Category Archives: Faculty News

Gary Holton in the news: Biocultural Diversity

The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s Biocultural Initiative of the Pacific, a knowledge center and network linking scholars, instructors and students who share the common goal of thinking holistically to enhance understanding of biocultural systems, is now part of a new, multi-university project that will explore how to make interdisciplinary research more effective and impactful for students and communities, with a focus on sustainability science.

The two-year research project is funded with a $500,000 grant from the National Academies Keck Futures Initiative (NAKFI), and includes 12 universities from across the United States, United Kingdom and Canada. It is one of three winners of the new NAKFI Challenge competition, chosen from a field of 79 proposals.

UH Mānoa professors Tamara Ticktin, Davianna Pōmaikaʻi McGregor, Alexander Mawyer and Gary Holton serve as co-directors of the UH Mānoa Biocultural Initiative of the Pacific.

For more information, please visit University of Hawaiʿi at Mānoa News.

First‐Ever Credit Course on Jejueo Taught at a Post‐Secondary Institution

Jejueo, the language of Korea’s Jeju Island, is now being taught for credit in a post‐secondary institution for the first time. The language, long mistakenly classified as a dialect of Korean, is not intelligible to people who speak only Korean and has come to be recognized as a separate language by many linguists and institutions, including UNESCO and the Endangered Language Catalogue at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.

In 2017, Dr. Changyong Yang, dean of the College of Language Education at Jeju National University and adjunct professor in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, was asked to teach a for‐credit course on Jejueo in the Department of Nursing at the Jeju Tourism University (제주관광대학교). The goal of the course was to prepare nursing students to better serve the needs of elderly patients who prefer to communicate with health care providers in Jejueo rather than Korean.

Reaction to the course has been very positive. The students have expressed amazement at how different Jejueo is from Korean and how important familiarity with the language has been for communicating with elderly patients. About forty students registered for Dr. Yang’s class in the spring of 2017 and about sixty in the spring of the following year. The course will be offered again in the spring of 2019.

Dr. Yang is using as his textbook the first volume of a Jejueo‐language series that he has co‐authored with Sejung Yang, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, and William O’Grady, a professor in the same department. Preparation of the volumes in the series has been supported by the Core University Program for Korean Studies through the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Korea and the Korean Studies Promotion Service of the Academy of Korean Studies (AKS‐2015‐OLU‐2250005).

Original publication from Center for Korean Studies News.

Oxford Handbook of Endangered Languages

The Oxford Handbook of Endangered Languages is now out, edited by our very own Kenneth L.  Rehg and Lyle Campbell. This influential and highly prestigious volume contains contributions by no less than 18 of our current or former students/faculty. It’s fair to say that our department’s perspective on endangered languages is very well represented. Congratulations to all!
List of contributors with University of Hawaii affiliations:
Belew, Anna
Berez-Kroeker, Andrea
Camp, Amber
Campbell, Lyle
Chen, Victoria
Dunn, Christopher
Henke, Ryan
Holton, Gary
Lee, Nala
Magnunson, Matthew
O’Grady, William
Okura, Eve
Rarrick, Samantha
Rehg, Kenneth L.
Simpson, Sean
Tang, Apay
Thieberger, Nick
Van Way, John

Dr. Katie Drager Wins College Scholarship & Research Award

Associate Professor Dr. Katie Drager will be receiving the  Junior/Mid-Career Faculty Excellence in Scholarship & Research Award, presented by the College of Languages, Linguistics, & Literature. In addition to authoring or co-authoring eight published articles (and one forthcoming) from 2016, Dr. Drager has also published a book entitled Experimental Research Methods in Sociolinguistics with Bloomsbury this year; she has also previously published a book in 2015 entitled Linguistic variation, identity construction and cognition.  Dr. Drager has also won the College of LLL Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2012.

Congratulations!

As part of her award, she will be a plenary speaker at the LLL Conference on Saturday, April 7th. Her talk, entitled “Experience-based expectations affect speech perception,” will be at 4:30pm in the Sarimanok Room.

Remembering Derek Bickerton

Derek Bickerton, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, passed away on March 5, 2018 at the age of 91.

A seminal thinker and visionary, Derek laid out an important goal for himself, which he described in the introduction to The Roots of Language (1981), one of the most discussed books in the history of linguistics:

Language has made our species what it is, and until we really understand it—that is, understand what is necessary for it to be acquired and transmitted, and how it interacts with the rest of our cognitive apparatus—we cannot hope to understand ourselves. And unless we can understand ourselves, we will continue to watch in helpless frustration while the world we have created slips further and further from our control.

Derek pursued the goal of understanding language and humanity with unwavering intensity throughout his life, developing and extending his ideas in Language and Species (1990), Bastard Tongues (2008), Adam’s Tongue (2009), and More than Nature Needs (2014), as well as in numerous papers, presentations and speeches over four decades. The origin of language, the genesis of pidgins and creoles, and the nature of the genetic endowment for language were endlessly fascinating to him, and he wrote about them with ever-increasing eloquence and insight.

Derek relished disagreement and controversy, recognizing turmoil as the cost of moving forward. People listened to him, and he made a lasting difference—in linguistics and in the lives of his students and colleagues. I speak from experience in this regard. He was the first person to reach out to me when I arrived in Mānoa as a visiting colleague many years ago. During the period that our careers overlapped, I enjoyed numerous stimulating conversations with him on linguistic matters, and I cherish the memory of our social interactions as well.

No matter the turmoil in his academic endeavors, Derek enjoyed a rich family life. His remarkable and elegant wife Yvonne was the love of his life, and their synergy as a couple was evident to anyone who saw them together. Derek paid tribute to their long and happy marriage in a poem, the last few lines of which strike me as a fitting epilogue to his life.

Yet do we regret that we stayed
So long at the feast, gobbled up
All that was there for the taking?
Would we have gained by forsaking
The party early, our cup
Undrunk, our parts half-played?

No. There’s so much that we’d have lost:
Learning at last how love grows
When our animals finally sleep
Learning to savor the deep
Joy of mere closeness—God knows
Such things are worth any cost.

Following the announcement of Derek’s passing, a number of friends and colleagues have contacted the Department of Linguistics with their thoughts and remembrances, which we will share at this site.

–William O’Grady

To view remembrances on the memorial site, or to submit one of your own, please click here.

New Faculty: Dr. James N. Collins

The Department of Linguistics looks forward to having Dr. James N. Collins, currently affiliated with Hebrew University of Jerusalem, join our faculty this coming Fall. Not only specializing in syntax, he also helps fulfill our vision of specializing in the languages of the vast Austronesian family (which includes the indigenous languages of Polynesia, Micronesia, Melanesia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Taiwan) and on other languages of Asia and the Pacific with his work in the Philippines and Samoa.

Welcome aboard, Dr. Collins!

Dr. Katie Drager Publishes New Book

Dr. Katie Drager has published a new book with Bloomsbury entitled Experimental Research Methods in Sociolinguistics.

The book’s back cover blurb is as follows:

An accessible, user-friendly guide to the variety of different experimental methods used in sociolinguistics, Experimental Research Methods in Sociolinguistics walks students through the “how-to” of experimental methods used to investigate variation in both speech production and perception. Focusing squarely on practice and application, it takes the reader from defining a research question, to choosing an appropriate framework, to completing a research project. Featuring a companion website with information on experiment-friendly software, sample experiments and suggestions for work to undertake, the book also covers:

-Ethical concerns
-How to measure production and perception
-How to construct and use corpora

And the reviews:

“This promises to be a fun book about an important topic. It is most likely to be adopted as a textbook in many sociolinguistic classes, and I’m sure that sociolinguistic students throughout the world will benefit from some clear explanations about how to conduct experimental research.” –  Tommaso Milani, Associate Professor of Linguistics and Head of Department, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa

“The strengths include the theoretical breadth of the text, and the author’s technical expertise; in addition, the author’s undeniable ability to keep students eyes open and their minds on target, despite technical details which will follow in subsequent chapters. If one had any fears that she couldn’t carry off this textbook project, the introduction makes clear that her distinctive voice and good humor will keep readers going even in the heavy chapters … If the author manages to get this book out quickly, there will be nothing like it on the market, and no other researcher who could even come close to the breadth of coverage which her chapter headings promise.” –  Malcah Yaeger-Dror, University of Arizona, USA

“It’s a potentially very useful work that collects together a number of approaches rarely considered in one place. I like the fact that it brings psycholinguistic and phonetic methods into sociolinguistics, while also ensuring that psycholinguists and phoneticians would be exposed to the kinds of questions and data central to sociolinguists.” –  Paul Foukes, University of York, UK

“I would tell colleagues that this book sounds like an excellent guidebook for experimental designs. Individual chapters would be excellent readings for students, especially the suggestions of possible experiments. Chapters or the whole book would be good both as class readings and as recommended readings for Ph.D. or M.A. students who are preparing for a dissertation or thesis.” –  Erik R. Thomas, North Carolina State University, USA

Word Hunters: Field Linguists on Fieldwork Available Online

A new book entitled Word Hunters: Field Linguists on Fieldwork is now available for all valid UH affiliates (student, staff, and faculty). Our very own Dr. Robert Blust is featured in the book’s third chapter, titled “Historical linguistics in the raw.”

Thank you to Ph.D candidate Anna Belew for the notice! She had the following to say about the publication:

If you’re new to fieldwork and wondering what it’s really like, or if you love reading anecdotes from your fellow field linguists, good news! Hamilton just bought the ebook of a new volume called Word hunters: Field linguists on fieldwork. It’s got chapters from some of the biggest, baddest field linguists out there, including Bob. Check it out: 1) because it’s interesting, and 2) so that Hamilton will see that we actually use the books that we request they buy, and will keep buying the books we request!

(Photo courtesy of R. Blust & John Benjamins Publishing Company)

Dr. Gary Holton will be Keynote Speaker at LLL Conference

Our very own Dr. Gary Holton, who specializes in language documentation and conservation, will be the Keynote Speaker at this year’s LLL Conference “L4 : Languages, Linguistics & Literature for Life,” to be held on Saturday, April 7th. Dr. Holton’s talk is entitled, “Language Documentation: What Is It and What Is It Good for?”

Also, mahalo to Sydney Ludlow, our current MA student, who is serving as one of the Student Conference Chairs!

Registration is free and open to the public; be sure to sign up before April 2nd to guarantee a free lunch after listening to Dr. Holton’s talk!