Professor John Kinder

Started at UWA: 1988

Internationally recognised linguist bringing early language to the modern age

Encountering Italy, Italians and their amazing culture has changed my life. I love helping the next generation develop a new understanding of how to be human and make culture their own. I enjoy watching curiosity develop and grow, seeing students develop confidence in their ability to ask big questions and work towards answers, and I love being challenged by my students.Professor John Kinder

Professor John Kinder is an internationally recognised linguist, professor and author, with a focus on understanding how language fits with culture. Underpinning his career is a strong focus on digitising education, historic texts and databases for future generations to access, learn from and understand language.

As one of Australia’s most innovative linguists and a pioneer in language data gathering and recording, Professor Kinder took up Italian by chance while studying at Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand. He then lived for three years in Milan, Italy, before starting his PhD and teaching at James Cook University and Flinders University in Australia.

Dedicated to studying and collating historic texts to preserve the language and ensure its accessibility for future generations, Professor Kinder hopes to further our understanding of the role language plays in past, current and future cultures and society.

Professor Kinder is the first Italianist in the southern hemisphere to be elected as a Corresponding Member of the Accademia della Crusca, Italy’s premier language academy, founded in 1583.

Nationally recognised for his expertise in Italian language teaching and culture studies, Professor Kinder wrote the first book of Italian grammar (Using Italian, A Guide to Contemporary Language) for English-speaking students which incorporates a sociolinguistic perspective. This book helps students use language to integrate with Italian culture and society. He has also published the first history of the Italian language in a digital format (CLIC, Culture and Language of Italy on CD-ROM).

Professor Kinder describes his teaching style as enthusiastic, challenging, inclusive and enabling. He teaches units in the Italian Studies major, including Linguistic History of Italy.

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Winner of the Excellence in Masters Research Supervision Award, Excellence in Teaching Awards, UWA

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High Commendation for Research Supervision Excellence, Faculty of Arts Teaching Awards, UWA

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Highest student evaluation for undergraduate unit, School of Humanities, UWA

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UWA Research Collaboration Award, 2017

Internal and external positions

  • Professor of Italian at UWA
  • Former Head of the European Languages and Cultures, Australian Academy of the Humanities
  • Chair of the Languages Studies Advisory Group, Australian Academy of the Humanities
  • Corresponding Member of the Accademia della Crusca
  • Deputy-Chair, Australasian Centre for Italian Studies
  • Member of the Management Committee of Language and Culture Network of Australian Universities
  • WA representative on the Italian Ambassador’s Language Strategy Group, Canberra
  • Knight Commander of the Star of Italy

Supervisor opportunities


Professor Kinder has been supervising PhD students since 1994, with recent topics including:

  • "The Italian-language press in Australia 1885-2000: constructing and communicating identity” (Marianna Piantavigna, in progress)

  • "Textuality and emotion in the letters of Italian migrants in twentieth-century Australia” (Lawrence Rhoads, in progress)
  • “The correspondence in Italian of Rosendo Salvado, the Spanish founder of New Norcia, WA. A corpus-based linguistic analysis on Italian as lingua franca in the 19th century” (Federica Verdina, 2017)
  • “Australia translated: a source-oriented translation of Elizabeth Jolley’s Mr Scobie’s Riddle” (Anna Gadd, 2015)
  • “The Migrant Self: construction and negotiation of identities in the linguistic practices of new Italian migrants in Western Australia” (Alessia Dipalma, 2015)

Professor Kinder is enthusiastic about working with students, in particular those studying the archival Italian language records of early Australia. If you would like to enquire about PhD opportunities, get in touch using the contact details below.

Contact Professor John Kinder