Then, rather suddenly, my life changed. I went to the University of Adelaide as an exchange student and took a class on Indigenous Languages of Australia. My preconceptions about linguistics transformed in a heartbeat when Rob Amery and Peter M¨uhlh¨ausler shared their fascination, passion, and rich knowledge of Aboriginal languages and sparked interests in practical issues of language documentation, endangerment, and standardization.
How do you decide on a spelling system for a language that has never been written?
What happens when languages come into contact? How do languages die?
I am forever grateful to these two professors for paving the first part of what would be the path to my lifes ambition for working on indigenous languages of Australia and to teach future generations of linguists to take part in and add to this knowledge.
— Dorothea Hoffman