Charlotte van Tongeren

Charlotte van Tongeren

PhD Candidate


BA and MPhil in Linguistics (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)
Contact details
P: 02 6125 8612
Room: 3.263
Building: HC Coombs Building

I am writing about Suki, a language of the Western Province of Papua New Guinea.

Suki has over 3500 speakers, most of whom live in the villages of Eniyawa, Aewe, Kiru, Pukaduka, Sapuka, and a number of smaller places in the swampy lowlands just north of the Fly River, South Fly District. The language is acquired by children, and while many if not most of its speakers are multilingual, Suki is the primary language spoken in the area. The language has been classified as belonging to the Trans New Guinea family. Its closest linguistic neighbour, Gogodala, is similarly undescribed.

My PhD thesis is a first thorough description of the grammatical structure of Suki, and it also includes chapters on discourse and conversation. My major fieldtrip lasted for 12 months, during which I acquired the language monolingually and did a lot of transcription and recording, mostly video. I am currently in the process of analysing the data, writing up my thesis, and preparing for further fieldwork. I am very excited about my upcoming fieldtrip, which has conversation as its main theme.

I am funded by the ANU University Research Scholarship, as well as externally by the Firebird Foundation for Anthropological Research, and the Endangered Languages Documentation Programme.

I also work as a data manager for Alan Rumsey and Francesca Merlan's project on child language acquisition in Ku Waru, a language of the highlands of Papua New Guinea.

Updated:  7 July 2017/Responsible Officer:  Director, Culture, History & Language/Page Contact:  CHL webmaster