Interdisciplinary Cluster for Research on Intercultural Contact and Interaction (CRICI)



Ahn, Hyejeong

“Beyond borrowing: Lexical interactions between Englishes and Asian languages”, with Dr. Danica Salazar, World English Editor, Oxford English Dictionary, and Associate Professor Jieun Kiaer, University of Oxford. We are looking at the bidirectional influences on languages. How Asian languages have influenced the English language lexicons and vice versa in an increasingly multilingual and multicultural society.


Coupe, Alexander R.

“Archaeological linguistics and the prehistory of Northeast India: reconstructing the past through ancient technologies and practices, and correlating the results with migration histories” (MOE2016-T1-001-220)

This project will investigate and document lexicons and technologies relating to hunting and gathering, swidden agriculture and cultivation, metalworking, clay pot-making, and weaving in three linguistic communities of Northeast India as part of a larger dictionary-making project, and it will compare the findings with technologies employed in other Sino-Tibetan, Tai-Kadai and Austroasiatic-speaking groups, the aim being to determine if cladistic linkages to Southeast Asia and East Asia can be established. It is envisaged that the findings of this research will lead to a better appreciation of the diffusion of technology, the influence of language contact, and the pathways of historical migrations that have resulted in the peopling of Northeast India and Southeast Asia. In addition to the creation of three bilingual dictionaries, a rich corpus of annotated audio-visual data will be archived so that it is freely available for future research, thus making the output especially valuable in the event that the languages of investigation cease to be spoken by future generations.


Coupe, Alexander R. & Randy J. LaPolla

Ethnolinguistic contact across the Indo-Myanmar-Southwestern China mountains: migration routes, intercultural interactions, and linguistic outcomes” (Proposed JSPS-NTU/NUS Joint Research Project for FY 2019). If funded, this will be a joint project with members of the Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, the Keio Institute of Cultural and Linguistic Studies, and the Graduate School of Language and Culture, Osaka University, to attempt to use linguistic research methods as tools for reconstructing the intangible past of the complex ethnolinguistic area just south of the Himalayas in Northeast India, Myanmar, and Southwest China.

Francesco Perono Cacciafoco

How to Find the Way: Navigational Knowledge and Oral Tradition in the Context of Aboriginal Societies. 

This Project is focused on the notion of traditional navigational knowledge among aboriginal and minority peoples. The approach is comparative, dealing with unrelated contexts from South-East Indonesia and South-West China. The Project is aimed at the documentation of possibly common patterns inherent in traditional navigational knowledge in societies where writing and technology are not yet widespread. Ancestral knowledge connected with the description and the perception of landscape by local people is preserved through the vocabulary of the languages spoken by local communities and in their stories. Often, place names and landscape names include the description of an orientation system based on the geo-morphological structure of the territory (position of hills and mountains, 'directions of trees' in connection with the directions of winds, 'movement' of water in river and streams, orientation of puddles and pools) and on the 'experience' of the movements of stars and constellations. Those toponyms and lexical 'landmarks' are, generally, connected with traditional atavistic stories describing the process of the 'making' of the names of the 'directions' (not properly the cardinal points) and the 'ideal map' of their territory developed by aboriginal people (a sort of 'landscape of the memory'). The Project aims at the development of a comparative dictionary of toponyms and landscape names connected with ancient traditional knowledge in oral word societies (or prevalently oral word societies) and at the safeguard and documentation of the intangible heritage of oral traditional stories that, sometimes, give origin to this specific lexicon and, sometimes, have been made-up to explain it. 

Sim, Wai-chew

“Singapore Comparative Literature Database”, Co-PI – A/P Yow Chuen Hoe, Chinese programme (MOE Tier-1 grant Nov 2017 – Oct 2020). Grant will be used to build a database, hold a workshop, and publish a compendium on Singapore literature written in English, Chinese, and Malay.