Carmel O’Shannessy

Carmel O’Shannessy is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Literature, Languages and Linguistics at the Australian National University, and affiliate of the ARC Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language (CoEDL).

She completed her PhD in Linguistics at the University of Sydney (Australia) and the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics (The Netherlands) in 2007, with documentation of the genesis and development of Light Warlpiri, a new mixed language. Within the areas of language contact and change and language acquisition, her research continues to document children’s bilingual acquisition and maintenance of Light Warlpiri and Warlpiri. She is especially interested in the roles of children and adults in contact-induced language change. She has been involved with languages and education in remote Indigenous communities in Australia since 1996, in the areas of bilingual education and her current research. She is co-author of Loss and Renewal: Australian Languages Since Colonisation

She currently holds an ARC Future Fellowship, Tracking language development of Indigenous children in Central Australia.

Dr O’Shannessy can be contacted via email.

Research area/theme
Ontogeny, Culture and Socialisation
Local Diversification
Relevant publications

Japanangka, M. W. T., & O’Shannessy, C. (2020). Kaja-warnu-jangka ‘From the bush.’ https://vimeo.com/417511570

Meakins, F., & O’Shannessy, C. (2016). Loss and Renewal: Australian Languages Since Colonisation (Vol. 13). Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co KG.

O’Shannessy, C, & Davidson, L. (2020). Language contact and change through child first language acquisition. In R. Hickey (Ed.), Handbook of Language Contact. 2nd edition. Wiley Blackwell. Pp. 67-91. https://doi.org/10.1002/9781119485094.ch3

O’Shannessy, C. (2004). The monster stories: A set of picture books to elicit overt transitive subjects in oral texts. Unpublished series. Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics.

O’Shannessy, C. (2005). Light Warlpiri: A New Language. Australian Journal of Linguistics, 25(1), 31–57. https://doi.org/10.1080/07268600500110472

O’Shannessy, C. (2008). Children’s production of their heritage language and a new mixed language. In J. Simpson & G. Wigglesworth (Eds.), Children’s language and multilingualism: Indigenous language use at home and school (pp. 261–282). Continuum International Press.

O’Shannessy, C. (2009). Language variation and change in a north Australian Indigenous community. In D. Preston & J. Stanford (Eds.), Variationist Approaches to Indigenous Minority Languages (pp. 419–439). John Benjamins.

O’Shannessy, C. (2011a). Competition between word order and case-marking in interpreting grammatical relations: A case study in multilingual acquisition. Journal of Child Language, 38(4), 763–792.

O’Shannessy, C. (2011b). Young children’s social meaning making in a new mixed language. In U. Eickelkamp (Ed.), Growing Up in Central Australia: New anthropological studies of Aboriginal childhood and adolescence (pp. 131–155). Berghan Books.

O’Shannessy, C. (2012). The role of code-switched input to children in the origin of a new mixed language. Linguistics, 50(2), 328–353.

O’Shannessy, C. (2013). The role of multiple sources in the formation of an innovative auxiliary category in Light Warlpiri, a new Australian mixed language. Language, 89(2), 328–353.

O’Shannessy, C. (2015a). Multilingual children increase language differentiation by indexing communities of practice. First Language, 35(4–5), 305–326.

O’Shannessy, C. (2015b). Typological and social factors influencing a new mixed language, Light Warlpiri. Code-Switching between Structural and Sociolinguistic Perspectives, 289–304.

O’Shannessy, C. (Ed.). (2016). Acquisition in Contact. Frontiers in Psychology. http://journal.frontiersin.org/ResearchTopic/2401

O’Shannessy, C. (2016a). Distributions of case allomorphy by multilingual children. Linguistic Variation, 16(1), 68–102.

O’Shannessy, C. (2016b). Entrenchment of Light Warlpiri morphology. Loss and Renewal: Australian Languages Since Colonisation, 13, 217.

O’Shannessy, C. (2019). Why do children lead contact-induced language change in some contexts but not others? In E. Doron, M. Rappaport Hovav, Y. Reshef, & M. Taube (Eds.), Linguistic Contact, Continuity and Change in the Genesis of Modern Hebrew (pp. 321–335). John Benjamins.

O’Shannessy, C. (2020). How ordinary child language acquisition processes can lead to the unusual outcome of a mixed language. International Journal of Bilingualism.

O’Shannessy, C. (2020). Language contact in Warlpiri and Light Warlpiri. In A. Grant (Ed.), Oxford Handbook of Language Contact. Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199945092.013.27

O’Shannessy, C., & Meakins, F. (2012). Comprehension of competing argument marking systems in two Australian mixed languages. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 38(4), 763–792.

O’Shannessy, C., & Meakins, F. (2016). Australian language contact in historical and synchronic perspective. Loss and Renewal: Australian Languages Since Colonisation, 13, 3–26.

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