• The University of Western Australia (M257), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth


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Personal profile


I completed a BA Honours degree in Linguistics and Archaeology at the Australian National University and then moved to the University of Western Australia for my PhD in Historical Linguistics.

I have been lecturing in Linguistics since 2004, and have held contracts at the Australian National University and the Università degli Studi di Genova, as well as here at the University of Western Australia, before taking on my current role of Lecturer in Linguistics in UWA's School of Social Sciences, in 2017. I was Chair of Linguistics between 2021-2022 and Coordinator of the Linguistics Major 2020-2022. I am in charge of the Linguistics Work Integrated Learning program.



My research program involves three interrelated strands:
- language change and the reconstruction of language history
- language processing in bilinguals;
- Australian Indigenous languages
My research on bilingual processing biases provides novel insights on mechanisms of language change, which linguists rely on when reconstructing language histories from comparative patterns of linguistic similarity and diversity. These insights are of particular relevance to understanding the history of Australian Indigenous languages since they have evolved in predominantly multilingual contexts.

Teaching overview

LING1002 Language as a Cognitive System

LING1901 Language Learning and the Multilingual World

LING2002 The Sounds of the World's Languages

LING2003 Language, Culture and Society

LING2008 How Language Shapes Society

LING3003 Language Across Time

LING3002 Linguistic Typology: the diversity of language

LING3006 Topics in Linguistic Theory

LING3007 Linguistics of Australian Indigenous Languages

Current projects

Monitoring as a Driver of Differential Language Change

Funded by an ARC Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language Transdisciplinary and Innovation Grant (TIG1182020, $10,528.55)

Collaborators: Prof Paola Escudero (WSU), Dr Bethwyn Evans (ANU) and Dr T. Mark Ellison (Universität zu Köln)

Public Summary

When languages share speakers one observed outcome is that their vocabulary differentiates while their structure converges. A monitoring process in bilingual speakers has been proposed as the mechanism responsible for vocabularies becoming more distinct over time. Words shared across a bilingual’s languages are selected less often than language distinctive words because they are ambiguous in their language membership and may be avoided in favour of an unambiguous synonym. Could monitoring also explain convergence in structure? In this study we test the hypothesis that different change outcomes for form/structure result from differences in our ability to monitor for these two levels.

Research expertise keywords

  • Language Change
  • Bilingualism
  • Language Contact
  • Pama-Nyungan Languages
  • Language Evolution
  • Historical linguistics
  • Language contact
  • Australian Aboriginal languages


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