Language contact along the Sepik River, Papua New Guinea

Aikhenvald, Alexandra Y. (2008) Language contact along the Sepik River, Papua New Guinea. Anthropological Linguistics, 50 (1). pp. 1-66.

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Abstract

The Sepik River Basin in New Guinea is a locus of substantial linguistic diversity, with several genetically related and unrelated languages in continuous contact. The inhabitants of the area divide into “River-dwellers” (i.e., those who live on the Sepik River) and “Jungle-dwellers” (i.e., those who live in the bush). The two groups differ in their ways of subsistence, their knowledge of each other’s languages, and the impact of language contact. This article focuses on Manambu, a language of the Ndu family spoken by a warlike group of River-dwellers, and the ways its grammar has been influenced by the languages of the neighboring Jungle-dwellers, the Kwoma and the Yessan-Mayo. Lexical influence from the closely related Iatmul (also spoken by River-dwellers) is restricted to a number of ritual genres (now obsolete). Patterns of interaction between Jungle-dwellers and River-dwellers and the effects of language contact in the Middle Sepik are compared to the situation in the multilingual Vaupés area in northwest Amazonia. Different means of subsistence, life styles, and patterns of interaction are responsible for differences in contact-induced change in the two cases.

Item ID: 9161
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: languages, cultures, contact
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ISSN: 1944-6527
Date Deposited: 30 Mar 2010 00:46
FoR Codes: 20 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 2004 Linguistics > 200407 Lexicography @ 100%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9502 Communication > 950203 Languages and Literature @ 100%
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