Professor Ghil'ad Zuckermann

Professor Ghil'ad Zuckermann
 Position Prof of Linguistics & Endangered Languages
 Org Unit Linguistics
 Telephone +61 8 8313 5247
 Mobile +61 4 2390 1808
 Location Floor/Room 9 18 ,  Napier ,   North Terrace
  • Biography/ Background

    Professor Ghil'ad Zuckermann, D.Phil. (Oxon.) and a Ph.D. (Cantab.) (titular), is a tenured Full Professor (Level E) of Linguistics at the University of AdelaideHe is an Endangered Languages Chair, so endangered that he is the only such chair in Australia. Zuckermann is not only a linguist but also a language revivalist. 

    Professor Ghil'ad Zuckermann's Research Profile is available at

    Prof. Zuckermann is a leading expert of the following:

    (1) revivalistics, a new global, trans-disciplinary field of enquiry surrounding language reclamation (e.g. Barngarla Aboriginal language, Hebrew), revitalization (e.g. Adnyamathanha) and reinvigoration (e.g. Irish),

    (2) multiple causation, cross-fertilization and horizontal gene transfer in languages, 

    (3) sources of lexical expansion and camouflaged borrowing, 

    (4) contact linguistics,

    (5) the study of language, culture and identity, and

    (6) lexicography, lexicology and forensic linguistics.

    Prof. Dr Dr Zuckermann serves as Editorial Board member of the Journal of Language Contact. He has been Consultant and Expert Witness in (corpus) lexicography and (forensic) linguistics, in court cases all over the globe.

    Since the beginning of 2017 Professor Zuckermann is the President of the Australian Association for Jewish Studies. In 2013-2015 he was the President of the Australasian Association for Lexicography (AUSTRALEX). He is elected member of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS), Foundation for Endangered Languages (FEL), Academy of Oriental Scholars (Shanghai) and European Association of Jewish Studies.  

    Recent articles featuring Professor Zuckermann:

    Professor Zuckermann's Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), Language Revival: Securing the Future of Endangered Languages (with Robert Amery), has so far attracted 20,000 students from 190 countries. It is available for free right now: See also:


    Member of the Indigenous Research Committee (chaired by the Pro Vice-Chancellor Research Strategy) (2013-14)

    Founder and Organizer of the Adelaide Language Festival (2013-19), e.g. 16-17 May 2014,, and 29 November 2017,

    Member of the Research Committee, School of Humanities (2013-15)

    Acting Head of Discipline, Department of Linguistics (2013-14, 2019)

    Undergraduate Coordinator in Linguistics (2013-14)

    Post-Graduate Coordinator in Linguistics (2012)

    Honours Coordinator in Linguistics (2011-17)

    Convener of the Adelaide Linguistics Research Colloquium (2012-17)

    Co-Convener of the Adelaide Truth and Reconciliation Colloquium (2013-18)

    Regular contributor to Adelaide University international collaboration, e.g. with Chinese tertiary institutions such as Shanghai Jiao Tong University, East China Normal University, Shanghai International Studies University.

    Host of various global delegations to the University of Adelaide, e.g. from Brazil, Canada, China and Israel.


    After studying at the international school United World College (UWC) of the Adriatic (Collegio del Mondo Unito dell'Adriatico; Duino, Trieste) (1987-89), he was selected for the Adi Lautman Interdisciplinary Programme for Outstanding Students of Tel Aviv University, where he studied philosophy, psychology, classics, literature, law and mathematics, and specialized in linguistics, receiving his M.A. (summa cum laude) from the Department of Linguistics in 1997. As Scatcherd European Scholar of the University of Oxford and Denise Skinner Graduate Scholar of St Hugh's College, Oxford, he gained his D.Phil. (Oxon.) in 2000. In 1996-1998, he served as the elected President of the Oxford University L'Chaim Society, hosting scholars such as Stephen Hocking (24 February 1998).

    In 2000-2004 he was Gulbenkian Research Fellow at Churchill College, Cambridge, and was affiliated with the Department of LinguisticsFaculty of Modern and Medieval StudiesUniversity of Cambridge.

    He has published in English, Israeli ('Ivrit'), Italian, Yiddish, Spanish, German, Arabic, Russian, Esperanto and Chinese. 
    His seminal book Revivalistics: From the Genesis of Israeli to Language Reclamation in Australia and Beyond was published in 2020 by Oxford University PressNew York (ISBN 9780199812790 (pbk), ISBN 9780199812776 (hbk); Special 30% Discount Promo Code: AAFLYG6). His revolutionary bestseller book Israelit Safa Yafa (Israeli - A Beautiful Language) (ISBN: 978-965-13-1963-1) was published in 2008 by Am Oved (Tel Aviv), and his book Language Contact and Lexical Enrichment in Israeli Hebrew (ISBN: 1-4039-1723-X) came out with Palgrave Macmillan in 2003. He contributed three chapters to Tingo (Tel Aviv: Keren, 2011) and has edited Burning Issues in Afro-Asiatic Linguistics (Cambridge Scholars, 2012), Jewish Language Contact (special issue of the International Journal of the Sociology of Language 226, 2014), and Endangered Words, Signs of Revival (AustraLex, 2014)

    Prof. Zuckermann has taught various undergraduate and graduate courses in four continents, e.g. at the University of Cambridge (Faculty of Oriental Studies, now known as Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies) (2000-2004)The University of Queensland (Associate Professor 2006-11)National University of Singapore (2001-2), Middlebury College (Vermont, USA, 2019), Shanghai Jiao Tong University (2017), University of MiamiBen-Gurion University of the NegevPavol Jozef Šafárik University (Košice, Slovakia),  The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Shanghai Customs College (2011), Shanghai International Studies University (2010-13)East China Normal University.

    He has been research fellow at the Rockefeller Foundation's Study and Conference Center (Villa Serbelloni, Bellagio, Italy), Weizmann Institute of ScienceResearch Centre for Linguistic Typology (RCLT) (Institute for Advanced Study, La Trobe University), Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center (University of Texas at Austin), Kokuritsu Kokugo Kenkyuujo (National Institute for Japanese Language and Linguistics, Tokyo), Mahidol University (Bangkok), and Israel Institute for Advanced Studies (Hebrew University of Jerusalem). In 2015 he was elected Rex J Lipman Fellow at St Peter's College, Adelaide.

    He has been Consultant and Expert Witness in (corpus) lexicography and (forensic) linguistics, in court cases all over the globe, e.g. Trade Marks / Intellectual Property:

    Remarkably, Professor Zuckermann has held 5-year competitive fellowships from both the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) (2017-2021) and the Australian Research Council (ARC) (2007-2011).

    He has held a range of other prestigious fellowships, competitive project grants and scholarships, including Project 211 Fellowship (China) (2010), "Shanghai Oriental Scholar" Professorial Fellowship (2011), British Academy Research Grant, Braginsky Centre Fellowship at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Memorial Foundation of Jewish Culture Postdoctoral Fellowship, Harold Hyam Wingate Scholarship, British Chevening Scholarship and Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD) Scholarship. 

    Professor Zuckermann has organized various international conferences such as the first Australian Workshop on Afro-Asiatic Linguistics (AWAAL) (11-13 September 2009, held at the Brisbane Writers Festival, State Library of Queensland, and at the University of Queensland, attracting scholars from 18 countries); Cross-Fertlization in Language and Genetics (Israel Institute for Advanced Studies, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 21 January 2013); Hybridity in Israel (Beit Leyvik, Tel Aviv, 29 January 2013); AUSTRALEX 2013: Endangered Words and Signs of Revival (University of Adelaide, 25-28 July 2013), and AAJS (University of Adelaide, 9-11 February 2014):  

    Professor Zuckermann has been consultant to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), Oxford University Press (OUP), Sue and Leonard Miller Center for Contemporary Judaic Studies (University of Miami), and Leyvik House, The Israeli Center for Yiddish Culture, Tel Aviv. He is Editorial Board Member of Journal of Language Contact, Jewish Contemporary Review, Mizrekh: Jewish Studies in the Far East, Israeli Journal of Humor Research, The Open Applied Linguistics Journal; Scientific Committee Member of Societas Linguistica Europaea (SLE); Academic Committee Member of the Yale Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of Anti-Semitism (YIISA); Thought Leader of Creativity Australia, Melbourne; and Advisory Board Member of Gifted Speech.

    He has been referee for Yale University Press (YUP), Cambridge University Press (CUP), Oxford University Press (OUP), Languages in Contrast, Australian Journal of Linguistics, Balshanut Ivrit (Hebrew Linguistics), Journal of Modern Jewish Studies, International Journal of Lexicography, CamLing (Conference in Language Research, University of Cambridge), Israel Science Foundation (ISF), The Leverhulme Trust, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), Endangered Languages Documentation Programme (ELDP), and the Academic Research Fund of Singapore's National Institute of Education (NIE). In 2008 he was President of the Jury of the BIFF Interfaith Award for Promoting Humanitarian Values, Brisbane International Film Festival (BIFF).

    He has delivered hundreds of keynote speeches, plenary conference papers and invited public lectures all over the globe.

    Professor Zuckermann has featured in dozens of TV programmes in the United Kingdom (e.g. BBC2), Israel (e.g. Channel 1, Channel 2, Channel 10, Channel 23, YES, YES DOCO), New Zealand (e.g. TVNZ Marae Investigates) and Australia (e.g. SBS Living Black, ABC1 Midday Report, NITV Evening News), and in hundreds of radio programmes in Australia (e.g. three ABC Lingua Franca programmes, an ABC Encounter programme with David Rutledge, an ABC Big Ideas panel broadcast on 15 April 2010, an ABC Life Matters interview with Richard Aedy on 19 July 2011, numerous SBS interviews in Israeli, Yiddish, Italian and English, 6PR Perth, 3ZZZ Melbourne, Noongar Radio Perth, CAAMA Alice SpringsThe Wire, Radio Adelaide, Cairns, Brisbane...), Israel (e.g. Galey Tzahal, Reshet Alef, Reshet Bet, Kol Israel), UK (e.g. BBC World Service), Spain (e.g. Radio Sefarad), New Zealand, South Africa and Germany.

    He has featured in thousands of newspaper articles in the United Kingdom (e.g. Reuters), USA (e.g. The Forward), Canada (e.g. Globe and Mail), Israel (e.g. Haaretz, Maariv, Yediot Aharonot, Jerusalem Post, English Haaretz, Ynet, NRG, Time Out, Makor Rishon, Erev Erev, HaIr), the Netherlands (e.g. Trouw), Spain (e.g. Terra), Sweden (e.g. Språktidningen), New Zealand (e.g. Waikato Times, Otago Daily Times,  New Zealand Jewish Chronicle), Germany (Jüdische Zeitung), Norfolk Island and Australia (e.g. The Australian (1) (2), Courier Mail, Australian Jewish News, Rhapsody, E-ton, Galus Australis).

    Short clips from BBC interviews of Professor Zuckermann by Stephen Fry (on Fry's Planet Word) can be found at (Hebrew Revival) and (The Politics of Language). 

    In 1993-6 Professor Zuckermann taught preparatory courses for various psychometric examinations (e.g. GMAT) at Kidum Institute, Tel Aviv, and co-authored four books in this field. Other interests include opera (in particular Puccini, Verdi, Donizetti and Mozart), film, photography, constrained literature, poetry, paleo-anthropology and human migration, cultural immersion through travel, and world politics.

    Hebrew name: גלעד צוקרמן 

    Chinese name: 诸葛漫 

    Japanese name: 佐藤幸永

    Homotypes (הומוקלידים): dkgs muerni ; עיןך,שג זובלקרצשממ

    Further information can be found at 

  • Qualifications

    D.Phil. (Oxon.), University of Oxford

    Ph.D. (Cantab.) (titular), University of Cambridge

    M.A. (summa cum laude), Tel Aviv University


  • Awards & Achievements

    §  2017-2021 National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Project Grant APP1129796 (with Alex Brown): Examining the impact of language reclamation on social and emotional well being among the Barngarla ($1,111,633).


    §  2007-2011 Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Fellowship DP0770414: Language Revival in the Middle East: The Genesis of Israeli ('Modern Hebrew') – Lessons for the Revival of No-Longer Spoken Australian Languages.


    §  2011 Oriental Scholar Distinguished Professorial Fellow, Shanghai, China.


    §  2013-2015 Visiting Professorial Scientist, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel.


    §  2012-2013 Special Guest, Israel Institute for Advanced Studies, Hebrew University of Jerusalem.


    §  2010 Project 211 Distinguished Professorial Fellowship, China.


    §  2002 British Academy Research Grant. 


    §  2000-1 Memorial Foundation of Jewish Culture Postdoctoral Fellowship (New York).


    §  2001 Dorot Postdoctoral Fellowship.


    §  1997-2000 Scatcherd European Scholarship, University of Oxford.


    §  1997-2000 Denise Skinner Graduate Scholarship, St Hugh’s College, Oxford.


    §  1997-2000 Memorial Foundation of Jewish Culture Doctoral Scholarship (New York).


    §  1997-8 Harold Hyam Wingate Scholarship (London).


    §  1996-7 British Chevening Scholarship, British Foreign Office.


    §  1993-7 Scholarship at the Interdisciplinary Programme for Fostering Excellence (later known as the Adi Lautman Interdisciplinary Programme for Outstanding Students), Tel Aviv University.



    2016-2019: Barngarla Aboriginal Language Reclamation, Aboriginal Languages and Arts (ILA), Australian Government.

    2013-2016: Barngarla Aboriginal Language Reclamation, Aboriginal Language Support (ILS), Office For The Arts (OFTA), Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sports, Australian Government.

    2013-2015: Traditional Cultural Expressions in Aboriginal Australia and Torres Straits Islands, Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sports, Australian Government. PUBLISHED: ENGAGING – A Guide to Interacting Respectfully and Reciprocally with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People, and their Arts Practices and Intellectual Property:

    2014-2015   Online Learning Space: Barngarla Language, Aboriginal Language Support (ILS) New Media, Ministry for the Arts, Attorney-General’s Department, Australian Government.

    2012-2014: Barngarla Aboriginal Language Reclamation, Aboriginal Language Support (ILS), Office For The Arts (OFTA), Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sports, Australian Government.

    2012-2015: Mobile Language Team, Aboriginal Language Support (ILS), Office For The Arts (OFTA), Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sports, Australian Government. (1,050,000 AUD) (Collaborator)

    2012-2013: Barngarla Aboriginal Language Reclamation, Aboriginal Language Support (ILS), Office For The Arts (OFTA), Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sports, Australian Government.

    2012-2013 The University of Adelaide Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Grant: Revivalistics.

    2011-12 The University of Adelaide Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences Grant: Revivalistics.

    2010 The University of Queensland Travel Award for International Collaborative Research for 2010 – Category 2.

    1999 Taylor Institute Grant (University of Oxford) – for academic work at Stanford University and at the University of California at Berkeley.

    1998 Barbinder Watson Grant (St Hugh’s College) – for studying advanced Yiddish at Vilnius University.

    1997 Ian Karten Fund (London).

    1996-7 Porter School of Culture Award, Tel Aviv University.

    1996-7 Outstanding Students Grant for Special Projects, Tel Aviv University.

    1995-6 Adi Lautman Scholarship, Tel Aviv University.

    1995 Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst Scholarship, German Foreign Ministry – to undertake a 2-month course in advanced German at the Goethe Institute in Germany.

    1987-9 United World College (Adriatic) Scholarship for Israel.

  • Teaching Interests

    Professor Ghil'ad Zuckermann has been convening and teaching a plethora of undergraduate and postgraduate courses, for example the following:


    LING 1101: The Wonder of Language: an intro to Linguistics:

    LING 1102: Introduction to Language in Culture and Society:

    LING 3017Revivalistics, Cross-Fertilization & Wellbeing

    edX MOOC (Massive Open Online Course): Language Revival: Securing the Future of Endangered Languages

    LING 2049: Languages in the 21st Century: Cultural Contact and New Words

    LING 2037: Languages in a Global Society

    LING 5000: Language Planning

    LING 2038Cross Cultural Communication (CCC)

    LING 2047Semantics

    LING 2050Revival Linguistics


    Other Courses Taught:

    LING 1007: Enquiring Mind Core Course, Faculty of Arts

    LING 2046: Morphology and Syntax

    LING 2040: Phonology and Phonetics

    LING 5004: Language and Meaning

    Foundations of Linguistics

    Language and Ethnography of Communication


    Courses Convened:

    Adelaide Linguistics Research Colloquium 


    Professor Zuckermann has supervised numerous visiting professors, postdoctoral fellows, Ph.D. students and M.A. students at the University of Adelaide, for example the following:

    • Professor CHEN Yan (Yancheng Teachers University). POSTDOC COMPLETED WITH DISTINCTION.
    • Associate Professor YAO Chunlin (Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Beijing; Tianjin; formerly Hebei United University, Tangshan). POSTDOC COMPLETED SUCCESSFULLY.
    • Dr XU Jia (Shanghai International Studies University, Shanghai). POSTDOC COMPLETED SUCCESSFULLY.
    • Dr Penelope CASHMAN: Phonetics Applied to Operatic Lyric Diction and Music Pedagogy. PH.D. COMPLETED WITH DISTINCTION.
    • Dr Yosep KROON: The Grammar of Solor – Lamaholot, an Endangered Language of Eastern Indonesia. PH.D. COMPLETED SUCCESSFULLY.
    • Afifa Eve KHEIR FERRO: Code Mixing in Arabic and Israeli. PH.D. SUBMITTED.
    • YANG Jie, Language Planning in China and Australia. PH.D. ONGOING.
    • Amy CUI: Business Chinese English. PH.D. ONGOING.
    • Zaid Shihab ALAMIRI: Linguistic Approach to the Quran. M.A. COMPLETED SUCCESSFULLY.
    • Michael RUAN Xiang: Phono-Semantic Matching in Hebrew and Chinese. M.A. COMPLETED SUCCESSFULLY.
    • Hend ALBLAWI: Changes in the Balawiy Bedouin Arabic Dialect of Saudi Arabia, 1985-2015. M.A. COMPLETED SUCCESSFULLY.
    • WANG Shiyu: Chinese Script. M.A. COMPLETED SUCCESSFULLY.

    Other research students supervised by Professor Zuckermann at the University of Adelaide include the following:

    • Divon LAN: Co-evolution of Language and Genes in the Trans Fly Region in Papua New Guinea. ONGOING.
    • Mario PILLA: Conlangs. ONGOING.
    • Fei STOKES: B.A. Advanced. ONGOING.
    • Beth PEARTREE: B.A. Advanced. ONGOING.
    • Kieran SMITH: B.A. Advanced. Revivalistics and Foreign Language Acquisition. ONGOING.
    • Ammon STEPHENSON: Sociolinguistic Analysis of Quenya, Klingon and Na’vi. HONOURS THESIS COMPLETED SUCCESSFULLY.
    • Lur ALGHURABI: The Barngarla Aboriginal Language. COMPLETED SUCCESSFULLY.
    • Isabelle MAY: Leaked Truths: Australian political discourse in response to the Nauru files. COMPLETED SUCCESSFULLY.
    • Cassie TAYLOR: The social media platform Snapchat and its role in forming structural lines of communication for crisis management. COMPLETED SUCCESSFULLY.
    • Sebastian HARRISS (Eton College, England): Aboriginal Language Reclamation. COMPLETED.

    Other courses taught by Professor Zuckermann include:

    Language Revival

    Critical Thinking and Academic Writing: How to be both Original and Scholarly 

    Contact Linguistics

    Historical Linguistics

    Lexical Expansion: Camouflaged Borrowing

    Multiple Causation

    Linguistic Research Writing

    Professor Zuckermann has served as Post-Graduate Coordinator (PGC), Head of the Linguistics Department (July-December 2013, July-December 2016, December 2018-June 2019), Undergraduate Coordinator and Linguistics Honours Coordinator.

  • Research Interests

     Research interests include:

    §   Revivalistics, Language Reclamation and Wellbeing, Mental Health; Revival Linguistics, cultural contact as manifested in language, comparative lexicology, historical linguistics, language and identity, sociolinguistics, lexical and grammatical borrowing, language genesis and evolution, Jewish languages, English as the global language, endangered languages and dialects.

    Current research includes:

    §   Reclamation, maintenance and empowerment of indigenous or minority languages, dialects and cultures, Native Tongue Title (proposed compensation for language loss), language rights, linguistic revival and survival, multiple causation, hybridity, the genesis of the Israeli language, Australian Aboriginal languages, Barngarla (Parnkalla) (Aboriginal language of Eyre Peninsula, e.g. Galinyala = Port Lincoln, Goordnada = Port Augusta and Waiala = Whyalla), Maori, lexical expansion in Mandarin Chinese, alternative language teaching methods, language planning, language academies, language and religion, internationalization of China's linguistics, corpus lexicography, forensic linguistics, trademarks, branding.

    §   Wellbeing and Social Cohesion: 


  • Research Funding


    2012- Barngarla Aboriginal Language Reclamation, Aboriginal Language Support (ILS/ILA), Office For The Arts (OFTA), Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sports, Australian Government.

    Past (selection):

    2007-11 Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Fellowship DP0770414: Language Revival in the Middle East: The Genesis of Israeli ('Modern Hebrew') – Lessons for the Revival of No-Longer Spoken Australian Languages.

    2010 Project 211 (China): Internationalizing China's Linguistics.

    2013-2015 Traditional Cultural Expressions in Aboriginal Australia and Torres Straits Islands, Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sports, Australian Government. PUBLISHED: ENGAGING – A Guide to Interacting Respectfully and Reciprocally with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People, and their Arts Practices and Intellectual Property:

    2014-2015 Online Learning Space: Barngarla Language, Aboriginal Language Support (ILS) New Media, Ministry for the Arts, Attorney-General’s Department, Australian Government.

    2012-2015 Mobile Language Team, Aboriginal Language Support (ILS), Office For The Arts (OFTA), Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sports, Australian Government. (1,050,000 AUD) (Collaborator)

    2002 British Academy Research Grant: The Camouflaged Lexical Influence of English on the World’s Languages.

  • Publications


     * Revivalistics: From the Genesis of Israeli to Language Reclamation in Australia and Beyond. New York: Oxford University Press, 2020. ISBN 9780199812790 (pbk), ISBN 9780199812776 (hbk) (SEE BLURB BELOW)

    * Israelit Safa Yafa (Israeli - A Beautiful Language), Am Oved, 2008:

    * Language Contact and Lexical Enrichment in Israeli Hebrew, Palgrave Macmillan, 2003:

    * Engaging – A Guide to Interacting Respectfully and Reciprocally with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People, and their Arts Practices and Intellectual Property, 2015:

    Dictionary of the Barngarla Aboriginal Language of Eyre Peninsula, South Australia, 2018:

    * Barngarlidhi Manoo (Speaking Barngarla Together), 2019. 

    §  Numerous refereed journal articles and book chapters in 10 languages on Revivalistics, contact linguistics, language, culture, religion and identity, English as the world's language, borrowing, multisourced neologization, lexical engineering, linguistic hybridity, lexicography, second language acquisition, mnemonics, psychometrics, Israeli, Yiddish, Hebrew, Mandarin Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, Turkish, Estonian, Icelandic, German, Italian, Maori and Aboriginal languages.

    For example:

    'Hybridity versus Revivability: Multiple Causation, Forms and Patterns', Journal of Language Contact Varia 2: 40-67. (2009)

    'Stop, Revive, Survive: Lessons from the Hebrew Revival Applicable to the Reclamation, Maintenance and Empowerment of Aboriginal Languages and Cultures', Australian Journal of Linguistics 31.1: 111-127. (2011)

    ‘Native Tongue Title: Proposed Compensation for the Loss of Aboriginal Languages’, Australian Aboriginal Studies (AAS) 2014/1: 55-71. (2014)

    Various other articles are available at the following two websites:


    On Professor Ghil‘ad Zuckermann’s 2020 oup BOOK:

    Professor Ghil‘ad Zuckermann’s seminal book Revivalistics: From the Genesis of Israeli to Language Reclamation in Australia and Beyond (Oxford University Press) introduces for the first time a linguistic game-changer: revivalistics. Revivalistics is a trans-disciplinary field of enquiry surrounding language reclamation, revitalization and reinvigoration.

    Revivalist-linguist Zuckermann makes a strong case for a clear distinction between revivalistics and documentary linguistics, the latter being the established field recording endangered languages before they fall asleep. Whilst documentary linguistics puts the language at the centre, revivalistics puts the language custodians at the centre.

    The book is divided into two main parts, reflecting Zuckermann’s fascinating and multifaceted journey into language revival from the Promised Land to the Lucky Country: analysing critically his Israeli mother tongue to reclaiming what he calls “dreaming Sleeping Beauties” in Australia and globally.

    The first part of the book provides a ground-breaking analysis of the Hebrew revival, which took place in 1880s-1930s. Zuckermann’s radical theory contradicts the conventional accounts that the language of the Hebrew Bible is now miraculously re-spoken by modern Israelis. He demonstrates in detail and a convincingly systematic way, how grammatical cross-fertilization with the revivalists’ mother tongues is inevitable in the case of successful “revival languages”. According to Zuckermann, “revival languages” contradict the tree model in historical linguistics. Whereas the tree model implies that a language only has one parent, Zuckermann argues that successful “revival languages” follow the Congruence Principle, which is statistical: the more contributing languages a linguistic feature occurs in, the more likely it is to persist in the emerging revival language. According to Zuckermann, revival languages share many common characteristics, and they should therefore be classified under the “revival language” “family” rather than under a specific language family such as “Semitic”.

    The second part of the book applies lessons from the Israeli language to revival movements in Australia and globally. It also describes the “why” and “how” of revivalistics. It proposes systematically ethical, aesthetic and utilitarian reasons for language revival, suggesting for example that language, albeit intangible, is more important than land. It also offers practical methods for reviving languages, for example the quadrilateral Language Revival Diamond (LARD), featuring four core revivalistic quadrants: language custodians, linguistics, education and the public sphere. With regard to the public domain, for example, the book promotes Native Tongue Title, financial compensation for linguicide (language killing), as well as declaring Indigenous tongues the official languages of their region, and erecting multilingual signs, thus changing the lanGscape (linguistic landscape).

    Zuckermann demonstrates two examples of righting the wrong of the past:

    (a) A book written in 1844 (Dictionary of the Barngarla Aboriginal language) in order to assist a German Lutheran missionary (Clamor Wilhelm Schürmann) to introduce Christianity to Aboriginal people at the expense of Aboriginal spirituality, is used 170 years later by a secular Jew (Zuckermann), to assist the Barngarla people of Eyre Peninsula (South Australia) to reconnect with their own Aboriginal heritage, which was subject to “linguicide” (language killing) by Anglo-Celtic Australians.

    (b) Technology, used for colonization (ships, weapons) and Stolen Generations (“governmental black cars kidnapping mixed-race Aboriginal children from their mothers in order to forcibly assimilate them”), is employed (for example, in the form of Zuckermann’s free Barngarla Aboriginal Language Dictionary App) to assist Aboriginal people to reconnect with their cultural autonomy, intellectual sovereignty, spirituality and wellbeing.

    The book ends with a plea to listen to the voice of Jenna Richards, an Aboriginal woman who takes part in Zuckermann’s Barngarla reclamation workshops: “Personally, I found the experience of learning our language liberating and went home feeling very overwhelmed because we were finally going to learn our "own" language, it gave me a sense of identity and I think if the whole family learnt our language then we would all feel totally different about ourselves and each other cause it's almost like it gives you a purpose in life.” Barngarla woman Evelyn Walker (née Dohnt) adds: “Our ancestors are happy!”

  • Professional Associations

    Foundations for Endangered Languages (FEL) (Elected Board Member)

    Australian Association for Jewish Studies (AAJS) (Elected President 2017-)

    Australasian Association for Lexicography (AUSTRALEX) (Elected President, 2013-2015)

    Academy of Oriental Scholars (Shanghai) (Elected Member)

    Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) (Elected Member)

    European Association for Jewish Studies (EAJS) (Elected Member)

    Linguistic Society of America (LSA)

    The Philological Society

    Centre for Research on Language Change (CRLC) (Elected Member)

    International Pragmatics Association (IPrA)

    The Antipodean East European Study Group (Te Rōpū Mātai Ūropi ki te Rāwhiti)

    Society for Pidgin and Creole Linguistics (SPCL)

    Australian Linguistic Society (ALS)

    National Association of Professors of Hebrew (NAPH)

    European Association for Lexicography (EURALEX)

    Association Internationale de Linguistique Appliquée (AILA)

    World Union of Jewish Studies (WUJS)

    Association for Jewish Studies (AJS)

    Israeli Association for the Study of Language and Society (IALS)

    Singapore Association for Applied Linguistics (SAAL)

    Cambridge Institute of Language Research (CILR)


  • Professional Interests

    2004-present Editorial Board Member, Journal of Language Contact.

    2009-present Editorial Board Member, Jewish Contemporary Review.

    2010-present Editorial Board Member, Israeli Journal of Humor Research.

    2007-present Editorial Board Member, Mizrekh: Jewish Studies in the Far East.

    2007-present Editorial Advisory Board Member, The Open Applied Linguistics Journal.

    1998-present Consultant, Oxford English Dictionary (OED).

    2002-present Consultant, Oxford University Press (OUP).

    2009-present Consultant, Cambridge University Press (CUP).

    2007-present Consultant, Yale University Press (YUP).

    2005-present Consultant, Sue and Leonard Miller Center for Contemporary Judaic Studies, University of Miami.

    2008-present Organizer, Australian Workshop on Afro-Asiatic Linguistics (AWAAL).

    2002-present Annual Conference Organizer, Consultant, Leyvik House, The Israeli Center for Yiddish Culture, Tel Aviv.

    2011-present Scientific Committee Member, International Morphology Meeting (IMM).

    2009-present Scientific Committee Member, Societas Linguistica Europaea (SLE).

    2005-present Advisor, International Academic Board, The Yale Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of Antisemitism (YIISA), Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut.

    2012-present Referee, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).

    2011-present Referee, The Leverhulme Trust.

    2011-present Referee, Endangered Languages Documentation Programme (ELDP).

    2010-present Referee, Israel Science Foundation (ISF).

    2009-present Referee, Australian Linguistic Society (ALS) Annual Conference.

    2008-present Referee, Academic Research Fund, National Institute of Education (NIE), Singapore.

    2010-present Referee, The Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics.

    2005-present Referee, Languages in Contrast.

    2005-present Referee, Australian Journal of Linguistics.

    2004-present Referee, Balshanut Ivrit (Hebrew Linguistics).

    2004-present Referee, CamLing (Conference in Language Research, University of Cambridge).

    2002-present Referee, Journal of Modern Jewish Studies.

    2001-present Referee, International Journal of Lexicography.

    2008-10   Mentor, Griffith Industry Mentoring Program, Griffith University.

    2011-12      Examiner, Ph.D., Waikato University, New Zealand.

    2008           Examiner, Ph.D., Griffith University, Australia.

    2007-8        Thesis Supervisor, Amirim Programme for Outstanding Students, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

    2003-4        Thesis Supervisor, Department of Hebrew & Jewish Studies, University College London.

    2001-3        Examiner, Faculty of Oriental Studies, University of Cambridge.

    2000-04      Governing Body Member, Churchill College, Cambridge. 

  • Community Engagement

    2009-19 Internationalization Adviser, Development Office, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China.

    2008-present Thought Leader, Creativity Australia, Melbourne.

    2005-present Invited Speaker, Limmud Oz (Annual Festival of Jewish Learning & Culture), Sydney/Melbourne.

    2006-present Invited Lecturer, Leyvik House, The Israeli Center for Yiddish Culture, Tel Aviv.

    2004-present Invited speaker on dozens of TV programmes: in the UK (e.g. BBC), Israel (e.g. Channel 1, Channel 2, Channel 10, YES, YES DOCO)...

    2004-present Invited speaker on hundreds of radio programmes: in Israel (e.g. Galey Tzahal, Reshet Bet, Kol Yisrael), the UK (e.g. BBC), Australia (e.g. four ABC Lingua Franca programmes,an ABC Encounter programme with David Rutledge, an ABC Big Ideas panel broadcast on 15 April 2010; and various SBS interviews in Israeli, Yiddish, Italian and English, 6PR Perth, 3ZZZ Melbourne), Spain (e.g. Radio SefaradEnglish Corner), Germany, South Africa, New Zealand...

    1998-present Featuring in thousands of newspaper articles in the USA (e.g.The Forward), UK (e.g. Reuters), Canada (e.g. Globe and Mail), the Netherlands (e.g. Trouw), Sweden (e.g.Språktidningen), Spain (e.g. Terra), Israel (e.g. Haaretz,MaarivYediot AharonotJerusalem PostEnglish Haaretz,YnetNRGTime OutMakor RishonErev ErevHaIr), New Zealand (e.g. New Zealand Jewish Chronicle), Germany (e.g. Jüdische Zeitung), and Australia (e.g. The Australian, Courier MailAustralian Jewish News,RhapsodyE-ton, Galus Australis).

    2009-present Advisory Board Member, Gifted Speech, New York (applied phonetics).

    2008-present Keynote Speaker, Limmud Galil (Annual Festival of Jewish Learning & Culture), Rosh HaNikra, Israel.

    2007-2010    Lecturer on Jewish Studies and the Hebrew Bible, Multi-Faith Chaplaincy Centre, The University of Queensland.

    2006-2011    Elected Committee Member, Keren Heyesod – United Israel Appeal (UIA), Queensland.

    2010            Keynote Speaker, Limmud Arava (Annual Festival of Jewish Learning & Culture), Sapir, Arava, Israel.

    2009            Participating Chair, two panels, Brisbane Writers Festival (BWF).

    2008            Juror, BIFF Interfaith Award for Promoting Humanitarian Values, Brisbane International Film Festival (BIFF). (31 July – 10 August)

    2008            Invited Keynote Speaker, Limmud NZ (Annual Festival of Jewish Learning & Culture), New Zealand.

    2004-8         Auditor and Consultant, BurlingtonEnglish / Burlington Books (applied phonetics).

    2005-6         Invited Professor, Year 11 Conference, Mount Scopus Memorial College, Melbourne.

    2006            Invited Professor, Betar Australia. (September)

    2006           Senior Lecturer, The Hebrew Language in its Cultural Context, The Melton Graduate Programme, The Florence Melton Adult Mini-School (A Project of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem), Melbourne. (May-June)

    2005            Senior Lecturer, Course for the Hebrew Teachers of Victoria, The Hebrew Teachers Association of Victoria, Bialik College, Melbourne.

    2004            Visiting Professor, The Birth of a Modern Language: An Introduction to the History and Culture of Israeli Hebrew, Adult Institute for Jewish Studies, Temple Beth Am, Miami, Florida. (January-March)

    2002-4         Senior Treasurer, United World Colleges Society, University of Cambridge.

    2002-3         International Selection Examiner, United World Colleges.

    1997            President, Oxford University L’Chaim Society.

    1993-4         Chairman, United World Colleges Israel: organized activities for the Alumni Association; liaison officer for all past and current UWC students/staff making contact with the Israeli branch; member of the National Selection Committee.

    Summer 93   Jewish Agency Representative, Quebec (Canada).

    1989-93       Writer of clues for the cryptic crossword of Yedioth Ahronoth (Israel’s largest daily newspaper).

    1986-7         Chairman, B’nai B’rith Youth Organization, Eilat, Israel.

  • Files

  • Media Expertise

    CategoriesAboriginal & Indigenous Issues, Language & Literacy
    ExpertiseHOW SHIFT HAPPENS; Cultural contact as manifested in language; Etymology, word origin, loans, borrowing, how new words emerge; language, society, identity and religion; Language revival and survival (Hebrew, Maori, Barngarla, Aboriginal languages, Hawai'i), English as the world's language, cross-cultural (mis)communication, mixed languages, Israel, Yiddish, Middle East, Jewish languages, hybridit
    NotesForensic Linguistics, corpus lexicography, Lexicology, Revivalistics, language & the human genome, lab evolution, natural selection, language & wellbeing, mental health, Native Tongue Title, linguistic human rights, language planning, lexical engineering, applied linguistics, dictionaries, foreign language teaching, English for academic purposes, applied phonetics, pronunciation enhancement,Israel
    Mobile0423 901 808
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Entry last updated: Sunday, 18 Apr 2021

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