- About Us
- - Mapping Print, Charting Enlightenment
- - Book History Manuscripts
- - Mama and Papa in Indigenous Australia
- - Mapping Co-Lexification Patterns in Sahul
- - Palmerston Island Social Networks, Linguistic Variation and Language Change
- - Mapping Currents of Change and Exchange in the Pacific
- - Aboriginal Dreaming
- - Uruk 3000 BC
- - At the Heart of It
- - Music, Mobile Phones and Community Justice in Melanesia
- - Geo-language Games
- - Journal Finder
- - Migration, Mobility and Connection
- - Digital Lives and Archives of Irish Literature and History
- - Alveo
- - Just Spaces
- - Digital Visualization: Ming and Qing Buddha Statues in the Hunan Region
- - ARCHivER
- - Waves of Words
- DH Downunder
Waves of Words
Mapping and modelling the history of Australia’s Asia-Pacific ties
This project aims to determine the extent and nature of ancient contact relationships between first peoples of Australia and the Asia-Pacific region. The research design includes two complementary sets of methods:
- targeted comparative linguistic and anthropological research into shared linguistic features and cultural practices,
- data-driven digital modelling of linguistic, anthropological and archaeological evidence.
As a result, we also expect to discover what kinds of social configurations underlie different linguistic outcomes in language contact situations and to improve our understanding of the relationship between language change and sociocultural change, which will have significant impact on linguistic and anthropological theory.
- Associate Professor Rachel Hendery, Western Sydney University (lead CI)
- Professor Patrick McConvell, The Australian National University, CI
- Professor Simeon Simoff, Western Sydney University, CI
- Dr Andrew Burrell, UTS, CI
- Professor Laurent Dousset, EHESS, France, PI
- Professor Matthew Spriggs, Research Associate
- Associate Professor Tim Denham, Research Associate
- Dr Antoinette Schapper, Research Assistant
- Dr Michael Falk, Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Regions of particular interest
- The Solomon Islands
- Torres Strait Islands
- Cape York
- Arnhem Land
- The southern tip of Papua New Guinea
- New Caledonia
Particular topics of interest currently include
- Words and practices relating to taboo
- Yams, taro, boabs, bananas
- Plants with ritual or ceremonial significance
- Social organisation (kinship, chieftainship, land tenure, etc)
- Simulation of pre-colonial travel times
- Mapping of thickly layered data sources from different disciplines
- Immersive visual analytics
Recent and upcoming events
- A workshop on the topic of tabu was held in 2018 and papers from this workshop are currently in preparation
- A workshop, 'Crossing the Sea' was held in 2018 on evidence for pre-colonial contacts between Australia and the Asia-Pacific region.
- A workshop on Indigenous Mapping was held in Sydney in 2019.
Software developed for the project is available at the Waves of Words github repository.
At this stage this includes:
- a Virtual Reality platform for linking different kinds of geolocated humanities data, along with results of some initial experiments with simulation of canoe travel times, warping of space to represent relationships in the data, and gesture-based interaction.
- some scripts for using a downloaded version of the CLIC colexifications database
- some machine learning experiments in detecting documents that contain words from Pacific or Aboriginal languages in Trove.
- a variety of maps using Leaflet and Google Sheets for quick and dirty visualisation of the distribution of linguistic terms or features
Published outputs so far include:
- Dousset, L. (2019). Systèmes ouverts et systèmes fermés : reconstruire l’organisation sociale des sociétés de la préhistoire. In L. Dousset, S. Park, & G. Guille-Escuret (Eds.), Parenté, écologie et historie: renouvellement des conjonctures. London: Iste Editions.
- Hendery, R., & McConvell, P. (2018). Waves of words: Ancient Asia-Pacific connection with North Australia. Pacific Dynamics, 2(1).
- Schapper, A., & de Vries, L. (2018). Comparatives in Melanesia: Concentric circles of convergence. Linguistic Typology, 22(3), 437–494.
- Schapper, A., & Wellfelt, E. (2018). Reconstructing contact between Alor and Timor: Evidence from language and beyond. NUSA: Linguistic Studies of Languages in and around Indonesia, 64, 95–116.
Several further papers are under review.
Positions available (please inquire)
- Digital Humanities-focused postdoctoral position (short or part time) - 2020
Please contact Rachel Hendery for more information on any of the above.