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Grant number like: FN-249650-16

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Hiroko Sato
University of Hawaii at Manoa (Honolulu, HI 96822-2247)

Dynamic Language Infrastructure-Documenting Endangered Languages - Fellowships
Research Programs

[Grant products]

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2016 – 8/31/2017

Documentation and Morphosyntactic Analysis of Bebeli, an Austronesian Language of Papua New Guinea

Fieldwork and research for a dictionary, grammar, and scholarly articles on Bebeli, an endangered language of Papua New Guinea.

The purpose of this project is to do research on Bebeli, an endangered Austronesian language spoken in the West New Britain region of Papua New Guinea. Bebeli has been replaced by Tok Pisin, the region's lingua franca. Although there are perhaps 780 speakers with some knowledge of the language, only four elderly individuals are fully competent speakers. Younger generations do not learn Bebeli anymore, and very little information about the language currently exists. The main goals are 1) to elicit and build a corpus of culturally significant Bebeli texts in various genres such as myths, historical stories, legends, and children’s stories, 2) to expand a trilingual dictionary of the language (with English and Tok Pisin) and create a comprehensive grammar, and 3) to research and publish papers comparing morphosyntactic aspects of Bebeli and related languages (Avau, Akolet, and Lesin-Gelimi), which are significant for comparative and historical linguistics. All materials will be stored at Kaipuleohone, the University of Hawai’i Digital Ethnographic Archive, for permanent archiving. (Edited by staff)