Eva Lindström

Fieldwork

I have had the opportunity of spending over 20 months in fieldwork in Papua New Guinea (PNG), mainly in the village of Bimun on the west coast of New Ireland. The first trip was in 1997 and the most recent in August – October 2003.

It all started when I was invited to Australia by Profs. Bob (R.M.W.) Dixon and Sasha (Alexandra Y.) Aikhenvald at the Research Centre for Linguistic Typology (RCLT) at La Trobe University in Melbourne (then at the ANU in Canberra). I was based at the RCLT from March 1997 to June 2001 when I returned to Sweden.

PNG has more languages than anywhere else in the world – around 800. I work on Kuot, the only non-Austronesian language in New Ireland Province. Kuot is a linguistic isolate, having no known relatives at all. Unfortunately the future of Kuot is looking bleak, and it will probably disappear in the next few decades. You can read more about the language and its situation on the Kuot page.

The lingua franca in New Ireland and many other parts of PNG is Tok Pisin, a creole that has developed from a mainly English-based pidgin that was used in the southwest Pacific by traders from around 150 years ago. Read more about it (and listen to it) on the Tok Pisin page.

You can read about the more practical aspects of fieldwork in New Ireland on the travel tips page, which sums up answers to various questions I have had about life and travel in New Ireland and Papua New Guinea over the years. I also have a couple of pages on the solar power system I took to the field in 2004.

Go to the picture index page to see some photos from my field site!

 


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Department of Linguistics, Stockholm