Dr Clair Hill

Dr Clair Hill

PhD in Linguistics, Radboud University (Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics) and University of Leuven (2018)

Bachelor of Arts and Honours, University of Sydney (2002)

Arts,Design & Architecture
School of Humanities & Languages

Dr Clair Hill is a Lecturer in Linguistics in the School of Humanities and Languages. Clair’s research explores cross-cultural and individual variation in semantics and interaction. It is based on long-term fieldwork on Australian languages, especially Paman languages (Umpila and Kuuku Ya’u) of north-eastern Cape York Peninsula. There are two central threads in her work: an exploration of the interaction between language, cognition and culture, and collaborating with communities to translate this research into useful language documentation and language revitalisation products. Her main research interests include: Semantic Typology; Cognitive Linguistics; Interactional Linguistics; Narrative; critical approaches to Language Documentation; Language Revitalisation.

Clair has participated in a number of team-based collaborative projects on cross-cultural variation in semantics, language documentation and language revitalisation. In connection with this collaborative research, she held research positions and research affiliations with Macquarie University 2003-2004, 2006), University of Leuven (2006-2009, 2010-2012), Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics (2007-2012), University of Sydney (2015-2017), Lund University (2014-2020), and Western Sydney University (2019- ). Clair has also worked closely with Indigenous communities supporting local needs for language documentation and language revitalisation (Katherine Language Centre (2001), Lockhart River Aboriginal Council and Lockhart River Arts and Cultural Centre (various projects spanning: 2003, 2004-2005, 2006-2009, 2010-2014, 2021), Kanyirninpa Jukurrpa (2014-2016).

Morven Brown 228
  • Books | 2016
    Hill C; Turk A, 2016, Manyjilyjarra – English dictionary of Landscape Terms, Kanyirninpa Jukurrpa, Perth
    Books | 2013
    Hill C; Thompson D, 2013, Kuuku Ya’u and Umpila Wordlist, Lockhart River Aboriginal Council, Cairns
    Books | 2013
    Hill C; Thompson D, 2013, Looking inside Kuuku Ya’u and Umpila: A Grammar Guide, Lockhart River Aboriginal Council, Cairns
    Books | 2012
    Hill C; Thompson D, 2012, Umpila and Kuuku Ya’u Language Learners Guide modules 1-8, Lockhart River Aboriginal Council, Cairns
    Books | 2004
    Hill C, 2004, Ku’unchikamu: Kuuku Ngampulungku, Lockhart River Aboriginal Council, Cairns
  • Book Chapters | 2023
    Hill C, 2023, 'An example of rich language documentation: A return to the Old Mission', in TBA
    Book Chapters | 2023
    Hill C, 2023, 'Language of perception in Umpila', in Levinson S; Majid A (ed.), Oxford Handbook of Language of Perception, Oxford University Press, Oxford
    Book Chapters | 2020
    Hill C; Ashmore L, 2020, 'Landscape categorisation in two Middle Paman languages', in Walsh M; Monaghan P (ed.), More than mere words: Essays on language and linguistics in honour of Peter Sutton, University of Adelaide Press, Adelaide, pp. 53 - 81
    Book Chapters | 2010
    Hill C, 2010, 'Collaborative narration and cross-speaker repetition in Umpila and Kuuku Ya'u', in Baker B; Ilana M; Harvey M; Gardener R (ed.), Indigenous Language and Social Identity: Papers in Honour of Michael Walsh, Pacific Linguistics, Canberra, pp. 237 - 260
    Book Chapters | 2010
    Hill C, 2010, 'Emergency language documentation teams: the Cape York Peninsula experience', in Hobson J; Lowe K; Poetsch S; Walsh M (ed.), Re-Awakening Languages: theory and practice in the revitalisation of Australia’s Indigenous languages, Sydney University Press, Sydney, pp. 418 - 432
  • Journal articles | 2023
    Poulton T; Hill C, 2023, 'Linguistic Descriptions and Cultural Models of Olfaction in Umpila and English', Language Sciences
    Journal articles | 2022
    Hill C, 2022, 'Multiparty storytelling in Umpila and Kuuku Ya’u', Australian Journal of Linguistics
    Journal articles | 2022
    Hill C, 2022, 'The irrelevance of scale and fixedness in landscape terms in two Aboriginal Australian languages', Linguistics Vanguard, 8, pp. 91 - 100, http://dx.doi.org/10.1515/lingvan-2021-0107
    Journal articles | 2022
    Radnan MJ; Li W; Stevens CJ; Hill C; Jones C, 2022, 'Measuring engagement among older adults using a multidimensional approach to communication', Frontiers in Psychology, 13, http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2022.981008
    Journal articles | 2018
    Majid A; Roberts SG; Cilissen L; Emmorey K; Nicodemus B; O'Grady L; Woll B; LeLan B; De Sousa H; Cansler BL; Shayan S; De Vos C; Senft G; Enfield NJ; Razak RA; Fedden S; Tufvesson S; Dingemanse M; Ozturk O; Brown P; Hill C; Le Guen O; Hirtzel V; Van Gijn R; Sicoli MA; Levinson SC, 2018, 'Differential coding of perception in the world's languages', Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 115, pp. 11369 - 11376, http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1720419115
    Journal articles | 2017
    Burenhult N; Hill C; Huber J; Van Putten S; Rybka K; San Roque L, 2017, 'Forests: The cross-linguistic perspective', Geographica Helvetica, 72, pp. 455 - 464, http://dx.doi.org/10.5194/gh-72-455-2017
    Journal articles | 2016
    Hill C, 2016, 'Expression of the interpersonal connection between narrators and characters in Umpila and Kuuku Ya'u storytelling', Narrative Inquiry, 26, pp. 257 - 285, http://dx.doi.org/10.1075/ni.26.2.04hil
    Journal articles | 2012
    Hill C, 2012, 'Wunderkammer Import Package: A tool for the creation of multimedia dictionaries for mobile phones.', Language Documentation and Conservation, pp. 282 - 291
    Journal articles | 2011
    Hill C, 2011, 'Named and unnamed spaces: Color, kin, and the environment in Umpila', Senses and Society, 6, pp. 57 - 67, http://dx.doi.org/10.2752/174589311X12893982233759
    Journal articles | 2010
    Hill C, 2010, 'Review of the book Discourse and Grammar in Australian Languages ed. by Ilana Mushin and Brett Baker', Studies in Language, pp. 215 - 225
  • Preprints | 2021
    Radnan M; Li W; Stevens CJ; Hill C; Jones C, 2021, Measuring engagement among older adults using a multidimensional analysis of communication: Method Design (Preprint), , http://dx.doi.org/10.2196/preprints.35469

Current research activities:

  • Kuuku ngampulungku kuupathangka “Speaking our language”: This project will develop and evaluate a phrase-based digital resource (utlising Listen N Talk shell) to support language revitalisation of Umpila and Kuuku Ya’u. This project is undertaken in partnership with Umpila and Kuuku Ya'u speakers, Lockhart River Aboriginal Council and MARCS Institute for Brain, Behaviour and Development (WSU). Funded by an Indigenous Languages and Arts Grant
  • Landscape, language and culture in Indigenous Australia. This project aims to determine how culture and social diversity interact with landscape in representing physical space in the minds and grammars of speakers of Australian Indigenous languages. This is a large-scale team based project lead by CIs, Bill Palmer, Alice Gaby, Joe Blythe and Maïa Ponsonnet. Discovery Project funded by Australia Research Council, University of Newcastle led.
  • Language of smell and colour: This project explores the cross-cultural representation of colour and smell in both language and thought. This is a continuation of research and questions that arose in Language of Perception project (2007-2016) and is focused on understanding low codability or expressability of some perceptual experiences in Umpila and Kuuku Ya'u in a cross-linguistic context.
  • Familiar places and familiar faces: exploring the role of familiarity in language use with and by older adults. With familiar people, older adults use language to verbally co-construct and maintain memories; this interdependence is particularly critical for people with dementia. This project aims to investigate how language interaction between elderly people and visitors changes with increasing familiarity, through analyses of video corpus of visitor-led sessions in which older adults in aged care shared stories about special places in their lives. Funded by ARC Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language and undertaken at MARCS, Western Sydney University.


Past Research Projects: 

  • 2011 – 2017 Language, cognition and landscape (LACOLA) project. A project to Funded by the European Research Council. Humanities Laboratory, Lund University.
  • 2010 – 2015  Lockhart River Language Learners Guide Project. Funded by Indigenous Languages Support program.
  • 2007 – 2016  Language of Perception project, Language and Cognition group, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics.
  • 2007 – 2010  Online Language Community Access Pilot project, Australian Institute of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Studies.
  • 2006 – 2009  Documentation of five Paman languages of Cape York Peninsula, Australia. Funded by Hans Rausing Endangered Languages Project, and hosted by the University of Leuven.
  • 2004 – 2005  Cape York Peninsula Language Documentation: Emergency Documentation Team Pilot Project. Funded by the Maintenance of Indigenous Languages and Records program.