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Prof. Dr. Harold Koch

Prof. Harold Koch held the Dr. R. Marika Visiting Chair of Australian Studies in the winter semester 2012/2013.

Harold Koch is a professor at the Australian National University (ANU) and focuses on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Languages, Linguistic Structures (Incl. Grammar, Phonology, Lexicon, Semantics) as well as Language in time and space (Incl. Historical Linguistics, Dialectology).

His research interests include

 Professor Kossew held the Dr. R. Marika Visiting Chair of Australian Studies in the summer semester 2013.

  • Australian descriptive linguistics (especially Kaytetye, Arandic language of Central Australia)
  • Indo-European comparative and historical linguistics
  • Australian comparative linguistics (especially Arandic languages of Central Australia, also the more wide-spread Pama-Nyungan family)
  • Historical-comparative linguistic methodology
  • Morphology, including morphological change and reconstruction
  • Aboriginal English, Australian pidgins and creoles
  • Languages of southeastern Australian, from historical sources, including placenames
  • Kinship and social category terminology

 He has coducted several research projects in the area of Australian Linguistics, such as

  • Description of the Kaytetye language of Central Australia. 1974-. Funded by grants from Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies and Faculties Research Fund of Australian National University.
  • Comparative study of Central Australian languages. 1990-93. (Joint project with L.A. Hercus, D.G. Nash, J.H. Simpson). Funded by Australian Research Council.
  • Comparative grammar and vocabulary of the Arandic languages. 1993-95. (Joint project with J.G. Breen and L.A. Hercus). Funded by Australian Research Council.
  • Reconstruction of verb inflection in Australian languages. Funded by FRF (Faculty Research Fund) grants.
  • Comparative Pama-Nyungan reconstruction. (Ongoing, joint project with Claire Bowern, Barry Alpher, Patrick McConvell, Luisa Miceli, plus other collaborators., including research students). Unfunded.
  • Languages of southeastern New South Wales and the ACT: reconstitution, reconstruction, placenames. (2003-present) Unfunded.
  • Tracing change in family and social organization in Indigenous Australia, using evidence from language (“Austkin”). (2008-11). Australian Research Council (ARC) DP (discovery) grant [see below]


Selected Publications


Koch, Harold. 1979. Indo-European denominative verbs in -nu. Ann Arbor: University Microfilms International.

Koch, Harold. 1982. Kinship categories in Kaytej pronouns. In: Heath, J. et al. (eds), The languages of kinship in Aboriginal Australia. (Oceania Linguistic Monographs, 24) Sydney: University of Sydney. 64-71.

Koch, Harold. 1984. The category of 'associated motion' in Kaytej. Language in Central Australia 1. 23-34.

Koch, Harold. 1990a. Do Australian languages really have morphemes? Issues in Kaytej morphology. In P. Austin et al. (eds.) Language and History: Essays in honour of Luise A. Hercus. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics (C-116). 193-208.

Koch, Harold. 1990b. Language and communication in Aboriginal land claim hearings. Australian Review of Applied Linguistics, Series S. No. 5. 1-47.

Koch, Harold & Grace Koch. 1993. Kaytetye country: an Aboriginal history of the Barrow Creek area.Alice Springs: Institute for Aboriginal Development.

Koch, Harold. 1995. The creation of morphological zeroes. In G. Booij & J. van Marle (eds), Yearbook of Morphology. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers. 31-71.

Koch, Harold. 1996. Reconstruction in morphology. In: M. Durie & M. Ross (eds), The comparative method reviewed: regularity and irregularity in language change. New York: Oxford University Press, 218-263.

Koch, Harold. 1997a. Comparative linguistics and Australian prehistory. In: P. McConvell & N. Evans (eds), Archaeology and linguistics: Aboriginal Australia in global perspective. Melbourne: Oxford University Press. 27-43.

Koch, Harold. 1997b. Pama-Nyungan reflexes in the Arandic languages. In: D. Tryon & M. Walsh (eds), Boundary rider: Essays in Honour of Geoffrey O'Grady. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics (C-136). 271-302.

Koch, Harold. 2000a. Central Australian Aboriginal English: In comparison with the morphosyntactic categories of Kaytetye. Asian Englishes: An International Journal of the Sociolinguistics of English in Asia/Pacific 3:2. 32-58.

Koch, Harold. 2000b. Order and disorder in the reconstruction of the ablaut pattern of athematic verbs in Proto-Indo-European. In: Jones-Bley, Karlene, Martin E. Huld and Angela Della Volpe (eds). Proceedings of the Eleventh Annual UCLA Indo-European Conference, Los Angeles June 4-6, 1999. (Journal of Indo-European Studies Monograph Series No.35) Washington DC: Institute for the Study of Man. 251-266.

Koch, Harold. 2000c. The role of Australian Aboriginal languages in the formation of Australian Pidgin grammar: transitive verbs and adjectives. In: Jeff Siegel (ed.), Processes of Language Contact: Case Studies from Australia and the South Pacific. (Champs linguistiques) Saint Laurent, Quebec, Canada: Fides. 13-46.

Koch, Harold. 2003a. Morphological reconstruction as an etymological method. In Blake, Barry J. and Kate Burridge (eds), Historical Linguistics 2001: Selected papers from the 15th International Conference on Historical Linguistics, 13-17 August 2001. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 271-291.

Koch, Harold. 2003b. The case for Pama-Nyungan: evidence from inflectional morphology. In: Hajicová, E., Kotešovcová, A., Mírovský, J. (eds), Proceedings of XVII International Congress of Linguists, Prague, Czech Republic, July 24-29, 2003: CD-ROM. Prague: Matfyzpress, Matematicko-Fyzikální Fakulty, Univerzity Karlovi.

Koch, Harold & Claire Bowern (eds.). 2004a. Australian languages: classification and the comparative method. (Current Issues in Linguistic Theory, 249) Amsterdam: John Benjamins. xii, 377 pp.

Koch, Harold. 2004b. A methodological history of Australian linguistic classification. In Bowern and Koch (eds). 17-60.

Koch, Harold. 2004c. The Arandic subgroup of Australian languages. In Bowern and Koch (eds). 127-150, 575-580.

Koch, Harold. 2007. An overview of Australian traditional languages. In Gerhard Leitner and Ian G. Malcolm (eds), The Habitat of Australia’s Aboriginal Languages: Past, Present, and Future. (Trends in Linguistics. Studies and Monographs, 179) Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. 23-56.

Koch, Harold and Luise Hercus (eds). 2009. Aboriginal placenames: Naming and re-naming the Australian landscape. (Aboriginal History Monograph 19) Canberra: ANU E Press and Aboriginal History Inc.

Koch, Harold. 2011a. Morphological change. The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the Language Sciences. Ed. Patrick Colm Hogan. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 514-515.

Koch, Harold. 2011b. The influence of Arandic languages on Central Australian Aboriginal English. In Claire Lefebvre (ed), Creoles, their substrates, and language typology (Typological Studies in Language 95) Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins. pp. 437-460.

Koch, Harold. 2011c. Aboriginal languages and social groups in the Canberra region: interpreting the historical documentation. In Brett Baker, Ilana Mushin, Mark Harvey and Rod Gardner (eds), Indigenous language and social identity: Papers in honour of Michael Walsh. (Pacific Linguistics 626) Canberra: Pacific Linguistics. 123-144.

Koch, Harold and Luise Hercus. 2013. Obscure vs. transparent cognates in linguistic reconstruction. In Robert Mailhammer (ed.), Lexical and structural etymology: beyond word histories. (Studies in Language Change 11) Berlin: de Gruyter Mouton. 33-52.

Koch, Harold. 2013. The reconstruction of kinship terminology in the Arandic languages of Australia. In Patrick McConvell, Ian Keen, and Rachel Hendery (eds), Kinship systems: change and reconstruction. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press. 163-186.

Koch, Harold and Rachel Nordlinger (eds). forthcoming. The Languages and Linguistics of Australia: A Comprehensive Guide [volume in series ‘The World of Linguistics’, edited by Hans Henrich Hock] Berlin: de Gruyter Mouton.