You are here: 
text zoom : S | M | L
Printer Friendly Version
Contact Details:

Department of Linguistics
School of Humanities
Napier Building Level 7
Room 722
The University of Adelaide

Phone: +61 8 8313 4249
Fax: +61 8 8313 4341

Mobile Language Team
230 North Tce, Level 3
Phone: +61 8 8313 0707

Kaurna Warra Pintyandi
Mondays & Thursdays
Phone: + 61 8 8313 3343

Faculty Office
Napier Building, Ground Floor
North Terrace Campus
The University of Adelaide
SA 5005 Australia

Opening hours:
Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri 9am-5pm
Wed 11am-5pm

Phone: +61 8 8313 5245
Facsimile: +61 8 8313 4382

Ask Adelaide
Phone: +61 8 8313 5208
(Country and interstate callers toll free on 1800 061 459)


Awards and Grants

Programs and courses out of Linguistics can be taken at either undergraduate or postgraduate levels.   Please refer to the links on the side menu for more information.

Staff in the Department of Linguistics can be found on Level 9 of the Napier Building at the North Terrace campus of the University.

Adelaide Linguistics is internationally known for its public impact and social contribution. It is home to the world's finest experts in Revivalistics, language reclamation, resurrection, revitalization, renewal and revival, and their link to Indigenous wellbeing and cultural empowerment. Adelaide linguists lead the revival of various Aboriginal Australian languages such as Kaurna, Barngarla (Parnkalla), Ngarrindjeri and Wirangu.

New Course: Cross-Cultural Communication

Please note the following new course, Cross-Cultural Communication, which does not appear in the Course Calendar.

All welcome.

Mobile Language Team

A Mobile Language Team (MLT) was established in October 2009 to support work in Aboriginal languages throughout the length and breadth of the state of South Australia. For more information, see the MLT webpage.



Grant awarded for research into the link between language and well-being

Professor Ghil’ad Zuckermann of the Department of Linguistics at the University of Adelaide, working with Professor Alex Brown of SAHMRI, has been awarded a five-year grant of more than $1.1 million.

The NHMRC grant is for “examining the impact of language reclamation on social and emotional well being among the Barngarla”. Read more.

Micro, Macro and MOOCro

A free SELF-PACED MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) Language Revival: Securing the Future of Endangered Languages will begin on 6 October 2016. All welcome to join:

Learn how the world’s endangered languages are revived and why this process is critical to preserving cultural identity.

About this free online course:

Language is an integral part of society. Wherever we come from, the words we use and the way in which we use them are fundamental to our cultural identity. In today’s increasingly globalised world, however, ‘linguicide’ – the loss of a language – is becoming all too common. But there is hope. The language revival movement has emerged as an important and effective response, and this course will introduce you to its key principles and techniques.

After discussing powerful answers to the question of why languages should be revived, we’ll investigate how. Far more than just a simple process of recovering literacy and lost letters, language revival involves a deep and complex engagement with history, human rights, identity and wellbeing. You will also learn what’s being done around the world right now, and how effective these techniques have been.

Further particulars: Professor Ghil‘ad Zuckermann, Chair of Linguistics and Endangered Languages,



Professor Ghil'ad Zuckermann, our Chair of Linguistics and Endangered Languages, has published Engaging – A Guide to Interacting Respectfully and Reciprocally with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People, and their Arts Practices and Intellectual Property. The guide --- assisted by the Indigenous Culture Support program through the Ministry for the Arts, Attorney-General’s Department of the Australian Government --- is intended to help students and academics across Australia, especially in an Arts faculty (Humanities and Social Sciences). Undergraduates, postgraduates and teaching staff members in the visual, musical and performance arts,  linguists, anthropologists, sociologists, historians, public intellectuals etc. can use the guide to engage with ‘Traditional Cultural Expressions’ (a.k.a. TCEs) such as song, dance, visual arts and stories, in a way that is respectful, reciprocal and that benefits all.

The guide will help students and academics to:

  • Reach a deeper understanding of cultures.
  • Feel confident in engaging with traditional cultures and knowledge systems.
  • Build lasting relationships with Indigenous communities.
  • Correctly handle paperwork, for example with regard to consent and permissions.
  • Understand why art inspired by traditional cultures can be controversial, and how to avoid causing harm.
  • Fathom intellectual property, with an easy guide to the ins and outs of copyright. 
  • Familiarize themselves with payment and other ways to share benefits with informants, their families and their communities.

Here are five pointers to get students started:

  1. Establish trust with Indigenous people and speech-cultural communities and wait patiently for their invitation to talk about your queries on the meaning of symbols, stories and motifs.
  2. Ask if it is at all appropriate to even enquire about the meaning of any symbols, stories and motifs. They might be sacred or secret. Respect fully people’s right to say no (sometimes indirectly).
  3. Only if you have received an invitation and are certain that you are not causing offence, ask about the meaning of symbols, stories or motifs that are culturally public.
  4. Get permission from Traditional Custodians and appropriate Indigenous people for your project. Do not ignore knowledge holders who are quiet or marginalized. Take into consideration practices of social inclusion within the speech-cultural community that you would like to research in.
  5. Share the benefits (including commercial returns, if any) of your work with your informants, their families and their community. Make sure you add references to them within your published work. Provide them with copies of all your work. Give back to those who assist you. Be reciprocal.

The guide is available online at the following websites:

If you would like free hard copies of this guide, please send a message to Professor Zuckermann at

Peace Building Colloquium

Peace Building Colloquium: Can Enemies Become Friends? From Conflict to Peace Building

Semesters 1 and 2, 2015
Thursdays 6:00 - 7:30 PM
Napier G04

Download syllabus

Please note that the South Australian Governor Hieu Van Le will open the closing lecture at 6pm on Thursday 27 August 2015.

Barngarla Language Advisory Committee

A Barngarla Language Advisory Committee (BLAC) was held at the University of Adelaide on 27-28 April 2015. Barngarla representatives from Eyre Peninsula and Professor Ghil'ad Zuckermann (Chair of Linguistics and Endangered Languages) explored, among other things, the forthcoming groundbreaking Barngarla website, Children's University, and linguistic landscape.

barngarla language advisory committee 2015

The Barngarla language reclamation was mentioned by Judge Mansfield in his historic Barngarla Native Title decision (2015):

"773: The fact that Barngarla language is now being relearnt by some claimants, due to the work of Adelaide University academic Ghil'ad Zuckermann, is not evidence of continuity of the Barngarla language, although it is evidence of continuity of a notion of Barngarla identity, a notion that clearly existed amongst the Barngarla community at 1846, when Barngarla people told Schürmann of the "Barngarla matta", and which can thus be inferred to have existed at sovereignty."


EdX MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) - Language Revivial: Securing the Future of Endagered Languages

EdX offers interactive online classes from universities around the world. In this course, presented by Professor Ghil'ad Zuckermann and Dr Rob Amery, learn how the world’s endangered languages are revived and why this process is critical to preserving cultural identity.

See here for more information


AustraLex 2015 Call for Papers

Australex 2015, the conference on Australasian lexicography, will be held from19-21 November at Massey University, Albany , Auckland, Aotearoa, New Zealand. It will especially honour 40 years of the 1975 Helsinki Declaration on lexicography. Two plenary talks and panels will be devoted to celebrating significant milestones for New Zealand Māori and minority languages spoken in New Zealand: 175 years since the Treaty of Waitangi (1840-2015); 28 years since the 1987 Māori Language Act in New Zealand. Papers on minority languages spoken in New Zealand and Australasia are also especially welcome.

The theme for Australex 2015 is ‘Analysing Words as a Social Enterprise: Celebrating 40 Years of the 1975 Helsinki Declaration on Lexicography’.

See here for more information

Special Lecture: Gentile Words, Jewish Meanings

Speaker: Michael Wex
Time: 11am
Date: Friday 22 May 2015
Location: Lecture Hall 209, Napier Building
Convenor: Professor Ghil'ad Zuckermann

Download flyer


Recent News

Professor Ghil'ad Zuckermann, Chair of Linguistics and Endangered Languages, was elected Member of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) on 27 May 2014.

Professor Zuckermann was elected President of AustraLex (2013), and was reelected (2014) as Board Member of the Foundation for Endangered Languages (FEL).


Zuckermann, Ghil'ad (ed.) 2014. Jewish Language Contact, Special Issue of the International Journal of the Sociology of Language.

Zuckermann, Ghil'ad, Julia Miller and Jasmin Morley (eds) 2014. Endangered Words, Signs of Revival, AustraLex.

Clendon, Mark 2014. Worrorra: a language of the north-west Kimberley coast. The University of Adelaide Press.


Shanghai Jiao Tong University, East China Normal University, Shanghai International Studies University, Sichuan Normal University, Fudan University, Weizmann Institute of Science (Israel).

Keynote addresses: Professor Zuckermann has recently delivered various keynotes in China (including Macau and Hong Kong), Japan, France (including La Réunion), Italy and Israel.

Dr Yao Chunlin, one of Professor Ghil'ad Zuckermann's Postdoctoral Fellows in Revivalistics, has been appointed Associate Professor at Hebei United University, China.

Dr Li Ya, one of Professor Zuckermann's Postdoctoral Fellows in Revivalistics, has been appointed Associate Professor at Sichuan Normal University, China.



Truth and Reconciliation Colloquium

Thursdays 5:30pm in Napier Lecture Theatre G04.
Commencing 1 May 2014

Download information here

Adelaide Language Festival

WHEN: Friday 16 and Saturday 17 May 2014
WHERE: The University of Adelaide North Terrace Campus
REGISTRATIONS: Not required - Attendance is free
MORE INFO: Professor Ghil'ad Zuckermann  Phone (08) 8313 5247 / 0423 901 808
Visit  for full program details

Download flyer


Barngarla people rediscover their language

Nancia Guivarra SBS


Reclaiming the Barngarla Aboriginal dormant language, University of Adelaide Port Augusta Campus, 20 July
Professor Ghil'ad Zuckermann, Chair of Linguistics and endangered languages, the Revd Volker Dally, director of the Leipzig Lutheran Mission and members of the Barngarla community of Port Augusta.


Gabmididi Manoo, Whyalla, 19 July

The first Barngarla delegation to AIATSIS, Canberra (11-15 February 2013) with Dr Luise Hercus, 13 February 2013. The delegation was organized by Professor Ghil'ad Zuckermann, Chair of Linguistics and Endangered Languages, with the support of Dr Jaky Troy, AIATSIS.




Three scholars from leading Chinese institutions have been appointed postdoctoral fellows at the University of Adelaide. They will work with Professor Ghil'ad Zuckermann on Revivalistics (Revival Linguistics) throughout 2013:

Dr Yao Chunlin (Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Beijing)
Dr Xu Jia (Shanghai International Studies University, Shanghai)
Dr Li Ya (Sichuan Normal University, Chengdu), who has been awarded a 2013 Endeavour Australia Cheung Kong Research Fellowship.

Professor Ghil'ad Zuckermann held an interdisciplinary cross-fertlization workshop with Professor Tzachi Pilpel (Weizmann Institute of Science) on 21 January 2013 at the Israel Institute for Advanced Studies, Hebrew University of Jerusalem.   
The theme was "Miqadmat DNA: Evolution, Genesis, Cross-Fertilization and Hybridization in Nature and Language".

Professor Zuckermann delivered the keynote address at the international conference "Hybridity Here and Now: Israeli Language, Culture and Identity", held at Beit Leyvik Tel Aviv on 29 January 2013.



2012-2013: Professor Ghil'ad Zuckermann, Chair of Linguistics and Endangered Languages, has been appointed Visiting Professor at the (1) Israel Institute for Advanced Studies, Hebrew University Jerusalem, (2) Weizmann Institute of Science (Rehovot).

Professor Ghil'ad Zuckermann has established 3 new courses: Revival Linguistics: Language Reclamation, Cultural Empowerment and Wellbeing; Language in a Global Society; and Languages in the 21st Century: Cultural Contact and New Words.

On 11-13 May 2012 Professor Ghil'ad Zuckermann gave the keynote address at the International Conference of Contemporary Linguistics in Xi'an, China.  He was a Focus Speaker (on Revival Linguistics) at the Free Linguistics Conference in Sydney on 6-7 October 2012.

Professor Zuckermann continues to work closely with the Mobile Language Team (MLT) (University of Adelaide) and to cooperate with AIATSIS (Canberra). He has recently launched the reclamation of the Barngarla language together with the Barngarla communities of Port Lincoln, Whyalla and Port Augusta, Eyre Peninsula, South Australia.
Throughout June 2012 he delivered lectures and took part in several groundbreaking Revival Linguistics events at AIATSIS.

Awards and Grants

  • ARC Grant (2015-2017):
    Project: Linguistic Analysis of Ngarrindjeri Texts

    Chief Investigators: Amery, Dr Robert M; Simpson, Prof Jane H
    Reseach Associate: Dr Mary-Anne Gale
    Total Funds Allocated (2015-2017): $357,700.00

    The Ngarrindjeri language of the Lower Murray of South Australia was richly documented in the nineteenth and mid- twentieth centuries. The largest body of texts (163 texts in Berndt and Berndt, 1993) is a treasure-trove of language and cultural knowledge from the 1940s, but has received little linguistic attention, because of difficulties in interpreting writing conventions and because of the inadequate translations provided. Through systematic linguistic analysis and reconstructions, this project aims to shed light on how Ngarrindjeri changed over the 100 years since first documentation, how clan languages differed, and how Ngarrindjeri texts and sentences were structured. It is expected to provide important insight into the variation expected in language contact situations.
  • ILS Grants 2012-2015:
    Mobile Language Team (MLT) - Phase Two: $1,050,000 (3 years total)
    Consolidating Kaurna Language Revival: $420,000 (3 years total)
    Trialling community language workers course Teaching an Endangered Aboriginal Language: $120,000
    Tjurlpu tjurta ngurraritja AntikirrinyaYankunytjatjara --- traditional linguistic and ecological knowledge of native birds: $85,000

  • ARC Grant (2011 - 2014):
    ARC Linkage project between four State Health Departments and the University of Adelaide in collaboration with several other universities on a national project to look at Clinical Handover, deals with the communication between clinicians about patients. Our own focus is on the language involved in mental health handovers.
    Further particulars: Dr John Walsh and Dr Nayia Cominos at
  • MILR Awards 2011:
    Documenting traditional knowledge about seasons and time in the highly endangered Yankunytjatjara/Antikirinya language of northeast SA and publishing learning resources ($105,320)

    Preparing for community use a set of language awareness and learning materials for the critically endangered Mirning language of the Great Australian Bight region, and training language workers ($56,000)

    Kaurna Dictionary ($53,000)

    Ngarrindjeri Song CD ($40,000)  

In 2007 Dr Rob Amery was awarded a UNESCO Certificate of Achievement for his work in Linguistics. Specifically, his award was in recognition of "the documentation both of the Kaurna language and aspects of the traditions of the Kaurna Plains people and the development of language revival resources" and Dr Rob Amery established the KWP Secretariat with three new part-time jobs advertised.

2011: Professor Ghil'ad Zuckermann, Chair of Linguistics and Endangered Languages, has been appointed (1) Distinguished Visiting Professor and Oriental Scholar at Shanghai International Studies University (China), and (2) Visiting Scientist at the Weizmann Institute of Science (Israel).