Gavin Austin's profile picture Gavin Austin

Member of USQ

Current position

Lecturer (Applied Linguistics)
School of Education
Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts
University of Southern Queensland
Tel.: +61 7 4631 1934
Applied Linguistics and TESOL at USQ:


About me

My main area of teaching and research is second language acquisition, though I also have expertise in general linguistics and quantitative research methods. As the majority of my students at the University of Southern Queensland are language teachers, I am able to draw upon my own experience in TESOL to help students forge meaningful links between pedagogical theory and practice. In addition to lecturing at tertiary level, I have worked as an English language instructor in Japan and Australia, and as an IELTS examiner.

Education history

Thesis title: 'Asymmetries in L2 functional morphology: The Korean learner of English'

Cambridge/RSA Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults (CELTA) at University of Technology Sydney
1997 - 1997

Master's by coursework and thesis / GPA: 6.9 out of 7.0 / thesis title: 'The morphological causative in colloquial Sinhala' (grade: High Distinction)

major: Ancient Greek / minor: linguistics / other subjects: (transferred from BSc) mathematics, chemistry, physics


Employment history

Assistant Specialisation Coordinator (Language and Culture) School of Education, University of Southern Queensland
2016 - 2019
Lecturer (Applied Linguistics) School of Education, University of Southern Queensland
2012 - present
English language instructor English Language Centre, University of New England
2004 - 2011
Teaching assistant Dept of English, University of New England
2009 - 2009
Lecturer (level B); teaching assistant Dept of Linguistics, University of New England
2005 - 2007
IELTS examiner English Language Centre, University of New England
2004 - 2005
Lecturer (English for Academic Purposes) Sydney Institute of Business and Technology
2002 - 2004
English language instructor Centre for Macquarie English, Macquarie University
2001 - 2004
Lecturer (English as a Foreign Language) Kyoto University of Foreign Studies, Japan
2000 - 2001
English language instructor ECC (English conversation school), Osaka, Japan
1999 - 2001
Lecturer (English as a Foreign Language) Kansai Gaidai University, Osaka, Japan
1999 - 2001
English language instructor Nova (English conversation school), Osaka, Japan
1998 - 1999
English language instructor (voluntary) Asylum Seekers Centre, Sydney
1998 - 1998

Certifications, accreditations and awards

based on student evaluations of teaching performance in the course 'LIN5000 The Nature of Language'

Australian Postgraduate Award, University of New England
IELTS examiner accreditation
Badham Bursary in Classics, University of Sydney

Publications and presentations

in press

Austin, G., & O’Neill, S. (Eds.).. Stimulating languages and learning: Global perspectives and community engagement. Blue Mounds, WI: Deep University Press.

Austin, G., & O’Neill, S.. Introduction. In G. Austin & S. O’Neill (Eds.), Stimulating languages and learning: Global perspectives and community engagement (pp. 1-2). Blue Mounds, WI: Deep University Press.


Nguyen, H. T. L., & Austin, G.. Follow-up visits in doctor-patient communication: The Vietnamese case. International Journal of Society, Culture & Language, 6(1), 18-30. Available at

Nguyen, H. T. L., & Austin, G.. On invoking third parties in Vietnamese medical communication. Theory and Practice in Language Studies, 8(7), 713-725.

Nguyen, H. T. L., Austin, G., & Chau, D. D.. Treatment recommendation in Vietnamese medical consultations. PEOPLE: International Journal of Social Sciences, 3(3), 1010-1027.

Nguyen, H. T. L., Austin, G., Chau, D. D., Nguyen, H. Q., Nguyen, K. H. B., & Duong, M. T.. Eliciting patients’ health concerns in consulting rooms and wards in Vietnamese public hospitals. International Journal of Applied Linguistics & English Literature, 7(2), 121-133. [Q2]


Austin, G.. Prosodic transfer across constructions and domains. Paper presented at the 2015 International Conference on Deep Languages Education Policy and Practices, Ipswich, Australia.

Austin, G., Pongpairoj, N., & Trenkic, D.. Articles and plurals in L2 production: Effects of NP complexity. Paper presented at the Bilingualism Symposium: Theory, Practice and Innovation: Social, Cognitive and Linguistic Perspectives in the Study of Bilingualism, Sydney, Australia.

Austin, G., Pongpairoj, N., & Trenkic, D.. Structural competition in second language production: Towards a constraint-satisfaction model. Language Learning, 65(3), 689-722. doi:10.1111/lang.12108 [Q1]


Trenkic, D., Austin, G., & Pongpairoj, N.. Competition between L1- and L2-licensed structures leads to variability in functional morphology production. Paper presented at the 9th International Symposium on Bilingualism (ISB 9), Singapore.


Trenkic, D., Austin, G., & Pongpairoj, N.. Competition between articles and plurals in L2 production, when the L1 has neither. Paper presented at the 22nd Annual Conference of the European Second Language Association (EUROSLA 22), Poznań, Poland.


Austin, G., & McDouall, A.. One problem with one theory of variability in L2 article production. Paper presented at the Winter International Conference on Linguistics in Seoul (WICLIS 2011), Korea.


Austin, G., & McDouall, A.. Syntactic misanalysis in L2 article production: A developmental perspective. Paper presented at the Linguistic Society of Korea, 2010 Winter Conference (LSK 2010), Seoul, Korea.

Austin, G., & McDouall, A.. Measuring the effects of word structure on L2 article misanalysis. Paper presented at The 12th Seoul International Conference on Generative Grammar (SICOGG 12), Korea.

Austin, G.. The Number Sensitivity Hypothesis: Accounting for asymmetries in L2 plural production. Paper presented at the Japan Second Language Association Annual Conference (J-SLA 2010), Gifu City, Japan.

Austin, G.. Number sensitization in plural production: Support from Korean speakers of English. Paper presented at the 2010 Seoul International Conference on Linguistics (SICOL 2010), Korea.

Austin, G.. Articles competing with plurals in L2 production. Paper presented at the 12th Annual International Conference of the Japanese Society for Language Sciences (JSLS 2010), Tokyo, Japan.


Austin, G., & McDouall, A.. The Syntactic Misanalysis Hypothesis: Support from Korean speakers of English. Paper presented at the 2009 Applied Linguistics Association of Korea Annual Conference (ALAK 2009), Seoul, Korea.

Austin, G., & McDouall, A.. Explaining variability in article production by Korean speakers of English. Paper presented at the 2009 International Asian Conference on Education (ACE 2009), Osaka, Japan.


Austin, G.. Causativization in Sinhala. Paper accepted for presentation at the Thirteenth International Lexical-Functional Grammar Conference (LFG08), Sydney, Australia.

Austin, G.. Constraint splitting and article typology: Evidence from Sinhala. Poster presented at the 2008 Australian Linguistics Society Annual Conference (ALS 2008), Sydney, Australia.

Austin, G.. From parameters to constraints: Explaining alternations in causee expression. Paper presented at the 18th International Congress of Linguists (CIL 18): Workshop on Argument Realization in Asian Languages, Seoul, Korea.


Austin, G.. Optimality in argument fusion: The morphological causative in Sinhala. Paper presented at the Linguistic Society of New Zealand 17th Biennial Conference (LSNZ 2007), Hamilton, New Zealand.


Research grants

Trenkic, D., Austin, G., & Pongpairoj, N. (2011). Repeating and retelling stories in English: Variability in the production of grammar by Thai learners of English. University of York Research Priming Grant (₤335).


Research interests and supervisory expertise

main areas:

  • second language acquisition
  • general linguistics (especially syntax)
  • quantitative research methods
    • specialties: mixed-effects regression modelling, Bayesian statistics
    • programming: R, Python
    • software: SPSS

other areas:

  • psycholinguistics
  • quantitative corpus linguistics
  • Asian languages and linguistics (especially Sinhala, Korean and Vietnamese)
  • linguistics and psychotherapy
  • linguistics and music

Here are some specific topic areas that I would be interested in supervising in:

The syntax-semantics interface

Variability in the acquisition of the syntax-semantics interface by second language learners

Variability in the acquisition of functional morphology by second language learners

The use of figurative language in descriptions of music and musical performance

These are just examples: other topics are possible as well. Please contact me to suggest one.

I particularly welcome expressions of interest from non-native speakers of English.


Higher-degree research supervision


starting soon

Khalil, A.. The acquisition of Arabic by English-speaking learners: A test of the Interpretability Hypothesis. (principal supervisor: 80%)

in progress

Bader, S.. The Interface Hypothesis in L2 acquisition: Arabic learners of English. (principal supervisor: 80%)

Chau, D.. The acquisition of argument-structure alternations by Vietnamese learners of English. (principal supervisor: 80%)


Nguyen, H.. Seeking information in a medical setting: Vietnamese doctor-patient interaction. (associate supervisor: 55%)




Launonen, P.. The effect of participation in the bilingual education program in Spain on the development of vocabulary knowledge in the student's L1.

Long, P.. Educators' perceptions of substance abuse among secondary students in Mauritius: A case study.


Iles, L.. Scoring and validating an in-house EFL multi-level oral interview placement test.

Weil, B.. The effects of indirect feedback codes on the written grammatical accuracy of ESL students.


King, D.. The effects of TESOL teaching on the English language skills of Middle Eastern international students in post-graduate programs in Australian universities: A critical review of the literature.

Mcdonald, S.. The ability of the Pearson Test of Education Academic (PTE) to predict understanding of speech in noise.

Robinson, R.. Gender discrimination mars the right to equality and the right to (tertiary) education for the Hijra community in India: A case study of Lakshmi Narayan Tripathi.


Kachel, B.. Perceptions of a one-to-one tablet program: A focus on foreign language learning.


Nguyen, V.. Can Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) improve Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC) listening skills?


Wakefield, J.. Acquisition of topics, auxiliaries, and non-verbal predication in English-Cantonese interlanguage: A test of the Full Transfer/Full Access Hypothesis.


Teaching at USQ

LIN5000 The Nature of Language (i.e., introductory linguistics)

LIN5001 Teaching English Grammar

LIN8001 Principles of Second Language Learning 

LIN8015 Introduction to Sociolinguistics


Student feedback

Here is some unsolicited feedback on my supervisory performance from a doctoral student:

First and foremost, I am deeply grateful to my supervisor, Dr. Gavin Austin, whose faith and confidence in me has made my dream possible. Gavin’s insightful suggestions and comments on every detail of this thesis stimulated my thinking considerably, and helped me to reach a better understanding of my analysis. Although Gavin was often busy trying to meet other deadlines, he always gave me prompt feedback on every part of my work, and supported me personally and professionally.

Here is some unsolicited and anonymous feedback on my teaching performance in LIN5000 and LIN8001:

Gavin was extremely supportive of any queries, no matter how small. His manner was always very approachable and I feel he created a very relaxed feeling between us all. It would have been, I feel a great experience to have been part of his classes at USQ. I feel this experience has added to the quality of my pedagogy as an educator.

I would like to thank my professor, Gavin, for being very dedicated, involved and helpful with his “online” students. I never felt left out of his class. On the contrary, his prompt responses to my questions and knowledgeable comments on the forums inspired me to continue learning more about the Nature of Language. I hope I can have him as a professor for other online courses.

I would like to thank Gavin for his teaching of LIN8001. His attention to detail, and genuine care shown for students undertaking this course were second to none. Gavin always provided prompt responses to queries, and gave guidance as required. Marking of assignments was quick and feedback provided was relevant and helpful. It was a pleasure studying a course taught by Gavin. Thank you, Gavin.

The lecturer structured the course incredibly well. He made it very clear what the assessments were and made every effort to have resources to support them. The best course I have ever done at uni in both my degrees. 10/10

In 2016, I wrote a new course for USQ called LIN5001 Teaching English Grammar. Here is some anonymous feedback on my teaching performance in the first delivery of this course:

A great and useful course. Needs to continue for the future. As a teacher I realise how important this course is. Great materials and well structured, a most enjoyable course.

The content was comprehensive, covering a broad range of grammar points. Linking specific grammar problems with native language interference has given me insights that have helped in my classroom teaching. The final assessment was particularly useful in applying our knowledge in a very real and practical way.

This is a really useful, practical course which would benefit any ESL teacher.


Professional memberships

Australian Linguistic Society