ERIC Number: ED041275
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1970-Apr
Reference Count: 0
Languages of Oceania. Working Papers in Linguistics; Volume 2, Number 3.
Grace, George W.
One of the first problems concerning research in the languages of Oceania is that the number and location of languages there is not precisely known. Another problem is determining just what a language is. Appell's "isoglot" may be a better method of distinguishing different languages than "mutual intelligibility." The Oceanic area is "arbitrarily" defined here to include the Australian, Papuan, and Austronesian languages. The number of languages in aboriginal Australia is over 200. All appear to be related, with approximately two-thirds of the continent originally occupied by languages of a single sub-group, Pama-Nyungan. The remaining sub-groups are in the northwestern part of the continent. No language relationships outside Australia have been established. Greenberg has presented a detailed argument for a genetic grouping of the Papuan languages (noted for their great diversity), including the languages of the Andaman Islands, the extinct languages of Tasmania, and at least most of the Papuan languages. The Austronesian family is distributed among a considerable number of different political entities. There is still no general agreement on the earliest branching of Proto-Austronesian. The author comments on some typical features of these language groups. (These Working Papers constitute progress reports and are preliminary in nature.) (AMM)
Publication Type: N/A
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Hawaii Univ., Honolulu. Dept. of Linguistics.
Identifiers: Oceania; Papuan Languages
Note: Paper prepared for the World's Languages Conference, Center for Applied Linguistics, Washington, D.C., April 23-25, 1970