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Video: Meet Bethwyn Evans

Australian National University, Bethwyn Evans, Shape

Date: 17 December 2019

Centre Chief Investigator Bethwyn Evans is a researcher and lecturer in linguistics in the  School of Culture, History and Language at the Australian National University. Bethwyn’s main research focus is historical and comparative linguistics and how language can be a window on the linguistic and non-linguistic past. She is particularly interested in the ways in which historical linguistics, in conjunction with archaeology and population genetics, can tell us about the past of particular ethnolinguistic groups, as well as about the general processes and mechanisms of linguistic and social change.

Beth’s recent projects with the Centre include as the lead organiser for the 24th biennial conference of the International Society for Historical Linguistics (ICHL24), where she also co-organised Language Across Time, a special event where four linguists guided students through some of the ways in which historical linguistics can be shine a light on the human past – both recent and remote – and respond to students’ questions. (Watch the video and download the resources at this page.)

Beth’s current research builds on a project that she began as part of the Max Planck Research Group on Comparative Population Linguistics (led by Brigitte Pakendorf) at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, and explores the history of linguistic diversification and contact among Austronesian- and Papuan-speaking groups of Bougainville in Papua New Guinea. A major part of this project is the documentation and description of several languages of southern Bougainville, including Nasioi, Torau and Nagovisi.

Most recently, Beth has been involved in Centre outreach further out into the Pacific, when she participated in the week-long ‘Understanding our languages: Solomon Islands’ workshop in Honiara.

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