Advancing linguistic links in West Papua
Some 700 languages are spoken in Indonesia, the world’s most multilingual country. While many of them are widely spoken, others risk falling out of use. Moreover, there are many questions surrounding the linguistic family of about two dozen Papuan languages spoken by around 4 million people over a 1 000 km radius on and around the Bird’s Head of West Papua. The EU-funded OUTOFPAPUA project will investigate whether these languages have a common origin. The project will apply advanced linguistic methods to test the hypothesis that these languages belong to a single West Papuan language. The findings will shed light on the possibility that the language distribution reflects a migration of Papuan people, in relatively late prehistoric times, from the New Guinea mainland outward and westward into the Indonesian archipelago, possibly owing to indigenous agricultural innovations.
Field of science
- /humanities/languages and literature/linguistics
Call for proposal
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