This colloquium will bring together researchers working on Papuan languages with the purpose of reviewing current research directions. A subsidiary aim is to inform and motivate students and researchers who are considering starting research on Papuan languages.
There are upwards of 800 Papuan languages spoken on and around the island of New Guinea. Papuan languages do not form a genealogical unit, but rather comprise between 20 to 40 distinct families. A language is said to be Papuan, if it is spoken on or near New Guinea, and is not Austronesian or Australian. The proportion of unknown or poorly documented Papuan languages is still one of the highest in the world. Due to the huge number of Papuan languages and the unprecedented speed of their decline in recent decades, much of the effort of linguists in the area has been focussed on the documentation and description of individual languages or small groups of languages.
Great strides have been made in their documentation and these descriptive improvements have, in turn, allowed many new studies into different aspects of Papuan languages. This colloquium will focus on taking stock of the latest research into Papuan languages, discuss what has been achieved, and what the focus of future research would be. We will bring together researchers working on Papuan languages from different sub-fields of linguistics, including, but not limited to, linguistic anthropology, language acquisition, historical linguistics, language description and documentation, contribution to theoretical linguistic, sociolinguistic or typological syntheses, data aggregation and management, etc. The colloquium will also welcome contributions on the wider Melanesian Linguistic Area, dealing with such issues as Papuan language contact with and shift to Austronesian languages.
Sebastian Fedden (Université Paris 3 / UMR 7107 Lacito), Sylvain Loiseau (Université Paris 13 / UMR 7107 Lacito) et Antoinette Schapper (CNRS / UMR 7107 Lacito)