Melanesia as a zone of language diversity

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    This chapter deals with a survey of that diversity, and describes the present-day distribution of the languages across the region. It discusses a sample of different ways of speaking within given languages. The chapter examines patterns of multilingualism and alternation among the languages in contemporary Melanesia and their implications for the future of linguistic diversity in the region. The southern part of Bougainville has long been an area of contact and interaction among diverse groups, including speakers of both Austronesian and Papuan languages. In addition to the local Papuan and Austronesian languages that are found throughout Melanesia there are also several ‘pidgin’ languages that have arisen more or less spontaneously as means of communication in the context of interactions between people who had no other language in common. Melanesian pidgins and creoles have preserved grammatical distinctions that are typically found in indigenous languages of the region but not in English.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationThe Melanesian World
    Editors Eric Hirsch and Will Rollason
    Place of PublicationNew York
    Edition1st Edition
    ISBN (Print)978-1-138-69371-5
    Publication statusPublished - 2019


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