Dr Julie Barbour

Convenor of Linguistics, Senior Lecturer, Human Research Ethics Committee Chair

Qualifications: BA (English & Linguistics) Waikato; MA (Linguistics) (Hons) Auckland; CTEFLA RSA/Cambridge; PhD (Linguistics) Waikato

School of Arts




Language Documentation and Description; Oceanic Linguistics; Linguistic Typology; Field Methodology; Vernacular Literacy, Ethics.

Research Interests

Julie's research interests are in the general areas of language documentation and description of the Oceanic language family. Within this, she has developed interests in linguistic typology, particularly morphological systems associated with the verb, in anthropological linguistics, and in vernacular literacy.

She completed her doctoral research on the Neverver language, funded by a graduate studentship from HRELP. Her project was published as A grammar of Neverver. She has been working on a comparative study of Vanuatu languages in general, and Malekula languages in particular. The Exploring Mood in the Oceanic languages of Vanuatu project was funded by a Fast Start grant the Royal Society's Marsden Fund. The Malekula Languages Project (also Malakula) is now the focus of her long term research interests. She has supported a number of research students in the field, and in 2015 and 2016 she led a team including Dr. Nicola Daly (FEDU) and four student linguists to participant a Vanuatu Ministry of Education workshop to develop literacy materials for seven of Malekula's languages.

The Malekula Languages Project houses Terry Crowley's archived research data from Malekula, and has developed working corpora for the following languages: Neverver, Neve'ei (in collaboration with Jill Musgrave), Avava, Naman, V'enen Taut (in collaboration with student Royce Dodd), Uripiv/Northeast Malekula (in collaboration with missionary linguist Ross McKerras), Larevet, Malua Bay/Espiegles Bay (in collaboration with former students Kanauhea Wessels and Roxanna Holmes) and Ninde (in collaboration with speaker Leina Isno). Additionally, the project is supporting the development of literacy materials for Maskelynes/Uluveu (in collaboration with David and Sue Healey), Lamap, V'ao,  and Tirax/Mae.

Julie supervises masters (APPL594) and doctoral (LING900) student research with descriptive and typological aims. She particularly welcomes inquiries from students with an interest in the languages of Malekula, Vanuatu.

Featured Publications

Barbour, Julie. 2012. A Grammar of Neverver. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Recent Publications

  • Barbour, J. R., & William, C. (2017). Writing Lamap: the representation of person markers. Language and Linguistics in Melanesia, 35, 132-151.

  • Daly, N., & Barbour, J. (2017). Teachers’ understandings of the role of translation in vernacular language maintenance in Malekula: some early thoughts. Wellington Working Papers in Linguistics: Linguistic travels in time and space: Festschrift for Liz Pearce, 23, 29-34.

  • Barbour, J. (2016). Undergraduate linguistics and human research ethics. Te Reo, 59, 71-89.

  • Barbour, J. (2016). An account of possession in Larevet. Language and Linguistics in Melanesia, 34(1), 139-163.

View all research publications by Julie Barbour

Papers Taught



PhD(Education) Gayleen Tarosa (enrolled 2016) Induction of secondary school teachers in Vanuatu

PhD(Linguistics) Royce Dodd. (enrolled 2016). Northwest Malekula: A study of verbal mophology.

PhD(Linguistics) Tihomir Rangelov. (enrolled 2017). Axamb: An endangered language of Malekula.

MA(Applied) Jean Murray. (enrolled). Ninde: topics in nominal and verbal morphology.

MA(Applied) Alice Moore. (enrolled). A grammar sketch of Uripiv.

MA(Applied) Claudia Williams. (enrolled). A grammar sketch of Lamap.


PhD (Linguistics) Daryl Macdonald. (2017). Information structure in the Oceanic Languages.

MA(Applied) Royce Dodd. (2015). V'enen Taut: Grammatical topics in the Big Nambas language of Malekula.

MA(Applied) Roxanna Holmes. (2014). Espiegles Bay: Grammatical Topics.

DEd Mark Holt. (2014).  Writing Lawa: Stimulating indigenous ownership of vernacular literacy through action research.

MA(Applied) Kanauhea Wessels. (2013). Malua Bay: A grammar of the Malua Bay language (Malekula, Vanuatu).

MA(Applied) Daryl Macdonald. (2010). A grammar sketch of Kwaraqae (Solomon Islands).

Associations and Memberships

Linguistics Society of New Zealand (Waikato Executive member)

Association of Linguistic Typology (member)

Vanuatu Languages Group (member)

Contact Details

Name  Extn.  Username  Room  Department
Barbour, Dr Julie 9336 jbarbour I.3.12 Linguistics/Applied Linguistics