Lexical comparison between Papuan languages: Inland bird and tree species

The Pioneers project seeks to uncover relationships between the Papuan languages of Island Melanesia. One basic way to uncover linguistic relationships, either contact or genetic, is through lexical comparison. We have seen very few shared words between our Papuan languages and any other languages, either Oceanic or Papuan, but most of the words which are shared are shared because they are commonly borrowed from Oceanic languages. This task is aimed at enabling fieldworkers to collect terms for inland bird and tree species. In the past it is has proved very difficult for non-experts to identify plant and bird species, so the task consists of a booklet of colour pictures of some of the more common species, with information on the range and habits of each species, as well as some information on their cultural uses, which should enable better identification. It is intended that fieldworkers will show this book to consultants and use it as an elicitation aid.
Publication type
Book chapter
Publication date
2004

Share this page