Spotlight on … Language on the Move research group


The Language on the Move research group

‘Spotlight on …’  is our way of showcasing a department or faculty to increase engagement, cohesion and an understanding of who does what at Macquarie. This week, we talk to the team from the Language on the Move research group. 

Who are you? 

We are a team of Linguistics researchers in multilingualism, language learning and intercultural communication, led by Professor Ingrid Piller.

What do you do?

We examine multilingualism, language learning and intercultural communication in its social context. We are also passionate about disseminating our research and making it widely available through our blog and social media

Why do you do it? 

Because of migration and globalisation, linguistic diversity is a fact of life. However, in traditionally monolingual societies we are poorly prepared to deal with linguistic diversity: our social and institutional arrangements are such that people from linguistically diverse backgrounds often face barriers to social goods such as education, employment, welfare and political participation. Research in linguistic diversity is therefore a social justice issue.

Who do you most frequently work with?

A big part of our work is Higher Degree Research. The team is dedicated to providing high quality MRes and PhD supervision, mentoring and peer support.

Our research usually takes us out into sites “in the real world” and we work with migrant families, schools and various work places – everywhere people need to use language to get things done and achieve their goals

What’s a recent achievement you’re proud of?

Our recent PhD graduate Shiva Motaghi-Tabari is the winner of this year’s Michael Clyne Prize!

The Michael Clyne Prize is awarded annually by the Australian Linguistics Society for the best postgraduate research thesis in immigrant bilingualism and language contact. Shiva receives the prize for her thesis about “Bidirectional Language Learning in Migrant families”.

This is the second time the award goes to a member of the Language on the Move research group. Donna Butorac won the 2012 Michael Clyne Prize for her thesis about “Imagined identity, remembered self: Settlement language learning and the negotiation of gendered subjectivity”. Furthermore, Vera Williams Tetteh’s thesis about “Language, Education and Settlement: A Sociolinguistic Ethnography on, with, and for Africans in Australia” was the runner-up for the 2016 award.

What’s planned for the future?

This year we’re pretty busy in terms of PhD graduations: two members of our team have just fulfilled all the requirements of their degree, two more are under examination and another one is due to submit later in the year.

There are some major publication outcomes to look forward to, including the second revised and expanded edition of Ingrid Piller’s book Intercultural Communication, which is due out from Edinburgh University Press in July. Ingrid and another team member, Alexandra Grey, are also busy finalising a four-volume collection devoted to Language and Globalization they are editing for Routledge.

We are also awaiting the outcome of two large funding applications currently under submission, but we are not going to say any more about that so as not to jinx our luck.

Where can we learn more?

Language on the Move or
Professor Ingrid Piller Department of Linguistics





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