Language, communication and culture

In ERA 2015, research in language, communication and culture received a rating of 4 out of 5 – ‘performance above world standard’ – for the discipline overall as well as for the sub-disciplines of linguistics, communication and media studies, and literary studies.

Studies in language, communication and culture at Macquarie reflect a diverse and rich commitment to theoretical and applied interdisciplinary inquiry across the fields of media, communication and cultural studies, language studies, linguistics, and literary studies.


Macquarie also has a deep commitment to integrative and collaborative work with researchers in areas including computer science, education, historical studies, performance studies, creative writing, philosophy and psychology, as well as with researchers from the ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders.

The excellence of Macquarie’s research in language, communication and culture is evidenced by the establishment of a major laboratory for language acquisition. This lab incorporates the first whole-head magnetoencephalography (MEG) system in the world suitable for research on children, which was funded by an ARC Linkage grant in partnership with the Kanazawa Institute of Technology and is used primarily to investigate the origins of language.

University strengths

Linguistics research includes strong concentrations of researchers on applied, functional and experimental linguistics, with a particular strength in children’s language development and acquisition. Macquarie is a world leader in language acquisition research and is home to renowned researchers in applied linguistics, TESOL and professional communication. Macquarie’s Centre for Language Sciences is an interdisciplinary group involving researchers in linguistics and computing science.

Communication and media studies are characterised by strengths in digital and social media studies, media history, politics and policy, and radio studies. The Centre for Media History – the only one of its kind in the southern hemisphere – has close links with industry and with international scholars; and its website, which hosts databases, bibliographies and the Media Archives Project, is the central portal for all researchers in Australian media history.

Additionally, Macquarie’s literary studies research exhibits strengths in children’s literature, medieval and early modern literature, and modernist/ contemporary literature, with cross-disciplinary strengths in creative writing.


Current awards include:

  • Professor Katherine Demuth (Australian Laureate Fellowship)
  • Professor David McAlpine (Australian Laureate Fellowship)
  • Professor Bridget Griffen-Foley (ARC Future Fellowship, Honorary Fellowship of the Library Council of NSW)
  • Professor Louise D’Arcens (ARC Future Fellowship)
  • Dr Michael Proctor (ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award)
  • Dr Joe Blythe (ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award)
  • Associate Professor Karin Speedy (John Dunmore Medal for the advancement of French Culture)
  • Professor Ingrid Piller (Talkley Award)
  • Professor John Stephens (Anne Devereaux Jordan Award for contributions to children’s literature)
  • eight fellows across the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia and the Australian Academy of the Humanities.

National research centres

ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders (CCD) 

The Hearing CRC 

Macquarie University Research Centre

Centre For Language Sciences

Associate Professor Rosalind Thornton (Director)

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