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Bethwyn Evans

Bethwyn Evans is a linguist with a PhD in Oceanic languages from the Australian National University. After her PhD she has worled at the University of Manchester, UK, carrying out a study of the Marovo language. She works on the granmar of Marovo and studies the relationship of Marovo to other languages of New Georgia. Her work on language and oral traditions, including digital recordings some of which are found on this database, is a valuable resource for the Western Solomons in terms of cultural heritage and education. Bethwyn Evans speaks the Marovo language.

Current affiliation, academic qualifications and contact details

Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Manchester
PhD in linguistics, Australian National University (2001)

School of Languages, Linguistics and Cultures
University of Manchester
Oxford Road, Manchester  M13 9PL, UK

I came to research in the Western Solomons from studies as a PhD student on Austronesian languages of the Pacific more generally and the historical development of a number of linguistic structures. The Austronesian languages of the Western Solomons are characterised by considerable diversity, and so are crucial to studies of the history of this language family, as well as linguistic theory and typology more generally. My current and on-going research focuses on the Marovo language from these two perspectives. I have been studying Marovo since 2004, and have spent eight months (April-August 2005, October-December 2006) staying in Buini Tusu, Marovo Lagoon. The current and on-going goals of my research are two-fold, namely to document and describe the grammar of Marovo, demonstrating the ways in which it contributes to and challenges current linguistic theory and typologies, and to reconstruct the linguistic prehistory, and through that aspects of the social prehistory, of the north-western region of island Melanesia. As well as publications on aspects of the grammar of Marovo and other related languages within the western Solomons, my research has resulted in a digital corpus, incorporating audio recordings with accompanying transcriptions, interlinear glosses, English translations of natural Marovo language data. I hope that the data collected for my research will also be useful for more community-based initiatives, including literacy materials and audio and printed materials of custom stories and oral histories.


Bethwyn Evans. 2003. A study of valency-changing devices in Proto Oceanic. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics.

Bethwyn Evans. 2008a. Subject agreement in Marovo: synchronic and diachronic perspectives. New Research in Linguistics and English Language, University of Manchester, http://www.llc.manchester.ac.uk/research/new-research/lel/.

Bethwyn Evans. 2008b. From aspect/mood marker to discourse particle: reconstructing syntactic and semantic change. New Research in Linguistics and English Language, University of Manchester, http://www.llc.manchester.ac.uk/research/new-research/lel/.

Bethwyn Evans. in press. Third person plural as a zero morpheme: object marking in Marovo, in Claire Bowern, Bethwyn Evans and Luisa Miceli (eds) Morphology and language history. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 287-304. (to be published June 2008)

Interview , Ruki the fisherman. Lester George.
Sound file (mp3 - 1.7MB)
Explanation - doc

Western Solomons
Updated 12 January, 2011