PhD scholarships at the Language and Culture Research Centre, Cairns Institute, JCU

Alexandra Aikhenvald a.y.aikhenvald at LIVE.COM
Mon Jun 11 06:50:34 UTC 2012

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 Centre within the Cairns Institute of James Cook University Australia. Supervision will be provided by Professors Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald, R. M. W. Dixon, and Dr Elena Mihas.
 Our PhD candidates generally 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 class centre for advanced study relating to the tropics. Distinguished 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 Centre within the Cairns Institute, 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 LCRC also includes anthropologists, archaeologists and educationalists, with scholars working on environmental issues, all within James Cook University. The information on LCRC is available at The Language and Culture Research Centre is responsible for maintaining a repository of information on languages and cultures of our expertise, under the heading of Languages and cultures of the Tropics and Surrounding areas ( 
 The basic scholarship will be at the standard James Cook University rate, Australian $23.728 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 2011) is 31 August 2012; the deadline for students with Australian and New Zealand passports is 31 October 2012. 
 The academic year in Australia commences about 1st March. Successful applicants would take up their PhD scholarships between January and June 2013.
 The application procedures for students and the application forms can be found at:
 Prospective applicants are invited, in the first place, to get in touch with Professor Aikhenvald at Alexandra.Aikhenvald at, providing details of their background, qualifications and interests (including a curriculum vitae). Applicants are advised to send samples of their written work in linguistics (at least some of this should be in English).
Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald, PhD, DLitt, FAHA
Distinguished Professor and Research Leader (Peoples and Societies of the Tropics)
Director of LCRC
The Cairns Institute 
James Cook University
PO Box 6811
Queensland 4870
mobile 0400 305315
office 61-7-40421117
Alexandra.Aikhenvald at;

Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald, PhD, DLitt, FAHA
Distinguished Professor and Research Leader (People and Societies of the Tropics)
Director of the Language and Culture Research Centre
The Cairns Institute, James Cook University
PO Box 6811, Cairns, Queensland 4870, Australia
 mobile 0400 305315, office 61-7-40421117
fax 61-7-4042 1880  http//

Date: Mon, 26 Sep 2011 18:54:19 +0300
From: eitan.grossman at MAIL.HUJI.AC.IL
Subject: 'impersonal' second person

Hi everyone, 

I'm interested in uses of second person for 'generic,' 'impersonal,' or 'procedural' functions, e.g., 'you go straight and then left,' 'you never know what you're up against,' etc. Anna Siewierska (Person, p. 212) mentions that it occurs in Germanic, Romance, Slavonic languages, as well as Hungarian, Estonian, Komi, Turkish, Abkhaz, and another dozen or so non-European languages. 

At the moment, I'm interested in the cross-linguistic extent of this phenomenon. I would be grateful if people would be able to tell me in what languages it does (or doesn't) occur. If there are any linguistic discussions of this in particular languages or families, that would be great too.

I will post a summary of the responses, if there are any.


Best wishes,
Eitan Grossman

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