School of Education and the Arts
Language, Communication and Culture
Prof Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald, Prof R. M. W. Dixon, Dr Miriam Ham, Prof Janya McCalman
Doctor of Philosophy
Christoph Holz

Research Details

Thesis Name

A comprehensive grammar of Tiang

Thesis Abstract

The project aims to collect and analyse Tiang oral literature through examining traditional genres and procedural descriptions, as well as notes on environmental and cultural knowledge. The outcome will be a comprehensive grammar of the Tiang language within the framework of Basic Linguistic Theory. Christoph Holz obtained his MA at Leipzig University, Germany. He has a passion for Austronesian and Asian languages, linguistic typology and nominal classification.

Why my research is important/Impacts

Tiang is a previously undescribed Oceanic language spoken by about 4000 people on Djaul Island in New Ireland, Papua New Guinea. Nearly all speakers are multilingual and have knowledge of Tok Pisin, English and other New Ireland languages. Not much linguistic work has been done on Tiang, making information on this language almost completely inaccessible. As in many parts of New Ireland, people begin to switch from their traditional language to Tok Pisin due to multiple factors. These include the frequent need of communicating with outsiders who do not speak Tiang and poor integration of the language into the school curriculum. The aim of this project is to provide a full documentation of Tiang in the form of a comprehensive grammar and study materials, which will contribute to preserving the language for future generations of Tiang speakers, and to making the language accessible to linguists, following the framework of Basic Linguistic Theory.