Robert Malcolm Ward Dixon is a Professor of Linguistics in the College of Arts and Education and The Cairns Institute, James Cook University, Queensland. He is Deputy Director of The Language and Culture Research Centre at JCU. Doctor of Letters, he was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Letters Honoris Causa by JCU in 2018. Fellow of British Academy. Dixon was born in Gloucester, in the west of England, in 1939, he was educated at Nottingham High School and at the University of Oxford, where he took his first degree in mathematics in 1960, at the University of Edinburgh, where he was a Research Fellow in Statistical Linguistics in the English department from July 1961 to September 1963. After that until September 1964 he did field work for the Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies in north-east Queensland, working on several of the Aboriginal languages of Australia, but taking a particular interest in Dyirbal. Dixon has written on many areas of linguistic theory and fieldwork, being noted for his work on the languages of Australia and the Arawá languages of Brazil.
He has published grammars of Dyirbal, Yidiɲ, Warrgamay and Mbabaram. He published a comprehensive grammar of Boumaa Fijian, a Polynesian language, Jarawara, an Arawá language from southern Amazonia, for which he received the Leonard Bloomfield Book Award from the Linguistic Society of America. Dixon's work in historical linguistics has been influential. Based on a careful historical comparative analysis, Dixon questions the concept of Pama–Nyungan languages for which he argues sufficient evidence has never been provided, he proposes a new "punctuated equilibrium" model, based on the theory of the same name in evolutionary biology, more appropriate for numerous language regions, including the Australian languages. Dixon puts forth his theory in The Rise and Fall of Languages, refined in his monograph Australian Languages: their nature and development. Dixon is the author of a number of other books including Australian Languages: Their Nature and Development and Ergativity, his monumental three-volume work, Basic Linguistic Theory, was published by the Oxford University Press.
His further work on Australian languages was published in Edible gender, mother-in-law style, other grammatical wonders: Studies in Dyirbal, Yidiñ and Warrgamay, 2015. His further influential monographs include work on English grammar A new approach to English grammar, Making New Words: Morphological Derivation in English, his recent monograph Are Some Languages Better than Others poses a question of efficiency and value of different languages. His editorial work includes four volumes of Handbook of Australian Languages, a special issue of Lingua on ergativity, jointly with Alexandra Aikhenvald, numerous volumes on linguistic typology in the series Explorations in Linguistic Typology, the fundamental The Amazonian languages, The Cambridge Handbook of Linguistic Typology, his most recent book is The Unmasking of English Dictionaries, which offers a concise history of English dictionaries unmasking their drawbacks, suggests a new innovative way of dictionary making. His "We used to eat people", Revelations of a Fiji islands traditional village offers a vivid portrayal of his fieldwork in Fiji in the late 1980s.
In 1996, Dixon and another linguist, Alexandra Aikhenvald, established the Research Centre for Linguistic Typology at the Australian National University in Canberra. On 1 January 2000, the centre moved to La Trobe University in Melbourne. Both Dixon and Aikhenvald resigned their positions in May 2008. In early 2009, Aikhenvald and Dixon established the Language and Culture Research Group at the Cairns campus of James Cook University; this has been transformed into a Language and Culture Research Centre within the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at JCU, Cairns, in 2011. Aikhenvald is Director and Dixon Deputy Director of the Centre. Linguistic Science and Logic. Janua linguarum. Studia memoriae Nicolai Van Wijk dedicata, series minor, 28; the Hague: Mouton, 1963. OCLC 422650387 Blues and Gospel Records, 1902–1943. With William John Godrich. 1st ed. Harrow: Steve Lane, 1964. OCLC 558932546. 2nd ed. London: Storyville, 1969. OCLC 776817465. 3rd ed. Essex: Storyville Publications, 1982. OCLC 562734610.
Blues and Gospel Records: 1890–1943. With John Godrich and Howard Rye. 4th ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997. ISBN 0198162391. What Is Language? A New Approach to Linguistic Description. London: Longmans, Green, 1966. OCLC 848262046. Recording the Blues. With John Godrich. New York: Stein and Day, 1970. ISBN 0812813189, ISBN 0812813227. London: Studio Vista, 1970. ISBN 0289798302, ISBN 0289798299; the Dyirbal Language of North Queensland. Cambridge Studies in Linguistics 9. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1972. ISBN 0521085101, ISBN 0521097487. Doi:10.1017/CBO9781139084987. Online ISBN 9781139084987. Grammatical categories in Australian languages. Canberra: Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies. ISBN 0855750553, ISBN 0391006940, ISBN 0391006959. A Grammar of Yidiɲ. Cambridge Studies
The Hawaiian monk seal, is an endangered species of earless seal in the family Phocidae, endemic to the Hawaiian Islands. The Hawaiian monk seal is one of two remaining monk seal species. A third species, the Caribbean monk seal, is extinct; the Hawaiian monk seal is the only seal native to Hawaii, along with the Hawaiian hoary bat, is one of only two mammals endemic to the islands. These monk seals are a conservation reliant endangered species; the small population of about 1,400 individuals is threatened by human encroachment low levels of genetic variation, entanglement in fishing nets, marine debris and past commercial hunting for skins. There are many methods of conservation biology. Known to native Hawaiians as ʻIlio-holo-i-ka-uaua, or "dog that runs in rough water", its scientific name is from Hugo Schauinsland, a German scientist who discovered a skull on Laysan Island in 1899, its common name comes from short hairs on its head, said to resemble a monk. The Hawaiian monk seals are adopted to be Hawaii's state mammal.
Its grey coat, white belly, slender physique distinguish them from their cousin, the harbor seal. The monk seal's physique is ideal for hunting its prey: fish, lobster and squid in deep water coral beds; when it is not hunting and eating, it basks on the sandy beaches and volcanic rock of the Northwest Hawaiian Islands. The Hawaiian monk seal is part of the family Phocidae, being named so for its characteristic lack of external ears and inability to rotate its hind flippers under the body; the Hawaiian monk seal has a small, flat head with large black eyes, eight pairs of teeth, short snouts with the nostril on top of the snout and vibrissae on each side. The nostrils are small vertical slits. Additionally, their slender, torpedo-shaped body and hind flippers allow them to be agile swimmers. Adult males are 300 to 400 pounds in weight and 7 feet in length while adult females tend to be, on average larger, at 400 to 600 pounds and 8 feet in length; when monk seal pups are born, they average 40 inches in length.
As they nurse for six weeks, they grow eventually weighing between 150 to 200 pounds by the time they are weaned, while the mother loses up to 300 pounds. Monk seals, like elephant seals, shed their hair and the outer layer of their skin in an annual catastrophic molt. During the most active period of the molt, about 10 days for the Hawaiian monk seal, the seal remains on the beach; the hair dark gray on the dorsal side and lighter silver ventrally changes color through the year with exposure to atmospheric conditions. Sunlight and seawater cause the dark gray to become brown and the light silver to become yellow-brown, while long periods of time spent in the water can promote algae growth, giving many seals a green tinge; the juvenile coat of the monk seal, manifest in a molt by the time a pup is weaned is silver-gray. Many Hawaiian monk seals sport scars from shark entanglements with fishing gear. Maximum life expectancy is 25 to 30 years; the monk seals are members of the Phocidae. In an influential 1977 paper and Ray proposed, based on certain unspecialized features, that they were the most primitive living seals.
However, this idea has since been superseded. In an effort to inform the public and conserve the seals, the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Service developed a historical timeline to demonstrate that the Hawaiian islands has been home to the seals for millions of years and that the seals belong there. Evidence points to monk seals migrating to Hawaii between 4–11 million years ago through an open water passage between North and South America called the Central American Seaway; the Isthmus of Panama closed the Seaway 3 million years ago. Berta and Sumich ask how this species came to the Hawaiian Islands when its closest relatives are on the other side of the world in the North Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea; the species may have evolved in the Pacific or Atlantic, but in either case, came to Hawaii long before the first Polynesians. The majority of the Hawaiian monk seal population can be found around the Northwest Hawaiian Islands but a small and growing population lives around the main Hawaiian Islands.
These seals spend two-thirds of their time at sea. Monk seals spend much of their time foraging in deeper water outside of shallow lagoon reefs at sub-photic depths of 300 metres or more. Hawaiian monk seals breed and haul-out on sand and volcanic rock. Due to the immense distance separating the Hawaiian Islands from other land masses capable of supporting the Hawaiian monk seal, its habitat is limited to the Hawaiian Islands. Hawaiian monk seals prey on reef dwelling bony fish, but they prey on cephalopods, crustaceans. Both juveniles and sub-adults prey more on smaller octopus species, such as Octopus leteus and O. hawaiiensis, nocturnal octopus species, eels than the adult Hawaiian monk seals, while adult seals feed on larger octopus species such as O. cyanea. Hawaiian monk seals have a broad and diverse diet due to foraging plasticity which allows them to be opportunistic predators that feed on a wide variety of available prey. Hawaiian monk seals can hol