Linguistically, the Trans Fly region of Southern New Guinea is one of the least known parts of New Guinea. Yet the glimpses we already have are enough to see that it is a zone with among the highest levels of linguistic diversity in New Guinea, arguably only exceeded by those found in the Sepik and the north coast. After surveying the sociocultural setting, in particular the widespread practice of direct sister-exchange which promotes egalitarian multilingualism in the region, I give an initial taste of what its languages are like. I focus on two languages which are neighbours, and whose speakers regularly intermarry, but which belong to two unrelated and typologically distinct families: Nen (Yam Family) and Idi (Pahoturi River Family). I then zoom out to look at some typological features of the whole Trans-Fly region, exemplifying with the dual number category, and close by stressing the need for documentation of the languages of this fascinating region.
|Title of host publication||Melanesian Languages on the Edge of Asia: Challenges for the 21st Century|
|Editors||Nicholas Evans and Marian Klamer|
|Place of Publication||Honolulu Hawaii|
|Publisher||University of Hawaii Press|
|Publication status||Published - 2012|