Alan Jones

Dr Alan Jones


Research activity per year

Personal profile

Research interests

For some time I focused on the terminology of emotions in several Austronesian languages spoken in the west of Central Province, Papua New Guinea, in particular Mekeo and Kuni. However, of late I have been working more on achieving an understanding of a particular set of origin-of-death myths from south-east Papua New Guinea in which the origin of death is inextricably and very explicitly linked to the origin of culture.

I have two projected papers on the grammar of Mekeo, the Austronesian language that I initially described for my doctorate (see Towards a Lexicogrammar of Mekeo. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics. 1998). The first paper deals with an emergent passive voice in Mekeo and related languages, the second with the somewhat unusual consonantal inventories of the four Mekeo dialects. 

In 2013, 2014 and 2015 I published book chapters dealing with discourse and communication in the context of professional accounting practice. In the first I focused on the role of communicative expertise in accounting work, while the second (with Samantha Sin) deals with the nature of critical thinking in accountancy.

Publications on professional discourse, discourses of ethics, and trust:

Jones, A. and Sin, S. (2013). Achieving professional trustworthiness: Communicative expertise and identity work in professional accounting practice. In Christopher Candlin and Jonathan Crichton (Eds), Discourses of Trust. Palgrave.

Jones, A. (2014). Communicative dimensions of professional accounting work. In Vijay Bhatia and Stephen Bremner (eds.), Routledge Handbook of Language and Professional Communication. Routledge.

Sin, S., Jones, A. and Wang, Z. (2015), Critical thinking in professional accounting practice: Conceptions of employers and practitioners. In Martin Davies and Ron Barnett (Eds), The Routledge Handbook of Critical Thinking in Higher Education. Routledge.

Townley, A. and Jones, A. (2016).The role of emails and covering letters in negotiating a legal contract: A case study from Turkey. English for Specific Purposes 44: 68-81.

Jones, A. and Sin, S. (2018). Ethical positioning in the self-reflective accounts of professional accountants. Journal of Applied Linguistics and Professional Practice (JALPP) 13(1-3). Special Issue.

Anthropological publications:

Jones, A. (2013). Mythic origins of moral evil: Moral fatalism and the tragic self-conception of the Mekeo. Journal of the Polynesian Society 122(4): 333-371.

Jones, A. (2015). Disparate dimensions of a Mekeo socio-moral order: Values, emotions and dispositions in language, discourse and practice. The Australian Journal of Anthropology, 26(3), 365-380.

Most recent publications:

Jones, A. (2019). The Many Dimensions of a Kuni Folktale (“How a Flightless Bird Put the Moon’s Eyes Out”). Anthropos 114.2019/2, pp. 417-436.

Jones, A. (2020). Encoding Emotions in Kuni, an Oceanic Language of Papua New Guinea. Oceanic Linguistics 59(1-2): 1-36.


I continue translating and analysing grammatically Mekeo, Kuni and Motu folktales and myths.

Past supervisions

Anthony Townley PhD. Analysis of Authentic Legal Negotiation Discourse: Towards and ELP Pedagogy.

Mahmud Khan PhD. Medium of Instruction (MOI) Policy as a Symptom of Nationhood: A Critical Analysis of MOI Policy Discourse in Malaysia. 

Kong Wo Tang PhD.  A Critical Study of Discourse and Interaction in the Australian Migration Review Tribunal (MRT).

Kevin Knight PhD. Discourses of Leadership in Educational Institutions.

Dana Skopal PhD. Exploring the Concept of Communicative Expertise: The Relationship between Features of the Written Text and Perceptions of Readability.

Janet Brady PhD. A Discourse Approach to the Interactions and Learning that Accompany the Transition to Management.

Jihuan (Ally) Xu PhD. The temporal (re-)construal of experience: How native speakers of English and advanced Chinese learners select and interpret simple past/present tenses.

David Rear PhD. The Challenge of Higher Education in Japan: Perceptions of Human Resource Managers regarding the Attributes, Skills and Competencies of Graduates from Japanese Universities.

Heather Jackson PhD. Trust Work: Discursive Investigations of How Trust is Established, Developed and Evidenced in Organisation-Stakeholder Relationships.

Several of my published and unpublished works can be downloaded from my web page: or from Researchgate.


PhD (ANU), BA Hons (Sydney)

Researcher's projects

I am a consultant on the following funded research project:

Towards Maximising Graduate Employment Competitiveness in the National Asia Capable Workforce: Honing Transcultural Capabilities and Skills. (Strategic Priority Grant, Macquarie University)

PI: Dr Samantha Sin, Macquarie University.

Expertise Areas

  • Linguistic Anthropology
  • Social and Cultural Anthropology
  • Applied Linguistics and Educational Linguistics
  • Discourse and Pragmatics
  • Language in Culture and Society (Sociolinguistics)
  • Linguistic Structures (incl. Grammar, Phonology, Lexicon, Semantics)


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