Nicholas (Nick) Evans is a Distinguished Professor of Linguistics, and Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language (CoEDL).

He has carried out wide-ranging fieldwork on indigenous languages of Australia and Papua New Guinea. More broadly, his driving interests are the interplay between the diversity contained in the world’s endangered languages and the many scientific and humanistic questions they can help us answer about human history, culture, mind and society. He has also worked in Native Title claims, as an interpreter of Aboriginal art, and a translator of Aboriginal oral literature.

Besides book-length grammars and dictionaries of several Aboriginal languages and numerous edited collections, he has published more than 200 scientific papers. His grammars and dictionaries include grammars of the Australian languages Kayardild (1995) and Bininj Gunwok (2003), dictionaries of Kayardild (1992), Dalabon (2004, with Francesca Merlan and Maggie Tukumba) and Nen (2019; online in Dictionaria seres).

His popular book Dying Words: Endangered Languages and What They Have to Tell Us (2010) has been translated into French, Japanese, Korean, and German and is due to appear in a second edition in 2022, with the revised title Words of Wonder: What Endangered Languages Can Tell Us.

Fields of expertise

More information

ANU researcher page



Translating COVID messages vital for Indigenous health

COVID-19 has underlined the urgent need for a coordinated national framework of interpreters and translation services for Australia’s Indigenous languages, say leading experts.  Indigenous community members, academics and language researchers…

30 June 2020

Subscribe to ANU Reporter