Moisés Velàasquez


PhD candidate at Sorbonne Nouvelle University

Thesis: A grammar of Kibiri: A critically endangered isolate and rarely spoken language of Papua New Guinea.(dir. Sebastian Fedden, LACITO / Sorbonne Nouvelle)


Thesis abstract:

I am currently working on the grammatical description of Kibiri, a highly endangered isolate spoken by 32 people at Kikori, Kekea 1 and 2, Doibo, Veiru and Babeio villages, at Kikori District in the Gulf Province of Papua New Guinea. The idea is to produce a description of the phonology, morphology and syntax, with a lexicon Kibiri-English of about 1800 entries, and annotated texts with their translation into Hiri Motu and English. To do this, I conducted a first 5-month remote fieldwork with a speaker through Whatsapp in 2021, and a second 10-month on-site fieldwork at Babeio, Veiru, Kikori, Kekea 1 and 2 in Port Moresby in 2022, in order to obtain first-hand data. After the PhD, a process of archiving the materials on PANGLOSS will start.


Research interests:

  • Descriptive linguistics
  • Linguistic typology
  • Linguistic documentation
  • Papuan languages
  • Endangered languages
  • Language death and linguicide, glottophagy
  • Linguistic fieldwork and methods
  • Verbal number (pluractionality)
  • Nominal morphology
  • Tonal systems



2020 – PhD in Linguistics, Ecole Doctorale 622, Université Sorbonne Nouvelle – Paris 3, Langues et Civitlisations à Tradition Orale (LACITO 7107) laboratory at French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS)

2018 MA in Linguistics, Institut de Linguistique et Phonétique Générales et Appliquées, Université Sorbonne Nouvelle – Paris 3

MA dissertation : Classes flexionnelles dans la possession (in-)aliénable en trois langues arawak du nord.

2014 : BA degree in English and French as second language teaching. Facultad de Humanidades, Universidad del Zulia, Maracaibo, Venezuela.

Other websites:

Fieldwork experience:

January 2022 – November 2022 (10 months): Veiru, Babeio, Kekea 1 and 2 and Kikori, Gulf Province, Papua New Guinea. Main fieldwork to obtain first-hand data of Kibiri (isolate) for my PhD dissertation. About 50 hours of recordings. Funding source: LACITO CNRS and Université Sorboone Nouvelle – Paris 3.

September 2022 (1 day): Port Moresby, National Capital District, Papua New Guinea. 1-day fieldwork on Telefol (Mountain Ok, Trans New Guinea). Funding source: LACITO CNRS

August 2022 – October 2022 (2 months): Kikori, Gulf Province, Papua New Guinea. Recording of 1000 words of Porome (isolate) to be compared with the Kibiri wordlist. Funding source: LACITO CRNS and Université Sorbonne Nouvelle – Paris 3.

August 2022 – October 2022 (2 months): Kekea 1, Kikori District, Gulf Province, Papua New Guinea. Recording of 1000 words of Barikewa (Turama-Kikorian). Funding source: own funds.

May 2022 – October 2022 (5 months): Kikori, Kikori District, Gulf Province, Papua New Guinea. Fieldwork on Faiwol (Mountain Ok, Trans New Guinea). Recording of the words and phrases in Phonology of Faiwol by Charlotte Mecklenburg. Elicitation of NPs in singular and plural. Funding source: LACITO CNRS.

April 2021 – August 2021 (4 months): Massy, Essonne, France and Port Moresby, National Capital District. Remote fieldwork on Kibiri through Whatsapp with Gary Bissuee. Elicitation of the first 100 words of Kibiri and about 265 phrases of absolute and construct form of nouns. Funding source: Université Sorbonne Nouvelle – Paris 3.

2016: Paris, France and Maracaibo, Zulia, Venezuela. Remote fieldwork for MA dissertation on Wayuunaiki (Arawak). Elicitation of possessed and unpossessed form of inalienable and alienable nouns through questionnaires sent to the speakers.


Research projects:

2020: ADS project (Action Défis Sociétaux, défi des langues minorittaires et des langues en danger) Work on the corpus of Mian (Mountain Ok) on the archive PANGLOSS. Funding source: Labex-Empirical Foundations of Linguistics.



  • Velásquez, M. (2019) Classes flexionnelles dans la possession (in-) aliénable en trois langues arawak du nord. Munich: LINCOM Europa.



2021-2022: A fieldwork odyssey. Pros and cons of remote and on-site fieldwork for documenting and describing a severely endangered isolate language of Papua New Guinea: Kibiri. International colloquium Documenter et décrire les langues et littératures minoritaires et en danger à l’ère numérique : épistémologies, pratiques et défis. INALCO – PLIDAM, January 19th – 20th 2023, Paris, France.

Preserving the unheard, promoting the unspoken: The challenges of documenting, preserving and promoting Kibiri, a critically endangered isolate. 54th Conference of the Linguistic Society of Papua New Guinea: Preserving and Promoting the Indigenous Languages of the South Pacific in the International Decade of Indigineous Languages 2022-2032. University of Papua New Guinea and National Research Institute, September 21st – 22nd , 2022, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.

Réanalyse de la possession (in-) aliénable en wayuunaiki (guajiro). PhD candidates colloquium Centre de Linguistique en Sorbonne (CeLiSo), February 22nd, 2019, Paris, France.


Teaching experience:

2021   Lecturer in Morphology. Institut de Linguistique et Phonétiques Générales et Appliquées, Université Sorbonne Nouvelle.

2021   Lecturer in Introduction to Linguistics. Institut de Linguistique et Phonétiques Générales et Appliquées, Université Sorbonne Nouvelle.

2018 – 2019   Spanish teacher, Collège Francine Fromond, French Ministry of Education, Fresnes, France.

2017 – 2018   Lecturer in French Linguistics, Department of Digital Learning (ENEAD), Université Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris, France.

2017 – 2018   Spanish teacher, Lycée Pablo Picasso, French Ministry of Education, Fontenay-Sous-Bois, France.

2017 – 2018   French teacher for migrants. GRETA MTE 93 d’Aubervilliers, Aubervilliers, France.

2016   Lecturer in Documentary Research, Department of University Libraries (DBU), Université Sorbonne Nouvelle.

2014 – 2015   Spanish assistant, Lycées Émile Duclaux and Jean Monnet-Mermoz, French Ministry of Education, Aurillac, France.

2012- 2014   French Teacher, Alliance Française de Maracaibo, Venezuela.

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