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SYNAPSE Seminar: Signal and Process - reconstructing language histories in Melanesia

Australian National University, Bethwyn Evans, Evolution

Speaker: Dr Bethwyn Evans, CoEDL Chief Inestigator and lecturer in Linguistics at the ANU School of Culture, History & Language.

Date: Monday, 30 September 2019

Time: Refreshments 11:30am-12pm, talk 12pm-1pm, discussion 1-1:30pm

Venue: Seminar Room A+B, Australian Centre on China in the World, ANU 

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Historical linguistics and the reconstruction of language histories have long played a pivotal role in the cross-disciplinary comprehension of the human past in Oceania.Historical linguistics and the reconstruction of language histories have long played a pivotal role in the cross-disciplinary comprehension of the human past in Oceania.

This trans-disciplinary seminar by the ANU School of Culture, History & Language aims to explore how cross-disciplinary case studies of particular historical trajectories can help refine general theories of language across time. Using three small-scale case studies of language history in Melanesia — the Mount Bosavi and southern Bougainville regions of Papua New Guinea, and New Georgia in the Solomon Islands — the aim is to illustrate the value of narrative explanation in the reconstruction of linguistic histories.

The comparison of such case studies can lead to more nuanced interpretations of likely associations between the linguistic signal and processes of sociocultural continuity and transformation, and thus the role of language in reconstructing the human past.

Bethwyn EvansCoEDL Chief Inestigator Bethwyn Evans’ focus is historical and comparative linguistics and how language can be a window on the linguistic and non-linguistic past. She is a lecturer in Linguistics at the School of Culture, History & Language at the ANU College of Asia & the Pacific.

 

This seminar is free and open to the public.

  • Australian Government
  • The University of Queensland
  • Australian National University
  • The University of Melbourne
  • Western Sydney University