The linguistic prehistory of Australia: Opportunities for dialogue with archaeology

24th May 2014

Patrick McConvell

Introduction*

Pama Nyungan languages (published in Australian Archaeology 31:6).

Pama Nyungan languages (published in Australian Archaeology 31:6).

Both linguistic and archaeological work in Australia have made great strides in the last  20 years. However, these developments have occurred in each discipline in isolation from, and largely in ignorance of, the methods and results of the other discipline. This situation is ripe for change: the links between the disciplines are demanding attention in order to answer questions about Australian prehistory emerging in both. Recent archaeology has drawn more and more on anthropology and social theory, and historical linguistics has begun to attune itself to the advances in linguistic anthropology and sociolinguistics. By means of this bridge through anthropology, the divide between archaeology and linguistics can now be crossed and a common language—or at least a measure of bilingualism—can develop within the disciplines, in order jointly to construct models of social, cultural and linguistic change.

*Note that an abstract was not included with this paper, and so the introductory paragraph has been included here instead of the abstract.

McConvell, P.
The linguistic prehistory of Australia: Opportunities for dialogue with archaeology
December 1990
31
3–27
Article
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