Archive for the ‘Books’ Category.

New Guinea Between the Wars

Michael Waterhouse will be presenting a talk on New Guinea between the wars at the State Library of NSW on 21st March based on his recently published book “Not a Poor Man’s Field. The New Guinea Goldfields to 1942 – An Australian Colonial History”. It will be accompanied by a film taken by his grandfather and one of his associates in the 1930s which documents the gold dredging and associated aviation activities at a time when New Guinea led the world in commercial aviation. There is also some ethnographic footage including what is most likely the first film footage ever taken on the Sepik River. This short segment in particular is in excellent condition. There’s also a segment showing several kukukuku (Anga) who’ve been arrested early in 1931 for murdering a miner and some of his carriers.

Details are at

Michael will be repeating the talk and film the following night (22 March) at Dymocks in the city. Details are at [scroll down]

Scam alert or how to make a lot of money really quickly

Felicity Meakins writes…

Just recently I was on Amazon, when I came across two potentially interesting books:

At first I berated myself for having never noticed these books before, let alone the authors. Surely these were important volumes that I should have referenced! However a little further investigation revealed a scam that grew bigger (and actually more impressive) as I dug deeper.

I first became suspicious when I recognised some of the wording of the abstract of the first book. Sure enough, the entire abstract was a word-for-word copy of the Wikipedia entry on mixed languages. A loud excited outburst from me drew Myf Turpin into the fray. We had a look at the Alphascript publishing website only to find that ALL of their books were edited by Frederic P. Miller, Agnes F. Vandome and John McBrewster, with topics ranging from Japanese mythology and Franco-Belgium comics to cloud seeding and swine flu! And when I say “ALL of their books”, I mean all 1006 books. Who were these prolific authors?!

When we googled their names, we found a number of scam alerts, so we are certainly not the first to notice them. Unfortunately the University of Queensland library was drawn in for five books’ worth on topics including abalone and Mayan civilisations. Indeed, as Alphascript publishing proudly announce on their webpage, most of the major book distributors, including Amazon, list their books.

One can’t help being secretly impressed with the size of the scam. Most of the books are sold for AU$40.00. UQ Library would have spent around AU$200 on their books, and there is a good chance too that many other university libraries did the same before realising it was all a scam. In a single year, Frederic P. Miller, Agnes F. Vandome and John McBrewster probably had enough in the bank to buy an small island and disappear.

Aside from being impressed (or gobsmacked), it is probably worth checking your university library and alerting them to the scam, and letting other prospective buyers know if you come across their books on book seller pages.

A Warlpiri double launch

The annual meeting of Warlpiri-patu-kurlangu Jaru Inc. and its professional development workshop known as Warlpiri Triangle this year is being hosted by Yuendumu CEC, 16-19 May 2011.

This evening in the Yuendumu school library two resources were launched to a large gathering including senior Warlpiri women.

Yuendumu launch invitation

Continue reading ‘A Warlpiri double launch’ »

LDD 9 available for pre-publication order

The ninth volume of Language Documentation and Description is now in production and can be pre-ordered for 20% off the regular price. LDD 9 is a collection of papers dealing with several topics in language documentation:

  • language documentation and sustainability
  • ontologies in language documentation
  • negation, deixis and loan words in endangered languages
  • book reviews

The papers on the first topic arise from a workshop held at SOAS in February 2010, while the remainder are by post-doctoral fellows, visitors and former students at SOAS. The papers represent important contributions to the theory and practice of the field of language documentation by leading scholars and younger researchers. The volume will be of interest to anyone concerned with documenting and describing languages. It will be published on 1st June 2011 and is available as a special pre-publication order offer of 20% discount until 31 May 2011 (£10.00).


  1. Editor’s Introduction – Julia Sallabank
  2. On thin ice: Culture and environment in the Arctic – Lenore Grenoble
  3. Building language habitats: Connecting language planning and land planning for sustainable futures – Christine Schreyer
  4. Social change and language revitalization in the Isle of Man – Gary Wilson
  5. Ontologies in language documentation – Steve Pepper
  6. On borrowed time? The increase of Bislama loan words in Bierebo – Peter Budd
  7. Aspects of deixis in Cicipu – Stuart McGill
  8. Making sense of negation in multi-predicate constructions – Oliver Bond
  9. Origins of the 2nd singular generic impersonal pronoun – John Haiman, Bernd Heine, and Tania Kuteva
  10. Book reviews – Peter K. Austin, Julia Sallabank

Copies of LDD can be pre-ordered online through the SOAS bookstore

FEL books available for online purchase

As a result of on-going collaboration between the Foundation for Endangered Languages and the Hans Rausing Endangered Languages Project, all thirteen FEL books (proceedings of their unique annual conferences) can now be purchased securely by credit card through the SOAS online bookstore at (Scroll down past the LDD volumes for the FEL books.)

To celebrate, we are offering all the FEL books for £15 each, a saving of 25% off the regular retail price. This offer is strictly limited and must end on 1st June 2011.

Endangered Languages: Critical Concepts in Linguistics

My colleague Stuart McGill and I have recently completed work on a new book Endangered Languages: Criticial Concepts in Linguistics that will be published by Routledge later this year. At 1,600 pages in 4 volumes it is one of the largest projects I have been involved with.

The book consists of 75 key journal articles and selected book chapters that deal with issues in endangered language studies and represent what we feel are the essential readings that anyone wanting to become familiar with the field from its beginnings to the present day should have access to. In addition, we have written introductions to each of the four volumes, and a general introduction to the whole work outlining the history of research on endangered languages and highlighting what we see as some of the challenges faced by the field today.

The four volumes are:

Volume I: Beginnings
Part 1: Language obsolescence and death
Part 2: Structural changes
Part 3: Implications of language loss

Volume II: Language Documentation
Part 4: Defining language documentation
Part 5: Data in language documentation
Part 6: Documentation methods

Volume III: Language planning and case studies in revitalisation
Part 7: language planning models
Part 8: case studies in revitalisation

Volume IV: Issues in revitalisation and challenges for linguists
Part 9: General issues in revitalisation
Part 10: Challenges for linguists
Part 11: Endangered languages in the future

A detailed list of chapters can be found on the Routledge website in the “contents” tab.

The book is due to be available on 4th August 2011.