Dr Ruth Singer
ARC Research Fellow in Linguistics and Applied LinguisticsLinguistics and Applied Linguistics
Location: Room 416 Babel (Building 139)
Phone: +61 3 9035 3774
PhD University of Melbourne 2007
Research interests/areas of supervision
- Australian Aboriginal languages
- Language description, especially syntax and semantics
- Language documentation
- Linguistic typology
- Intonation and information structure
- The sociolinguistics of multilingualism and language endangerment
I began my research in Linguistics with a description of the Australian Aboriginal language Mawng spoken in north-west Arnhem Land, focussing on the semantics of grammatical gender agreement and how this becomes lexicalised together with specific verb senses. Continuing fieldwork on the Mawng language, I then collaborated with phonologists to work on intonation in Mawng. While a postdoctoral fellow with the Language and Cognition group, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics (Nijmegen, The Netherlands) and Radboud University (Nijmegen) I contributed to work on large-scale typological comparisons of languages of the Pacific. My research focus between 2008-2010 was expanding the Mawng dictionary database by doing research on traditional ethnobiological knowledge which has resulted in the publication of three bilingual posters about Shellfish, Fish and Plant Medicine. I also helped to document traditional songs sung by Mawng speakers during this time and researched kinship verbs and triangular kinship terms. In 2010 I taught at La Trobe University.
Structure and meaning of intonation in three Australian languages, Chief investigators: Professor Janet Fletcher (University of Melbourne) and Dr Marija Tabain (La Trobe University), funding: ARC, 2011-2013
Perspectives on multilingualism at Warruwi Community, Northern Territory (Australia), sole investigator, funding: internal University of Melbourne
- Mawng dictionary project, 2008-2011
- Mawng language project, Maintance of Indigenous Languages and Records program, 2010-2011
- Classical song traditions of contemporary Western Arnhem Land in their multilingual context, 2008-2011
- Singer, Ruth. "Do nominal classifiers mediate selectional restrictions? an investigation of the function of semantically-based nominal classifiers in Mawng (Iwaidjan, Australian)" in Linguistics 50, 2012, pp. 955-990. Do nominal classifiers mediate selectional restrictions? (615kb pdf)
- Singer, Ruth. "Typologising idiomaticity: Noun-verb idioms and their relations," in Linguistic Typology 15, 2011, pp.625-659. Typologising idiomaticity (1.01Mb pdf)
- Singer, Ruth. "Strategies for encoding reciprocity in Mawng," in Evans, N., Gaby A., Levinson, S. and Majid, A. (eds.). Reciprocals and Semantic Typology. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2011. Strategies for encoding reciprocity in Mawng prepublication proofs (245kb pdf)
- Singer, Ruth. "Creativity in the use of gender agreement in Mawng: how the discourse functions of a gender system can approach those of a classifier system," in Studies in Language, 34 (2), 2010, pp.382-416. Creativity in the use of gender (895kb pdf)
- Singer, Ruth. "Mawng lexicalised agreement in typological perspective," in Wohlgemuth, J. and Cysouw, M. (eds.). Rara and Rarissima: documenting the fringes of linguistic diversity. Empirical Approaches to Linguistic Typology 46. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. 2010, pp.327-342. Mawng lexicalised (365kb pdf)
- Reesink, Ger, Singer, Ruth and Dunn, Michael. "Explaining the linguistic diversity of Sahul using population models," in Public Library of Science Biology (PLoS Biology) 7(11). e1000241. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1000241, 2009. Explaining the Linguistic Diversity of Sahul Using Population Models web page.
- Hellmuth, Samantha, Kügler, Frank and Singer, Ruth. "Intonational patterns, tonal alignment and focus in Mawng," in Proceedings of 16th ICPhS satellite workshop Intonational Phonology: Understudied or Fieldwork Languages, Saarbrücken, Germany, 2007. Intonational patterns, tonal alignment and focus in Mawng (345kb pdf)
- Hellmuth, Samantha, Kügler, Frank and Singer, Ruth. "Quantative investigation of intonation in an endangered language," in Austin, P.K., Bond, O. and Nathan, D. (eds.). Proceedings of Conference on Language Documentation and Linguistic Theory. London: SOAS, 2007, pp.123-132. Quantative investigation of intonation in an endangered language (305kb pdf)
- Singer, Ruth. "Events masquerading as entities: pseudorelative perception verb complements in Mawng (Australian) and Romance languages," in Schalley, A. and Khlentzos, D. (eds.). Mental states: language and cognitive structure. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2007. Events masquerading as entities (465kb pdf)
- Singer, Ruth. "Information structure in Mawng: Intonation and focus," in Allan, Keith (ed.). Selected papers from the 2005 Conference of the Australian Linguistic Society, Monash University, Melbourne 28-30 September, 2006. Available online from the Australian Linguistic Society website
- Singer, Ruth and Fedden, Sebastian. Review of Vajda, E. 'Ket'. Linguisti list, January 21st 2006. Review: Lang Description: Vajda (2004) web page.
- Singer, Ruth. Nominalization in Mawng. Contexts, contacts and constraints, School of Languages Postgraduate Research Papers on Language and Literature 2004, School of Languages, University of Melbourne. pp. 25-33. Nominalization in Mawng (170kb pdf)
- Singer, Ruth. "Morpheme meanings and constructional meanings - relevance for building GOLD," in Proceedings of the 2005 E-MELD workshop on Digital Language Documentation: Linguistic Ontologies and Data Categories for Language Resources, July 1-3, Cambridge, MA, 2005. Morpheme meanings and constructional meanings (195kb pdf)
- Singer, Ruth. Review of Haspelmath, M. (ed) Coordinating constructions. Functions of Language 12(1), 2005, pp.140-149. Coordinating constructions (80kb pdf)
- Singer, Ruth. "The Inclusory construction in Australian languages," in Melbourne Papers in Linguistics and Applied Linguistics, Volume 1, issue 2, 2001, pp.81-96. Inclusory construction (230kb pdf)
Unpublished manuscripts (All documents remain copyright of the author)
Agreement in Mawng: Productive and lexicalised uses of agreement in an Australian language, PhD Thesis, School of Languages and Linguistics, University of Melbourne, October 2006. Agreement in Mawng: productive and lexicalised uses of agreement in an Australian language (5.5Mb pdf)
The Inclusory Construction in Australian languages, Honours thesis, Department of Linguistics and Applied Linguistics, University of Melbourne, 2001. The inclusory construction in Australian languages (380kb pdf)
Argument to coverb: tracing the development of Mawng coverb constructions (October 2005) Written as a full paper for a workshop on complex predicates. Argument to coverb (290kb pdf)
Nonverbal predication in Lau (May 2002) Written for a volume of working papers on Lau. This paper is based on data collected with a native speaker of Lau in Melbourne as part of a field methods course. Nonverbal predication in Lau (260kb pdf)
Endangered language materials
Marra Picture dictionary, Marra Electronic dictionary, Marra Alphabetical dictionary. These are newly edited versions of Jeffrey Heath's 1981 dictionary of Marra which I prepared for the Katherine Regional Language Centre. They are designed for use by Marra speakers and their descendants, teachers and linguists and contain a small amount of new data I collected while checking inflected forms of words with speakers in Ngukurr. They can be ordered from the language centre.
I have been collecting data on the Mawng language since 2002.
The details of my deposit in the ELAR archive can be viewed on the Mawng Dictionary Project web page.
A fuller set of my Mawng materials is being archived in PARADISEC