This is an abridged version of an interview with William O’Grady on the topic of language and AI, conducted by Ben Taylor, CEO of DataRobot, in October of 2020. The video was released to the general public on June 11, 2021.
Congratulations to Dr. Katie Drager for receiving the 2020 Presidential Citation for Meritorious Teaching!
Congratulations to Dr. Bradley McDonnell for receiving the 2020 College of Languages, Linguistics & Literature Excellence in Teaching Award!
The University of Hawaii Press has just published Jejueo: The Language of Korea’s Jeju Island, co-authored by Changyong Yang (adjunct professor), Sejung Yang (PhD graduate, 2018) and William O’Grady (professor of linguistics). This long-awaited book tells the story of a language that has gone unrecognized for too long and is now in grave peril. Once the island’s primary variety of speech, Jejueo currently has only a few thousand fluent speakers and has been classified by UNESCO as critically endangered.
The book, which is the first comprehensive treatment of Jejueo in English, offers both an introduction to the language and an in-depth survey of its grammar, supplemented with hundreds of examples. The authors present a provocative new picture of linguistic diversity in East Asia, undermining the centuries-old belief that Korea is home to a single language and making the case for a new language policy in that nation.
On Tuesday, August 13, the Supreme Court of Hawai’i ruled that the state constitution guarantees access to Hawaiian immersion education in order to “recognize and preserve the Hawaiian culture … and to revive the Hawaiian language, which is essential to the preservation and perpetuation of Hawaiian culture.” The case was argued by the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation (Sharla Manley, lead attorney) on behalf of a family that was denied access to a Hawaiian Immersion program on the island of Lanai; William O’Grady served as an expert witness. The majority opinion of the Court can be found here.
Faculty members Bradley McDonnell, Andrea Berez-Kroeker, and Gary Holton publish an edited Special Publication for the journal Language Documentation & Conservation entitled, Reflections on Language Documentation 20 Years after Himmelmann 1998.
This volume reflects on key issues in the field of language documentation on the 20 year anniversary of Nikolaus Himmelmann’s seminal article “Documentary and descriptive linguistics” in the journal Linguistics. Himmelmann’s central argument that language documentation should “be conceived of as a fairly independent field of linguistic inquiry and practice” has prompted major theoretical and practical shifts, helping to establish documentary linguistics as a genuine subfield of linguistics. Now 20 years later we are able ask: how has this new field evolved?
In order to address this question, we invited 38 experts from around the world to reflect on either particular issues within the realm of language documentation or particular regions where language documentation projects are being carried out. The issues discussed in this volume represent a broad and diverse range of topics from multiple perspectives and for multiple purposes. Some topics have been hotly debated over the past two decades, while others have emerged more recently. Many contributors also speculate on what comes next, looking at the future of documentary linguistics from a variety of perspectives. Hence, the 31 vignettes provide not only reflections on where we have been but also a glimpse of where the field might be headed.
Shigeo Tonoike, PhD graduate of our department and recent instructor of syntax in our department, has just had his new book published. It is written in Japanese, and its title can be translated to Minimalist Comparative Syntax of English and Japanese. Many congratulations to Shigeo, and we look forward to the English translation of this book that he is working on.
『ミニマリスト日英語比較統語論』[A Minimalist Comparative Syntax of English and Japanese] (xviii+427pp.) by Shigeo Tonoike (published from Kaitakusha Publishing Company) is the compilation of the author’s research on comparative syntax of English over 40 years since late 1980s. It proposes a radical reduction in the operations allowed by UG (basically to the operations of Merge and Agree) eliminating others of dubious conceptual necessity such as LF copying, PF deletion, covert movement etc. It then shows that syntaxes (grammars/ computational systems) of English and Japanese (and by implication of other languages) are essentially the same with parametric variations such as word order and morphology reduced to observable differences between them. One major claim of the book is that English and Japanese are mirror images of each other and that the basic word order in Japanese is OSV as opposed to the widely assumed ordre of SOV.
Bradley McDonnell and Eve Koller teach a Satellite Workshop on “Tools for Reproducible Research in Linguistics” at the Linguistic Society of America Annual Meeting in New York City to be held on January 3, 2019.
2019 Early Career Award: Andrea Berez-Kroeker
The Early Career Award, established in 2010, recognizes scholars early in their career who have made outstanding contributions to the field of linguistics. Andrea Berez-Kroeker has established herself as one of the rising stars in the documentation of endangered languages. She has brought an unusually strong level of technological sophistication to her work, especially in the areas of language archiving, data processing, and visualization. Only the most exceptional of early career scholars can manage to do significant documentary work and produce a sizable record of publications while spending hundreds of “hidden” hours on basic data analysis, interaction with consultants, and outreach efforts. Her trajectory since finishing her Ph.D. has been only upward, and she shows every sign of becoming not only a leader within the language documentation community, but also a scholar who will make important connections with other areas of linguistics and with speaker communities.
—Courtesy of a Linguistic Society of America news release
We had one of our most impressive and largest showings at the Boston University Conference on Language Development (BUCLD) this year (2018), with five oral presentations and seven poster presentations. This is an impressive showing because the acceptance rate for oral presentations was 18%, and a further 28% of abstracts were accepted as posters. In the attached photo, we see (from left to right) Hyunwoo Kim (recent graduate of SLS), Gyu-Ho Shin (current PhD student in Linguistics), Theres Grueter (faculty in SLS), Akari Ohba (PhD student in Linguistics), Grant Muagututi’a (recent graduate of Linguistics, instructor in Linguistics), Bonnie D. Schwartz (faculty in SLS), Ivan Bondoc (PhD student in Linguistics), Elaine Lau (recent graduate of Linguistics, post-doc at Chinese University of Hong Kong), Kamil Deen (faculty in Linguistics), Jinsun Choe (recent graduate of Linguistics, faculty at Korea Tech ), Michael Clauss (recent graduate of Linguistics), Wenyi Ling (current student in SLS), Yunchuan Chen(recent graduate of EALL) and Nozomi Tanaka (recent graduate of Linguistics, faculty at Indiana U).
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.
For more information, please visit University of Hawaiʿi at Mānoa News.