Researcher biography

I am an ARC Future Fellow in Linguistics at the University of Queensland and the Deputy Director of the UQ node of the ARC Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language. I am a field linguist who specialises in the documentation of First Nations languages in the Northern Territory, particularly Gurindji, Bilinarra, Ngarinyman and Mudburra, and the effect of English and Kriol on these languages. I have worked as a community linguist as well as an academic over the past 20 years in remote regions of Australia, facilitating language revitalisation programs, consulting on Native Title claims and conducting research into First Nations languages. I have compiled a number of dictionaries and grammars of First Nations languages and have written numerous papers on language change in Australia. I also work with biologists at the ANU to model language change using population genetics methods and have a new collaboration with Caltech to explore whether Gurindji people’s extraordinary mental map of the world has a neurological basis, a new human 6th sense.