Malcolm David Ross
3 May 1942
London, United Kingdom
|Nationality||Australian and British|
|Institutions||Australian National University|
|Main interests||Papuan languages, Austronesian languages|
Ross is best known among linguists for his work on Austronesian and Papuan languages, historical linguistics, and language contact (especially metatypy). He was elected as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities in 1996.
Ross served as the Principal of Goroka Teachers College in Papua New Guinea from 1980 to 1982, during which time he self-statedly become interested in local languages, and began to collect data on them. In 1986, he received his PhD from the ANU under the supervision of Stephen Wurm, Bert Voorhoeve and Darrell Tryon. His dissertation was on the genealogy of the Oceanic languages of western Melanesia, and contained an early reconstruction of Proto Oceanic. It also introduced the concept of a linkage, a group of languages that evolves via dialect differentiation rather than by tree-like splits.
Together with Andrew Pawley and Meredith Osmond, Ross has contributed to the Proto-Oceanic Lexicon Project, which has produced several volumes of reconstructed Proto-Oceanic vocabulary in various semantic domains.