Reciprocals across languages

A project funded by the Australian Research Council, under the Discovery Grant Scheme (Project ID DP0343354)

Timeframe: 2003-2005


Reciprocity lies at the heart of social organisation and human evolution, and the world’s 5000 languages all represent distinct solutions to the problem of how to represent and reason about reciprocity, using the resources of grammar, lexicon, prosody, gesture, and inference from context. This project examined how reciprocity is expressed, and the different subtypes of reciprocal meaning, by carrying out detailed linguistic fieldwork on fourteen little-known languages of Australia and its region. The fieldwork on the un-described (and in many cases endangered) languages was supplemented by a typological survey of how the various notions of reciprocity are expressed in languages around the world, and on the coding or reciprocity in grammar.

Project publications

The following works can be downloaded as pdfs

Project personnel

NameRole Email address
Nicholas Evans Chief Investigator
Rachel NordlingerCo-Chief Investigator
Ulrike Zeshan Partner Investigator
Steve Levinson Partner Investigator
Leila Behrens Visiting Researcher
Ruth Singer PhD Student
Alice Gaby PhD Student
Sebastian Fedden PhD Student
Peter Hurst PhD Student
Meladel Mistika Research Assistant
Ian Tupper Research Assistant
Alan Lee Research Assistant/
Web-site Maintenance

Further information