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The languages of Melanesia: Quantifying the level of coverage

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Title: The languages of Melanesia: Quantifying the level of coverage
Authors: Hammarström, Harald
Nordhoff, Sebastian
Issue Date: 20 Dec 2012
Publisher: University of Hawai'i Press
Series/Report no.: LD&C Special Publication
Abstract: The present paper assesses the state of grammatical description of the languages of the Melanesian region based on database of semi-automatically annotated aggregated bibliographical references. 150 years of language description in Melanesia has produced at least some grammatical information for almost half of the languages of Melanesia, almost evenly spread among coastal/non-coastal, Austronesian/non-Austronesian and isolates/large families. Nevertheless, only 15.4% of these languages have a grammar and another 18.7% have a grammar sketch. Compared to Eurasia, Africa and the Americas, the Papua-Austronesian region is the region with the largest number of poorly documented languages and the largest proportion of poorly documented languages. We conclude with some dicussion and remarks on the documentational challenge and its future prospects.
Sponsor: National Foreign Language Resource Center
URI/DOI: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/4559
ISBN: 978-0-9856211-2-4
Rights: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States
Appears in Collections:LD&C Special Publication No. 5: Melanesian languages on the edge of Asia: Challenges for the 21st Century



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