Dr Diana Eades

Diana Eades

Adjunct Professor, School of Behavioural, Cognitive and Social Sciences


Phone: +61 2 6775 1178

Email: Diana.Eades@une.edu.au


Dr Diana Eades specialises in critical sociolinguistics, language in the legal process, and intercultural communication, particularly involving Australian Aboriginal people who speak varieties of English. She has more than 25 years experience in research, teaching and practical applications of her scholarly work.

Her previous positions include lecturer and senior lecturer at UNE, and associate professor at the University of Hawai'i. Diana has an extensive publications list, which includes the 2013 book Aboriginal Ways of Using English (Aboriginal Studies Press), the 2010 textbook Sociolinguistics and the Legal Process (Multilingual Matters), the 2008 book Courtroom Talk and Neocolonial Control Mouton de Gruyter), the 1992 lawyers' handbook Aboriginal English and the Law (Queensland Law Society) and the 1995 edited book Language in Evidence (New South Wales University Press).

She has provided expert evidence in courts and tribunals in Queensland, New South Wales, Western Australia and the Northern Territory (for example in the cases of Western Australia v Gibson 2014, and Wotton v State of Queensland 2015). Her work is cited as the authority on Aboriginal English in the legal system in government reports, judicial decisions and legal publications.

She has been President, Vice-President and Secretary of the International Association of Forensic Linguists, and Vice-President of the Australian Linguistics Society. From 2008-2014 she was co-editor of The International Journal of Speech Language and the Law, and she has been on the Editorial Board of Applied Linguistics since 2006. She was appointed by the Chief Justice of Hawai'i to the state Supreme Court Committee on Equality and Access to the Courts (1999-2002, 2002-2005). In 2010 she was elected as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities.

Dr Eades is a popular speaker to a diverse range of professional groups interested in intercultural communication with Aboriginal people, and communication practices within the legal process. While this includes educational, health and welfare groups, her work is of particular interest to the legal profession. Her list of recent invited presentations includes the annual conferences of magistrates in Queensland (2008), New South Wales (2008) and Western Australia (2008), the Queensland Law Society, Bar Association of Queensland and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (2011, 2012, 2014, 2015), the National Judicial College of Australia’s Solution-Focused Judging Program (2011) and Witness Assessment Program (2012, 2014), the National Native Title Tribunal (2014), the Judicial Commission of New South Wales (2015), the Northern Territory Supreme Court conference on Language and Law (2015), the New South Wales Crown Solicitors Office (2015), the Legal Aid NSW Annual Conference (2015), and the New South Wales Bar Association and Law Society of New South Wales (2015).

Dr Eades is also co-convenor of the Communication of Rights Group. In November 2015 the Communication of Rights Group release Guidelines for Communicating Rights to Non-Native Speakers of English in Australia, England and Wales and the USA. These guidelines can be found here.


BA (Hons) (Asian Studies) (ANU), PhD (Queensland), FAHA

Research Interests

Dr Diana Eades specialises in critical sociolinguistics, language in the legal process, and intercultural communication, particularly involving Australian Aboriginal people who speak varieties of English. She has more than 25 years experience in research, teaching and practical applications of her scholarly work.



Ehrlich, Susan, Diana Eades and Janet Ainsworth 2016 (eds). Discursive Constructions of Consent in the Legal Process. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Eades, D. 2013. Aboriginal Ways of Using English. Canberra: Aboriginal Studies Press.

Eades, D. 2010. Sociolinguistics and the Legal Process. Bristol: Multilingual Matters.

Eades, D. 2008. Courtroom Talk and Neocolonial Control. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Eades, D. 1992. Aboriginal English and the Law: Communicating with Aboriginal English Speaking Clients: A Handbook for Legal Practitioners. Brisbane: Queensland Law Society.

Eades, D. 1976. The Dharawal and Dhurga Languages of the New South Wales South Coast. Canberra: Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies.

Siegel, J., Lynch, J,. and Eades. D. (eds.) 2007. Linguistic Description, History and Development: Linguistic Indulgence in Memory of Terry Crowley. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Eades, D. and Arends. J. (eds.) 2004. Special section: Language analysis and determination of nationality. International Journal of Speech, Language and the Law 11(2).

Book Chapters

Eades, Diana 2016 Erasing context in the courtroom construal of consent. In Susan Ehrlich, Diana Eades and Janet Ainsworth (eds.), Discursive Constructions of Consent in the Legal Process. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 71-90.

Ehrlich, Susan, and Diana Eades 2016 Introduction: Linguistic and discursive dimensions of consent. In Susan Ehrlich, Diana Eades and Janet Ainsworth (eds.), Discursive Constructions of Consent in the Legal Process. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1-20.

Eades, D. 2015. Judicial understandings of Aboriginality and language use in criminal cases. In Peter Toner (ed.) Strings of Connectedness: Essays in Honour of Ian Keen. Canberra: ANU Press, 27-51.

Eades, D. 2014. Aboriginal English. In Harold Koch and Rachel Nordlinger (eds) The Languages and Linguistics of Australia: A Comprehensive Guide. Berlin, Walter de Gruyter, 417-447.

Eades, D. 2013. Assessment in asylum-related language analysis. In Antony Kunnan (ed.) The Companion to Language Assessment. Wiley-Blackwell, 404-420.

Eades, D. 2012. Intercultural communication in the law. In Christina Paulston, Scott Kiesling and Elizabeth Rangel (eds.) The Handbook of Intercultural Discourse and Communication. Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell, 408-429.

Eades, D. 2011. Sociolinguistics and the Law. In The Cambridge Handbook of Sociolinguistics edited by Rajend Mesthrie, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 396-412.

Eades, D. 2010. Language analysis and asylum cases. Routledge Handbook of Forensic Linguistics. edited by Malcolm Coulthard and Alison Johnson. London: Routledge, 411-422

Eades, D. 2009. Using English in the legal process. In The Routledge Companion to English Language Studies edited by Joan Swann and Janet Maybin. London: Routledge, 196-207.

Eades, D. 2007. Aboriginal English in the criminal justice system. In Leitner, Gerhard and Ian Malcolm (eds.), The Habitat of Australia's Aboriginal Languages: Past, Present, and Future. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 299-326.

Eades, D. 2007. Understanding Aboriginal silence in legal contexts. In Kotthoff, Helga and Helen Spencer-Oatey (eds.), Handbook of Intercultural Communication. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 285-301.

Eades, D. 2004. Beyond difference and domination?: Intercultural communication in legal contexts. In Paulston, Christina and Scott Kiesling (eds.), Intercultural Discourse and Communication: The Essential Readings. Oxford: Blackwell, 304-316.

Eades, D. 2003. The politics of misunderstanding in the legal process: Aboriginal English in Queensland. In House, Juliane, Gabriele Kasper and Steven Ross (eds.), Misunderstanding in Social Life: Discourse Approaches to Problematic Talk. London: Longman. 196-223.

Eades, D. 2002. Evidence given in unequivocal terms: Gaining consent of Aboriginal young people in court. In Cotterill, Janet (ed.), Language in the Legal Process. London: Palgrave, 161-196.

Journal Articles

Eades, D. 2015. Taking evidence from Aboriginal witnesses speaking English: Some sociolinguistic considerations. Precedent 126: 44-48.

Eades, D. 2012. Communication with Aboriginal Speakers of English in the Legal Process. Australian Journal of Linguistics Vol. 32, No. 4, pp. 473-489.

Eades, D. 2012. The social consequences of language ideologies in courtroom cross examination. Language in Society 41(4): 471-497.

Eades, D. 2009. Testing the claims of asylum seekers: The role of language analysis. Language Assessment Quarterly 6(1): 30-40.

Eades, D. 2009. Risky narratives in courtroom testimony. Comment on Shonna Trinch's "Risky subjects: Narrative, literary testimonio and legal testimony". Dialectical Anthropology 34(2): 209-213.

Eades, D. 2009. Comment on Blommaert's "Language, asylum, and the national order". Current Anthropology 50(4): 427-428.

Eades, D. 2008. Telling and retelling your story in court: Questions, assumptions, and intercultural implications. Current Issues in Criminal Justice 20(2): 209-230.

Eades, D. 2008. From expertise to advocacy: Forensic linguistics and advocacy in asylum seeker cases. In Law and Language: Theory and Society, eds. Frances Olsen, Alexander Lorz and Dieter Stein. Düsseldorf: Düsseldorf University Press, 87-118.

Eades, D. 2008. Language and Disadvantage before the law. In Dimensions of Forensic Linguistics. edited by Teresa M. Turell and John Gibbons. Amsterdam: John Benjamins 179-195.

Eades, D. 2006. Lexical struggle in court: Aboriginal Australians vs the state. Journal of Sociolinguistics 10(2): 153-181.

Eades, D. 2005. Applied linguistics and language analysis in asylum seeker cases. Applied Linguistics 26(4): 503-526.

Eades, D. 2004. Understanding Aboriginal English in the legal system: A critical sociolinguistics approach. Applied Linguistics 25(4): 491-512.

Eades, D. and Arends, J. 2004. Using language analysis in the determination of national origin of asylum seekers: An introduction. International Journal of Speech, Language and the Law 11(2): 179-199.

Eades, D. 2003. The participation of second language and second dialect speakers in the legal system. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics 23: 113-133.

Eades, D., Fraser, H., Siegel, J,. McNamara, T., and Baker, B. 2003. Linguistic identification in the determination of nationality: A preliminary report. Language Policy 2(2): 179-199.

Eades, D. 2003. "I don't think the lawyers were communicating with me": Misunderstanding cultural differences in communicative style. Emory Law Journal 52: 1109-1134.

Eades, D. 2000. "I don't think it's an answer to the question": Silencing Aboriginal witnesses in court. Language in Society 29 (2): 161-196.

Encyclopedia Entries

Eades, D. 2011. Forensic Linguistics. In Cambridge Encyclopedia of the Language Sciences. In P. Hogan (ed.) Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 313-314.

Eades, D. 2006. Interviewing and examining vulnerable witnesses. In Brown, Keith (ed.) Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics. 2nd Ed. Vol 5. Elsevier: Oxford, 772-778.

Eades, D. 2001. Discourse analysis and the law. In Mesthrie, Rajend (ed.), Concise Encyclopaedia of Sociolinguistics. Oxford: Elsevier Science, 231-3.



Diana Eades 

Department of Second Language Studies
(formerly ESL)

University of Hawai'i at Manoa
1890 East-West Road
Honolulu, HI. 96822 USA
Phone: (808) 956-2707
Fax: (808) 956-2802

mailto: eades@hawaii.edu


ð educated at:
-- The Australian National University (BA (Hons) in Linguistics 1973), and
-- The University of Queensland (PhD Linguistic Anthropology 1983)

ð previous employment with:
-- the University of Queensland,
-- Institute for Aboriginal Development (Alice Springs),
-- Brisbane College of Advanced Education (Mt Gravatt),
-- Darling Downs Institute for Advanced Education, and
-- University of New England


sociolinguistics, qualitative research methods, language and the law/forensic linguistics, non-standard language varieties


My main research interests concern speakers of non-standard varieties, such as Australian Aboriginal English and Hawaiâi Creole English (ÎPidginâ). Using qualitative sociolinguistic approaches (mainly ethnography of communication and interactional sociolinguistics), most of my work since the mid-late 80s has investigated Aboriginal English in legal settings. My current research is a critical sociolinguistic micro-analysis of how language enacts power in the courtroom, focusing on witnesses who are speakers of Aboriginal English


I have published articles in a number of journals including Language in Society, Journal of Pragmatics, Language and Communication, Forensic Linguistics, Australian Aboriginal Studies, and Australian Journal of Linguistics. My recent books are Language in Evidence: Issues confronting Aboriginal and Multicultural Australia (UNSW Press, 1995, editor) and the legal handbook Aboriginal English and The Law (Queensland Law Society, 1992). (MORE DETAILS BELOW)


I was President of theInternational Association of Forensic Linguists (IAFL) [http://www.iafl.org/] from 1995-1999, and Vice-President of the Australian Linguistics Society [http://www.latrobe.edu.au/www/rclt/als] from 1990-1994. I am on the Editorial Board of Forensic Linguistics: The International Journal of Language and the Law and in 1995 I convened the Second International Conference of IAFL.

Since coming to Hawaiâi, I have become an active founding member of Da Pidgin Coup, a group of teachers, faculty and graduate students, based in the Department of Second Language Studies, who work on Pidgin (Hawaiâi Creole English/HCE). We are currently involved in a number of small projects to help teachers of Pidgin speaking students to have a better appreciation of their studentsâ language and its role in school. In 1999 we wrote a position paper titled Pidgin and Education, [http://www.lll.hawaii.edu/esl/pidgin.html] and it was reported on the front page of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin on 30 November 1999. http://starbulletin.com/1999/11/30/news/story3.html].

Read more about Pidgin, as well as Aboriginal English and other non-standard language varieties, pidgins and creoles on the Language Varieties Network [http://www.une.edu.au/langnet/]

I am also a member of the State of Hawaiâi Supreme Court Committee on Access and Equality in the Courts. The mission of this committee is to: (i) promote fairness in Hawai'i's legal system through research, education and policy and legislative changes; and (2) increase access to Hawai'i's justice system through outreach and education. The committee includes five judges, two state legislators, representatives of the Attorney-General, the Prosecutor, and the Public Defender and several lawyers.

I have had more than twenty years' experience working with Aboriginal languages and Aboriginal English in Australia and have been actively involved in running workshops on cross-cultural communication for teachers, lawyers, health workers and other community workers who work with Aboriginal people. I have also worked on a number of controversial court cases as expert linguistic witness (see publications below: 1996a, 1995a, 1995b, 1994a, 1993a)

I continue to be involved in the application of sociolinguistic research to the legal process. Currently I am involved with the Queensland Dept of Justice project titled Communication Facilitators for Aboriginal English speakers in court.


The first stage of this project involved adapting my 1992 lawyersâ handbook; the new handbook, which is titled Aboriginal English in the Courts, was launched in Brisbane in July 2000.



2000 ãI donât think itâs an answer to the questionä: Silencing Aboriginal witnesses in court. Language in Society 29 (2): 161-196.


1994aÊÊÊÊ Forensic linguistics in Australia: An overview. Forensic Linguistics 1(2): 113-132.


1996aÊÊÊ Legal recognition of cultural differences in communication: The case of Robyn Kina. Language and Communication 16(3): 215-227.

1995aÊÊ Aboriginal English on Trial: The case for Stuart and Condren. In Eades (ed), Language in Evidence: Issues Confronting Aboriginal and Multicultural Australia. Sydney: University of New South Wales Press. pp147-174.

1995bÊÊ Cross-examination of Aboriginal children: The Pinkenba case. Aboriginal Law Bulletin 3(75): 10-11.

1993aÊÊÊ The case for Condren: Aboriginal English, pragmatics and the law. Journal of Pragmatics 20 (2): 141-162.


1999aÊÊÊ (with Jeff Siegel) Changing attitudes towards Australian creoles and Aboriginal English. In Creole Genesis, Attitudes, and Discourse:Ê Studies Celebrating Charlene Sato. edited by John R Rickford and Suzanne Romaine Amsterdam: John Benjamins, pp265-277.

1995cÊÊ Aboriginal English. Sydney: Board of Studies (Aboriginal Literacy Resource Kit series).

1991ÊÊ Communicative strategies in Aboriginal English. In Language in Australia, edited by Suzanne Romaine. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp 84-93.

1988 ãThey don't speak an Aboriginal language, or do they?ä. In Being Black: Aboriginal Cultures in Settled Australia edited by Ian Keen. Canberra: Aboriginal Studies Press, pp 97-117.

1982 ãYou gotta know how to talk...ä: Ethnography of information seeking in Southeast Queensland Aboriginal Society. Australian Journal of Linguistics (2)1: 61-82. Reprinted in Cross-cultural Encounters: Communication and Mis-communication edited by J.B.Pride, 1985. Melbourne: River Seine Publications.

see also 2000, 1997, 1996a, 1996b, 1995a, 1995b, 1995d, 1994b, 1993a, 1993b, 1992


1997 The acceptance of linguistic evidence about indigenous Australians. Australian Aboriginal Studies 1997 (1): 15-27.

1996bÊÊ Interpreting Aboriginal English in the legal system. Report of Proper True Talk Forum Towards a National Strategy for Interpreting in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Languages Canberra: Commonwealth Attorney-Generalâs Department, pp57-68.

1995dÊ (ed) Language in Evidence: Issues Confronting Aboriginal and Multicultural Australia. Sydney: University of New South Wales Press.

1994bÊ A case of communicative clash: Aboriginal English and the legal system. In Language and the Law edited by John Gibbons. London: Longman, pp 234-64.

1993bÊÊ Language and the law: White Australia vs Nancy. In Language and Culture in Aboriginal Australia. edited by Michael Walsh and Colin Yallop. Canberra: Aboriginal Studies Press, pp 181-190.

1992ÊÊ Aboriginal English and the Law: Communicating with Aboriginal English Speaking Clients: A Handbook for Legal Practitioners. Brisbane: Queensland Law Society.

see also 2000, 1996a, 1995a, 1995b, 1993a


1999b (with Michael Cooke and Sandra Hale) eds Legal Interpreting. Special Issue of Forensic Linguistics 6(1).

1996c Verbatim courtroom transcripts and discourse analysis. In Recent Developments in Forensic Linguistics edited by Hannes Kniffka. Frankfurt: Peter Lang, p241-54.

HOBBIES: travel, hiking, snorkelling, eating and drinking with family and friends.

Updated on 7 Aug. 2016

This website was created by LIU Weiming on 6 May, 2002.