Professor Felicity Meakins

ARC Future Fellow

School of Languages and Cultures
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
f.meakins@uq.edu.au
+61 7 336 53114

Overview

I am the Deputy Director of the UQ node of the ARC Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language. I am also a Fellow in the Academy for Social Sciences Australia (ASSA). I currently hold a Future Fellowship which focuses on language evolution and contact processes across northern Australia where I have worked for the past two deacades.

I studied at the University of Queensland between 1995-2001. Between 2001-04, I worked as a community linguist at Diwurruwurru-jaru Aboriginal Corporation facilitating revitalisation programs for Bilinarra and Ngarinyman people. I joined the Aboriginal Child Language project (University of Melbourne) in 2004 as a PhD student. I completed my PhD in 2008 and continued documenting Gurindji, Bilinarra and Gurindji Kriol as a part of the Jaminjungan and Eastern Ngumpin DOBES project, then with my own ELDP grant at the University of Manchester and finally returned to UQ with an ARC APD and then an ARC DECRA. I have also held an ARC DP which studied contact between Mudburra and Jingulu and Mudburra and Kriol.

I have co-compiled four dictionaries (Gurindji, Bilinarra, Ngarinyman and Mudburra) and two grammars (Bilinarra and Gurindji) and two ethnobiologies (Bilinarra/Gurindji/Malngin and Jingulu/Mudburra). I am also the author of Case-Marking in Contact (Benjamins, 2011), co-author of Understanding Linguistic Fieldwork (Routledge, 2018) and Songs from the Stations (Sydney University Press, 2019) and co-editor of Loss and Renewal: Australian Languages since Colonisation (Mouton, 2016) and Yijarni: True Stories from Gurindji Country (2016, Aboriginal Studies Press). I have also authored over 55 papers on language contact and change in academic volumes and journals.

Research Interests

  • Language documentation, including fieldwork methodology, annotation of corpus data and the structure of reference grammars
  • Sociolinguistics, e.g. language ecologies, endangerment and shift, variationalist approaches
  • Morphology, particularly morphology in contact
  • Australian languages, including Gurindji, Gurindji Kriol, Bilinarra, Ngarinyman and Kriol
  • Language contact, particularly mixed languages, creole languages, code-switching and language convergence

Research Impacts

First Nations groups want to ensure that their languages, cultures and stories are there for future generations. Australia has the world’s longest continuous collection of cultures, and Indigenous languages are key for the future survival of these cultures in the aftermath of the devastating effects of colonialism. They are shaped by the minds of individual speakers. They encode the social dynamics of groups over time. They support and transmit cultural practices. These languages are vital for ensuring a brighter future for younger Indigenous people.

The aim of my work over the last two decades has been to build interdisciplinary teams of Indigenous community members, students, postdocs, scientists & artists to document highly endangered First Nations languages. This work extends beyond the traditional boundaries of linguistic research to ground projects in the artistic, cultural & land-based practices of First Nations peoples. We have been aiming to make lasting records of these languages and address broader research questions related to human language and cognition.

I have co-authored a number of general audience books with Gurindji co-authors: Kawarla: How to Make a Coolamon (Batchelor Press, 2014), Mayarni-kari Yurrk: More Stories from Gurindji Country (2016, Batchelor Press), Birrka Marnini: Making Things Mudburra (Batchelor Press, 2019), and Karu: Growing up Gurindji (Spinifex Press, 2019). We have also produced a 30 short films for ICTV and NITV, 8 posters of Gurindji sign language and ethnobiological topics. I have also done research for Brenda L Croft's exhibition Still in my mind: Gurindji Location, Experience and Visuality. All of this work has been undertaken in collaboration with Karungkarni Art and Culture Aboriginal Corporation and the Murnkurrumurnkurru rangers.

Qualifications

  • Master of Arts, The University of Queensland
  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Melbourne
  • Bachelor of Arts (Hons), The University of Queensland

Publications

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Grants

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Supervision

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Publications

Featured Publications

Book

Book Chapter

  • Dunn, Vivien, Meakins, Felicity and Algy, Cassandra (2021). Acquisition or shift: Interpreting variation in Gurindji children’s expression of spatial relations. Variation Rolls the Dice. (pp. 105-131) edited by Aboh, Enoch and Vigouroux, Cécile. Amsterdam, Netherlands: John Benjamins.

  • Meakins, Felicity and Wilmoth, Sasha (2020). Overabundance resulting from language contact: Complex cell-mates in Gurindji Kriol. The complexities of morphology. (pp. 81-104) edited by Arkadiev, Peter and Gardani, Francesco. Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press.

  • Meakins, Felicity (2020). Typological factors. The Routledge Handbook of Language Contact. (pp. 185-200) edited by Adamou, Evangelia and Matras, Yaron. London, United Kingdom: Routledge.

  • Meakins, Felicity (2020). Australia and the south west Pacific. Handbook of Pidgin and Creole languages. (pp. 88-105) edited by Meyerhoff, Miriam and Ansaldo, Umberto. London, United Kingdom: Routledge.

  • Croft, Brenda, Toussaint, Sandy, Meakins, Felicity and McConvell, Patrick (2019). For the children...”: Aboriginal Australia, cultural access, and archival obligation. Archival returns: Central Australia and beyond. (pp. 173-191) edited by Barwick, Linda, Green, Jennifer and Vaarzon-Morel, Petronella. Sydney, NSW Australia: Sydney University Press.

  • Meakins, Felicity (2019). Morphology. Language contact: an international handbook. (pp. 63-75) edited by Jeroen Darquennes, Joe Salmons and Wim Vandenbussche. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. doi: 10.1515/9783110435351-006

  • Bond, Oliver, Meakins, Felicity and Nordlinger, Rachel (2019). Prominent possessor indexing in Gurindji. Prominent internal possessors. (pp. 80-106) edited by András Bárány, Oliver Bond and Irina Nikolaeva. Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press. doi: 10.1093/oso/9780198812142.003.0003

  • Fraser, Henry, Mushin, Ilana, Meakins, Felicity and Gardner, Rod (2018). Dis, that and da other: variation in Aboriginal children's article and demonstrative use at school. Language practices of Indigenous children and youth: the transition from home to school. (pp. 237-269) edited by Gillian Wigglesworth, Jane Simpson and Jill Vaughan. London, United Kingdom: Palgrave Macmillan. doi: 10.1057/978-1-137-60120-9_10

  • Meakins, Felicity (2018). Mixed languages. Oxford research encyclopedias: Literature. (pp. 1-29) edited by Mark Aronoff. Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press. doi: 10.1093/acrefore/9780199384655.013.151

  • Meakins, Felicity (2017). The carbines were talking English: violence and language in the colonisation of Gurindji country. Still in my mind: Gurindji location, experience and visuality. (pp. 73-75) edited by Brenda L. Croft, Penny Smith and Felicity Meakins. St Lucia, QLD, Australia: UQ Art Museum.

  • O'Shannessy, Carmel and Meakins, Felicity (2016). Australian language contact in historical and synchronic perspective. Loss and renewal: Australian languages since colonisation. (pp. 3-26) edited by Felicity Meakins and Carmel O'Shannessy. Berlin, Germany: De Gruyter Mouton.

  • Meakins, Felicity (2016). Background to the removal of children. Yijarni: true stories from Gurindji country. (pp. 135-136) edited by Erika Charola and Felicity Meakins. Canberra, ACT, Australia: Aboriginal Studies Press.

  • Meakins, Felicity (2016). Conditions under the Vesteys. Yijarni: true stories from Gurindji country. (pp. 182-186) edited by Erika Charola and Felicity Meakins. Canberra, ACT, Australia: Aboriginal Studies Press.

  • Meakins, Felicity and Charola, Erika (2016). European accounts of the flood and its consequences. Yijarni: true stories from Gurindji country. (pp. 112-114) edited by Erika Charola and Felicity Meakins. Canberra, ACT, Australia: Aboriginal Studies Press.

  • Meakins, Felicity and Charola, Erika (2016). European and further accounts of the early murders. Yijarni: True Stories from Gurindji Country. (pp. 80-83) edited by Erika Beatriz Charola and Felicity Helen Meakins. Canberra, Australia: Aboriginal Studies Press.

  • Meakins, Felicity and Pensalfini, Rob (2016). Gender bender: Disagreement in Jingulu noun class marking. Loss and Renewal: Australian Languages Since Colonisation. (pp. 425-450) edited by Felicity Meakins and Carmel O'Shannessy. Berlin, Germany: De Gruyter Mouton.

  • Meakins, Felicity and Charola, Erika (2016). Introduction. Yijarni: True Stories from Gurindji Country. (pp. 1-4) edited by Erika Beatriz Charola and Felicity Helen Meakins. Canberra, Australia: Aboriginal Studies Press.

  • Meakins, Felicity (2016). No fixed address: The grammaticalisation of the Gurindji locative as a progressive suffix. Loss and renewal: Australian languages since colonisation. (pp. 367-396) edited by Felicity Meakins and Carmel O'Shannessy. Berlin, Germany: De Gruyter Mouton.

  • Charola, Erika and Meakins, Felicity (2016). Official and newspaper accounts of Wave Hill in early air searches. Yijarni: true stories from Gurindji country. (pp. 144-145) edited by Erika Charola and Felicity Meakins. Canberra, ACT, Australia: Aboriginal Studies Press.

  • Meakins, Felicity and Charola, Erika (2016). Other accounts of settlement characters. Yijarni: True Stories from Gurindji Country. (pp. 194-196) edited by Erika Charola and Felicity Meakins. Canberra, Australia: Aboriginal Studies Press.

  • Charola, Erika and Meakins, Felicity (2016). Other reported accounts of conflict. Yijarni: True Stories from Gurindji Country. (pp. 67-72) edited by Erika Beatriz Charola and Felicity Helen Meakins. Canberra, Australia: Aboriginal Studies Press.

  • Meakins, Felicity (2016). Police reports of Gordon Stott. Yijarni: true stories from Gurindji country. (pp. 228-229) edited by Erika Charola and Felicity Meakins. Canberra, ACT, Australia: Aboriginal Studies Press.

  • Meakins, Felicity (2015). From absolutely optional to only nominally ergative: the life cycle of the Gurindji ergative suffix. Borrowed morphology. (pp. 189-218) edited by Francesco Gardani, Peter Arkadiev and Nino Amiridze. Berlin, Germany: De Gruyter. doi: 10.1515/9781614513209.189

  • Meakins, Felicity (2014). Language contact varieties. The languages and linguistics of Australia: a comprehensive guide. (pp. 365-416) edited by Harold Koch and Rachel Nordlinger. Berlin, Germany: De Gruyter Mouton. doi: 10.1515/9783110279771.365

  • Meakins, Felicity (2014). Nominals as arguments or adjuncts: further evidence from language mixing. Language description informed by theory. (pp. 283-315) edited by Rob Pensalfini, Myfany Turpin and Diana Guillemin. Amsterdam, Netherlands: John Benjamins Publishing. doi: 10.1075/slcs.147.12mea

  • Meakins, Felicity (2013). Gurindji Kriol. Contact languages based on languages from Africa, Asia, Australia, and the Americas. (pp. 131-139) edited by Susanne Michaelis, Philippe Maurer, Martin Haspelmath and Magnus Huber. Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press.

  • Schultze-Berndt, Eva, Meakins, Felicity and Angelo, Denise (2013). Kriol. English-Based and Dutch-Based Languages. (pp. 241-251) edited by Susanne Michaelis, Philippe Maurer, Martin Haspelmath and Magnus Huber. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

  • Meakins, Felicity (2013). Mixed languages. Contact languages: a comprehensive guide. (pp. 159-228) edited by Peter Bakker and Yaron Matras. Berlin, Germany: De Gruyter Mouton.

  • Meakins, Felicity (2010). The importance of understanding language ecologies for revitalisation. Reawakening languages: Theory and practice in the revitalisation of Australia's Indigenous languages. (pp. 225-239) edited by John Hobson, Kevin Lowe, Susan Poetsch and Michael Walsh. Sydney, Australia: Sydney University Press.

  • Meakins, Felicity (2009). The case of the shifty ergative marker: A pragmatic shift in the ergative marker in one Australian mixed language. The Role of Semantic, Pragmatic, and Discourse Factors in the Development of Case. (pp. 59-91) edited by J. Barddal and S. Chelliah. Amsterdam, The Netherlands: John Benjamins.

  • Meakins, Felicity (2008). Land, language and identity: The socio-political origins of Gurindji Kriol. Social lives in language - sociolinguistics and multilingual speech communities : celebrating the work of Gillian Sankoff. (pp. 69-94) edited by Miriam Meyerhoff and Naomi Nagy. Amsterdam, Netherlands: John Benjamins.

  • Meakins, Felicity (2008). Unravelling languages: Multilingualism and language contact in Kalkaringi. Children's language and multilingualism: Indigenous language use at home and school. (pp. 283-302) edited by Jane Simpson and Gillian Wigglesworth. London, U.K.: Continuum.

Journal Article

Other Outputs

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor