Dr Donna

Dr Donna Starks

Associate Professor

College of Arts, Social Sciences and Commerce


Department of Education

Room/Location EDU1: 518, Melbourne (Bundoora)


PhD (Manitoba), MLAD(USQ),MPhil, BA (Newfoundland)



Area of study

Applied Linguistics

Brief profile

Donna Starks is an Associate Professor in Language Education based on the Bundoora campus. She has research and teaching interests in all issues dealing with language and identity. For her PhD dissertation, she wrote a description of Woods Cree, a First Nations language spoken in Canada’s North West. More recently, she has worked with Japanese, Korean and Pasifika communities on a number of language revitalisation projects. Her work considers the interplay of first and second languages, particularly the development of ethnic varieties of English, language alternation and language attrition. Recent projects have focussed on the accented Englishes and how they are used as expressions of identity and the study of the communicative practices of Vietnamese alumni. She has completed a number of school-based projects on students’ attitudes towards languages and language policy in New Zealand and is currently working on a project on Australian nicknames and Australian adolescent views towards migration and identity.

Teaching units

EDU4UET Understanding English for Teaching

EDU5DAS Discourse Analysis

EDU5BLE Bilingualism and Bilingual  Education

Recent publications

(i) Scholarly Books

Taylor-Leech, Kerry and Donna Starks (eds.). 2016. Doing research within Communities: Stories and lessons from language and education research. Abington: Routledge. 

Nicholas, Howard and Donna Starks. 2014. Language Education and Applied Linguistics: Bridging the Two Fields. London: Routledge.

Bell, Allan, Ray Harlow and Donna Starks (eds.). 2005. Languages of New Zealand. Wellington: Benjamins/Victoria University Press.

(ii) Scholarly book chapters

Donna Starks and Howard Nicholas 2017. Multiplicity: Potential applications for heritage language education and pedagogy. In Peter Pericles Trifonas and Themistoklis Aravossitas (Eds), International handbook of heritage language education research and pedagogy. Springer.

Starks, Donna. 2017. Working with K-12 students. Case study: research in schools. Christine Mallinson, Becky Childs and Gerard van Herk (eds). Data Collection in sociolinguistics: Methods and application (2nd edition).  New York: Routledge.

Tukuitonga, Kara, Donna Starks and Jason Brown. 2016. Labelling community and language. Doing Research within communities: Stories and lessons from language and education research. Abington: Routledge.

Starks, Donna and Kerry Taylor-Leech. 2016. Connecting practice to theory. Doing Research within communities: Stories and lessons from Language and education research. Abington: Routledge.

Starks, Donna; Gibson, Andy and Allan Bell. 2014. Pasifika Englishes. In Jeff P. Williams, Edgar W. Schneider, Peter Trudgill and Daniel Schreier (eds.), Further Studies in Lesser Known Varieties of English II, 288–304. Amsterdam. Benjamins.

Massam, Diane; Starks, Donna and Ofania Ikiua. 2011. Questions and answers in Niuean. In Joachim Sabel and Claire de Moyse (eds.), Oceanic Morpho-Syntax, 65–106. Amsterdam: Mouton de Gruyter.

Thompson, Laura; Watson, Catherine and Donna Starks. 2009. Finding one’s own vowel space: an acoustic analysis of the English of Niuean New Zealanders. In Thomas Hoffman and Lucia Siebers (eds.), World Englishes: Problems – Properties and Prospects. Varieties of English around the World G40, 83–92. Amsterdam: Benjamins.

 (iii) Refereed Journal Articles

Starks, Donna and Howard Nicholas. 2017. “Have you noticed any changes in the way you communicate”?:  Vietnamese alumni after their Australian university experiences. Journal of Intercultural Communication.

Starks, Donna and Louisa Willoughby. 2015. The metapragmatic discourses of Australian High School students on language, migration and belonging. Language and Intercultural Communication 15/4: 550-566.  

Taylor-Leech, Kerry, Donna Starks and Louisa Willoughby. 2015. Adolescent nicknaming as a rich linguistic and pedagogical resource for teachers.  Australian Journal of Education. 59/1: 1-14.

Willoughby, Louisa; Starks, Donna and Kerry Taylor-Leech. 2015. What their friends say about the way they talk: the meta-language of pre-adolescent and adolescent Australians. Language Awareness 24/1: 84-100.  doi: 10.1080/09658416.2014.977387 [Published online 6 Feb 2015].

Taylor-Leech, Kerry; Starks, Donna and Louisa Willoughby. 2015. Adolescent nicknaming as a rich linguistic and pedagogical resource for teachers. Australian Journal of Education 59/1: 1–14.

Rolle, Nicholas and Donna Starks. 2014. Vowel length in Niuean. Oceanic Linguistics 53/2: 273–299.

Willoughby, Louisa; Starks, Donna and Kerry Taylor-Leech. 2013. Is the cultural cringe alive and kicking? Adolescent mythscapes of Australian English in Queensland and Victoria. Australian Journal of Linguistics 33: 31–50.

Starks, Donna; Taylor-Leech, Kerry and Louisa Willoughby 2012. Nicknames in Australian secondary schools. Names 60/3: 135–149.

Starks, Donna; Nicholas Howard and Shem Macdonald. 2012. Structured reflective communication as a metagenre in teacher education: creative uses of ‘critique’ in a language teacher education program. Australian Journal of Teacher Education 37/3, paper 3.

Hatoss, Aniko; van Rensburg, Henriette and Donna Starks. 2011. Finding one's own linguistic space: views on English, Afrikaans and identity in a semi-urban Australian context. Sociolinguistic Studies 5/2: 257–289.

Starks, Donna and Kerry Taylor-Leech. 2011. A research project on nicknames and adolescent identities. New Zealand Studies in Applied Linguistics 17/2: 87–97.

Hatoss, Aniko; Starks, Donna and Henriette van Rensburg. 2011. Language maintenance in an Australian Afrikaans community. Australian Review of Applied Linguistics 34/1: 4–23.

Nicholas, Howard; Starks, Donna and Shem Macdonald. 2011. Relating ‘knowing’ and ‘doing’ in language teacher professional learning: an in-service teacher workshop for language teachers. TESOL in Context 21: 23–41.

Starks, Donna and Jeong Kim. 2010. Rethinking methodology: what language diaries can offer for the study of code choice. Language Awareness 19/4: 233–248.

Starks, Donna. 2010. Being Niuean or being Niue? An investigation into identity labels. Language, Identity and Education 9/2: 124–138.

Kim, Sun Hee Ok and Donna Starks. 2010. The role of Korean fathers in L1 maintenance and L2 learning. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism 13/3: 285–330.

Starks, Donna and Laura Thompson. 2009. There’s not many Niueans: singular/plural agreement in existential constructions in the New Zealand Niuean community. World Englishes 28/3: 319–335.

Van Rensburg, Henriette; Hatoss, Aniko and Donna Starks. 2008.  L1 literacy amongst Generation 1b: a study of an Australian South African community. New Zealand Studies in Applied Linguistics 14: 83–92.

Kim, Sun Hee Ok and Donna Starks. 2008. The role of emotions in L1 attrition: the case of Korean-English late bilinguals in New Zealand. International Journal of Bilingualism 12: 303–319.

Starks, Donna. 2008. Potential variables for the study of grammatical variation in Niuean English. Journal of New Zealand English 22: 36–44.

Research projects

Australian Adolescent English Project with Louisa Willoughby (Monash University) and Kerry Taylor-Leech (Griffith)

Multiplicity Project (with Howard Nicholas)