BA (Udayana), MA (Hasanuddin), MPhil (Sydney), PhD (Sydney)


My works have contributed to the field of Austronesian and Papuan languages of Indonesia. These works primarily cover language description and typological-theoretical linguistics, but also innovative interdisciplinary approaches in the humanities and social sciences, such as the emerging field of documentary linguistics, language endangerment and language management/policy in an Indonesian context. 

In language description, I have covered a wide range of topics from describing core parts of grammar (phonology, morphology and syntax) to broader language issues in socio-cultural-historical-political contexts. I have published descriptive papers, book chapters and monographs on fragments of grammars of the languages in central-eastern Indonesia (e.g., Balinese, Rongga, Manggarai and Marori). I have also written a book on Rongga grammar (Arka 2016) and Balinese (Arka 2003). In the past three years, I have extended my research to languages in western Indonesia via the UK AHRC funded Enggano Project.

My descriptive research is also integrated with typological-theoretical research. This research aims to generate a deep understanding of how internal language systems work, how they can be explicitly modelled, computationally tested and implemented, and to what extent languages vary or are similar in terms of particular (sub)systems in their grammars. Therefore, my research examines all linguistic domains—from micro and macro perspectives—and is empirically grounded in rich data sets from the numerous and diverse Austronesian and Papuan languages of Indonesia. My contributions in advancing the field of typological and theoretical linguistics include pioneering research efforts in Lexical-Functional Grammar (LFG). For example, I innovated a novel analysis that provides robust empirical evidence of the gradient nature of grammatical categories (Arka 2014, 2017), and a modular design of grammatical framework (Arka 2021; Arka, Asudeh and King 2021).

I have pioneered documentation practices in endangered, minority ethnolinguistic groups across Indonesia. I have facilitated the collaboration and multi-/inter-disciplinary work between local communities, government bodies and research institutions in Indonesia, and between Australia and Indonesia. My research projects have been designed with clear local community impact in the context of local capacity building, community engagement for language-culture advocacy, literacy material development and improved access to local language learning. To date, this work has been done in three indigenous minority communities in Indonesia: Rongga in Flores, Marori in Merauke West Papua, and Enggano on the island of Enggano, Bengkulu Sumatra. I have established and directed the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research on the Humanities and Social Sciences (CIRHSS, to bring excellence and innovation in research across the humanities and social sciences (HASS) with an areal focus in Indonesia, and to leverage Indonesia’s rich resources in HASS to maximise its impact beyond academia.

2021 – Current, Professor, Linguistics, Australian National University

2001–2014 Research Fellow/Senior Fellow/Associate Professor, Linguistics, Australian National University

Professorial Fellowship, JPPS, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies (2017)

Georg Forster Humboldt Fellowship (2012–2014)

  1. Arka, I W., A. Asudeh and T. H King (eds). 2021. Modular design of grammar: Linguistics on the edge. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  2. Arka, I W. 2021. “Number in Marori.” In Patricia Cabredo Hofherr and Jenny Doetjes (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Grammatical Number, 661-681. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  3. Arka, I W. 2021. “Pivot selection and puzzling relativisation in Indonesian.” In Arka, I W., A. Asudeh and T. H King (eds), Modular design of grammar: Linguistics on the edge, 181-202. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  4. Arka, I W. and M. Dalrymple. 2021. “Number in Balinese.” In Patricia Cabredo Hofherr and Jenny Doetjes (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Grammatical Number, 682-700. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  5. Arka, I W. 2019. “Grammatical relations in Balinese.” In Argument Selectors: A New Perspective on Grammatical Relations, edited by Alena Witzlack-Makarevich and Balthasar Bickel, 257-299. John Benjamins Publishing.