School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics

Professor Peter Austin

Key information

School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics Emeritus Professor in Field Linguistics
School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics
BA (AS) Hons, PhD (ANU)
Email address


Prof Austin retired on 1 January 2019.

Research interests

My research interests cover documentary, descriptive, theoretical, historical and applied linguistics. I have extensive fieldwork experience since 1972 on Australian Aboriginal languages (northern New South Wales, northern South Australia, and north-west Western Australia) and co-authored with David Nathan the first fully page-formatted hypertext 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 2011 I have been working with the Dieri Aboriginal Corporation on revitalisation of the Dieri language spoken in South Australia (see Dieri Wordpress).

Since 1995 I have been carrying out research on Sasak and Samawa, Austronesian languages spoken on Lombok and Sumbawa islands, eastern Indonesia, in collaboration with colleagues at Mataram University and Frankfurt University. My theoretical research is mainly on syntax and focuses on Lexical Functional Grammar, morpho-syntactic typology, computer-aided lexicography and multi-media for endangered languages. I have also published on historical and comparative linguistics, typology, and Aboriginal history and biography. I am currently working with Dr Julia Sallabank and with colleagues at University of Warsaw and Leiden University on an EU Horizon2020 Twinning project called Engaged Humanities, and with Professor Stefanie Pillai, University of Malaya, on a British Academy-funded collaborative research project in Malaysia.

PhD Supervision

Name Title
Ebany Dohle Náhuat-Pipil: The Encoding of Ecological Knowledge in Semantic and Lexical Categorisation Systems
Takako Kawabata Choice of languages and scripts in the Japanese linguistic landscape (tentative title)
Robert Laub A Comparison of the Portuguese Creoles of Malacca and Macau
Lin Li Flexibility and Constraints in Lexical Meaning Construction in Mandarin Chinese
Meriem Sallemine
Martha Tsutsui A Documentation and Description of Disappearing Predicates in Southern Amami-Ōshima
Lingxia Zhou Hegemony and Counter-hegemony in Multilingual China: A case study of language policy and campaigns in Shanghai [WORKING TITLE]


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