Adam Schembri

Professor Adam Schembri

  • Post Nominals: FAHA
  • Fellow Type: Corresponding Fellow
  • Elected to the Academy: 2022


Adam Schembri is Professor of Linguistics in the Department of English Language and Linguistics at the University of Birmingham. He came to Birmingham in 2016, after having been Associate Professor in Linguistics at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia, and director of the Centre for Research on Language Diversity . Prior to that he was Senior Research Fellow at the Deafness Cognition and Language Research Centre at University College London, after having held a postdoctoral fellowship on both the Australian Research Council ‘Sociolinguistic Variation in Auslan’ and the Endangered Languages Documentation Programme ‘Auslan Corpus’ projects at the University of Newcastle and Macquarie University in Australia.

Adam specialises in the linguistic study of sign languages of deaf communities, particularly Auslan (the majority sign language of Australia) and British Sign Language (BSL). He has co-authored an introductory textbook on the linguistics of Auslan with Trevor Johnston, and a volume on sociolinguistics and deaf communities with Ceil Lucas, both published by Cambridge University Press. Adam has published over 50 journal articles and book chapters on sign language linguistics, on topics related to sign language lexis and lexicography, morphosyntax, psycholinguistics, language assessment, language variation and change, and comparative studies of sign languages and gesture. His work has contributed to the creation of a number of online sign language documentation projects, including Auslan Signbank and BSL Signbank, and both the Auslan and BSL corpus projects. He has given invited and plenary talks in the UK, USA, Australia, New Zealand, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Finland, the Czech Republic, South Korea, and Japan. He is currently the Principal Investigator of the European Research Council funded ‘SignMorph’ project, with a team of researchers studying the grammar of signed languages in Israel/Palestine, Nepal, and Indonesia.


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.