|Ms Margit Bowler|
"Although Warlpiri is one of the most widely spoken Australian Aboriginal languages it, like many Indigenous languages, is at a high risk of language extinction."
Ms Margit Bowler, a recent graduate from Reed College, has won a Fulbright Postgraduate Scholarship to come to the Australian National University to study some aspects of Warlpiri, which is an Australian Indigenous language.
“Several unusual linguistic properties of Warlpiri pose challenges to traditionally accepted linguistic theories,” Margit said. “To date, there is still no agreement within the linguistic community on a single analysis of Warlpiri.”
Margit will research the syntax and semantics of sentences in Warlpiri with respect to quantifiers, which are words such as “each” and “all”.
“Warlpiri belongs to a very small subset of “non-configurational” languages that potentially do not possess a hierarchical internal structure,” Margit said.
“Furthermore, the words in a Warlpiri sentence can occur in almost any order. It is unclear what effect these features have on how quantifiers are interpreted in the language.”
Margit will supplement her research by attending courses at the Australian National University, through a mentorship under Dr. Jane Simpson at ANU and she will also conduct fieldwork in the Northern Territory within communities that have a significant Warlpiri speaking population.
Margit has a BA in linguistics from Reed College. She has won various awards and prizes including commendations in scholastic excellence from Reed, a National Science Foundation REU grant to complete an internship at the Oregon Health & Science University's Center for Spoken Language Understanding in Beaverton, Oregon and a North Oregon Coast scholarship, and she has been a Rotary exchange student in Austria. She will enter a PhD program in linguistics at UCLA, with a Chancellor's Fellowship, upon completion of her Fulbright. In her spare time she enjoys traditional Scandinavian dance and is a keen musician, playing the violin and Scottish and Cape Breton fiddle.