Universität zu Köln
Philosophische Fakultät

Englisches Seminar


Lecture Series


This lecture series will take place over a period of three semesters, with participation of members of the linguistic and literature departments of the English Seminar, University of Cologne, as well as guest lecturers, participants from other disciplines and Australian artists.

Lehrstuhlinhaber Wintersemester 2011


Dr Rob Amery

Zimmer 109
Englisches Seminar
Universität zu Köln
50931 Köln

mail: Rob Amery


Rob completed a Masters by research in 1985 at ANU on Dhuwaya, a new koine variety of Yolngu Matha that has arisen at Yirrkala, northeast Arnhemland and a PhD at the University of Adelaide in 1998 (published in August 2000) on Kaurna language reclamation. He serves as consultant linguist to the Kaurna language programs in schools and various community projects which incorporate the Kaurna language and has been consulted about numerous placenaming initiatives and other Kaurna naming activity. He works closely with members of the Kaurna community to reclaim the language from historical materials and to develop the language for use in a range of contemporary contexts. This includes convening the Kaurna Warra Pintyandi (KWP) group, a small Kaurna language planning group consisting of Kaurna people and others involved in the teaching and development of the language. The KWP group meets monthly to address requests for names and translations and to work on Kaurna language projects.

In 2009 he assumed leadership and management of the Mobile Language Team, a new Commonwealth funded initiative supporting community-based Aboriginal language work across South Australia.

Rob has previously worked in Aboriginal Health as a nurse in remote Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory and Western Australia, at Batchelor College (now Batchelor Institute) and at Northern Territory University (now Charles Darwin University) teaching linguistics. In 1993-94 Rob worked as Project Officer for the Australian Indigenous Languages Framework (AILF) project at the Senior Secondary Assessment Board of South Australia (SSABSA) to introduce Aboriginal languages as accredited programs at senior secondary level. In 2010 he served on a panel of experts to advise on inclusion of Australian Indigenous languages within the new National Curriculum.


Senior Lecture
Head of the Discipline of Linguistics
Manager, Mobile Language Team (Aboriginal languages of South Australia),
School of Humanities,
University of Adelaide.

Current Position

Englisches Seminar (Australian Studies – Linguistics)
Universität zu Köln.

Senior Lecturer, Head of Discipline of Linguistics and Manager of Mobile Language Team (South Australian Aboriginal Languages), School of Humanities, University of Adelaide, AUSTRALIA.

Nov. 2004: Lansdowne Scholar, University of Victoria, British Columbia, CANADA

International Conference Presentations

1993 World Indigenous Peoples Conference on Education, Wollongong AUSTRALIA.
June 2004 Stabilising Indigenous Languages, University of California at Berkeley, USA
Nov. 2007 Foundation for Endangered Languages, Kuala Lumpur, MALAYSIA
Mar. 2009 1st International Conference on Language Documentation and Conservation. University of Hawai’i at Manoa, USA.
June 2010 Stabilising Indigenous Languages, University of Oregon, USA June 2010 InField, University of Oregon, USA.

PhD 1998 Warrabarna Kaurna! Reclaiming Aboriginal Languages from Written Historical Sources: Kaurna Case Study. University of Adelaide. (see Amery, 2000 for published version)
MA 1985 A NEW DIGLOSSIA: Contemporary Speech Varieties at Yirrkala N.E. Arnhem Land. MA Thesis in Linguistics, ANU, Canberra.

Link to Rob Amery’s Homepage at the University of Adelaide here: http://www.adelaide.edu.au/directory/robert.amery
Link to Mobile Language Team brochure here: http://www.hss.adelaide.edu.au/linguistics/MLTBrochure.pdf

Teaching Areas

• Australian Indigenous Langauges

• Kaurna Language & Language Ecology

• Foundations of Linguistics

• Ethnography of Communication

• Language Maintenance & Language Planning

Current Research

• Kaurna Language

• Language Reclamation and Revival

• Language Planning and Language Modernisation

• Endangered Languages

• Linguistics and Health

Current Projects

Kaurna Warra Ngaiera Wingkurilla – Kaurna Language on the Airwaves. Commonwealth funded project to produce two hour-long pilot radio shows in and about the Kaurna language.
Kulluru Marni Ngattaitya! Sounds Good to Me – publication of the Kaurna Learner’s Guide with Commonwealth government funding.
Link to Kaurna Warra Pintyandi group here:

Publications Include

Amery, Rob (2010) Monitoring the Use of Kaurna, the Language of the Adelaide
Plains. In John Hobson, Kevin Lowe, Susan Poetsch & Michael Walsh (eds.) Re-awakening Languages: Theory and practice in the revitalization of Australia’ s Indigenous languages. Sydney University Press.

Amery, Rob (2009) Phoenix or Relic? Documentation of Languages with Revitalization in Mind. Language Documentation & Conservation (LD&C) December 2009 issue (Volume 3, Number 2). On-line at: http://nflrc.hawaii.edu/ldc/

Amery, Rob (2009) Kaurna Language Reclamation and the Formulaic Method. In Wesley Y Leonard & Stelómethet Ethel B Gardner (Eds.) Language is Life. Proceedings of the 11th Annual Stabilizing Indigenous Languages Conference June 10-13, 2004 at University of California at Berkeley. Report 14, Survey of
California and other Indian Languages. Pages 81-99. On line at:

Waria-Read, Pat, Rob Amery, Mary-Anne Gale & Guy Tunstill (2009) Ngadjuri Wordlist. Ngadjuri Walpa Juri Lands and Heritage Association, Adelaide.
Amery, Rob & Mary-Anne Gale (2008) Language Revival in Australia. In William McGregor (ed.) Encountering Aboriginal Languages: Studies in the History of Australian Linguistics, Pacific Linguistics, 339-382.

Simpson, Jane, Mary-Anne Gale & Rob Amery (2008) I Could Have Saved You Linguists a lot of Time and Trouble: 178 years of Research and Documentation of South Australia’s Indigenous Languages, 1826 – 2004. In William McGregor (ed.) Encountering Aboriginal Languages: Studies in the History of Australian Linguistics, Pacific Linguistics, 85-144.

Amery, Rob & Joshua Nash (eds.) (2008) Warra Wiltaniappendi – Strengthening Languages. Proceedings of the Inaugural Indigenous Languages Conference (ILC) 2007. The University of Adelaide.

Amery, Rob & Jane Simpson with Trent Wanganeen, Vincent (Jack) Buckskin, Jamie Goldsmith and Kaurna Warra Pintyandi (2007) Kulluru Marni Ngattaitya – Sounds Good to Me. A Kaurna Learner’s Guide. Draft Prototype Version. Kaurna Warra Pintyandi, Adelaide. [Final version to be published by Wakefield Press, Kent Town]
Amery, Rob (2007) Aboriginal Language Habitat in Research and Tertiary Education. In The Language Habitat of Aboriginal Australia edited by Gerhard Leitner & Ian Malcolm. Mouton de Gruyter, Berlin, 226-244.

Amery, Rob & Alitya Wallara Rigney (2007) Collaborative Language Revival – the work of Kaurna Warra Pintyandi (Adelaide Plains, South Australia). Proceedings of FEL XI Working Together for Endangered Languages:
Research Challenges and Social Impacts. The Eleventh Conference of the Foundation for Endangered Languages: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Rumah University, University of Malaya 26-28th October 2007. Pages 21-28.

Amery, Rob & Alice Wallara Rigney with Nelson Varcoe, Chester Schultz and Kaurna Warra Pintyandi (2006) Kaurna Palti Wonga – Kaurna Funeral Protocols. (book, CD & Sympathy Cards) Kaurna Warra Pintyandi, Adelaide. (launched on 20 May 2006)

Amery, Rob (2004) Early Christian Missionaries – Preserving or Destroying Indigenous Languages and Cultures? Commissioned paper written for Holy Holy Holy exhibition, Flinders University, 2004.

Amery, Rob ed. (2003) WARRA KAURNA: A Resource for Kaurna Language Programs. 3rd edition revised and expanded. Kaurna Warra Pintyandi, c/- University of South Australia.

Patrick McConvell, Rob Amery, Mary-Anne Gale, Christine Nicholls, Joanathan Nicholls, Lester Irabinna Rigney and Simone Ulalka Tur (2002) “Keep that Language Going!” A Needs-Based Review of the Status of Indigenous Languages in South Australia. A consultancy carried out by the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission, South Australia.

Amery, Rob (2002) Weeding out Spurious Etymologies: Toponyms on the Adelaide Plains. In L. Hercus, F. Hodges and J. Simpson, eds, The land is a map: placenames of Indigenous origin in Australia, 165-180. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics, 2002.

Amery, Rob & Georgina Yambo Williams (2002) Reclaiming Through Renaming: The Reinstatement of Kaurna Toponyms in Adelaide and the Adelaide Plains. In L. Hercus, F. Hodges and J. Simpson, eds, The land is a map: placenames of Indigenous origin in Australia, 255-276. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics, 2002.

Amery, Rob (2002) ‘Marginalised Relics or Dynamic Modern Languages? Emerging Issues when Australia’s Indigenous Languages Modernise.’ Babel 37(2): 10-15; 37-38.

Amery, Rob (2001) Language Planning and Language Revival. In Current Issues in Language Planning 2(2&3): 141-221.

Amery, Rob (2000) Warrabarna Kaurna: Reclaiming an Australian Language. Swets & Zeitlinger, Lisse, The Netherlands.

Amery, Rob (1998) Sally and Harry: insights into early Kaurna contact history. in Aboriginal History monograph titled History in Portraits: Biographies of nineteenth century South Australian Aboriginal people. edited by Jane Simpson & Luise Hercus, 49-87.

Amery, Rob (1996) Kaurna in Tasmania: A Case of Mistaken Identity Aboriginal History, Vol.20: 24-50.

Mühlhäusler, Peter & Rob Amery (1996) Koines and Indigenous Lingue Franche in Australia. pp.17-23 in Stephen A Wurm, Peter Mühlhäusler & Darrell T. Tryon (Eds.) Atlas of Languages of Intercultural Communication in the Pacific, Asia and the Americas, Trends in Linguistics Documentation 13, Mouton de Gruyter, Berlin.

Amery, Rob & Peter Mühlhäusler (1996) Pidgin English in New South Wales. pp.33-51 in Stephen A Wurm, Peter Mühlhäusler & Darrell T. Tryon (Eds.) Atlas of Languages of Intercultural Communication in the Pacific, Asia and the Americas, Trends in Linguistics Documentation 13, Mouton de Gruyter, Berlin.

Clark, Ian D., Peter Mühlhäusler & Rob Amery (1996) Language Contacts and Pidgin English in Victoria. pp.53-68 in Stephen A Wurm, Peter Mühlhäusler & Darrell T. Tryon (Eds.) Atlas of Languages of Intercultural Communication in the Pacific, Asia
and the Americas, Trends in Linguistics Documentation 13, Mouton de Gruyter,

Mercurio, Antonio & Rob Amery (1996) Can Teaching Languages at Senior
Secondary Level Help to Maintain and Strengthen Australia's Indigenous Languages. pp.25-57 in Jonathan David Bobaljik, Rob Pensalfini & Luciana Storto (eds.) MIT Working Papers in Linguistics, Vol. 28 Papers on Language Endangerment and the Maintenance of Linguistic Diversity.

Amery, Rob (1995) Its Ours to Keep and Call Our Own: reclamation of the Nunga languages in the Adelaide region, South Australia. In the International Journal of the Sociology of Language volume on Australian Sociolinguistics edited by Paul Black, Isaac Brown, Brian Devlin and Stephen Harris, Issue. 113: 63-82.

Amery, Rob (1995) Making use of Historical Language Materials. pp. 147-164 in Nick Thieberger (ed.) Paper and Talk: A manual for reconstituting materials in Australian indigenous languages from historical sources. Aboriginal Studies Press, Canberra.

Amery, Rob (1993) An Australian Koine: Dhuwaya, a variety of Yolngu Matha spoken at Yirrkala in North East Arnhemland. In a special issue of the International Journal of the Sociology of Language on Koines and Koineization edited by Jeff Siegel, Issue.99: 45-64.

Amery, Rob (1993) Encoding New Concepts in Old Languages: a case study of Kaurna, the language of the Adelaide Plains (1993) in Australian Aboriginal Studies No.1: 37-47.

Amery, Rob (1986) YOLNGU MATHA: For Use by Members of the Health Profession in North East Arnhemland. NT HEALTH, Darwin.

Amery, Rob (1986) Languages in Contact - The Case of Kintore and Papunya. In Language in Aboriginal Australia No. 1: 13-38, Institute for Aboriginal Development, Alice Springs.