Scott DeLancey is Professor Emeritus of Linguistics at the University of Oregon. He is a specialist in Tibeto-Burman languages, especially of Northeast India, Myanmar, and Nepal, and also works on North American indigenous languages, particularly Klamath. He has also published extensively on topics in linguistic typology related to his descriptive and historical work. He has also worked extensively with Native American tribes in Oregon in language revitalization projects, and language maintenance projects in minority communities in Northeast India.

Prof. DeLancey received his Ph.D. in 1980 from Indiana University. He then taught for two years at the University of Colorado before joining the faculty at the University of Oregon, where he taught until his retirement in 2018. He served several terms as Department Head of Linguistics. At Oregon he was central to the establishment of the Northwest Indian Language Institute (NILI), which provides training and support in language teaching and minority language maintenance for Native tribes across the U.S.

Prof. DeLancey has presented workshops and trainings around the world, including Assam University, Australian National University, Gauhati University, LaTrobe University, Manipur University, Mizoram University, Nankai University, Rajiv Gandhi University, Tezpur University, Universität Bern, Université Lyon II, and Uppsala University. Since 2006 he has been working in Northeast India with local linguists to promote documentation and description of the 150+ “tribal” languages of the region; he is currently working with colleagues at Gauhati University and Central Institute of Technology Kokrajhar on a grammar of the Bodo language of Assam. 



Nicholas (Nick) Evans is Distinguished Professor of Linguistics, and directs the ARC Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language (CoEDL) and the Evolution of Cultural Diversity Initiative (ECDI) at the Australian National University. 

He has carried out wide-ranging fieldwork over four decades on indigenous languages of Australia and Papua New Guinea. This has resulted in grammars of the Australian languages Kayardild (Mouton de Gruyter 1995) and Bininj Gun-wok (Pacific Linguistics 2003), and dictionaries of the Australian languages Kayardild and Dalabon and the Papuan language Nen. The extraordinary challenges posed by these languages for received views of how languages function inspired his influential 2009 article with Stephen Levinson in Behavioral and Brain Sciences, The Myth of Language Universals.  

Among the books he has edited or coedited are Archaeology and Linguistics: Global Perspectives on Ancient Australia (1997, with Pat McConvell), The non-Pama-Nyungan languages of northern Australia: comparative studies of the continent’s most linguistically complex region (2003), Catching language: the standing challenge of grammar-writing (2006, with Felix Ameka and Alan Dench), Reciprocals and Semantic Typology (2011, with Alice Gaby, Stephen Levinson & Asifa Majid ), Insubordination (2014, with Honore Watanabe) and The Oxford Guide to Polysynthesis (2017), with Michael Fortescue and Marianne Mithun).

He has also published over 200 scientific papers. His popular book Dying Words: Endangered Languages and What They Have to Tell Us, has been translated into French, Japanese, Korean, and German.

More broadly, his driving interests are the interplay between the diversity contained in the world’s endangered languages and the many scientific and humanistic questions they can help us answer about human history, culture, mind and society. He has also worked in Native Title claims, as an interpreter of Aboriginal art, and a translator of Aboriginal oral literature.

Professor Evans is a member of the Australian Academy of the Humanities, the Australian Social Sciences Academy, a corresponding member of the British Academy, and a recipient of the Anneliese Maier Forschungspreis, and the Ken Hale Award from the Linguistics Society of America.



Felix K. Ameka is a socio-cultural cognitive linguist working on the intersection of grammar, meaning and culture. His empirical specialisation is on West-African languages. He works at the Leiden University Centre for Linguistics (LUCL), The Netherlands where he is the designated CIPSH/CIPL Chair of Ethnolinguistic vitality and diversity in the world. In recognition of his pioneering work on cross-cultural semantics and his long-standing research ties with Australian universities, he was elected as a Corresponding Fellow to the Australian Academy of Humanities (FAHA) in 2019. Earlier, in 2015 he was elected a Fellow of The Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences (FGA).

After undergraduate training at the University of Ghana, Legon, Ameka received his MA (1986) and PhD in 1991 from the Australian National University for a dissertation on the semantic, functional, and discourse-pragmatic aspects of the grammar of Ewe. Ameka has made seminal contributions to the cross-linguistic study of interjections, editing a highly influential special issue on 'the universal yet neglected part of speech'. Ameka has pioneered research on the interaction of grammar, culture, and social structure, using the framework of Natural Semantic Metalanguage to elucidate cultural scripts and interactional resources. A long-term research associate at the Max Planck Institute of Psycholinguistics, Ameka has led a large-scale comparative project on the semantics of locative predicates and contributed to cross-linguistic work on the expression of motion events. With Alan Dench and Nick Evans, he co-edited an influential collection on the art of grammar writing.  One of his current projects is a collaborative field-based documentation of Gbe and Ghana Togo Mountain languages in their multilingual ecologies using ethnographic and experimental methods.  Together with Deborah Hill he is co-editing a volume on language, linguistics and development practice.

Ameka is editor of the Journal of African Languages and Linguistics together with Azeb Amha. Since 2015, Ameka is President of the World Congress of African Linguistics (WOCAL) and of the Netherlands Association of African Studies (NVAS). He also serves on the Executive Council of the West African Linguistics Society (WALS).



Bernard Comrie studied Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics at the University of Cambridge, taking his Ph.D. in 1972. Having taught previously at the University of Cambridge and the University of Southern California and served as Director of the Department of Linguistics at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, he is currently Distinguished Professor of Linguistics at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

He is a member of the Academia Europaea, a corresponding fellow of the British Academy of Sciences, a corresponding member of the Saxon Academy of Sciences, a foreign member of the Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a foreign member of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Professor Comrie's main interests are language universals and typology, historical linguistics, linguistic fieldwork, with areal interests in languages of the Caucasus, New Guinea, and the Andaman Islands. In his work on typology, he has undertaken the cross-linguistic examination of tense-aspect systems, causative constructions, relative clauses, nominalizations, reference-tracking devices, ditransitive constructions, valency classes, and numeral systems.

A special interest is the use of evidence from different disciplines, in particular linguistics, genetics, and archeology, in order to solve problems relating to prehistoric human migrations and contact.

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Bruna Franchetto is Full Professor in both the Department of Linguistics and the Department of Anthropology (National Museum) at the Federal University of Rio  de Janeiro (UFRJ), from which she received her PhD in Social Anthropology in 1986. Since 1977, her linguistic and ethnological research has focused on the description, documentation, and analysis of Kuikuro, one of the varieties of the Upper Xingu Carib Language, spoken in southern Amazonia, and on oral traditions and verbal arts.

She has organized an extensive documentary archive on Kuikuro housed at the DoBeS Program (Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics) and the Documentation of Indigenous Languages ​​and Cultures Archive (FUNAI / Museu do Índio / Rio de Janeiro). At the Museu do Índio, she has coordinated the ProDoclin (Program for the Documentation of Indigenous Languages) since 2009. Her publications on Kuikuro and the other varieties of the Upper Xingu Carib Language include articles and book chapters on phonology, morphology, syntax and verbal arts.

Her broader interests include: description, analysis and documentation of minority languages, especially Amerindian languages; translation; genesis and impact of writing and literacy in native languages; multilingualism; linguistic policies and ideologies; the relation between language and music in songs and chanted speech; verbal arts; language revitalization.

She coordinates, with the anthropologist Carlos Fausto, the Project Documenta Kuikuro (DKK), in collaboration with the Kuikuro Indigenous Association (AIKAX) and the Collective of Kuikuro film-makers (CKC).



Marianne Mithun is Professor of Linguistics at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She is fascinated by all we can learn about what languages are like and what makes them that way.

She finds we can learn some of the most surprising things by documenting languages as they are used spontaneously by their speakers, in natural contexts for a variety of purposes, and by considering each area of structure (phonetics, phonology, prosody, morphology, syntax, discourse) in the context of the others, as well as in their diachronic and areal contexts. Her own work has focused especially on Mohawk, Cayuga, and Tuscarora (Iroquoian); Central Pomo (Pomoan); Barbareño Chumash (Chumashan); Central Alaskan Yup'ik (Eskimo-Aleut); Navajo (Athabaskan); and Kapampangan (Austronesian); as well as some work with Cree (Algonquian), Dakota/Lakhota and Tutelo (Siouan), and Selayarese (Austronesian). She has over 200 publications, including a major reference work, The Languages of Native North America. Throughout her career she has worked intensively with Indigenous communities in North America in their work on the documentation and revitalization of their traditional languages.

She is President of the Linguistic Society of America and Past President of the Societas Linguistica Europeae, the Association for Linguistic Typology, and the Society for Linguistic Anthropology. She was elected to the Academia Europeae and was awarded the Wilbur Cross Medal from Yale University, the Medaille du College de France, and honorary doctorates from La Trobe University in Melbourne (Australia), and the University of Oslo.

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Nick Thieberger is concerned to make language materials secure and re-usable both for speakers of the language and for current and future researchers. He set up the Pilbara Aboriginal Language Centre in 1988, then moved to Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies to create the Aboriginal Studies Electronic Data Archive in 1991. 

He worked at the Vanuatu Cultural Centre in the mid-1990s and then wrote a grammar of Nafsan from Efate for his doctoral dissertation in the late 1990s. When doing that he developed a method for creating and exploring a linguistic media corpus that allowed all examples to be cited to primary recordings. This led him to work as part of a team to establish a digital archive, the Pacific and Regional Archive for Digital Sources in Endangered Cultures (PARADISEC). He set up the archive Kaipuleohoneat the University of Hawai’i in 2008. 

He is interested in digital research methods and their potential to improve research practice and is developing methods for creation of reusable data sets from fieldwork on previously unrecorded languages. He is the editor of the journal Language Documentation & Conservation. He taught in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa and is now an Associate Professor in the School of Languages and Linguistics, University of Melbourne.



Stephen Houston serves as the Dupee Family Professor of Social Sciences at Brown University, where he also holds an appointment in Anthropology.

A specialist in Classic Maya civilization, writing systems, and indigenous representation, Houston has prepared many books and articles, including, most recently, Temple of the Night Sun (Precolumbia Mesoweb Press), The Maya (with Michael Coe, now in its 9th edition), The Life Within: Classic Maya and the Matter of Permanence (Yale University Press), winner of a PROSE Award in 2014, The Gifted Passage: Young Men in Classic Maya Art and Text (Yale University Press), and An Inconstant Landscape: The Maya Kingdom of El Zotz, Guatemala, co-edited with Thomas Garrison (University Press of Colorado). Houston has been honored with a MacArthur “genius” award, along with fellowships and grants from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Science Foundation, Dumbarton Oaks, the Clark Art Institute, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, National Gallery of Art. In 2018-2019, he served as the inaugural Kislak Chair for the Study of the History and Cultures of the Early Americas at the Library of Congress. In recognition of Houston's scholarship, the President of Guatemala awarded him, in 2011, the Grand Cross of the Order of the Quetzal, that country's highest honor. For that same body of work, Houston also received the Tatiana Proskouriakoff Award in 2013 from the Peabody Museum, Harvard University.

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Theo van den Hout received his PhD in Hittite and Anatolian Languages from the University of Amsterdam in 1989 after a BA and MA in Classics, Comparative Indo-European Linguistics, and Anatolian Studies at both Leiden and Amsterdam.  Currently he is the Arthur and Joann Rasmussen Professor of Western Civilization and of Hittite and Anatolian Languages at the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, and chief-editor of the Chicago Hittite Dictionary (CHD).  He is the author of several books, most recently The Elements of Hittite (Cambridge UP 2011) and many articles.  His latest book A History of Hittite Literacy. Writing and Reading in Late Bronze Age Anatolia 1650-200 bc (Cambridge University Press) is expected to be out in December 2020/January 2021.  For a full listing of publications go to  Theo is a corresponding member of the Royal Dutch Academy of Arts and Sciences, a 2016 Fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation as well as a Senior Fellow at the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World at New York University.

While interested in all aspects of Late Bronze and Iron Age Anatolia his recent personal interests have been ancient record management, literacy and writing, and lately he has developed an interest in visual culture in Hittite society.



Friederike took up the position of Professor of African Studies at the University of Helsinki in 2019. She is also a research associate at SOAS, University of London, where she held the position of Professor of Language Description and Documentation. Her research and teaching focus on the description and documentation of West African languages in their cultural contexts. She is a member of AfriStadi, the network for Africanist linguists at the University of Helsinki. She specialises in the study of Mande and Atlantic languages, particularly in verbal argument structure and nominal classification, and has written a grammar of argument structure of the Mande language Jalonke spoken in Guinea, which also contains its first sketch grammar. Currently, she is conducting research on the Atlantic language Baïnounk Gujaher, a language of the Nyun cluster spoken in Senegal and Guinea Bissau. She is one of the pioneers of the emerging inter- and multidisciplinary field of small-scale multilingualism studies.

Since becoming aware of the exographic writing practice of Jalonke speakers in the Futa Jalon, many of whom write Fula Ajami, she has developed an interest in writing from a social perspective, especially regarding grassroots practices and writing choices in multilingual settings. This focus continues to inform action research related to her current research on the sociohistorical and linguistic aspects of small-scale multilingualism in village- and polity-based settings in Southern Senegal and West Africa. Together with a local team of transcribers, researchers and members of the association LILIEMA ("Language-independent literacies for inclusive education in multilingual areas"), she has developed a repertoire-based literacy programme for highly multilingual situations that is currently expanding on the request of several local communities and community associations. LILIEMA is providing COVID-19 health information in the area of Senegal where LILIEMA classes are run.



Ruth Singer is an Australian Research Council Future Fellow at the Research Unit for Indigenous Languages and the Centre for the Dynamics of Language (COEDL), University of Melbourne, Australia. She researches multilingualism with Warruwi Community, an Indigenous community in northern Australia. Together they look at the role of Indigenous languages play in the community. With Warruwi and other nearby communities in Arnhem Land, she is investigating how regional ways of being multilingual have contributed to the high levels of linguistic diversity in western Arnhem land over time.

            Currently completing the first print dictionary of the Mawng language, she is also coordinating the production of digital resources for Mawng and Kunbarlang; producing films with young people, online language courses and online dictionaries. She has been collaborating with Warruwi Community to do language documentation since 2002, and has deposited a diverse range of materials at ELAR, TLA, AIATSIS and PARADISEC. Her current work is both collaborative and interdisciplinary in outlook, incorporating joint research with Indigenous language experts, musicologists, education researchers and anthropologists. Her earlier research analysed the structure of the Mawng language and its implications for the typology of nominal classification and idioms. Ruth has a PhD from the University of Melbourne, has taught at La Trobe University (Australia) and held postdoctoral fellowships with the Language and Cognition group, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics (The Netherlands) and the Wellsprings project, Australian National University.



Christian Döhler completed his M.A. in Political Science at the Chemnitz University of Technology and obtained an Honours Degree in Linguistics at the University of Melbourne. Between 2010 and 2016 he worked on the DOBES project „Nen and Komnzo - Two languages of Southern New Guinea" funded by the Volkswagen Foundation. He completed his, Ph.D. degree with a grammatical description of Komnzo in 2016 at the Australian National University, Canberra. The dissertation was published as a reference grammar of Komnzo in 2018. Between 2017 and 2019, he worked as a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Cologne on the ELDP project "A comprehensive documentation of Bine - a language of Southern New Guinea". He is currently employed at the Leibniz-Centre General Linguistics in Berlin working on the topics of language documentation and description, small-scale multilingualism and distributed exponence in verb morphology.

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Alexandre François has conducted fieldwork on twenty-two hitherto undescribed – and often endangered – Oceanic (Austronesian) languages spoken in Vanuatu and in the Solomon Islands. By writing grammars, dictionaries, or more specific studies, he works on the description and analysis of these languages, both in their typological and historical dimensions. Beyond linguistics, his projects also aim at documenting the oral literature, poetry and music of these communities, as well as supporting the maintenance of endangered languages.

Through a process of diversification that spanned over the last three millennia, Vanuatu has become the country with the world's highest linguistic density per capita. François' research aims at understanding this extreme degree of linguistic and cultural diversity specific to Island Melanesia, but also at designing more general concepts and tools that could help explore language diversity across the world.

His permanent affiliation is with Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (Paris), in the department “LaTTiCe” (Langues, Textes, Traitements informatiques, Cognition). François is also a member of Academia Europaea, and a Honorary Associate Professor at the Australian National University.

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Kristina Gallego is currently taking her PhD at the School of Culture, History and Language at the Australian National University. She is also an Assistant Professor at the University of the Philippines Diliman. She has done fieldwork in various communities across the Philippines, and has published papers on Philippine culture history, language structure, and language change. Her main research interest lies on historical linguistics, specifically on the descent and genetic relationship of the Philippine languages. Her PhD project, funded by the Endangered Languages Documentation Programme (ELDP), focuses on the historical and ongoing contact between speakers of Ibatan and Ilokano on the small island community of Babuyan Claro in the far north of the Philippines.

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Jill Vaughan is a research fellow at the University of Melbourne’s Research Unit for Indigenous Language. Her work centres on the sociolinguistics of multilingualism, and seeks to understand how and why multilingual and multilectal speakers draw on their different codes to express their place in the world. In exploring these questions, she engages in research on multilingual practices, migration, language variation and change, and language in the classroom.

Her doctoral research focused on maintenance of the Irish language. This work produced a multi-sited ethnography of Irish language use across communities in Ireland and the Irish diaspora, and an analysis of cultural and political discourses around the language. Her current work is centred on fieldwork and community language support in the linguistically diverse and highly multilingual region of Arnhem Land (northern Australia). Recent projects have included ELDP-funded documentation of dialectal variation and multilingual repertoires among speakers of the Burarra language of the Maningrida region and collaborative work with community organisations to record artists’ narratives and procedural texts in various local languages.

Linguistic outreach activities outside academia include her role as a founding member of The Linguistics Roadshow, an interactive showcase about the science of language for rural students, and as project manager for the 50 Words Project which aims to provide recordings of fifty words in every Indigenous language of Australia through an interactive online map.



Pierpaolo Di Carlo (PhD Linguistics 2009, Florence) is postdoctoral associate at the Department of Linguistics, University at Buffalo – SUNY. His areas of interest include the study of traditional forms of multilingualism in rural Africa, language ideologies, language documentation, African anthropology, and the languages and societies of the Hindu-Kush area (Pakistan – Afghanistan). Pierpaolo has done extensive fieldwork in Pakistan and Cameroon, has published in journals like the “International Journal of the Sociology of Language” and currently coordinates both a research project called KPAAM-CAM (PI Jeff Good)—focused on the documentation of multilingualism in rural areas of Cameroon—and the virALLanguages initiative, through which accurate information about COVID-19 has been translated in about fifty under-resourced languages of Cameroon, Pakistan, and Indonesia.



Patience Epps is Professor of Linguistics at the University of Texas at Austin and a co-director of the Archive for Indigenous Languages of Latin America. She received her PhD in Linguistic Anthropology from the University of Virginia in 2005, and has been a member of the faculty at UT Austin since 2006.

Prof. Epps’ research interests focus on indigenous languages of the Amazon basin, and involve linguistic description and documentation, historical linguistics and language contact, linguistic typology, and verbal art. Since 2001, she has been engaged in fieldwork with languages of the Naduhup family (Hup, Dâw, and Nadëb) in the context of the multilingual Upper Rio Negro region of northwest Brazil. She is also interested in broader-scale explorations of language contact and change across Amazonia, and in investigating how these effects inform our understanding of the dynamics of linguistic diversity in South America and beyond.

Her publications include the monograph A Grammar of Hup (2008, Mouton de Gruyter) and various articles. Co-edited volumes include Handbook of Amazonian Languages (with Lev Michael; HSK/de Gruyter Mouton, in press) and Historical Linguistics and Endangered Languages: Exploring Diversity in Language Change (with Danny Law and Na’ama Pat-El; Routledge, in press). She is a recipient of the Pāṇini Award from the Association for Linguistic Society of America.

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Hein van der Voort has been working on Amazonian languages since 1995. He obtained his doctoral degree at Leiden University in 2000 and he currently holds a position of researcher of indigenous languages at the Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi in Belém, Brazil. He is a specialist in the Kwaza and Aikanã language isolates and the Macro-Jê language Arikapú of Rondônia, Brazil, on which he has published descriptive and comparative work. He has several years of fieldwork experience in documenting languages and cultures of that region. Apart from projects in Brazil, Hein has worked and published on Romani, Virgin Islands Dutch Creole, Inuit languages, and Inuit-based pidgins.



Kofi Yakpo is Associate Professor of Linguistics at the University of Hong Kong. He studied Linguistics, Social Anthropology and Political Science at the University of Cologne (Germany) and the University of the South Pacific (Vanuatu), Management at the University of Geneva (Switzerland), Law at King’s College London (UK), and obtained a PhD in Linguistics from Radboud University Nijmegen (Netherlands).


His research addresses the complex interaction of genealogical, areal, typological, social, political, and ideological forces in the evolution of contact languages. He has published extensively, spanning linguistics, politics, music, and creative writing. His works include A Grammar of Pichi (2019), the most comprehensive description of an Afro-Caribbean English-lexifier Creole to-date, Boundaries and Bridges: Language Contact in Multilingual Ecologies (2017, with Pieter Muysken), and Code-switching Between Structural and Sociolinguistic Perspectives (2015, with Gerald Stell).


Much of his teaching aims at equipping students with the methods, concepts and critical perspectives necessary for describing and documenting linguistic diversity around the world. His courses in field linguistics include trips to African and Asian countries and have become references for experiential learning at the University of Hong Kong. Kofi Yakpo was awarded a Labex EFL International Chair (2021) at the University of Paris and is the recipient of an Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellowship (2020-21). He has also been a visiting fellow at various institutions including the University of Cambridge, the University of British Columbia, Jawaharlal Nehru University, and the University of the West Indies.


John Baines

John Baines est professeur émérite d’égyptologie à l’Université d’Oxford. Il a été professeur et chercheur invité en Afrique, Asie de l’Est, Europe et Amérique du Nord. Il est l’auteur, notamment, de Visual and written culture in ancient Egypt (2007) et de High culture and experience in ancient Egypt (2013), et co-éditeur de Historical consciousness and the use of the past in the ancient world (2019). Il a publié des articles portant sur le comparatisme entre civilisations anciennes dans des revues et dans des collections interdisciplinaires. Outre l’analyse comparative, ses principaux intérêts de recherche portent sur l'archéologie, l'art, l'écriture, la biographie, la religion et la société égyptiennes anciennes.


Birgit Hellwig

Birgit Hellwig is Professor of Linguistics at the Department of Linguistics, University of Cologne (Germany), where she combines language documentation with psycholinguistics, exploring the possibilities, challenges and limitations of investigating language acquisition and socialization in diverse socio-cultural settings. In 2014, she and her team started a major project on documenting the language used with and by Qaqet children in Papua New Guinea ( Her interest in child language emerged out of a more general interest in documenting and analyzing languages from typological perspectives, and she continues to research diverse adult languages, including the Qaqet language, but also Goemai (a Chadic language of Nigeria), Katla (a Niger-Congo language of Sudan) and Tabaq (a Nilo-Saharan language of Sudan).


Birgit studied African Linguistics at the Universities of Bayreuth and Hamburg (Germany) and she received her PhD in Linguistics from the University of Nijmegen (Netherlands) in 2003. Since then she has held positions at the School of Oriental and African Studies (London, UK), La Trobe University (Melbourne, Australia) and the University of Erfurt (Germany), before moving to the University of Cologne in 2014.


Shanley Allen

Shanley Allen is Professor of Psycholinguistics and Language Development at the University of Kaiserslautern (Germany). Following a PhD in Linguistics from McGill University in 1995, she also held academic positions at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics and at Boston University, and served two terms as Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Kaiserslautern. Much of her research focuses on language development in Inuktitut, as spoken by pre-school children living in Inuit communities in arctic Canada. In some 50 publications, she has documented their acquisition of early vocabulary, morphosyntax, and discourse-pragmatics. She was also instrumental in adapting the MacArthur Communicative Development Inventory (vocabulary assessment) and the Language Assessment Remediation and Screening Procedure (morphosyntax assessment) for Inuktitut. She is Series Editor of the book series Trends in Language Acquisition Research (Benjamins), Vice President of the International Association for the Study of Child Language, elected member of Academia Europaea, and has served as Associate Editor for both the Journal of Child Language and the International Journal of American Linguistics.


Lucy Davidson

Lucy Davidson is a postdoctoral research fellow in the Research Unit for Indigenous Language at the University of Melbourne. Her primary research interest relates to how children communicate at different stages of development, with a particular curiosity in the strategies children use in their interactions with peers. Since 2013 this interest in children’s communicative competence in general has been focussed on that of Indigenous children in Australia. Her PhD thesis explored peer talk amongst a group of young children who speak the traditional Australian language Murrinhpatha, in the remote Aboriginal community of Wadeye in Northern Australia. In this study she investigated the children’s use of category terms (e.g. girl, grown up, brother, teacher)  to achieve social goals. In her current role, Lucy continues to work in Wadeye, investigating narratives produced by children in middle childhood. She is also working with the Aboriginal communities of Pipalyatjara and Kalka, in the centre of Australia, to study the speech of young children acquiring Pitjantjatjara, the traditional Australian language of that area. In this study Lucy is exploring a more structural element of communication, the development of nominal case marking.


Rebecca Defina

Rebecca Defina is a research fellow at the Research Unit for Indigenous Languages and the Centre for the Dynamics of Language (COEDL), University of Melbourne, Australia. Her research focuses on linguistic description and the connections between differences in language structure and the ways people think. She completed a PhD at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics (Netherlands) examining connections between syntax and conceptual event segmentation in Avatime (Ghana, West Africa). Since completing her PhD in 2016, she has extended her interests to language acquisition, examining the impact of differences between languages on how they are learnt and how the relationships between language and cognition develop throughout acquisition.


Her current work focuses on how children learn Pitjantjatjara, an Indigenous language spoken by around 3000 people in central Australia. This research features the collection and analysis of a 3-year longitudinal corpus of 13 Pitjantjatjara children aged 1-7 interacting with their families.


Barbara Kelly

Barbara F. Kelly, University of Melbourne, has worked primarily on language development, specifically how language-internal grammatical pressures interact with non-verbal communication and social pressures in children's socialization toward becoming competent language users. Within this frame, she investigates carer-child multi-modal communication practices across vastly different languages and cultures including in remote Himalayan communities, remote Indigenous Australian communities, and urban industrialized settings. Her current research investigates the acquisition of Murrinhpatha.


Evan Kidd

I was awarded my BBSc(Hons) in 2000 and my PhD (Psycholinguistics) in 2004, both from La Trobe University, Australia. I worked at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology as a postdoctoral research associate between 2003 – 2005, and as a Lecturer and then Senior Lecturer in Psychology at The University of Manchester (UK) between 2005 - 2012. From 2008 - 2011 I was also a Charles La Trobe Research Fellow at La Trobe University. I am currently an Associate Professor of Psychology at The Australian National University, and a Senior Investigator and Research Group Leader at the MPI.


My research investigates the psychology of language, with a main focus on the developmental processes that contribute to language acquisition and use. My current research interests include (i) the acquisition and processing of syntax, (ii) individual differences in first and second language acquisition, (iii) the neurocognitive mechanisms that support syntax acquisition and use (e.g., memory, statistical learning), and (iv) the role of socio-cognitive processes such as symbolic play in language acquisition. I have conducted research on a number of languages, including English, German, Italian, Finnish, Cantonese, Mandarin, Persian, Murrinhpatha (Non-Pama-Ngungan), Pitjanjatjara (Pama-Ngungan), and Tagalog (Austronesian).


Elena Lieven

Elena Lieven is Professor Emerita at the University of Manchester.  Her research involves usage-based approaches to language development; the emergence and construction of grammar; the relationship between input characteristics and the process of language development; and variation in children’s communicative environments, cross-linguistically and cross-culturally.  With Ben Ambridge, she co-authored Child Language Acquisition: Theoretical Approaches (2011). Until September 2020, she was Co-Director of the ESRC International Centre for Language and Communicative Development (LuCiD: at the Universities of Manchester, Liverpool and Lancaster and she remains a member of the Centre.  She is an elected Fellow of the Cognitive Science Society and of the British Academy and a member of Academia Europea.


Serge Sagna

Serge Sagna is a Research Fellow (Assistant Professor) of Linguistics at the University of York in the United Kingdom. He is currently a co-investigator and the named researcher on a child language acquisition project investigating the acquisition of noun class and NP agreement in an Atlantic language of the Jóola cluster of languages (Eegimaa), which are spoken in The Gambia, Southern Senegal and Guinea Bissau. This research is undertaken in close collaboration with Dunstan Brown, Marilyn Vihman and Virve Vihman. Data for this project is collected in four villages in the Basse Casamance (Southwestern Senegal), in a polyadic environment where children interact with multiple caregivers, playmates siblings and other members of their community. For this project, Serge has trained farmers and students in data collection and transcription using ELAN and the CHAT format.


Serge Sagna’s research interest is varied. He has conducted innovative research in linguistic typology on noun class semantics, syntactic and semantic agreement and overt verb classification. His monograph on the overt verb classification is forthcoming with Empirical Approaches to Linguistic Typology (EALT). He has also carried out, with Abbie Hantgan, pioneering research on multilingualism in the Casamance with a survey of over 60 villages, and analysis of exogamy and child language data to investigate the emergence of multilingualism in southern Senegal.


Serge Sagna was one of the first two PhD graduates of the SOAS Endangered Languages Academic Programme. He has extensive research experience on language endangerment and has been documenting some of the Eegimaa most endangered linguistic and cultural aspects of the language and the people, including ethnobiological knowledge. He has produced innovative research engagement material, including the production of the Eegimaa orthography, literacy material and educational material for primary school children. He has organised, hosted and is leading a radio programme to spearhead efforts of language revitalisation in Eegimaa community.

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Azeb Amha

Azeb Amha is a researcher at the African Studies Center, Leiden University. Her research focuses on the language-culture interface in Ethiopia, especially in members of the Omotic language family. She has extensive experience in language documentation and in working with speech communities. Azeb led a collaborative documentation project on the Oyda language (2009-2013). Through analysis of Wolaitta, one of her L1 languages, Azeb contributed to projects that aimed at developing methodological advances in language description and documentation, namely the CorpAfroas and CorTypo projects coordinated by Professor Amina Metouchi of LLACAN.  Since 2016, Azeb is working on a multi-modal documentation of Zargula, an endangered language that is spoken in South-west Ethiopia. Azeb's publications include The Maale Language (2001), several articles on the grammar and typology of Omotic languages, and three co-edited books. Since 2004, Azeb is co-editor of the Journal of African Languages and Linguistics.

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Akua Asantewaa Campbell

Akua Campbell is a lecturer at the Department of Linguistics, University of Ghana. Her research areas are syntax, discourse analysis, and documentation of Ghanaian languages (especially Gã). Her PhD dissertation was the grammar of her native Gã language at Rice University (2017). Her research in syntax has centred on the relationship between relative clauses, genitives and nominalizations, as well as the functions and diachronic development of future markers in Gã, and the syntactic and discourse features of motion expression in Gã. Her work in interpreting employs a discourse analytic approach to the study of interpreting accuracy in Ghanaian multilingual courtrooms.

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Li Jianfu (Libu Lakhi)

Li Jianfu is a native speaker of Namuyi Khatho, a Qiangic language spoken by approximately 5,000 Namuyi Tibetans, Southwest of Sichuan Province in the PRC. He is literate in Chinese, Tibetan and English, plus fluent in Nuosu Yi (a Tibeto-burman language in Sichuan). He wrote a descriptive grammar of his native Namuyi as a PhD thesis of La Trobe University in 2007 and currently works as a teacher in Qinghai Normal University in China.

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Yankee Modi 

Yankee Modi is a native member of the Milang community, a small indigenous hill tribe in the Eastern Himalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, India. She completed her PhD thesis A Grammar of Milang in 2017 at the Institut für Sprachwissenschaft, University of Berne, and is now Co-Director of the Centre for Cultural-Linguistic Diversity (Eastern Himalaya), and an Associate Lecturer in Linguistics at the University of Sydney. Her research primarily focusses on documentation and description of endangered languages of the Eastern Himalayan region, a highly significant ethno-linguistic “hotspot” with about 300 typologically diverse languages, many with a few hundred to a few thousand speakers. 


Yankee Modi is also highly active in applied linguistics, developing strategies for research and training that bring about real progress in documenting and sustaining Eastern Himalaya cultural and linguistic diversity. She co-founded Training and Resources for Indigenous Community Linguists (TRICL) in 2015, a collaborative project where local, international and community member researchers are all equal partners. This collaboration has been especially fruitful and has produced several co-authored publications such as A Tangam Community Dictionary and a large-scale open-access language archive The Tani Languages (TANI) (PARADISEC).

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Stephen Morey 

Stephen Morey is an Associate Professor in the Department of Languages and Linguistics, La Trobe University. He is the author of two books (and multiple articles) on tribal languages in Assam, from both Tai-Kadai and Tibeto-Burman families. His research work has been on language documentation with a particular focus on traditional songs and ritual language. He is the secretary of the North East Indian Linguistics Society and has been co-editor for all 8 volumes of the series North East Indian Linguistics. He also researches and has written on the Aboriginal languages of Victoria, Australia. 

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Hannah Sarvasy

Hannah Sarvasy (PhD James Cook, 2015) is a field linguist active at the intersection of indigenous language documentation, language acquisition studies, and psycholinguistic experimentation. She has published a reference grammar of the Papuan language Nungon, spoken by 1,000 people in the Saruwaged Mountains of Morobe Province, Papua New Guinea (Brill, 2017), a volume of fieldwork autobiographies (Benjamins, 2018), learning grammars for the endangered Sierra Leonean languages Kim and Bom (Linguistics Publishing, 2009), and many articles and book chapters on child language development, linguistic typology, Papuan and Bantu languages, field methods, ethnobiology, and psycholinguistics. She has taught at the University of California, Los Angeles, and her work has featured in the New York Times, Voice of America News, Radio France, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and Radio Adelaide, among other venues. She currently holds an Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher fellowship at the MARCS Institute for Brain, Behaviour and Development at Western Sydney University.