Top End Linguistic Circle

Top End Linguistic Circle

The Top End Linguistic Circle (TELC) is an informal association of linguists and other language workers in the ‘Top End’ of the Northern Territory of Australia. It has held a couple of meetings or workshops almost every year since it began in the 1970s. Meetings are organised by local TELC members, often scheduled to enable visiting linguists to give presentations.

Visiting linguists doing fieldwork in the top end, or local linguists wanting to share, can contact if they would like to present at TELC.

Next TELC meeting 20 August 2021 at CDU

Meeting link:

Guest speaker - Dr Alice Mitchell

“Using community-led development to build health communication about rheumatic heart disease in Aboriginal children”


Alice will report on her 2021 paper published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health (vol 45, no3). Speakers of four Aboriginal languages in Maningrida created lessons to teach children about rheumatic heart disease in their home languages, drawing on principles of community-led development. The paper found that action to address high rates of rheumatic heart disease in remote communities must include effective health communication strategies that value Indigenous Knowledge, language and culture, collaborative leadership and respect for Indigenous data sovereignty.

Read the open access paper at

Alice would like to engage in discussion with the TELC audience about

About the speaker:

Alice Mitchell is a midwife and registered nurse who trained as an applied linguist. With a longstanding interest in intercultural communication and Indigenous healthcare, she completed a Master’s degree in Applied Linguistics where she researched health literacy in the NT. Her PhD thesis entitled That Heart Sickness: Exploring Young Aboriginal People's Experiences of Rheumatic Fever Care from Childhood to Adulthood has confirmed the longstanding view held by many experts that there’s a disconnect between the biomedical language and world view of the west and that of Indigenous Australians, and that this disconnect leads to confusion, misinterpretation and even harm.

Additional presentation: “Exploring the effectiveness of COVID-19 communication with Yolŋu”"


Information about COVID-19 (Coronavirus) is growing and changing rapidly. There have been many efforts to produce materials in Indigenous languages to reach people in remote communities, however little is known about how those messages are being received. Our research involves interviews and focus groups with Yolŋu participants in Darwin and one remote community, to explore the effectiveness of communication related to COVID-19. Preliminary findings indicate that people are not accessing these resources, and Yolŋu have suggestions about how the messaging could be done more effectively. Our emerging findings challenge resource developers to go beyond adapting existing health messages and to implement alternative co-creation processes.

About the presenters:

The project is being conducted by a team of Yolŋu and non-Indigenous researchers, and this presentation will involve some of the team including Anne Lowell, Emily Armstrong, Cathy Bow, Dikul Baker, and Brenda Muthamuluwuy.


Friday 20 August 2021 from 2-4pm.

Alice Mitchell will speak from 2-3pm including discussion time, then Anne & Emily will present from 3 - 3.30 with time for discussion. Following the two presentations there will be an opportunity for sharing about other projects and time for networking, finishing at 4pm.


Charles Darwin University Casuarina campus, Blue 2A (near the ceremonial ground, Arthouse cafe, etc)-

See Casuarina Campus map or yellow arrow below

Open to everyone, no need to register or RSVP, no cost to attend.

TELC on social media

TELC is also on social media. You can find us at:


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Last modified 12th June 2021

The Top End Linguistic Circle website is supported by EL Publishing, open-access publishers of the journal Language Documentation and Description.