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Documenting speech and language practices in Eton

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Deposit page image for the collection ’Documenting speech and language practices in Eton’. Click on image to access collection.

Language Eton
Depositor Rosey Billington
Affiliation The University of Melbourne
Location Vanuatu
Deposit ID 0610
Grant ID SG0594
Funding Body ELDP
Collection Status Forthcoming
Landing Page Handle


Summary of the deposit

This collection will comprise primary audio- and video-recorded data on the Eton language, and associated project materials and outputs. The data will be collected by Rosey Billington in collaboration with members of the Eton-speaking community on the island of Efate in Vanuatu. Given that existing records of Eton are very limited, this collection will significantly increase the available information in and about the language, and facilitate ongoing research and the development of community-oriented language materials.


Group represented

This collection will be created in collaboration with members of the community in the village of Eton, on the island of Efate in Vanuatu, and potentially in nearby Pang Pang, where the traditional language is reportedly a dialect of Eton but may have few remaining speakers. The language known in the literature as Eton is an Oceanic language of Central Vanuatu. Members of the community also speak Bislama, and some have knowledge of English, French, and of various other Oceanic languages of Vanuatu. There are some reports of language shift underway in Eton.


Language information

Eton is an Oceanic (Austronesian) language spoken on the east coast of the island of Efate, Vanuatu. Available estimates indicate that there may be approximately 500 speakers of the language in the village of Eton, and perhaps some remaining speakers in the small nearby village Pang Pang, but no recent information on speaker numbers or language status is available. Existing records for the language are limited to some wordlist materials and a small number of texts. Eton is thought to be closely related to Nafsan, spoken further to the south, and to Lelepa, spoken to the north-west, but comprehensive comparisons between Eton and these languages have not yet taken place. In some work, Eton has been grouped together with Epau (Epao/Ekpau/Ekpwau), spoken further north than Pang Pang on the eastern coast, but this variety is probably somewhat different. Eton has also occasionally been referred to as Eastern Efate.


Deposit contents

This deposit will include audio and video-recorded materials collected with various members of the Eton-speaking community, comprising monologue and conversational data and including historical narratives, kastom stories, personal life stories, and procedural descriptions, as well as targeted discussions and elicited data to facilitate linguistic description. These will be accompanied by associated text-based files including transcriptions and translations, and other supplementary materials and project outputs.


Acknowledgement and citation

To refer to any data from the collection, please cite as follows:

Billington, Rosey. 2019. Documenting speech and language practices in Eton. Endangered Languages Archive. Handle: Accessed on [insert date here].

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