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  • In Memoriam, Françoise Ozanne-Rivierre, 1941–2007
  • Darrell Tryon

Françoise Ozanne-Rivierre was born at St. Julien-sur-Calonne in the département of Calvados in Normandy, France, on January 2, 1941. She passed away at her home in Montreuil, Paris, on November 11, 2007 after a long illness. She will be deeply missed by friends and colleagues alike.

Françoise was a distinguished French linguist and a key member of the Laboratoire de Langues et Civilisations à Tradition Orale (LACITO), situated at Villejuif in Paris. LACITO is itself a unit within the Centre National de Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), the French national center for scientific research.

She completed her doctorate in linguistics in 1973, her dissertation titled Le iaai, langue mélanésienne d'Ouvéa (Nouvelle-Calédonie), at Université Paris III. She formally became a member of CNRS in 1972 where she remained throughout her career until her retirement in 2006. Françoise continued to play an active role right up until the time of her death. Her research on Oceanic languages began in 1972 under André Georges Haudricourt (Ethnohistory of the Pacific Program), and continued from 1976 onwards as a member of LACITO, directed initially by Jacqueline M. C. Thomas.

However, the association of the Rivierre family with New Caledonia goes back to 1965, when Françoise's husband Jean-Claude undertook his first fieldwork in Melanesia, under the aegis and guidance of André-Georges Haudricourt, who launched them into what was to become a lifelong preoccupation with the languages of New Caledonia.

Coincidentally, the first time that I met Françoise and Jean-Claude and their two then small children, Nicolas and David, was at the South Pacific Commission in Nouméa in 1965, upon their return from fieldwork in northern New Caledonia. We immediately became close friends and colleagues, working together in the field of Oceanic linguistics for the next forty years. It is not surprising, therefore, that the passing of Françoise continues to weigh heavily on me particularly, and on the linguistics community in the Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies at the Australian National University, with whom the members of LACITO have long enjoyed a fruitful collaborative relationship.

While she accompanied Jean-Claude on his first fieldwork trip to Melanesia in 1965, Françoise undertook her first solo field research in New Caledonia from July to October 1971, when she conducted research into Iaai, spoken on Ouvéa in the Loyalty Islands to the northeast of the New Caledonian mainland. After that period, she was a constant visitor to many areas in the north of the mainland, with fieldwork in New Caledonia in 1973, 1976, 1978, and several further field trips in the period 1986–92. Her final period of fieldwork in New Caledonia was conducted in 1997, when she completed her earlier work on two northern languages, Pwaamei and Pwapwâ. [End Page 233]

This intensive field research resulted in the publication of the following major works: Le iaai (1976); Textes nemi (1979); Les langues mélanésiennes de Nouvelle-Calédonie (1979), with André-Georges Haudricourt, Jean-Claude Rivierre, Claire Moyse-Faurie, and Jacqueline de La Fontinelle; Mythes et contes de la Grande Terre et des Îles Loyauté (Nouvelle-Calédonie) (1980), with Claire Moyse-Faurie and Jean-Claude Rivierre; Dictionnaire thématique des langues de la région de Hienghène (Nouvelle-Calédonie): Pijéfwâi nemi-jawe (1982), with André-Georges Haudricourt; Dictionnaire iaai-français (1984); De Muna Fagauvea, I: Dictionnaire fagauvea-français (1987), with K. J. Hollyman; Le nyelâyu de Balade (Nouvelle-Calédonie) (1998); and Complex predicates in Oceanic languages (2004), co-edited with Isabelle Bril. At the time of her death, she had just completed the first draft of a thematic dictionary of Pwaamei and Pwâpwâ, spoken on the northwest of the New Caledonian mainland.

Françoise enjoyed a high degree of respect internationally in the field of Austronesian comparative linguistics, particularly through her publications and international conference presentations on the languages of New Caledonia. In keeping with her standing, she was a longtime member of the international Steering Committee which oversees the organization of the International Conferences on...


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