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Products for grant FN-230211-15

Documentation of the Bebeli Language, Papua New Guinea
Hiroko Sato, University of Hawaii at Manoa

Grant details:

Hiroko Sato Collection - Bebeli Documentation (Database/Archive/Digital Edition)
Title: Hiroko Sato Collection - Bebeli Documentation
Author: Hiroko Sato
Abstract: This is a collection of Bebeli language and its related languages spoken in Papua New Guinea. The collection includes audio and video recordings and photographs.
Year: 2016
Primary URL:
Access Model: open access

An Assessment of Language Vitality in Bebeli, an Endangered Language in Papua New Guinea (Public Lecture or Presentation)
Title: An Assessment of Language Vitality in Bebeli, an Endangered Language in Papua New Guinea
Abstract: Papua New Guinea (PNG) shows very great linguistic diversity, and a number of languages in the country are endangered. There are 47 languages spoken on New Britain Island, and most of them are both undocumented and at risk of loss. Bebeli is the most severely endangered language spoken in the West New Britain region of PNG. The language has been replaced in nearly every domain by Tok Pisin, and younger generations are not learning the language anymore. While I estimate the number of speakers at about 780, including those who may use the language very little, there are only four remaining fluent speakers with solid knowledge of the language and traditional concepts. This talk is a preliminary report on the process of language loss and the assessment of the language vitality of Bebeli, based on interviews and experimental methods that include comprehension and production tasks. In this talk, I first describe the causes of Bebeli’s loss, and discuss the current situation of language proficiency and use. I then demonstrate how the language is being lost, based on the results of assessment tests of language vitality. Finally, I examine speakers’ perceptions of their own language proficiency.
Author: Hiroko Sato
Date: 10/26/2016
Location: University of Hawaii at Manoa
Primary URL:
Primary URL Description: This is a biocultural initiative speaker series held by co-sponsored, East-West Center and Center for Pacific Islands Studies at University of Hawaii.