A/PROF Nick Thieberger

A/PROF Nick Thieberger


  • Language documentation, language description, Australian Indigenous languages, Vanuatu languages (linguistic software, Indigenous languages, text-media linking, development)



  • Associate Professor Nicholas Thieberger has worked with speakers of Australian languages since the early 1980s. He established the Aboriginal language centre Wangka Maya in Port Hedland in the late 1980s, then worked at AIATSIS building the Aboriginal Studies Electronic Data Archive in the early 1990s. He wrote a grammar of South Efate, a language from central Vanuatu that was the first to link media to the analysis, allowing verification of examples from an archival source used in analytical claims. In 2003 he helped establish PARADISEC (paradisec.org.au ), a digital archive of recorded ethnographic material. He is a co-founder of the Resource Network for Linguistic Diversity (RNLD) and in 2008 he established a linguistic archive at the University of Hawai'i. He is interested in developments in digital humanities methods and their potential to improve research practice and he is developing methods for creation of reusable data sets from fieldwork on previously unrecorded languages, including a collaboration with the National Library of Australia to encode the Daisy Bates vocabularies of Australian languages. He is the Editor of the journal Language Documentation & Conservation . He taught in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa and is now an Australian Research Council Future Fellow at the University of Melbourne. Please see his homepage at http://nthieberger.net for full details.   


Member of

  • Australasian Association for Digital Humanities. Secretary 2014 -
  • Research Unit for Indigenous Language. Member 2013 -
  • Resource Network for Linguistic Diversity. Co-Founder, former President 2005 -
  • Foundation for Endangered Languages. member 2004 -
  • Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies. Member (approved by the Council of AIATSIS) 1992 -
  • Australian Linguistic Society. Secretary of the Society 1990 -


Selected publications


Investigator on

Additional Grant Information

  • ARC Future Fellowship 2014-2018 CI in the ARC grant DP150100094 collaborating with Saly Treloyn and others on music and oral tradition in the Pilbara. ARC LIEF scheme 'PARADISEC equipment and facilities' $238,000 (collaborative Sydney and ANU project) National Science Foundation (USA), US$ 22,500 to support the 2nd International Conference on Language Documentation and Conservation, Honolulu, February 2011. Institute for a Broadband Enabled Society - $30,000 for an application titled 'Streaming Australian research data to the world: towards a distributed international ethnographic museum' (2009-2010) Australian Research Council - QEII Fellowship ($717,000) titled Doing great things with small languages. (2009-2014) University of Hawai'i Research Council. $1660 to attend the Swedish Linguistic Society workshop on Language Documentation, Uppsala, Oct 1. 2008. Australia-Pacific Futures Network ($7,500) funding to assist in a conference I co-organised in Vila, Vanuatu (2006) Human Communication Science Network, a grant of $5,000 to support the EthnoER conference (February 2006) Australian Research Council EResearch application "Sharing access and analytical tools for ethnographic digital media using high speed networks" ($100,000), now known as 'EthnoER' (2005-2006), to build online presentation and annotation tools for linguistic data. Melbourne University Arts Faculty, IT and Multimedia Committee, $5,000 to assist with developing a concordance function for Audiamus a software tool I am developing. (2005) $5,000 grant under the FAST (French Australian Science and Technology) Programme from the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia and French Embassy in Canberra to travel to France and work with colleagues at CNRS/LACITO. (2005) Melbourne University Research grant to assist with book publication ($2,000) (2005) Melbourne University Arts Faculty grant to assist with book publication ($1,000) (2005) Melbourne University Arts Faculty, IT and Multimedia Committee, $   


Education and training

  • PhD, University of Melbourne 2004
  • MA, La Trobe University 1988
  • BA (Hons), La Trobe University 1981

Awards and honors

  • University of Melbourne award for excellence in team-based research, 2018
  • Ludwig Leichhardt-Jubilee Award of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, 2012
  • The Pacific and Regional Archive for Digital Resources in Endangered Cultures (PARADISEC), (Nick Thieberger- Project Manager) received the 2008 award, Victorian eResearch Strategic Initiative, 2008



Available for supervision

  • Y

Supervision Statement

  • I am available to supervise or co-supervise students conducting language documentation projects. My focus area is Vanuatu, but I am particularly interested in methodology for creating well-formed language corpora.