Carmel O'Shannessy is currently documenting a newly emerged mixed language in northern Australia, Light Warlpiri, the emergence of which is the result of code-switching between an Australian language, Warlpiri, and English and Kriol (an English-lexified creole). Her current projects include diachronic changes in nominal case-marking from Warlpiri to Light Warlpiri, and grammaticalization and innovation in the Light Warlpiri auxiliary system. Of particular interest is the role of children in grammaticalization processes.
Professor O'Shannessy's current and recent teaching includes Introduction to Sociolinguistics, Perspectives on bilingualism, Topics in Language Contact, Perspectives on First Language Acquisition, and Introduction to Language. She is directing two Ph.D. dissertations, Erica Beck's (on children's social knowledge and speech perception) and Tridha Chatterjee's (on English-Bengali code-switching).