Papuan Classification
Conference on
History, contact and classification of
Papuan Languages

History, contact and classification of Papuan languages
2-3 Feb 2012
VU University Amsterdam

On February 2-3 of 2012 the VU University Amsterdam will, in cooperation with the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, host a 2 day conference on the classification of Papuan languages. Although every contribution on Papuan linguistics is welcome, presenters are encouraged to relate to one or more of the following questions as long as (at least one) non-Austronesian language in the greater New Guinea region is targeted:

  • Detailed comparative-historical reconstruction of Papuan language (sub-)families
  • Macro-level studies of deep genealogical or areal relatedness
  • Patterns of language contact in different areas
  • The relation between patterns of language contact and (speed or type of) language change
  • The role of language in the formation of people's identity, either as individuals or as a group
  • Different methods of language comparison, and their value for reconstructing Sahul language history, or more local histories of language contact

    Invited Speakers (Confirmed)

  • Andrew Pawley (Australian National University)
  • Mark Donohue (Australian National University)

    Important Dates

  • Deadline for abstracts: 15 Aug 2011
  • Notification of acceptance: 15 Oct 2011
  • Deadline for registration: 10 Jan 2012
  • Conference: 2-3 Feb 2012


    Find the programme here (posted 7 Nov 2011).


    Please register for the conference before 10 Jan 2012 by

    1. Sending an email to Remember to say whether you would like to attend the conference dinner or not (25 EURO) and your preferred method of payment, and give your dietary restrictions (if any).
    2. Paying the conference fee of 50 EURO (+ 25 EURO for the conference dinner)
      1. in cash in situ at the conference OR
      2. by bank transfer to
        Name: VU - Faculty of Arts
        Address: De Boelelaan 1105, 1081 HV AMSTERDAM
        Bank Name: Deutsche Bank
          Postbus 90
          1000 AB Amsterdam
          the NETHERLANDS
        IBAN: NL54 ABNA 04876 35 272
        Account No: 048 76 35 272 (for transfers) within the Netherlands
        Please mention your name and 'Papuan Classification 2012' in the bank transfer (if possible, if not, send an email to alert us to the fact that you have made the transfer which includes the date of the transfer).

    Practical Information

    Conference Venue

    The workshop will take place at VU University Amsterdam, whose official address is:

    Hoofdgebouw (= Main Building) Vrije Universiteit
    De Boelelaan 1105
    Bank Name:
    1081 HV Amsterdam

    You can reach there from Amsterdam Central station either by Metro 51 or Tram 5 to De Boelelaan/VU, which stop just around the corner from the VU Main Building. You can also walk (5-10 min) from the 'Amsterdam Zuid' (Amsterdam South) train station as per the map below (A to B).

    Thursday 2 Feb 2012 we will be in Room 07A09 and Friday 3 Feb 2012 we will be in Room 14A05. Room 07A09 means floor 7 room 9 and 14A05 thus floor 14 room 5. So simply take the elevator to the corresponding floor and follow signs from there. The conference dinner (Thursday) we be at Eten Bij Mij on Albert Cuypstraat 91, in the Old-Zuid part of Amsterdam from 18:30-late.

    In case of any trouble, call Harald +31646747933.

    Participants have to make their lodging arrangements themselves. Information on hotels in the environment of the VU can be found on VU Hotels in Amsterdam site. This site offers a range of hotels, with special prices for VU university guests, with prices from €75 (Nicolaas Witsen) upwards, except from the cheaper Stay Okay youth hostel. Other budget options are the Shelter City or Shelter Jordan Christian hotel.

    Submission of Abstracts

    Speakers are invited for 20 minutes presentations, to be followed by 10 minutes of discussion time. The organizers plan to publish a volume of full-length papers after the conference.

    Please send your abstract (maximally 1 page A4) to


  • Ruth Wester (
  • Wilco van den Heuvel (
  • Harald Hammarström (

    Supporting Institutions

  • Department of Linguistics, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig

  • VU University Amsterdam

  • Page location:
    Page last modified: 21 Apr 2011, Nijmegen