Numeral systems in New Guinea
Clemens Mayer
(Leiden University)
Friday (April 21st), 14:15-15:15 (Poster presentation round)
'Café Noord' (
Matthias de Vrieshof coffee room)

There is quite a lot of attention towards the interesting linguistic phenomena New Guinea has to offer, but, since there is so much to be studied, data on many languages is still scarce.
An area that has been especially neglected is the area of numeral systems on the island. This paper provides in-depth information about many numeral systems and connects them to migration patterns, cultural practices and cognitive development theories.

A database including basic information of the numeral systems was created and the languages were categorized by type and family, and were then displayed on a map.
The map was then further divided into three distinct layers based on numeral systems and patterns found within the area. These layers are thoroughly analyzed and attempts to explain the patterns are made.
The paper describes phenomena such as senary numeral systems based on subitization, the stages of development in number concepts, and how the systems found on New Guinea fit within these stages and will hopefully bring us a step closer to fully understanding the concept of numbers and their development within New Guinea and its surrounding islands