RMW Dixon

Professor RMW Dixon

  • Post Nominals: FAHA, FBA
  • Fellow Type: Fellow
  • Elected to the Academy: 1982
  • Section(s): Linguistics


RMW (Robert Malcolm Ward Dixon) is a Professor of Linguistics at The Cairns Institute, James Cook University, Queensland, and formerly Director of the Research Centre for Linguistic Typology at La Trobe University. In 1996, Dixon and Alexandra Aikhenvald established the Research Centre for Linguistic Typology at The Australian National University, and in early 2009, the Language and Culture Research Group (LCRG) at James Cook University. RMW Dixon has written on many areas of linguistic theory and fieldwork, being particularly noted for his work on the Aboriginal languages of Australia. He has published grammars of Dyirbal and Yidiny as well as non-Australian languages such as Boumaa Fijian and Jarawara. He is the author of a number of books including The Rise and Fall of Languages, Australian Languages: Their Nature and Development Cambridge University Press and Ergativity. In addition to scholarly works, Dixon also published, in 1983, a memoir of his early fieldwork in Australia, Searching For Aboriginal Languages. Additionally, Dixon is the co-author, with John Godrich, of the definitive discography of American prewar blues and gospel recordings, Blues and Gospel Records: 1890 1943. Membership of Learned Societies; Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy (elected 1998); Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities (elected 1982); Member of Linguistic Society of America since 1962; elected Honorary Member 1987 (the number of Honorary Members is limited to 40 by the LSA constitution; they are spread over 25 countries); Member of the Australian Linguistic Society since 1977; Vice-President 1977-80; President 1980-82; Member of the Philological Society, London, since 1962.

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.