Professor David Bradley

Professor of Linguistics, Linguistics Co-ordinator

College of Arts, Social Sciences and Commerce

Humanities and Social Sciences

HU2 402, Melbourne (Bundoora)

Research centres

Centre for Research on Language Diversity


AB (Columbia), PhD (London).



Membership of professional associations

Fellow, Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia. Fellow, Australian Academy of Humanities. Vice-President, UNESCO Comite International Permanent des Linguistes.

Area of study


Brief profile

I have conducted extensive research on endangered languages, sociolinguistics, historical linguistics, geolinguistics, language policy and phonetics/phonology in Southeast, East and South Asia over many years, especially on Tibeto-Burman languages, as well as on other languages of these areas and on varieties of English. I am a member of the editorial boards of eight international journals and monograph series, the author, co-author, editor or co-editor of over twenty books and five language atlases, several with translation and/or second and third editions; and of numerous other publications.

Research interests

Chinese Languages

- Language endangerment and Tibeto-Burman languages

Language and Culture in Society

- Sociohistorical linguistics

Linguistic Anthropology

- Phonology and phonetics

Teaching units

  • LIN1LCS - Language Culture and Society
  • LIN1LDD - Language Description and Diversity
  • LIN2PHP - Phonetics
  • LIN2LIS - Language in Society
  • LIN3LAT - Language Across Time
  • LIN3LIA - Language in Asia.
  • LIN4ASL - Advanced Sociolinguisitcs
  • LIN4ARM - Advanced Research Methods 

Recent publications

Selected Articles and Chapters

  • 'Speech through music: the Sino-Tibetan gourd reed-organ' Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies XLII/3: 535-540 1979
  • 'Phonological convergence between languages in contact: Mon-Khmer structural borrowing in Burmese' Berkeley Linguistics Society 6: 259-267 1980
  • 'Identity: the persistence of minority groups' In J McKinnon and W Bhruksasri (eds) Highlanders of Thailand, 46-55. Kuala Lumpur: Oxford University Press 1983; paperback edition 1986
  • 'Traditional minorities and language education in Thailand' In Bradley (ed.), 87-102 1985
  • M Bradley & D Bradley 'Asian students' comprehension of Australian English' In M G Clyne (ed.) Australia, Meeting Place of Languages. Pacific Linguistics C-92, 171-181 1985
  • 'Language planning for China's minorities: the Yi branch' In D C Laycock and W Winter (eds) A World of Language: papers presented to Professor S. A. Wurm on his 65th birthday. Pacific Linguistics C-100, 81-89 1987
  • 'The disappearance of the Ugong in Thailand' In N C Dorian (ed.) Investigating Obsolescence, 33-40. Cambridge: Cambridge U. Press 1988
  • 'Regional dialects in Australian English phonology' In P Collins & D Blair (eds) Australian English: the language of a new society. St. Lucia: U. of Queensland Press 260-270 1989
  • 'Uncles and aunts: Burmese kinship and gender' In J H C S Davison (ed.) Festschrift for E. J. A. Henderson, 147-162. London: School of Oriental and African Studies 1989
  • '/æ/ and /a:/ in Australian English' In J Cheshire (ed.) English Around the World: sociolinguistic perspectives, 227-234. Cambridge: Cambridge U. Press 1991
  • 'Chinese as a pluricentric language' In M G Clyne (ed.) Pluricentric Languages, 305-324. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter 1991
  • 'Building identity and the modernisation of language: minority language policy in Thailand and China' In A. Gomes (ed.) Modernity and Identity: Asian Illustrations, 192-205. Bundoora: Institute of Asian Studies, La Trobe University for Asian Studies Association of Australia 1994
  • Minority language policy and endangered languages in China and Southeast Asia. In K. Matsumura (ed.) Studies in Endangered Languages, 49-83. Tokyo: Hituzi Syobo 1998
  • D. Bradley & M. Bradley Changing attitudes to Australian English. In D. Blair & P. Collins (eds) English in Australia, 271-285. Amsterdam: Benjamins 2001
  • Language Policy for the Yi. In Stevan Harrell (ed.) Perspectives on the Yi of Southwest China, 195-214. Berkeley: University of California Press 2001; Chinese translation appeared in Bamo Ayi (ed.) Papers in Yi Studies, 107-133. Kunming: Yunnan Agricultural Press 2000
  • Counting the family: family group classifiers in Yi Branch languages. Anthropological
  • Attitudes to languages: the key factor in language endangerment. In O. Sakiyama (ed.) Lectures on Endangered Languages 2: 151-161. Endangered Languages of the Pacific Rim Series C002. Kyoto: Nakanishi 2001. Japanese translation to appear 2002.
  • Tibeto-Burman lexicography. In R. Job et al (eds) Lexikographie. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter to appear 2002
  • Sociolinguistics in Southeast Asia. In P. Trudgill et al. (eds) Soziolinguistik. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter to appear 2002
  • Southeast and East Asia. In M. Brenzinger (ed.) Language Diversity Endangered. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter to appear 2002

Selected Books

  • Lahu Dialects. Oriental Monograph No. 23. Canberra: Faculty of Asian Studies and Australian National University Press 1979
  • Proto-Loloish. Scandinavian Institute of Asian Studies Monograph Series No. 39. London and Malmo: Curzon Press 1979
  • Chinese translation published by Sichuan Nationalities Press, 1991 (as well as a previous internally-published version published by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, 1987)
  • D Bradley & M Bradley Problems of Asian Students in Australia: language, culture and education. Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Service 1984
  • Language Policy, Language Planning and Sociolinguistics in South-East Asia. (ed.) Canberra: Pacific Linguistics A-67 1985
  • M Rado, L Foster & D Bradley English Language Needs of Migrant and Refugee Youth. Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Service 1986
  • Burmese Phrasebook. Melbourne: Lonely Planet Publications 1988
  • D Bradley, R D Sussex & G K Scott (eds) Studies in Australian English. Bundoora: Department of Linguistics, La Trobe University for the Australian Linguistic Society 1989
  • D Bradley, P Lewis, C Court & N Jarkey Thailand Hill Tribes Phrasebook. Melbourne: Lonely Planet 1991
  • Country Education Profiles: Myanmar. Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Service 1992
  • A Dictionary of the Northern Dialect of Lisu. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics C-126 1994
  • Studies in Burmese Languages. (ed.) Canberra: Pacific Linguistics A-83 1995
  • Burmese Phrasebook. 2nd edition. Melbourne: Lonely Planet 1997
  • Tibeto-Burman Languages of the Himalayas. (ed.) Canberra: Pacific Linguistics A-86 1997
  • D Bradley et al. Southeast Asian Phrasebook. Melbourne: Lonely Planet 1997
  • D.Bradley & M. Bradley (eds) Language Endangerment and Language Maintenance Lon
  • Several additional book projects are at various stages of preparation including further studies on English in Australia, on various languages of Thailand and China, and on language endangerment and language maintenance in Asia and Australia.

Atlases section - editorship of the following major language atlases

  • S A Wurm and S Hattori Language Atlas - Pacific Area. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics C-66 1981, C-67 1983
  • S A Wurm, B K T'sou and D Bradley Language Atlas of China. Hong Kong: Longmans Part I 1987, Part 2 1991
  • Zhongguo Yuyan Dituji. [Chinese edition of the preceding] Beijing: Social Sciences Press 1987/1991
  • C Moseley & R Asher Atlas of the World's Languages. London: Routledge 1994: Japanse translation 2000.
  • S A Wurm Atlas of Endangered Languages. Paris: UNESCO 1996. Second edition 2001.
  • S A Wurm, P Mühlhäusler & D Tryon Atlas of Languages for Intercultural Communication. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter 1996
  • Ongoing atlas projects include a computer map database funded by ARC and a survey of the linguistic situation in SW China funded by UNESCO and ARC from 1997.


  • Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies
  • Anthropological Linguistics
  • Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society
  • Australian Journal of Linguistics, etc, 1983 to present.