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15 October 2017

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Thanks for the information. I am currently editing a policy paper (Research Approval Guideline) to ensure that the well-being and interests of Papua New Guineans are protected and that research conducted in the country is appropriate, worthwhile and provides educational as well as socio-economic benefits.

Ethical issues with regards to the use of humans and animals are important consideration. Similarly the cultural and environmental issues must also be addressed.

This guideline applies to visiting researchers to Papua New Guinea who host, conduct, participate in or disseminate the results of research activities.

As an applied linguist myself, I certainly don't doubt the value of individual languages. Language is, after all, along with race and place, one of the critical (if not the most critical) markers of one's 'identity'.

Nor do I question the value in 'preserving' languages in some fashion, if only to provide fodder for research by linguists, anthropologists, semiologists, historians et al.

But language is a living thing and the only true way of 'preserving' it is to ensure that retains currency and use - and only the speakers of a language can do that.

There has been serious study of the "chanted saga" in PNG cultures. As noted, poetry and song were linked.

Much oral history was preserved through chanted verse. Alan Rumsey and Don Niles have produced material on this. see:-
www.oapen.org/download?type=document&docid=459753

Google the term "Chanted saga in Papua New Guinea" - some of the material may be of interest to PNG writers.

Ed Brumby is right in questioning the "3 days" bus ride from POM. However I do think it is important to acknowledge the value of the various languages. The Summer Institute of Linguistics already has done a great job working with so many of these languages, no matter how small the number who speak the language.

How far can you go on a bus for 3 days from POM? This piece is a waste of space, Keith ....

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