Nick Thieberger

Associate Professor Nick Thieberger

  • Post Nominals: FAHA
  • Fellow Type: Fellow
  • Elected to the Academy: 2021
  • Section(s): Linguistics


Nick Thieberger makes language materials secure and re-usable both for speakers of the language and for current and future researchers. He set up the Pilbara Aboriginal Language Centre in 1988, then moved to Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies to create the Aboriginal Studies Electronic Data Archive in 1991. He worked at the Vanuatu Cultural Centre in the mid-1990s and wrote a grammar of Nafsan from Efate in the late 1990s, followed by a dictionary published in 2021. When doing that research he developed a method for creating and exploring a linguistic media corpus that allowed all examples to be cited to primary recordings. This led him to work as part of a team to establish a digital archive, the Pacific and Regional Archive for Digital Sources in Endangered Cultures ( in 2003. He set up the archive Kaipuleohone at the University of Hawai’i in 2008.

He is interested in digital research methods and their potential to improve research practice and is developing methods for creation of reusable data sets from fieldwork on previously unrecorded languages. He was awarded a Ludwig Leichhardt-Jubiläumsstipendium from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in November 2012. In 2021 he received the the Australasian Council of Deans of Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (DASSH) award for Research Partnership and Social Impact. He is the editor of the journal Language Documentation & Conservation. He taught in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Hawai’i at MaÌ„noa and is now an Associate Professor in the School of Languages and Linguistics, University of Melbourne.

Acknowledgement of Country

The Australian Academy of the Humanities recognises Australia’s First Nations Peoples as the traditional owners and custodians of this land, and their continuous connection to country, community and culture.