of the Adelaide Plains).