People

Nicholas Evans Project Lead

Nicholas Evans

  • Title: Project Lead

Nicholas (Nick) Evans has carried out wide-ranging fieldwork traditional languages of northern Australia and southern Papua New Guinea. The driving interest of his work is the interplay between documenting and describing the incredible diversity contained in the world's endangered languages and the many scientific and humanistic questions they can help us answer.

In addition to book-length grammars and dictionaries of several Aboriginal languages (grammars: Kayardild, Bininj Gun-wok; dictionaries: Kayardild, Dalabon) and edited books on numerous linguistic topics from linguistics and prehistory, through indigenous art, to semantic typology, he has published over 140 scientific papers. His crossover book Dying Words: Endangered Languages and What They Have to Tell Us, which sets out a broad program for engaging with the world's dwindling linguistic diversity has been translated into French, Japanese, Korean and German.

He has also worked as a linguist, interpreter and anthropologist in two Native Title claims, and been involved in developing bilingual educational materials and writing systems in remote communities in indigenous Australia and Papua New Guinea.

Contribution to Laureate project

In addition to overall leadership of the project, Nick will continue his long-standing fieldwork programs documenting languages in Arnhem Land (Bininj Gun-wok, Dalabon, Iwaidja) and Papua New Guinea (Nen and neighbouring languages), turning particular focus to patterns of multilingualism there, and the dynamics of variation within and between speakers. He will also participate, less intensely, in the fieldwork at the Vanuatu and Samoan sites. Theoretically, he is especially interested in engaging the empirical findings of the project with a new coevolutionary approach to language which focuses on the interaction between multiple factors (cultural, functional, system-internal, cognitive) in shaping the pathways languages take to their diverse locations in the linguistic design space.

Recent Publications

  1. SCOPIC Design and Overview

    Bibliography

    Barth, Danielle, and Evans, Nicholas. 2017. "SCOPIC Design and Overview". In Social Cognition Parallax Interview Corpus (SCOPIC), 1-21. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press.

  2. The Social Cognition Parallax Interview Corpus (SCOPIC)

    Bibliography

    Danielle Barth, and Nicholas Evans. 2017. The Social Cognition Parallax Interview Corpus (SCOPIC). Honolulu : University of Hawai'i Press.

  3. Typology and coevolutionary linguistics

    Bibliography

    Nicholas Evans. 2016. "Typology and coevolutionary linguistics." Linguistic Typology. 20 (3): 505-520.

  4. Insubordination

    Bibliography

    Nicholas Evans, and Insubordination Watanabe. 2016. Insubordination. Amsterdam : John Benjamins.

  5. The dynamics of insubordination: an overview

    Bibliography

    Evans, Nicholas. 2016. "The dynamics of insubordination: an overview". In Insubordination, 1-37. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Mark Ellison Postdoctoral Researcher

Mark Ellison

  • Title: Postdoctoral Researcher

Mark Ellison studied Pure Mathematics at the University of Sydney, but even then was interested in language change and reconstruction. At the University of Western Australia, this interest evolved into a PhD on machine learning and phonology. The focus on phonology lead to 3 years research work in Computational Phonology at the University of Edinburgh, and subsequent lecturing in Cognitive Science there. Mark left academia in 1998 to learn Polish and work in IT. Recently at the University of Western Australia, he's been using Experiment Semiotics to model language origins, but is now excited to join this project at ANU.

Contribution to Laureate project

Mark is computational modeller for the project. The project seeks the reasons behind language change and diversification. The reasons may take the form of identity issues, cognitive biases, or socially-conditioned biases. Simulations are a key ingredient in determining whether and how such can result in language splits or change. Mark will create a model of individual language use and the influences on it, and simulate computationally the interaction of many such agents. Manipulating the parameters will let us determine which influences are most important in explaining variation in language diversity.

Recent Publications

  1. Uncovering the acoustic vowel space of a previously undescribed language: The vowels of Nambo

    Bibliography

    Eri Kashima, Daniel Williams, Mark Ellison, Paola Escudero, and Dineke Schokkin. 2016. "Uncovering the acoustic vowel space of a previously undescribed language: The vowels of Nambo." The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 139 (6) doi: 10.1121/1.4954395.

  2. The sky is falling: Evidence of a negativity bias in the social transmission of information

    Bibliography

    Mark Ellison, Keely Bebbington, Colin MacLeod, and Nicolas Fay. 2016. "The sky is falling: Evidence of a negativity bias in the social transmission of information." Evolution and Human Behavior. 38 (1): 92-101. doi: 10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2016.07.004.

Murray Garde Postdoctoral Reseacher

Murray Garde

  • Title: Postdoctoral Reseacher

Murray Garde was trained as a linguistic anthropologist at Charles Darwin University (Grad Dip. Arts) and Queensland University (PhD). Since 1988 he has been working with Bininj Gunwok speakers of Western Arnhem Land and also from 1996 with Sa speaking communities of Pentecost Island in Vanuatu. Murray's interests span an eclectic range of cross-disciplinary topics including studies of person reference and conversation analysis, translation and interpreting, kinship, social organisation and language variety, song language, ethnobotany and ethnozoology, language and ethnophysiography, toponomy and traditional ecological knowledge and its application in land management. He currently coordinates the Bininj Gunwok Language Project, funded by the Federal Government's Indigenous Language Support program. His recent book Culture, Interaction and Person Reference in an Australian Language (2013) is an ethnography of speaking focusing on person reference in Bininj Gunwok.

Contribution to Laureate project

Whilst the Wellsprings project will also investigate variation in large speech communities of 'world languages', a number of small scale speech communities of minority languages have also been chosen as field sites. Both Bininj Gunwok (approx 1500-2000 speakers) and Sa (approx 3000 speakers) represent two such small scale speech communities that still display high levels of dialectal variation. Pre-existing long-term relationships between researchers and speech communities will be an advantage for this kind of project and Murray looks forward to continuing his friendships and work with members of the Bininj Gunwok and Sa communities to investigate possible contributing factors that give rise to linguistic microdiversity. In keeping with his cross-disciplinary background, Murray hopes to integrate the linguistic data with the social and cultural contexts of such data-genealogy, social organisation, residence, mobility and ways of speaking across a variety of contexts.

Recent Publications

  1. Something about emus: Bininj stories from Western Arnhem Land

    Bibliography

    Murray Garde. Something about emus: Bininj stories from Western Arnhem Land. Canberra : Aboriginal Studies Press.

  2. Marlkawo Ngarri-wam: We went to Marlkawo

    Bibliography

    Sarah Bilis, Liz Newell, Murray Garde, and Alexandra Marley. 2015. Marlkawo Ngarri-wam: We went to Marlkawo. Melbourne : Children's Ground.

Dineke Schokkin Postdoctoral Researcher

Dineke Schokkin

  • Title: Postdoctoral Researcher

After a BA in Dutch Language and Culture at Utrecht University, Dineke Schokkin did a research MA in Linguistics at University of Amsterdam. Her thesis was a sociolinguistic study focusing on the use of discourse markers and style shifting in the construction of identity by adolescents of Dutch, Turkish and Moroccan background. Dineke continued with a PhD at James Cook University, Cairns, which entailed a reference grammar of Paluai, an Oceanic language spoken on Baluan Island, Manus Province, Papua New Guinea. Based on two lengthy field trips, the grammar covers various aspects of the language including phonology, morphology, lexicon, syntax, semantics and discourse/pragmatics. While mainly focusing on synchronic language description, Dineke was at the same time interested in variation across the community: which social factors would come into play here and to what extent. Another area of specific interest were language contact phenomena in Paluai, in particular through contact with Tok Pisin, the creole serving as lingua franca in most parts of PNG.

Contribution to Laureate project

As a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Wellsprings project Dineke will primarily focus on Idi, a language from the Pahoturi River Family spoken in the Trans-Fly region of Southern New Guinea. Idi is in close contact with Nen and Nambu, the two other SNG languages studied within the project, but belongs to a different language family. Because Idi is scarcely documented, the first field trip in September-October 2014 will chiefly focus on data gathering for grammatical description and analysis, but at the same time Dineke will be on the lookout for possibly socially structured variation across different groups within the community, whether defined by gender, age, or place in society. She will also consider language contact and multilingualism and the role they play in language use by a variety of speakers.

Recent Publications

  1. Uncovering the acoustic vowel space of a previously undescribed language: The vowels of Nambo

    Bibliography

    Eri Kashima, Daniel Williams, Mark Ellison, Paola Escudero, and Dineke Schokkin. 2016. "Uncovering the acoustic vowel space of a previously undescribed language: The vowels of Nambo." The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 139 (6) doi: 10.1121/1.4954395.

Ruth Singer Postdoctoral Researcher

Ruth Singer

  • Title: Postdoctoral Researcher

Ruth is a DECRA ARC postdoctoral fellow at the Research Unit for Indigenous Language, School of Languages and Linguistics, University of Melbourne. Her project looks at how language is used at Warruwi Community, a remnant site of small-scale multilingualism in western Arnhem Land (Australia). She also has a Discovery project with Prof Janet Fletcher and Dr Marija Tabain to look at intonation and information structure in three Australian languages. Ruth has a PhD in Linguistics from Melbourne University, has been a postdoctoral fellow with the Language and Cognition group, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics (Nijmegen, The Netherlands).

Contribution to Laureate project

Within the Wellsprings project Ruth will be looking at variation in Mawng, a small language of 300-500 speakers whose heartland is Warruwi Community. Mawng is one of a number of small languages that are still being used and being passed on to children at Warruwi Community. All Mawng speakers grow up in multilingual families, hearing a number of Indigenous languages spoken around them. Most Mawng-speaking adults have a good command of both Bininj Gun-wok and English. Mawng will be an interesting point of comparison with larger languages in the Wellsprings project because of its small size. It will also be a point of comparison with languages that are acquired in families that use a single language at home.

Recent Publications

  1. Intonational correlates of subject and object realisation in Mawng (Australian)

    Bibliography

    Janet Fletcher, Hywel Stoakes, Ruth Singer, and Deborah Loakes. 2016. "Intonational correlates of subject and object realisation in Mawng (Australian)". In Proceedings of Speech Prosody 2016, 188-192. Boston, USA.

  2. The Dynamics of Nominal Classification: Productive and Lexicalised Uses of Gender Agreement in Mawng

    Bibliography

    Ruth Singer. 2016. The Dynamics of Nominal Classification: Productive and Lexicalised Uses of Gender Agreement in Mawng. Berlin : Mouton de Gruyter.

  3. Getting in Touch: Language and digital inclusion in Australian Indigenous communities

    Bibliography

    Margaret Carew, Jennifer Green, Inge Kral, Rachel Nordlinger, and Ruth Singer. 2015. "Getting in Touch: Language and digital inclusion in Australian Indigenous communities." Language Documentation and Conservation. 9: 307-323. doi: 10.13140/RG.2.1.4940.5924.

  4. Accentual prominence and consonant lengthening and strengthening in Mawng

    Bibliography

    Deborah Loakes, Hywel Stoakes, Ruth Singer, and Janet Fletcher. 2015. Accentual prominence and consonant lengthening and strengthening in Mawng. : University of Glasgow.

Miriam Meyerhoff Visiting Professor

Miriam Meyerhoff

  • Title: Visiting Professor

Miriam Meyerhoff works on language variation, especially in smaller, less well-documented languages. She has a particular interest in the structure and variability of languages that have emerged in situations of language contact; these include Bislama in Vanuatu, Pidgin in Hawai'i and Bequia English in the Caribbean. She also has an abiding interest in how variation is used to express and create social meaning, and has undertaken quantitative and qualitative analyses of the way variation in language helps to index gendered identities. Her work tackles variation at many levels of linguistic structure, and by positioning variation in relation to social structure, it intersects with the concerns of other disciplines in the humanities and social sciences.

Contribution to Laureate project

The significance of language contact for the study of variation has been under-researched and remains under-theorised in sociolinguistics. This is because the field has traditionally focused on monolingual speakers. In the Pacific, however, multilingualism is the norm and it is hard to see how we can adequately engage with the challenges of language description and language maintenance without also considering how variation in one language articulates with variation in another. Yet this very basic issue remains a mystery. As part of the Wellsprings project, Miriam will be advising on combining the insights of variationist sociolinguistics with language documentation, and will be considering ways in which the Wellsprings Project can help both fields develop, with mutually beneficial affordances.

Catherine Travis Project Advisor

Catherine Travis

  • Title: Project Advisor

Catherine is Professor of Modern European Languages in the School of Literature, Languages and Linguistics at the ANU, and is a CI in the Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language. Her research interest lies in the area of language variation and change. Her two current principal projects are testing of the convergence via code-switching hypothesis, through examination of the Spanish spoken in a bilingual community in New Mexico, USA (NMSEB project); and the study of social variation in English spoken in Australia, through a real and apparent time study of spontaneous speech of diverse social groups (including migrant communities) over the past 40 years (Sydney Speaks).

Contribution to Laureate project

As an advisor on the laureate project, Catherine will provide general advice, support and training on data analysis, and in particular, on the application of systematic, quantitative analysis to bilingual speech data. She will work more closely on specific PhD projects as a panel member.

Recent Publications

  1. Different registers, different grammars? Subject expression in English conversation and narrative

    Bibliography

    Catherine Travis, and Amy Lindstrom. 2016. "Different registers, different grammars? Subject expression in English conversation and narrative." Language Variation and Change. 28 (1): 103-128. doi: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0954394515000174.

  2. Two languages, one effect: Structural priming in code-switching

    Bibliography

    Rena Torres Cacoullos, and Catherine Travis. 2016. "Two languages, one effect: Structural priming in code-switching." Bilingualism: Language and Cognition. 19 (4): 733-753. doi: https://doi.org/10.1017/S1366728914000406.

  3. Cross-language priming: A view from bilingual speech

    Bibliography

    Catherine Travis, Rena Torres Cacoullos, and Evan Kidd. 2015 (online). "Cross-language priming: A view from bilingual speech." Bilingualism: Language and Cognition (Special issue edited by Gerrit Jan Kootstra and Pieter Muysken). doi: 10.1017/S1366728915000127.

  4. Two languages, one effect: Structural priming in code-switching

    Bibliography

    Rena Torres Cacoullos, and Catherine Travis. 2015 (online). "Two languages, one effect: Structural priming in code-switching." Bilingualism: Language and Cognition (Special issue edited by Margaret Deuchar). doi: 10.1017/S1366728914000406..

  5. Gauging convergence on the ground: Code-switching in the community

    Bibliography

    Rena Torres Cacoullos, and Catherine Travis. 2015. "Gauging convergence on the ground: Code-switching in the community." International Journal of Bilingualism (Special issue edited by Catherine E. Travis and Rena Torres Cacoullos). 39 (4): 365-386.

Andrew Pawley Project Advisor

Andrew Pawley

  • Title: Project Advisor

Andrew Pawley is Emeritus Professor, School of Culture, History and Language, College of Asia and the Pacific, ANU. His main research interests are in the description and history of the languages and cultures of Pacific Island peoples and in developing richer models of linguistic competence. Andrew has undertaken fieldwork in Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Samoa and Tasmania, investigating Austronesian and Papuan languages and English, including collaborative research with archaeologists, ethnographers and biologists. Since 1963 he has been engaged in interdisciplinary research among the Kalam people in the Schrader Ranges, Papua New Guinea, focusing on language and perception and use of the natural environment. Since 1967 he has also pursued a similar project with the people of Waya Island, Western Fiji. For the last 20 years, Andrew has collaborated with Malcolm Ross and Meredith Osmond on a series of volumes that use lexical comparisons to reconstruct the culture and environment of speakers of Proto Oceanic, ancestor of most of the Austronesian languages of the Pacific Islands.

Contribution to Laureate project

Andrew will act as adviser regarding research on the nature of precontact linguistic diversity and homogeneity in various regions of the Pacific Islands, with special reference to Samoa.

Simon Greenhill Project Advisor

Simon Greenhill

  • Title: Project Advisor

Simon Greenhill is a ARC Discovery Fellow in the School of Culture, History & Language and ANU College of Asia and the Pacific at the Australian National University. He was previously a post-doctoral research fellow in the Psychology Department and Computational Evolution Group at the University of Auckland.

His main research focus is the evolution of languages and cultures. He has applied cutting-edge computational phylogenetic methods to language and cultural evolution, and used these methods to test hypotheses about human prehistory and cultural evolution in general. The questions he has explored so far include how people settled the Pacific, how language structure and complexity evolve, the co-evolution of cultural systems in the Pacific, and how cultural evolution can be modeled.

Recent Publications

  1. Overview: Debating the effect of environment on language

    Bibliography

    Simon Greenhill. February 22, 2016. "Overview: Debating the effect of environment on language." Journal of Language Evolution. 1 (1): 30-32. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jole/lzv007.

  2. A Combined Comparative and Phylogenetic Analysis of the Chapacuran Language Family

    Bibliography

    Joshua Birchall, Michael Dunn, and Simon Greenhill. July 2016. "A Combined Comparative and Phylogenetic Analysis of the Chapacuran Language Family." International Journal of American Linguistics. 82 (3): 255-284. doi: DOI: 10.1086/687383.

  3. D-PLACE: A Global Database of Cultural, Linguistic and Environmental Diversity

    Bibliography

    Simon Greenhill, Russell Gray, Kathryn Kirby, Fiona Jordan, Stephanie Gomes-Ng, and Hans-Jorg Bibiko. April 11, 2016. "D-PLACE: A Global Database of Cultural, Linguistic and Environmental Diversity." PLoS ONE.

  4. Cultural and Environmental Predictors of Pre-European Deforestation on Pacific Islands

    Bibliography

    Simon Greenhill, Quentin Atkinson, Ties Coomber, Sam Passmore, and Geoff Kushnick. May 27, 2016. "Cultural and Environmental Predictors of Pre-European Deforestation on Pacific Islands." PLoS ONE. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0156340.

  5. Links between language diversity and species richness can be confounded by spatial autocorrelation

    Bibliography

    Simon Greenhill, Lindell Bromham, and Marcel Cardillo. 2015. "Links between language diversity and species richness can be confounded by spatial autocorrelation". In Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B,

Sonja Gipper Associate Investigator

Sonja Gipper

  • Title: Associate Investigator

Sonja is a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Linguistics, University of Cologne. She is working on Yurakaré, an endangered language isolate spoken in the Andean foothill area of central Bolivia. She did her PhD on the use of evidentials and intersubjective markers in that language (2011, MPI for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen). From 2011 until 2015, she taught linguistics at the University of Cologne. She started her project on variation in Yurakaré in 2016.

Contribution to Laureate project:

Sonja investigates different aspects of sociolinguistic variation in Yurakaré. One particular focus of her project is the study of linguistic attitudes and awareness of linguistic differences. How aware are speakers of the observed variation? What kinds of social meaning do they attach to different variants? And do those social meanings differ from those found in large Indo-European languages? Yurakaré is located in Amazonia, representing one of the world's linguistic diversity hotspots. You can find information about her research here.

Luis Miguel Rojas-Berscia Associate Investigator

Luis Miguel Rojas-Berscia

  • Title: Associate Investigator

Luis Miguel is a PhD candidate within the Language in Interaction Consortium (LiI) in the Netherlands, currently based at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics and Radboud University Nijmegen. He was born in Peru, where he obtained a BAHons from Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (2012) with an initial description the syntax and semantics of causation of Shawi, an Amazonian language of the Upper Amazon. He then moved to the Netherlands to obtain a MA in Linguistics from Radboud University with a description of Selk'nam, an almost extinct language of Tierra del Fuego. He is interested in theoretical linguistics, historical linguistics, sociolinguistics and language description.

Contribution to Laureate project:

Luis Miguel's fieldsite is the Upper Amazon of Peru. He focuses on language description as well as on variation in Shawi from both a historical and variationist perspective.

Complemented by the analysis of historical sources as well as data collected in situ, this project wants to provide a first approach to understanding South America's rampant linguistic diversity. You can find information about his research here.

Eri Kashima PhD Student

Eri Kashima

  • Title: PhD Student

Eri is a PhD candidate who will form part of the Southern New Guinea contingency of the Wellsprings Project. She has completed two honours theses at the University of Melbourne; one in Anthropology (2007), and the other in Linguistics (2013). Eri researched into the distribution and semantics of the remote past tense in Papuan languages for her honours thesis. Her research interests lie in language contact and change phenomena, multilingualism, and sociolinguistic variation.

Contribution to Laureate project

Eri will be conducting a variationist study of the multilingual Nambu community of Southern Papua New Guinea. She will study both socially and linguistically conditioned speech variation, and will create a sketch grammar of this little-studied language. Through this project Eri also hopes to touch upon some methodological challenges unique to conducting a variationist study on a small speech community of an under-described language. These include how to construct an adequate corpus within a restricted time frame, how to integrate 'the variable of multilingualism' in a variationist study, and how to create an adequate population sample from a speaker base with low numbers.

Recent Publications

  1. Uncovering the acoustic vowel space of a previously undescribed language: The vowels of Nambo

    Bibliography

    Eri Kashima, Daniel Williams, Mark Ellison, Paola Escudero, and Dineke Schokkin. 2016. "Uncovering the acoustic vowel space of a previously undescribed language: The vowels of Nambo." The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 139 (6) doi: 10.1121/1.4954395.

Marie-France Duhamel PhD Student

Marie-France Duhamel

  • Title: PhD Student

Marie will be part of the team working in Vanuatu, on the language varieties of South Pentecost. For her Masters research (2010) she collected data on the islet of Atchin (northeast Malakula) to document features of the local language. As a research assistant she also worked on N'kep, a language of Espiritu Santo. Marie has particular interests in working on the lesser known languages, especially for what these can reveal in terms of cognition and linguistic typology. Investigating linguistic variation, its agents and how speakers respond to it, is another area of interest.

Contribution to Laureate project

As a PhD student, Marie will work on languages of Pentecost, Vanuatu. She will contribute to the detailed sociolinguistic case-study of the Raga language, spoken in North Pentecost, and compare aspects of it with the highly diverse Sa language, spoken in South Pentecost. In large speech communities, sociolinguistic studies have revealed the role of women, adolescents and members of the lower middle class as introducers and propagators of linguistic variation and innovation, but there have been few similar studies in small-scale speech communities. The variationist data that she will be collecting for the Wellsprings of Linguistic Diversity project will offer an exceptional opportunity for Marie to conduct this type of research.

Alexandra Marley PhD Student

Alexandra Marley

  • Title: PhD Student

Alexandra (Alex) is a PhD candidate in the Wellsprings Project who will be working in western Arnhem Land. Alex completed her MA in linguistics through the CRLD (La Trobe University) in 2013, focusing on language use and maintenance of multilingualism in a Qaqet Baining community (East New Britain, PNG). Her research interests are language maintenance and shift, language ideology and attitudes, perceptual dialectology, language contact, multilingualism and sociolinguistic variation, and particularly how these intersect.

Contribution to Laureate project

Alex will be examining the impact of dialect and language contact on inter-speaker variation in the Bininj Kunwok dialect chain, spoken in Western Arnhem Land and now parts of Kakadu. The Top End region where Bininj Kunwok is spoken is the most linguistically diverse area in Australia, however we have little understanding of how the many unrelated languages there came to be and survived (prior to European settlement) despite millennia of contact with one another. In addition to furthering our understanding of variation in Bininj Kunwok, Alex aims to also explore what roles language ideologies, social structure and identity, and land ties may play in the language’s maintenance and variation.

Recent Publications

  1. Marlkawo Ngarri-wam: We went to Marlkawo

    Bibliography

    Sarah Bilis, Liz Newell, Murray Garde, and Alexandra Marley. 2015. Marlkawo Ngarri-wam: We went to Marlkawo. Melbourne : Children's Ground.

Hedvig Skirgard PhD Student

Hedvig Skirgard

  • Title: PhD Student

Hedvig is one of the PhD candidates in the Wellsprings project and her field site is Samoa. She is Swedish and has an MA from Stockholm University (2013). She has a background in grammatical typology, contact linguistics, cross-linguistic databases and languages of West Africa. She is interested in the diversity, disparity and complexity of linguistic systems and how we can improve our understanding of these topics by improving methodology in typology and more detailed first hand data collection suitable for systematic comparison.

Contribution to Laureate project

Hedvig's field site is Samoa and her topic variation in Samoan and the possible reasons behind it. The other field sites of the Wellsprings of Linguistic Diversity project display high linguistic diversity: western Arnhem Land, Morehead district of Southern New Guinea, and South Pentecost Island. Samoa, however, is at the other extreme with a very low diversity.

Why is this? Hedvig wants to investigate the relationship between societal structure and social networks and the spread of linguistic and cultural innovations. What is it that makes Polynesia so different from Melanesia?

Bianca Hennessy Project Administrator

Bianca Hennessy

  • Title: Project Administrator

Bianca’s role in the project involves fieldwork and conference coordination, communication between team members and general administrative support. She acts as a central contact for those interested in the activities of the project. Bianca is also a PhD student, researching indigenous epistemologies used in research and teaching in Pacific Studies.

Anyone interested in the activities of the project can email Bianca.hennessy@anu.edu.au.

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

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