Head of Linguistics
School of Humanities
Faculty of Arts
Eligible to supervise Masters and PhD - email supervisor to discuss availability.
For much of my professional career I have worked intensively with the Kaurna language, the Indigenous language of Adelaide and the Adelaide Plains. Kaurna had been written off by most as a 'dead' or 'extinct' language, but fortunately reasonable written documentation existed thanks to the efforts of three German missionaries from the Dresden Mission Society who came to Adelaide in 1838 and 1840. After more than 25 years of painstaking effort, there are now several Kaurna people who can conduct a conversation in Kaurna without resorting to English too quickly, and we are seeing the first semi-native speakers of Kaurna emerging. For more on the revival of Kaurna, download the recent publication Warraparna Kaurna! Reclaiming an Australian Language from University of Adelaide Press,
https://www.adelaide.edu.au/press/titles/kaurna/ (Free Download) . See also the film Buckskin (http://buckskinfilm.com/about-the-film/).
I have worked in Linguistics since the early 1980s, primarily with Australian Languages (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Languages). I first worked as a nurse in remote Aboriginal communities (Balgo, Walungurru (Kintore), Papunya) and in Alice Springs Hospital with people who spoke Western Desert (Gugadja, Pintupi, Pitjantjatjara, Arrernte, Warlpiri etc). Later I worked in northeast Arnhemland, breifly in Gove District Hospital and then travelling around Yolngu communities engaged in Aboriginal Health Worker training and compilation of resources in Yolngu Matha for health professionals.
I currently hold an ARC Discovery grant together with Prof Jane Simpson from ANU where together with Dr Mary-Anne Gale and Dr David Wilkins we are undertaking an analysis of Ngarrindjeri texts published in Ronald and Catherine Berndt's (1993) book A World That Was.
In July 2016 I travelled to Aceh, Indonesia, to conduct a Language Survey of Pulau Banyak and Pualau Simeulue, islands off the southwest coast of Aceh close to the epicentre of the 2004 tsunami.This survey was undertaken together with Dr Zulfadli Aziz, from the University of Syiah Kuala in Banda Aceh. This work is supported by a Language Documentation grant from the ARC Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language (CoEDL).
- My Research
- Grants and Funding
- Professional Activities
I am a linguist, intensely interested in endangered languages, their maintenance and revival. I have worked primarily with Australian Aboriginal languages, specifically with the reclamation and re-introduction of the Kaurna language of the Adelaide Plains for 30 years.
Research Interests include:
- Australian Indigenous Languages
- Kaurna linguistics
- Language Reclamation
- Language maintenance and revival
- Indigenous languages education
- Language Planning (including lexical expansion and language development)
- Sociolinguistics (including language loyalty, language and identity)
- Mission linguistics
- Language contact phenomena
- Languages of Pulau Simeulue and Pulau Banyak, Aceh, Indonesia
- Cross-Cultural Communication: Aboriginal languages and health care delivery
Date Position Institution name 2018 Associate Professor Level D promotion; Head of Linguistics; Manager of KWP Team University of Adelaide, Adelaide 2012 Manager of Kaurna Warra Pintyanthi (KWP) Team University of Adelaide, Adelaide 2011 - 2017 Head of Linguistics, Senior Lecturer Level C (full itme) University of Adelaide 2010 - 2011 Guest Professor in Australian Studies (Linguistics) University of Cologne 2010 - 2011 Senior Lecturer Level C (0.75 time) University of Adelaide, Adelaide 2009 - 2011 Manager, Mobile Language Team (MLT) University of Adelaide, Adelaide 2009 - 2009 Lecturer B, Linguistics (0.75 time) University of Adelaide, Adelaide 2006 - 2009 Lecturer B, Linguistics (Full-time) University of Adelaide, Adelaide 2004 - 2008 Kaurna Language Teacher Department of Education and Children's Services 2004 - 2006 Lecturer B (Linguistics) (0.6 FTE) University of Adelaide, Adelaide 2001 - 2004 Senior Lecturer (FT) University of South Australia 1998 - 2001 Lecturer B, Linguistics (0.5 FTE) University of Adelaide 1997 - 1997 Associate Lecturer in Linguistics (Part Time) University of Adelaide 1993 - 1994 Tutor in Linguistics (part-time casual contracts) University of Adelaide, Adelaide 1993 - 1995 Project Officer, Australian Indigenous Languages Framework (AILF) Senior Secondary Assessment Board of South Australia (SSABSA) 1991 - 1992 Lecturer in Applied Linguistics Northern Territory University 1990 - 1991 Lecturer 1 (Linguistics) Batchelor College 1989 - 1989 Aboriginal Languages Coordinator South Australian Department of Education 1989 - 1989 Teacher Linguist SA Education Department 1986 - 1986 Nurse Educator NT Health 1986 - 1986 Registered Nurse Gove District Hospital 1982 - 1982 Remote Area Registered Nurse Lyappa Congress Health Service 1981 - 1982 Registered Nurse Alice Springs Hospital 1980 - 1980 Public Health Field Nurse Community & Child Health Services, Western Australia
Awards and Achievements
Date Type Title Institution Name Country Amount 2007 Achievement UNESCO Adelaide Chapter Achievement Award UNESCO Adelaide Chapter Australia — 2006 Honour Port Adelaide-Enfield Council Non-Indigenous Person of the Year Port Adelaide-Enfield Council Australia — 1999 Honour NAIDOC Non-Indigenous Person of the Year National Aboriginal and Islander Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) Australia —
Language Competency Indonesian Can read, write, speak and understand spoken
Date Institution name Country Title 1995 - 1998 University of Adelaide Australia PhD 1985 - 1989 University of New England Australia Diploma of Continuing Education 1983 - 1986 Australian National University Australia MA 1972 - 1975 Australian National University, Canberra Australia BSc
Date Title Institution Country 1995 - 1998 PhD University of Adelaide Australia
Date Title Institution name Country 1982 Intensive Advanced Linguistics Course Summer Institute of Linguistics — 1980 Intensive Introductory Linguistics Course Summer Institute of Linguistics — 1979 Registered Nurse Royal Prince Alfred Hospital Australia
Year Citation 2017 Gale, M., Williams, P., Amery, R., & Simpson, J. (2017). Dreaming Narratives as told to Albert Karloan & Pinkie Mack to Ronald & Catherine Berndt in the early 1940s. Adelaide. 2017 Gale, M., Williams, P., Amery, R., & Simpson, J. (2017). Ngurunderi Dreaming as told by Albert Karloan to Ronald & Catherine Berndt (in the early 1940s).. Adelaide. 2017 Gale, M., Williams, P., Amery, R., & Simpson, J. (2017). Kondoli Dreaming as told by Albert Karloan to Ronald & Catherine Berndt (in the early 1940s) Plus Whale Stories Told in English,. Adelaide. 2017 Gale, M., Williams, P., Amery., & Simpson, J. (2017). True Stories on Nga:tji (Totems) & Other Things as told by Albert Karloan & Pinkie Mack to Ronald & Catherine Berndt in the early 1940s.. Adelaide. 2016 Amery, R. M. (2016). Warra Kaurna Yalaka, Warra Kaurna Pukinangku. Kaurna Language Today, Kaurna Language from Long Ago. (Pilot Version ed.). R. M. Amery (Ed.). 2016 Amery, R. M. (2016). Warra Kaurna Yalaka, Warra Kaurna Pukinangku. Kaurna Language Today, Kaurna Language from Long Ago. (Pilot Version ed.). R. M. Amery (Ed.). 2016 Gale, M., Williams, P., Amery, R., & Simpson, J. (2016). Ethnographic Texts as told by Albert Karloan to Ronald & Catherine Berndt in the early 1940s. (Draft ed.). 2016 Gale., Williams, P., Amery, R., & Simpson, J. (2016). Texts on Clan Harmony & Games. Adelaide. 2016 Amery, R. (2016). Warraparna Kaurna! Reclaiming an Australian language. Adelaide: University of Adelaide Press.
2013 Amery, R., & Simpson, J. (2013). Kulurdu Marni Ngathaitya! Sounds Good to Me! A Kaurna Learner's Guide. Adelaide: Wakefield Press. 2009 Waria-Read, P., Amery, R., & Gale, M. (2009). Ngadjuri picture dictionary. Australia: Ngadjuri Walpa Juri Lands & Heritage Association. 2009 Waria-Read, P., Amery, R., Gale, M., & Tunstill, G. (2009). Ngadjuri wordlist. Ngadjuri Walpa Juri Lands & Heritage Association. 2008 Amery, R., & Nash, J. (Eds.) (2008). Warra wiltaniappendi - Strengthening languages : proceedings of the inaugural Indigenous Languages Conference (ILC). Discipline of Linguistics, University of Adelaide. 2006 Amery, R., Rigney, A., Varcoe, N., Schultz, C., & Pintyandi, K. (2006). Kaurna palti wonga = Kaurna funeral protocols. Adelaide: Kaurna Warra Pintyandi. 2004 Mühlhäusler, P., Amery, R., Schwarz, S., Winefield, J., Rigney, L., & Wilson, G. (2004). Ecological issues in language revival. South Australia: Department of Education & Children's Services. 2003 Amery, R., Simpson, J., Schurmann, C., & Teichelmann, C. (Eds.) (2003). Warra Kaurna: a resource for Kaurna language programs. Inbarendi College: Warra Kaurna Language Project. 2000 Amery, R. (2000). Warrabarna Kaurna! Reclaiming an Australian language. Lisse, Netherlands: Swets & Zeitlinger B.V.. 1999 Schultz, C., Varcoe, N., & Amery, R. (Eds.) (1999). Kaurna Paltinna: a Kaurna song book. Kaurna Plains School. 1986 Amery, R. M. (1986). Yolŋu-Matha for use by Members of the Health Profession in North East Arnhemland. (Gumatj Dialect). Darwin: NT Health.
Report for External Bodies
Year Citation 2005 Amery, R. M., & Mühlhäusler, P. (2005). Cost Benefit Analysis of Kaurna Language Reclamation.. University of Adelaide. 2002 Amery, R. M., McConvell, P., Gale, M., Nicholls, C., Rigney, L., Tur, S., & Nicholls, J. (2002). “Keep that Language Going!” A Needs-Based Review of the Status of Indigenous Languages in South Australia.. Canberra: Australian Insititute of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS). 2002 Amery, R. M., McConvell, P., Gale, M., Nicholls, C., Rigney, L., Tur, S., & Nicholls, J. (2002). “Keep that Language Going!” A Needs-Based Review of the Status of Indigenous Languages in South Australia.. Canberra: Australian Insititute of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS).
Year Citation 1998 Amery, R. M. (1998). Warrabarna Kaurna: Reclaiming Aboriginal Languages for Written Historical Sources: A Kaurna Case Study. (PhD Thesis, University of Adelaide). 1985 Amery, R. M. (1985). A New Diglossia: Contemporary Speech Varieties at Yirrkala, N.E. Arnhem Land.. (Master's Thesis, Australian National University).
Year Citation 2015 Zuckermann, G., & Amery, R. (2015). Language revival must consider social and mental health issues. University of Adelaide. 2013 Amery, R. M. (2013). Authenticity and correction of errors in the context of language reclamation.. History and Philosophy of the Language Sciences. 2002 Amery, R. M. (2002). Indigenous Language Programs in South Australian Schools: Issues, Dilemmas and Solutions.. NSW Board of Studies.
- 2019-2017 – Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Grant PROJECT ID: DP190102413 Towards Sustainable Language Revival: A critical analysis of Kaurna. $404,000.00. Amery, Assoc. Prof. Robert M (CI1); Senior Research Associate: Dr Mary-Anne Gale
- 2017-2022- Kaurna Language Breaking New Ground: Commonwealth Government, Indigenous Languages & the Arts $600,000 over five years (Pirltawardli Puppet Shows, Kaurna placenames research, Kaurna lexicography, language immersion activities)
Grants Previously Held (selection)
- 2015-2017 – Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Grant PROJECT ID: DP150103287 Linguistic analysis of Ngarrindjeri texts. $357,700.00. Amery, Dr Robert M (CI1); Simpson, Prof Jane H. (CI2), Senior Research Associate: Dr Mary-Anne Gale; Consultant Linguist: Dr David Wilkins.
- 2015-2017- Kaurna Language Project: Commonwealth Government, Indigenous Languages & the Arts $300,000 over two years (Pirltawardli Puppet Shows, Kaurna placenames research, language camp)
- 2016 –ARC Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language, Language Documentation Grant $19,829 for Language Survey of Pulau Simeulue and Pulau Banyak. Aceh, July-Aug. 2016. Project undertaken in collaboration with Dr Zulfadli Aziz, Syiah Kuala University, Banda Aceh, Indonesia.
July 2012 – June 2015 ILS Grant: Consolidating Kaurna Language Revival ($420,000; $140,000pa over 3 years)
July 2011 – June 2012 MILR Grant: Kaurna Dictionary Project ($53,000)
July 2010 – June 2012 MILR Grant: Kaurna Radio and Download Project ($44,177)
July 2010 – June 2012 MILR Grant: Kaurna Learner’s Guide Redesign and Publication ($22,517)
Jan. 2009 – Dec. 2010 Onkaparinga Council & Tappa Iri Agreement: Southern Kaurna Placenames project Stage 2 ($12,000).
Jul. 2006 – Jun. 2009 Department of Communication, Information Technology & the Arts (DCITA) Grant: Kaurna Language Database project ($20,000) Completed.
Jul. 2006 – Jun. 2009 DCITA Grant: Ngadjuri Picture Dictionary ($60,000). Completed.
June 2006 Onkaparinga Council & Tappa Iri Agreement: Southern Kaurna Placenames project Stage 1 ($13,000)
June 2005 – Sept 2006 DCITA Grant: Kaurna Learners Guide ($63,000)
June 2005 – Sept 2006 DCITA Grant: Strengthening Community Involvement in Kaurna Language Revival ($20,000)
April 2005 Sisters of St Joseph Grant: Reclaiming Kaurna Funerals ($5,460)
March 2005 University of Adelaide Research Grant: Grey Microfilm ($6,592)
Dec 2003 UniSA Division of Education, Arts and Social Sciences research grant awarded to Syd Sparrow, Bevin Wilson, Mary-Anne Gale and Rob Amery for Bringing the Ngarrindjeri Language Home project. ($10,000)
2003 UniSA Division of Education, Arts and Social Sciences Research grant awarded to Rob Amery and Lewis O’Brien for Kaurna Funeral Protocols project. ($8,000)
Feb. – May 2002 Adelaide City Council: Kaurna Placenames Consultancy
2001-2002 AUSTRALIAN INSTITUTE FOR ABORIGINAL & TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER STUDIES (AIATSIS): South Australian Aboriginal Language Needs Survey Consultancy
2001 UNIVERSITY OF ADELAIDE URG research project ‘Bringing the Languages Home’
Aug. 1998 – 1999 DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, TRAINING & EMPLOYMENT :Consultant to DETE Strategic Results Project
1997 – 1998 DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, TRAINING & EMPLOYMENT: Consultant Linguist to DETE Pathways Project developing 'Scope and Sequence' statements for Kaurna language programs.
1996 – 1997 DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION & CHILDREN’S SERVICES (DECS): Consultant Linguist to DECS QW Project: Aboriginal Language Revival Programs and the LOTE Statement and Profile: Forging links and portraying good practice. Appeared in and assisted video production Warranna Purruna: Living Languages: Pa:mpi Tungarar and accompanying print-based product.
Courses Developed, Coordinated and Taught
|Course Title||Institution||Course Level/ Code|
|Reclaiming Languages: A Kaurna Case Study||University of Adelaide||LING 2039 / LING 3015|
|Australian Indigenous Languages||University of Adelaide||LING 2014 / LING 3013|
|Perspectives on Language Variation and Change (CAPSTONE)||University of Adelaide||LING 3020|
|Translation: Practice and Theory (Linguistics)||University of Adelaide||LING 3021|
Foundations of Linguistics
|University of Adelaide||LING 1101|
|Language and Ethnography of Communication||University of Adelaide||LING 1102|
|Cross-Cultural Communication||University of Adelaide||LING 2038|
|Phonology||University of Adelaide||LING 2040 / 3038|
|Morphology & Syntax||University of Adelaide||LING 2015 / 3016|
|Field Linguistics||University of Adelaide||LING 5014|
|Language Revival: Securing the Future of Endangered Languages||University of Adelaide||edX MOOC|
|Aboriginal Health||University of South Australia|
Teaching into Other Courses
|Course Title||Institution||Course Level/ Code|
|Language Learning and Linguistics||University of Adelaide||LING 5011|
|Languages in the 21st Century: Cultural Contact and New Words||University of Adelaide||LING 3019|
|Language in a Global Society||University of Adelaide||LING 2037|
|Language and Communication Planning (Language Maintenance & Planning)||University of Adelaide||LING 2030 / LING 3030|
|Language, Cognition & Reality||University of Adelaide||LING|
|Language and Environment||University of Adelaide||LING|
|Australian Languages, Issues and Debates||Flinders University|
|Aboriginal Cultures||University of South Australia|
Current Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)
Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name 2019 Principal Supervisor A Comparative Study of Breton and Cornish Master of Philosophy Master Full Time Mrs Susie Jane Greenwood 2019 Principal Supervisor The Categorical Problem of Tenseness / Tenselessness and the Functional-Semantic Compositionality of Temporal Particles: Perspectives from Vietnamese and its Neighbouring Languages Master of Philosophy Master Full Time Mr Quang Anh Le 2019 Principal Supervisor A Study of Acehnese-Indonesian Bilingual Adolescents in Aceh Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Teuku Muhammad Ridha Al Auwal 2018 Co-Supervisor Reconstruction of Barngarla Lexicon from Primary and Secondary Sources Master of Philosophy Master Part Time Mrs Ingrid Michelle Kerrigan 2018 Principal Supervisor Co-option of grammatical resources from foreign languages Master of Philosophy Master Full Time Ms Chloe Michelle Castle 2017 Principal Supervisor Rhetorical Structure and Persuasion in Classical Hebrew Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Ms Caryn Naomi Rogers 2017 Principal Supervisor Linguistic Classification in the Daly River Languages Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Mr Christopher Raymond Venning 2016 Co-Supervisor Arabic, Israeli, Hebrew Code Switching in the Arab, Israeli, Muslim , Christian and Druze Sectors - linking Conversational Code Switching to Questions of Social Identity: A Qualitative Study Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mrs Afifa Eve Kheir Ferro 2015 Co-Supervisor Minority and Indigenous Language Policy and Planning on Tertiary Education in Metropolises of P.R.C. and Australia Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Jie Yang
Past Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)
Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name 2013 - 2017 Co-Supervisor Researching the Mindsets of Monolinguals: A 'Linguistic Self' of Twenty-First Century Monolingual Art Students in Australia Master of Philosophy Master Part Time Ms Lyndal Elizabeth Hordacre Kobayashi 2013 - 2016 Co-Supervisor A Grammar of Solor - Lamaholot, A Language of Flores, Eastern Indonesia Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Yosep Bisara Kroon 2012 - 2017 Principal Supervisor Pama-Nyungan Morphosyntax: Lineages of Early Description Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Dr Clara Stockigt 2009 - 2015 Principal Supervisor A SOCIOLINGUISTIC INVESTIGATION OF ACEHNESE WITH A FOCUS ON WEST ACEHNESE: A STIGMATISED DIALECT Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr . Zulfadli 2008 - 2011 Co-Supervisor Insular Toponymies: Pristine place-naming on Norfolk Island, South Pacific and Dudley Peninsula, Kangaroo Island, South Australia Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Joshua Nash 2007 - 2009 Principal Supervisor The Intercultural Analysis of Indonesian and Australian Students' Nonverbal Behaviour: An Effort to Develop Intercultural English Learning Material Master of Arts Master Full Time Mrs Karmila Mokoginta 2006 - 2009 Co-Supervisor On the Issues of Language Contact and Language Shift in Tok Pisin - Focusing on Two "Non-Standard" varieties: Highlands Pidgin and Anglicised Pidgin Master of Arts Master Full Time Ms Miwako Wakizaka 2002 - 2009 Co-Supervisor Yankunytjatjara Continuity and Change: A linguistic Ecology of the Yankunytjatjara Language, with Particular Emphasis on Cooper Pedy, South Australia Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Petter Naessan
Date Role Committee Institution Country 2017 - ongoing Member Languages & Cultures Network for Australian Universities (LCNAU) Ececutive — Australia 2017 - ongoing Member Scientific Committee, Conference on Asian Linguistic Anthropology University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Ho Chi Minh City Viet Nam 2016 - ongoing Member Teaching Australian Indigenous Languages at University (TAILU) Australian Linguistics Society (ALS) Australia 2013 - ongoing Advisory Board Member Kaurna Warra Karrpanthi (KWK) — Australia 2002 - ongoing Co-Founder Kaurna Warra Pintyanthi (KWP) — Australia
Date Role Membership Country 1984 - ongoing — Australian Linguistic Society (ALS) —
Date Institution Department Organisation Type Country 2017 - ongoing Syiah Kuala University, Banda Aceh, Indonesia Social Sciences Scientific research Indonesia
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