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Department of Comparative Language Science John Mansfield

John Mansfield

Anthropological Linguistics

“Learning about Muyumkuyum language from Andrew Awutumay”

I am interested in linguistic diversity across several dimensions: grammatical structure, semantics, phonology and pragmatics. My first experience with linguistics involved learning Murrinhpatha, an Aboriginal language of northern Australia. This taught me to recognise and value the remarkable differences between human languages, and suggested to me that these may be tied to equally striking differences in cultural contexts and interactional norms.

My current research focuses on modelling some aspects of language change, in ways that I hope will shed light on the mechanisms of language diversification via the pathways of communication, culture and cognition. 

I also contribute to social development goals for the communities who generously share their languages with me. Here is some information about a joint-advocacy meeting I helped organise for Aboriginal people in the “Top End” of Australia in 2022:

Short video

Press release

Personal webpage

Twitter profile

Google scholar profile


ZORA Publication List

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