Linguistic Areas and Substrates in the Western Pacific

presented by Paul Geraghty
The University of the South Pacific and University of New England

10-11.30 am Wednesday 5 February 2014
Paul Barratt Lecture Theatre (Psychology Building, UNE)

This talk will focus on linguistic areas in the Western Pacific, in particular Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, where Austronesian and non-Austronesian languages are involved, and attempt to answer the question as to whether a similar historical situation may have given rise to similar linguistic phenomena in Vanuatu and New Caledonia.

Specifically, there are four separate areas that might be considered current or former linguistic areas:

(1) North-West Melanesia, where seemingly aberrant features, from the standpoint of canonical Oceanic languages, have been attributed to contact with non-Austronesian languages that are, in some cases, no longer spoken there;

(2) the Santa Cruz group in the far eastern Solomon Islands, including Santa Cruz, Vanikoro and Utupua;

(3) the islands of Santo and Malakula in north-western Vanuatu, in both of which a former linguistic area comprising Oceanic and Papuan languages has been proposed; and

(4) New Caledonia (possibly including the Loyalty Islands), where the non-Oceanic component of the former linguistic area has been proposed as Papuan or Australian.