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 topendlingcircle@gmail.com if they would like to present at TELC.

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

NEXT TELC SEMINAR: 19th September 2022
Professor Michael Walsh

Professor Michael Walsh speaks on “The Rise and Rise of Australian Languages”

Time: 2-4pm, Monday 19 September 2022

Location: Charles Darwin University, Casuarina campus, Northern Institute, Yellow 1, level 2, room 48 (the Savannah Room). Campus map

The speaker: Professor Walsh has been dedicated to working with Australian Aboriginal languages for about 45 years. He has worked and published extensively on documenting and revitalizing these languages, especially in the Northern Territory and New South Wales. His research interests include lexical semantics, cross-cultural pragmatics, language and identity, language and law, linguistic geography, language revitalization, song language and other expressive uses of language. He is currently affiliated with AIATSIS, the University of Sydney and the Australian National University among others.

Abstract: Endangerment discourse is replete with negativity: death; extinction; morbidity. This kind of discourse has been applied to the languages of Indigenous Australia. One account declares that of the approximately 250 languages encountered at first significant contact with outsiders, just 13 are still being learned by children as a matter of course. This account would imply that there are 237 languages in various states of disrepair. However over the last 20 to 30 years many languages are in the process of revival. Examples of language revival will be presented demonstrating the range of strategies that have been adopted.

In memory of Cathy Bow

TELC acknowledges the enormous contribution of Cathy Bow who died suddenly in October 2021.

Cathy arrived in the NT in 2012, initially to project manage the development of the Living Archive of Aboriginal Languages. Her interest in languages and linguistics and their application in the NT, coupled with her networking and organisational capacity, found her influence and impact ever expanding. Cathy was a presenter at TELC meetings during 2017 and then part of the collective that took over managing the group later that year upon the retirement of Paul Black from the role. In 2018 Cathy led a relaunch of TELC, and she became the face of TELC, organising presenters, minutes, venues, and announcements in her ever gracious and practical way.

TELC will miss Cathy’s tireless gentle energy and her commitment to linguistics in the Top End. TELC will always remember and cherish the positive influence and friendship that Cathy shared with all those in her many global circles and communities.


Last modified 15th September 2022

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