PhD scholarships at the Cairns Institute, JCU, Australia

Alexandra Aikhenvald a.y.aikhenvald at LIVE.COM
Mon May 18 07:03:43 UTC 2009

Come and work in an exotic location, investigating a language which has never previously   been described!
Applications are invited, from suitably qualified students, to enter the PhD program of the Language and Culture Research Group within the Cairns Institute of James Cook University Australia. Supervision will be provided by Professors Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald and R. M. W. Dixon.
      Our PhD candidates undertake extensive fieldwork on a previously undescribed (or scarcely described) language and write a comprehensive grammar of it for their dissertation. They are expected to work on a language which is still actively spoken, and to establish a field situation within a community in which it is the first language. Their first fieldtrip lasts for about nine months. After completing a first draft of the grammar, back in Cairns, they undertake a second fieldtrip of two to three months. Fieldwork methodology centres on the collection, transcription and analysis of texts, together with participant observation, and — at a later stage — judicious grammatical elicitation in the language under description (not through the lingua franca of the country). Our main priority areas are the languages of tropical Amazonia and the Papuan and Austronesian languages of New Guinea. However, we do not exclude applicants who have an established interest in languages from other areas (which need not necessarily lie within the tropics).     
      PhDs in Australian universities generally involve no coursework, just a substantial dissertation. Candidates must thus have had a thorough coursework training before embarking on this PhD program. This should have included courses on morphology, syntax, semantics, and phonology/phonetics, taught from a non-formalist perspective. We place emphasis on work that has a sound empirical basis but also shows a firm theoretical orientation (in terms of general typological theory, or what has recently come to be called basic linguistic theory). 
      The Cairns Institute is a world centre for advanced study relating to the tropics. Professor Alexandra (Sasha) Aikhenvald is Research Leader for People and Societies of the Tropics. Together with Professor R. M. W. Dixon, she heads the Language and Culture Research Group, which includes Research Fellows and a growing number of doctoral students. In addition, senior scholars from across the world opt to spend their sabbatical in the Cairns Institute. 
      The LCRG has strong links with anthropologists and archaeologists, with scholars working on environmental issues, and with the School of Indigenous Australian Studies, all within James Cook University.
      The scholarship will be at the standard James Cook University rate, Australian $20,427 pa. Students coming from overseas are liable for a tuition fee; but this may be waived in the case of a student of high merit. A small relocation allowance may be provided on taking up the scholarship. In addition, an appropriate allowance will be made to cover fieldwork expenses. The scholarship is for three years (with the possibility of a six month extension). The deadline for application by international students (starting in 2010) is 31 August 2009; the deadline for students with Australian and New Zealand passports is 31 October 2009. The academic year in Australia commences about 1st March. Successful applicants would take up their PhD scholarships between January and June 2010.
      The application procedures for international students can be found at: . The 2010 Scholarship application form for international students can be 
found at:
      Prospective applicants are invited, in the first place, to get in touch with Professor Aikhenvald at sasha.aikhenvald at, providing details of their background, qualifications and interests (including a curriculum vitae).

Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald, PhD, DLitt, FAHA
Professor and Research Leader (Peoples and Societies of the Tropics)
The Cairns Institute 
James Cook University
PO Box 6811
Queensland 4870

mobile 0400 305315
office 61-7-40421117
home 61-7-40381876
sasha.aikhenvald at

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <>

More information about the Lingtyp mailing list