Celebrating ARC Discovery Project grant successes
Dr Joe Blythe was awarded $453,790 for his project “Australian Aboriginal conversational style”, with Associate Professor Ilana Mushin, Professor Lesley Stirling and Associate Professor Roderick Gardner. Joe’s project aims to re-examine claims that Aboriginal Australians conduct conversations in different ways to Anglo-Australians. It will investigate and compare ordinary conversations in these groups on a large scale. The project expects to provide new evidence to explicate Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal conversational norms, pinpointing differences which may lead to intercultural miscommunication. Expected outcomes include endangered language documentation, and evidence-based findings to disseminate to service providers, to communities and to Aboriginal organisations to improve ways of engaging with each other. In addition, the project will benefit Aboriginal communities with new approaches to language revitalisation.
Professor David McAlpineand his team (Dr Nicholas Badcock, Dr Paul Sowman, Dr Maria Chait, Associate Professor Juanita Todd, Dr Jessica Monaghan, Dr Jaime Undurraga, Dr Nicol Harper)were awarded funding for their project “Listen and learn - statistical learning and the adapting auditory brain” ($453,869). This project aims to explore the link between rapid neural adaptation - a form of learning referred to as statistical learning - and human listening performance in noisy environments. The project aims to generate a new understanding of mechanisms that contribute to listeners' abilities to understand speech in noise, and to complex communication disorders such as dyslexia. Expected outcomes will include increased capacity to investigate a broad range of cognitive and communication functions. Benefits will include potential technologies and algorithms to assist listening (in devices such as hearing aids), language development and reading.
Professor Ingrid Piller’s project “Communicating with people who have limited English proficiency” received funding to the amount of $400,183. This sociolinguistic project aims to investigate how fluent English speakers interact with people who have limited proficiency. In contemporary Australia such mundane interactions may determine employment, education or health outcomes. While research into language barriers has mostly focused on the experiences of migrants from non-English-speaking backgrounds, this project will investigate how English speakers deal with increasing linguistic diversity. Expected outcomes include an understanding of the role of majority members in facilitating the integration of newcomers. This will provide significant socioeconomic benefits for institutions and individuals as they navigate everyday intercultural communication.
Associate Professor Mridula Sharma is a team member on a project led by Associate Professor Sheila Degotardi from theDepartment of Educational Studies on “Language for learning: Developing learning-oriented talk in long-day-care”.