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Centre researchers Tahiti-bound

Janet Fletcher, Nicholas Evans, Nick Thieberger, Shape

Date: 8 October 2018

Four of the Centre’s researchers have headed east this week to attend the 3rd Conference of the Pacific Islands Universities Research Network, reaching out to local communities to deliver presentations, a training workshop, public lecture and school visit.

Chief Investigators Professors Nick Evans, Janet Fletcher and Nick Thieberger, as well doctoral scholar Marie-France Duhamel – all fluent francophones – will each deliver a presentation at the conference, which this year focuses on traditional knowledge, academic knowledge and academic directions in the Pacific region.

They’ll follow this by facilitating a two-day workshop on digital and analytical tools to describe and transmit the languages of Oceania. This workshop aims to increase the autonomy of the participants, whether they are students, trainers in Oceanian languages or actors of their promotion, in the production of knowledge media (corpus, transcriptions, translations, lexicons) and transmission (online consultation application), through the presentation and manipulation of a sample of digital and analytical tools developed by international linguistic research.

In preparing his public lecture on the languages of the fragile Oceanic archipelago, Centre Director Nick Evans said that the great damage to the "logosphere" caused by indigenous languages no longer being transmitted to children is particularly serious in Oceania:

“Each language has a different story to tell: about the history of its people, about oral literature, about ecological and technological knowledge, about different ways of being human,” Professor Evans said. “What do we lose when we bury the last witness of a language and what can we do to conserve as much of this knowledge as possible in a sustainable form that can be passed on to future generations? In the lecture, I will tackle these problems by illustrating them thanks to the great wealth of the languages of Oceania.” 

Stay tuned to this website for a trip report by Professor Evans when the team returns.


(Image: The 8th Polynesian Languages Day, by the University of French Polynesia)

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