We are involved in documenting and describing the myriad languages of the vast Asia Pacific region, drawing on fieldwork within the speech communities - and producing grammars, dictionaries and collections of recorded textual materials. These have relevance to many scientific questions - from what language can tell us about the human mind, to the full spectrum of design possibilities for mankind's most fundamental human creation, language, to the harnessing of language patterning to our understanding of deep human history. But they are equally important for small speech communities themselves, for establishing vernacular education or conserving the traditional ecological knowledge embedded in their languages. Our postgraduate training, at PhD and Master's levels, aims to produce descriptive linguists of the highest quality, equally able to carry out linguistic fieldwork and relate it to a broad range of theoretical issues. Good support for doctoral fieldwork is available. Minority languages currently or recently researched by staff, doctoral students and visitors cover sites ranging from Vanuatu, New Caledonia, PNG, Australia, Indonesia, Timor Leste, the Philippines, Taiwan, India and Japan.
Members of the unit are active in the University's Centre for Research on Language Change. We co-host Paradisec, a distributed digital archive dedicated to sound and video recordings of languages and cultures of the Pacific. We also publish the monograph series Pacific Linguistics, which has produced over 600 publications on Pacific and Southeast Asian languages and linguistics.
Head: Nick Evans