New Books Network

Chelsea McCracken talks about her new book A Grammar of Belep (Walter de Gruyter, 2019). McCracken is Assistant Professor of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences...

Chelsea McCracken talks about her new book A Grammar of Belep (Walter de Gruyter, 2019). McCracken is Assistant Professor of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences at Dixie State University and Senior Research Analyst of the Coalition for Responsible Home Education. She became involved in the homeschool reform movement as a result of the abuse and educational neglect experienced by her homeschooled family members.

A Grammar of Belep is a reference grammar that provides a full grammatical description of the previously-undocumented Austronesian language variety known as Belep. Belep is spoken by approximately 1600 people in New Caledonia, primarily in the Belep Isles. This is the first full-length grammar of the language, describing the sounds, morphology and syntax of Belep.

A Grammar of Belep also describes the importance of culture for Belep speakers, including la coutume (from the French) or ‘the custom.’ Interestingly, there is no Belep word for this, as la coutume is a cover term for many interrelated Belep cultural practices. This book is an important addition to our knowledge of Austronesian languages and languages as a whole.


Carrie Gillon is a linguist, editor and writing coach, working in the academic and healthcare sectors. She’s the author of The Semantics of Determiners (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2103) and the co-author of Nominal Contact in Michif (Oxford University Press, 2018). She is also the co-host of the podcast The Vocal Fries, a biweekly podcast about linguistic discrimination (or why judging language is not OK).