After schooling in London I went to do drama at Leeds; but once there, took up linguistics instead. I went from Leeds to Ghana and thence to Edinburgh in the late sixties to do an M.Litt. (the thesis was on aspect in English). Africa called again, and after three years in northern Nigeria, I signed up for a doctorate at Edinburgh on NP countability. A year in Essex and a semester in Germany, was followed by a couple of years in Kenya. With my doctorate almost in hand, I arrived at Monash. And there, but for a year in Arizona and a few odd months in other exotic spots, I stayed until retiring to Queensland.
I was a recipient of the Centenary Medal for Service to Australian Society and the Humanities in Linguistics and Philology in 2003. My research interests focus mainly on aspects of meaning in language, with a secondary interest in the history and philosophy of linguistics. He has published on the topics of censorship, discourse analysis, dysphemism, euphemism, grammaticalization, jargon, language policy, linguistic metatheory, morphology, politeness, pragmatics, prosody, psycholinguistics, semantics, sociolinguistics, speech act theory, syntax, and taboo. I am Editor of The Australian Journal of Linguistics and on the editorial boards of several other journals. I have authored three monographs and co-authored three more. I have been sole editor of two volumes and have another two in preparation, and co-edited two more. I have published more than 20 book chapters, 35 articles in encyclopaedias, more than 45 articles in journals and about the same number of book reviews.
I prefer students who have the urge to discover what there is to know and who question the current paradigms in linguistics — even those I hold dear. Consequently, I abhor the current trend (at least in Australia) for universities to mimic high-schools.
Qualifications and Positions
- BA Honours (Leeds)
- MLitt (Edinburgh)
- PhD (Edinburgh)
- Emeritus Professor of Linguistics
- Editor of the Australian Journal of Linguistics