Shelly Harrison is a Lecturer in the UWA Linguistics Department. (Ok, so this isn't entirely about Computer Science..) His teaching style is informal and anecdotal - he draws a lot of coursework examples from his own experiences. If you're interested (either because you're really interested or can find some way to stay interested) then these examples tend to stick; if you can't then you'll need to spend much more time doing your own research as his handout notes are only summaries of the coursework and tend to be lacking in examples.

His tendency to draw parallels from his previous work may constrain the presentation of the topic somewhat; the language examples he tends to are small unheard-of Indonesian/Polynesian dialects and languages and he doesn't pull many examples from other languages (eg Cyrillic-type languages don't seem to show up at all.) This does, however, expose you to stuff you wouldn't see in contemporary linguistics; just do some extra reading to flesh out your language exposure.

He's an approachable character who speaks his mind on a number of topics - some of which are controversial (University Politics springs to mind.) He's probably one of the few remaining radical Arts professors.

His courses are difficult but fun and easygoing. A few rules if you choose to attend:

  • Don't leave your mobile phone on; make sure you at least silence the thing
  • If you need to leave the lecture early then tell him beforehand; don't just get up and walk out
  • Don't wear or mention anything to do with Canada. He's apparently Canadian by origin but hates the place.