What can languages spoken in the Lesser Sunda Islands today tell us about the histories of its various population groups?
Languages develop in two ways: they inherit words and structures from a proto-language, or they borrow from neighbouring languages. The difference between these processes is often difficult to determine because neighbouring languages usually have the same proto-language. This five year research project, funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) through the Vici Awards Program, will explore the difference between borrowing and inheriting through the study of a unique language area in eastern Indonesia where borrowing between languages that are not related to each other occurs. This will provide information about the evolution of language in general, and about the history of the speakers in that region in particular.
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