Aboriginal English in the global city: Minorities and language change

Started at UWA: 2019

Documenting patterns of variation and change in metropolitan Aboriginal English


This project examines how Aboriginal English is used in urban Nyungar country, Perth, Western Australia, and documents patterns of variation and change in metropolitan Aboriginal English, a contact language spoken by an estimated 80 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians and a powerful carrier of ethnic identity. 

Aboriginal English in the global city: Minorities and language change offers the first quantitative study of how Aboriginal English storytelling functions cross-generationally, and whether global linguistic innovations are apparent.

Our project team works as a bicultural team, within a two-way research model that emphasises informed decision making, with the insider’s perspective of Ms Glenys Collard – the Nyungar researcher – at the core. 

This research design has allowed for yarning, an Indigenous cultural form of conversation and storytelling, to emerge as the best method to collect a rich corpus of linguistic data, relate to others and make sense of our research. Our approach is based on the position that it is imperative to recognise Indigenous ownership of Aboriginal English.

This research project relates to the disciplines of:

  • Education
  • Health
  • Anthropology and Sociology
  • Archaeology
  • Languages


Project aims

Inform the implementation of cross-cultural teaching programs in Australia, assisting teachers and curriculum developers with materials design.

Provide opportunities for teacher professional development through workshops.

Empower and support Indigenous Australians by documenting how Aboriginal English is changing.

Work with us

Our project team welcomes enthusiastic volunteers. We seek honours, masters and PhD student candidates to further analyse the data in our expanding corpus.  If you’d like to get involved or ask about our list of research topics, contact Dr Celeste Rodriguez Louro on the details below

Find out more

Get a heart check

Take a look at Get a heart check designed by Dr Celeste Rodriguez Louro and Glenys Collard for the Heart Foundation. Fully scripted by Glenys Collard and voice-over narration provided by Nyungar actor Kelton Pell, this work is made possible because of our existing collaborative partnership and synergies in the context of our DECRA project.

PhD and scholarship opportunities

A successful PhD student will work closely with Dr Rodriguez Louro and Ms Collard in understanding, analysing, interpreting and presenting findings based on our project teams existing corpus. Opportunities to collect further data are also available.

An applicant must possess the following qualifications:  

  • A Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Linguistics is essential for Honours student volunteers or; 
  • A Bachelor of Arts (Honours in Linguistics) is essential for PhD student volunteers

At present, applicants will be required to apply for scholarship funding through The University of Western Australia’s funding schemes. 

Malcolm, Ian (2018). Australian Aboriginal English: Change and continuity in an adopted language. Boston/Berlin: Mouton De Gruyter.

Please contact Dr Rodriguez Louro for a list of other suggested readings. 


For further reading, please view our selection of published articles below: 

Please contact Celeste Rodriguez Louro on if you would like a copy of these publications.


Aboriginal English in the global city: Minorities and language change has received the following grant funding: 

  • Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Award, 2018-2022
  • Australian Linguistic Society Research Grant, 2019

Contact Dr Celeste Rodriguez Louro

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Research respository

Read more about Celeste Rodriguez Louro

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