Welcome to the marama homepage

 

map-BanksWelcome to our marama homepage – a project by Alexandre François (CNRS, Paris; ANU) and Siva Kalyan (Australian National University, Canberra).

Our aim is here to conceive and develop tools relevant to the scientific study of language, notably the dynamics of linguistic change in various facets of human languages: sound change, morphosyntax, grammatical and lexical semantics, language genealogy and areal diffusion.

map-Banks Our name *marama is borrowed from the Oceanic ancestor of north Vanuatu languages. It means “the World” – and more exactly, “the Visible World as perceived by humans”, contrasting with *banoi “the Invisible World of spirits”. This name marama is a tribute to the Oceanic languages and cultures of Vanuatu, which provided the initial inspiration for our reflections; but its meaning also reflects our desire to explore “the World” as a whole, in a search for universal features of languages. Finally, our choice of Marama rather than Banoi, is a reminder that our approach is empirical, and rests primarily on the observable reality that can be perceived – even when it proposes theoretical generalizations.