Language and Culture Research Centre (LCRC)

James Cook University

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Researcher working with a participant to record an indigenous language

The Centre focuses on comprehensive documentation of endangered languages and cultures of the tropics and adjacent region, based on immersion fieldwork and employing strict analytical methodology. Our methodology is primarily qualitative, with an additional strand involving judiciously framed quantitative studies. Language and culture documentation follows archiving procedures which involve various types of multimedia files and interactive data bases. The empirical results feed into scientifically proven inductive generalisations concerning human language capacity, and the interactions between parameters of linguistic and cultural behaviour. LCRC's primary focus is on the indigenous people of New Guinea, Australia, Amazonia and East Asia. The LCRC works in terms of basic linguistic theory, the cumulative framework for linguistic documentation. We seek to explain the nature and emergence of linguistic structures, and their correlations with patterns of human cognition.


Key science sectors

Strengths and capabilities

  • Documenting endangered languages
  • Providing electronic and media resources for languages and cultures
  • Providing resources for language maintenance and revitalization
  • Creating orthographies for lesser known languages
  • Providing cognitive motivation for linguistic categories
  • Establishing correlations between linguistic and social parameters
  • Understanding multilingual patterns
  • Offering guidelines for teaching languages

Facilities and major equipment

  • Language documentation laboratory
  • Equipment for electronic language documentation
  • Linguistic database on tropical languages
  • Tropical Languages and Cultures archive on the LCRC website
  • Programs for linguistic analysis such as Flex,Pratt, Shoebox
  • Facilities for dictionary making

Number of research staff

20-100 research staff


The Cairns Institute, Building D3, McGregor Road, Cairns, 4870

Lead researchers

Achievements of the centre

  • Documentation of several dozen engendered languages
  • Electronic archiving of endangered languages
  • Significant typological generalizations concerning language stuctures and cognitive underpinnings

Organisation type

  • University Research Centre

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