Collection details
Collection ID AR1
Title Western Highlands of PNG recordings
Description Audio tape recordings made during linguistic - anthropological field work in the Western Highlands of PNG, mostly with Ku Waru people since 1981. Video and written material will be added to the collection eventually. Lects variously designated as Melpa, Ku Waru, Temboka, Kakuyl, and Imbonggu belong to a single dialect continuum with perhaps 250,000 speakers. Note first that when I use the term Ku Waru to name an ethnographic region, this should in no way be taken to imply any kind of sharp boundaries either among regional dialects areas or among distinct 'peoples' in this part of highland New Guinea. The dialect spoken at Kailge where Francesca and I were based belongs to a dialect continuum which includes over two hundred thousand speakers (show area on map 1). Although the dialects near the outer edges of this region are not mutually intelligible, within it there is nothing but continuous gradation among them. Nor is there any single set of mutually exclusive names for dialects or 'languages' within the region, or for the continuum in toto. The term 'Ku Waru' that we have fixed on for ethnographic purposes is one that is used to highlight what is common to the locales on either side of the Tambul Range, from Kailge across to Winjaka (show on map), but for other purposes the Wijaka people and dialects are differentially classified as 'Kakuyl' and the Kailge ones as 'Napilya', after the major rivers that flow through their respective valleys. What is true of dialect gradation within this region is equally true of other dimensions of cultural or ethnic differentiation. While people draw distinctions among features and practices associated with particular locales, there is extensive intermarriage and other forms of social interaction across such difference, and no sense of sharp boundaries among discrete ethnic groups. To be sure, there is an important distinction drawn between the bo 'indigenous' and the kewa 'foreign', but this is a sliding scale rather than a categorical opposition (Rumsey 1999a). (rec by email 8/6/2004)
Archive link
Alan Rumsey
Originating university Australian National University
Countries To view related information on a country, click its name
Languages To view related information on a language, click its name
Region / village Western Highlands
DOI 10.4225/72/56E823B109D31
Cite as Alan Rumsey (collector), 1983. Western Highlands of PNG recordings. Collection AR1 at [Closed Access].
Access information
Edit access Aidan Wilson
Data access conditions Closed (subject to the access condition details)
Data access details For artistic works such as songs and chanted tales I believe that [the speakers and performers] would want to be consulted about this. For most of the other material, including linguistic elicitation and public oratory I think they would give free access.; restricted, no access except with depositor's permission
Items in Collection (13)

Item Title Actions
088310 22.8.83 Koltop Kagil Tongi-Kagi View
100102 16/10/01 Koj. TYK Unta: message 23/10/01 Ab Ken, songs 24/10/01 Koj TYK (Uj Panya Nikidi) View
100104 26/10/01 Alya Koj TYK about Alya Mel explanation TYK 28/10 View

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