Earlier this week, a three day workshop took place as part of the ‘Languages of Southern New Guinea’ project. The project aims to produce descriptive material on a number of languages on both sides of the border, including: Nen, Kmntso, Nama, Thuntai, Idi, Marori and Kanum – to improve our knowledge of a part of the island which could be described as linguistically unchartered.
A number of linguistic issues were tackled during the workshop. Nick Evans presented on ‘The morphological imperative: Bossing around in Nen’ as well as on ‘Reduplication in plant and bird names’. Wayan Arka talked about ‘Nominal Tense-Aspect in Marori’. Kyla Quinn, who is starting her Honours, had ‘A first look at verbal morphology in Warta Thuntai’. Julia Miller presented on ‘Sociophonetics and multilingualism in Bimadbn and surrounding villages’. Chris Healey introduced ‘Southern New Guinea Ethnobiology’. Matthew Caroll gave his PhD confirmation talk on Kanum as well as providing a first look at his lexical database tool called the ‘Yamfinder’. Christian Döhler talked about the ‘Kmntso phonology and orthography’. Several project members could not attend the workshop, including Jeff Siegel and Philip Tama of the University of New England.
In addition to the workshop talks, a number of logistic issues were discussed as part of fieldwork preparation for members in the SNG research group. A party of six researchers will travel later this month via Daru to the Morehead District of PNG. Nick Evans, Christian Döhler and Kyla Quinn will be based in their respective villages (Bimadbn, Rouku and Wando), while Chris Healey and Julia Miller will travel between these three villages in order to collect information on more specific topics. Julia works on socio-phonetics and Chris investigates local knowledge about birds. Kay Dancey, from the CAP’s Multimedia Services unit, will assist with creating maps for the team, including large-scale language maps of the whole area as well as fine-grained maps of individual villages.
Please visit our website for more information on the languages of Southern New Guinea.