Carol Priestley

Dr Carol Priestley


Research activity per year

Personal profile


Carol lived in Papua New Guinea from the age of ten developing an interest in languages and cultures while growing up in the Eastern Highlands language areas of Yagaria, Gahuku/Alekano and BenaBena and then living and working in Koromu (Kesawai) in the Ramu Valley (Madang Province) where she began to record data and stories on language and culture. After living in Koromu for a few years she had the opportunity to study and complete a BA Joint Honours degree in Anthropology and Linguistics at University College London. Moving from life in one of the smallest villages on the planet to one of the largest cities was a major cross cultural experience that has informed understanding in her later teaching and research. With this and a Posgraduate Certificate in teaching from North Wales she taught English as an Additional Language in Japan, the UK and Australia and made several working visits back to Koromu.

Carol studied for a Masters in Linguistics at the Australian National University (ANU) including coursework and fieldwork on the morphosyntax of Koromu verbs and serial verb constructions. This was followed by fieldwork and a PhD thesis (ANU) on the grammar and information structure of Koromu (Kesawai) with discoveries that particles which appear to be syntactic are major discourse features. This has been revised and published as a book. She has carried out further research on various aspects of Koromu language and culture and language documentation that are important for language maintenance, education and health. She has also researched aspects of Tok Pisin he Cognitive Creolistics research is based on long term involvement in Tok Pisin and Pacific Creoles with Carsten Levisen including a month's research at Aarhus University Denmark. Research on borrowing in languages of north east New Guinea linked to cultural encounters in the late 1800s resulted from a discussion with two ANU historians and a shared interest in the impact of early encounters with Russian on speakers of the Rai Coast and many miles inland. Over recent years Carol has had an intensive teaching position in Academic Skills for undergraduate and postgraduate Indigenous and regional students of the University of Wollongong. Thankfully, she still managed to complete revisions of Koromu grammar and information structure resulting in publication in 2020.

Research interests

Papuan Languages, Grammar and Information structure, Semantics, Language and Culture, Language Documentation 

Researcher's projects

2014Endangered Languages Fund: Koromu culture & traditional environmental knowledge

2014 Cognitive Creolistics project, Aarhus University, Denmark (Funded by Aarhus) 2014

2013Foundation of Endangered Languages: Koromu: Development of Reading & Audio-visual materials

2012Christensen Fund: Saem Majnep Symposium, ANU Resource Management, Asia-Pacific Program

2009 Pilot Linkage Grant, ANU – Chief Investigator with Lila San Roque and Ruth Spriggs, A preliminary survey of vernacular literacy education opportunities in three language groups in Papua New Guinea




PhD Linguistics (ANU), MA First Class Honours Linguistics (ANU), PGCE TESOL & English, (University of North Wales - Bangor), BA Honours Anthropology & Linguistics (University of London)

Expertise Areas

  • Discourse and Pragmatics
  • Linguistic Structures (incl. Grammar, Phonology, Lexicon, Semantics)


Dive into the research topics where Carol Priestley is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
  • 1 Similar Profiles