FEL Executive Committee member Peter Austin

In today’s post, we introduce another Executive Committee member.

Peter K. Austin

I live in the UK where I am Emeritus Professor in Field Linguistics at SOAS, University of London, and Visiting Researcher at Oxford University. Previously, I was Foundation Chair in Linguistics at University of Melbourne (1996-2001) and Marit Rausing Chair in Field Linguistics at SOAS (2002-2018).

I have been working with speakers of highly endangered Australian Aboriginal languages for 48 years in New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia (documenting 12 languages). I have published books, articles, dictionaries, and websites (including the first fully hypertext bilingual dictionary (of Gamilaraay), co-authored with FEL EC member David Nathan).

Since 2013 I have been collaborating with the Dieri Aboriginal Corporation, running community-based workshops and preparing materials for linguistic and cultural revival, described on the Ngayana Diyari Yawarra Yathayilha blog. Since 2018 I have been working with the Yinggarda, Bayungu and Thalanyji communities to create bilingual dictionaries and learning materials for linguistic and cultural revival. I am collaborating with the Baiyungu Aboriginal Corporation and the WA Parks and Wildlife Service on linguistic and cultural aspects of a joint management plan for the Nyinggulu (Ningaloo) Marine Park.

I established the journal Language Documentation and Description in 2003 and am co-founding editor of the free open access platform EL Publishing. In 2018 we worked with FEL to publish its first online Conference Proceedings.

I have collaborated on summer schools and training courses for endangered languages documentation, description and revitalisation, including working with minority language speakers, in UK, Sweden, Italy, Germany, France, Estonia, Poland, Argentina, USA, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, and India. In 2020 I will participate in events in Germany, Italy, Australia, and India. I have given numerous conference talks, public lectures, and outreach events advocating for endangered languages and their speakers, and published a book called 1,000 Languages on language diversity for a general audience (translated into Dutch, German, Italian, Romanian, Spanish, Polish, Estonian, Icelandic, Japanese, Chinese). I am currently co-editor of the FEL blog and the FEL Facebook page.