Prof Andrew Pawley


Research activity per year

Personal profile


Current projects: Collaborating with Malcolm Ross and Meredith Osmond on a seven volume series using lexical comparisons to reconstruct the culture and environment of Proto Oceanic speakers; completing dictionaries of Kalam (Papua New Guinea), Wayan (Western Fiji) and Gela (Solomon Is.); collaborating with Ian Saem Majnep on a book on Kalam ethnobotany.

Career highlights

Taught linguistics in the Department of Anthropology, University of Auckland from 1965-1989, with periods at UPNG (1969) and U. Hawaii (1973-78). Moved to ANU in 1990. Taught at the Linguistic Society of America's summer Institute in 1977 and 1985. Sabbaticals at Berkeley (1983), U. Frankfurt (1994), Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig (2001).

Research interests

Austronesian and Papuan languages and cultures, the prehistory of Pacific Island peoples, folk taxonomies and ethnobiology, lexicography, phraseology and idiomaticity.


BA (NZ), MA, PhD (University of Auckland), FRSNZ, FAHA

Expertise Areas

  • Linguistic Anthropology
  • Pacific Languages
  • Language in Culture and Society (Sociolinguistics)
  • Language in Time and Space (incl. Historical Linguistics, Dialectology)
  • Linguistic Structures (incl. Grammar, Phonology, Lexicon, Semantics)


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