Directions in Oceanic Research – Call for papers

So you haven’t had enough conferences on languages of the Pacific – or you missed AFLA and the Papuan languages workshop??
Head to Ourimbah, 9-11 December 2008 for for the Directions in Oceanic Research (DOR) conference.
Here’s the info:

In recent years research attention has to some extent moved away from Oceanic languages, towards eastern Indonesia and Formosa in Austronesian, and towards Papuan. While these are significant areas for research, this trend raises questions about the extent to which Oceanic retains continuing significance for wider linguistic research.
This conference explores the place of Oceanic language research in the wider agenda of linguistics by focusing on two themes. One is concerned with aspects of Oceanic, from broad issues in Oceanic grammar to specific phenomena in individual languages, that hold continuing significance in informing a wider understanding of language. The second theme relates to the interaction and integration of successive layers of linguistic research in investigating Oceanic, particularly the core layers of documentation, description, typology and formal theory.
The interaction and successful integration of these layers is crucial to linguistics core research agenda of modelling the language faculty. Modelling language is the function of formal theory, but to successfully do so, formal theory depends on thorough descriptions of individual languages and broadly based typologies of phenomena to model. Typology in turn also depends on detailed descriptions, while descriptive linguistics depends on adequate documentation. These four successive layers of research activity are interdependent and each essential to the overall research program. This conference explores the interaction and integration of multiple layers in investigating Oceanic.
To address these themes the conference brings together key scholars representing each of these core layers of research within Oceanic.
Invited speakers:
Frantisek Lichtenberk (Auckland) Description
Diane Massam (Toronto) Formal theory
Claire Moyse-Faurie (LACITO-CNRS, Paris) Typology
Nick Thieberger (Hawai’i) Documentation
René van den Berg (SIL PNG) Integrating research
Call for papers:
Abstracts are invited for 30 minute talks (20 minute presentations + 10 minute discussion) on any topic relating to Oceanic, in the following overlapping areas:

  • The interaction and integration of multiple layers of linguistic research in the field of Oceanic languages.
  • Aspects of Oceanic languages with continuing wider significance.

We welcome papers in one or more of the following areas, particularly those integrating more than one area:

  • documentation;
  • description;
  • typology;
  • formal theory.

We also welcome papers relating to the wider significance of Oceanic in other subdisciplines, including:

  • language change;
  • language and prehistory;
  • language, culture and cognition;
  • anthropological linguistics;
  • language endangerment;
  • language maintenance;
  • language acquisition.

Abstracts should not exceed one A4 page with a 2.5cm margin on each side and in 12 pt. Times New Roman font, with one additional page for data and references. IPA data should use Doulos SIL font if possible.
Abstracts should be submitted in two versions. One version should be in Word, consisting of the title, followed on separate lines by the author(s) name(s), affiliation(s), and email contacts. The second version should be fully anonymized, and submitted preferably as a pdf, or in Word.
All abstracts should be sent as email attachments to Submission deadline is Friday 15 August.
Registration details will be announced in due course. Registration will be A$100, or A$50 for students/unwaged.
University ff Newcastle’s Central Coast Campus, in Ourimbah, New South Wales.
The conference contact address is oceanic.conference..AT…
This conference is being organised by the University of Newcastle’s Pacific Languages Research Group (PLRG) within the University. The group is headed by Dr Bill Palmer, who recently joined the university from the Surrey Morphology Group in the UK. The Group’s research focus is on the languages and cultures of the Australia-Pacific region. Its activities focus on the following language groupings and their theoretical and typological significance: Oceanic; Australian; Papuan; Western Austronesian; and pidgins and creoles of the Australia-Pacific.


  1. Isn’t Papuan generally considered an Oceanic language? Or does the term refer to those languages that branched off from POc.

  2. Jangari says:

    Paul, Papuan refers to the amalgam of disparate languages in Papua New Guinea or Western Papua that are not Austronesian. Austronesian is the language family that covers much of southeast Asia, Oceania and the Pacific. Oceanic is a sub-family (quite far removed, I think) of Austronesian.
    Within Papua (be it PNG or Western), there are something like 800 languages that aren’t Austronesian, split up into a few dozen incredibly diverse families. Lumping them all together and calling them ‘Papuan’ unfortunately implies more genealogical similarity than there actually is.

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