‘kakokako’ about Motu in LING407

To finish off this year’s Linguistics Field Methods course (LING407), the class invited members of the Christchurch PNG and wider Pasifika community to the Undercroft 101, to share food and present findings from their research projects on the Oceanic language Motu, which is spoken in Papua New Guinea. Iskandar Davis talked about Motu vowels and interesting phonetic reduction processes; Sidney Wong discussed the distribution and morphological properties of adjectives in Motu; Nikita Sutrave provided an overview of Motu adpositions and demonstrated data elicitation with cat pictures; Esther Peach examined how tense and aspect are expressed in verbal affixes and subject markers; and Zsenai Logan compared word order patterns in Motu content questions and corresponding declaratives. A conference poster that the whole class had produced in collaboration with our Pacific language consultant Raho Kila was also on display. The poster (Let’s ‘kakokako’ about Motu) summarises key findings from everybody’s research projects and was presented at the Linguistic Society of New Zealand Conference in Wellington on 20-21 November.

Well done to all the students for preparing engaging presentations that made their findings accessible to a general audience!

We are most grateful to all community members who came to hear the presentations and shared their own insights on Motu and other languages spoken in PNG and the Pacific. A big thank you also to our wonderful Motu language consultant Raho Kila and her mother for teaching us so much about the Motu language and culture throughout the semester.

LING407 Field Methods was taught by Dr Heidi Quinn, and Raho Kila’s language consultant work was supported by the College of Arts Pacific Language Consultant Award and the Pacific Development Team.

Linguistics 407, Papua New Guinean Motu language, Linguistics students reporting on their research, 1.12.16

Linguistics 407, Papua New Guinean Motu language, Linguistics students reporting on their research, 1.12.16


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