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Workshop on the Languages of Papua 2

Melanesian Languages on the Edge of Asia:
Past Present and Future

8-12 February 2010
Manokwari, Indonesia

Invited speakers:
Mark Donohue, William Foley, Nikolaus Himmelmann, Marian Klamer, Ger Reesink

This workshop will focus on the most linguistically diverse part of the world – Melanesia – which straddles countries of Southeast Asia and the Pacific. Melanesia contains around a fifth of the world’s 6,000 languages in under 3% of its land area and less than 0.2% of its population. The scope of the workshop includes all languages known as "Papuan", plus the Austronesian languages that are spoken in the vicinity of Papuan languages in New Guinea plus parts of Indonesia, East Timor and the Solomon Islands.

These languages are astonishingly diverse, barely known to science, and face the threat of extinction without trace in the coming century unless concerted international efforts are made to meet the huge challenge of documenting them. This conference addresses the scientific issues raised by these languages. The scientific part of the program will cover the whole gamut of linguistic questions from phonology to syntax to typology to historical linguistics, as well as topics bordering musicology, anthropology and prehistory, plus papers on digital archiving, documentary linguistics, scientific infrastructure and the training of linguists from minority language groups.

Besides the scientific questions, the theoretical recognition of cultural and linguistic rights of minority groups in Indonesia, Timor Leste and Papua New Guinea faces enormous practical difficulties if it is to be realised, as national governments have indicated they wish, as education programs that allow children to receive part of their schooling in their mother-tongue.

David Gil <gil AT>

Nick Evans (Australian National University)
David Gil (Max Plank Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology)
Marian Klamer (Leiden University)
Yusuf Sawaki (Australian National University / Universitas Negeri Papua)
Wayan Arka (Australian National University / Universitas Udayana)

This conference is being organised with the generous support of funds from Australia-Netherlands Research Collaboration (ANRC) as well as the Australian National University; the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig; the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen; Leiden University; and the Pusat Dokumentasi Bahasa-Bahasa Hampir Punah di Papua, Universitas Negeri Papua, Manokwari, Indonesia

Center for Endangered Languages Documentation

The Australia-Netherlands Research Collaboration (ANRC)

The Australian National University

Universitas Negeri Papua

Leiden University

Max Planck Institute for
Evolutionary Anthropology

Universitas Katolik Indonesia
Atma Jaya

Universitas Udayana

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Page last modified: 23 Jan 2010, Leipzig