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.
James Collins, recent hire in Linguistics, has had a paper published in the highly prestigious journal Natural Language and Linguistic Theory. The paper is entitled ‘Definiteness determined by syntax: A case study in Tagalog’, and the abstract is pasted below:
Using Tagalog as a case study, this paper provides an analysis of a cross-linguistically well attested phenomenon, namely, cases in which a bare NP’s syntactic position is linked to its interpretation as definite or indefinite. Previous approaches to this phenomenon, including analyses of Tagalog, appeal to specialized interpretational rules, such as Diesing’s Mapping Hypothesis. I argue that the patterns fall out of general compositional principles so long as type-shifting operators are available to the gram- matical system. I begin by weighing in a long-standing issue for the semantic analysis of Tagalog: the interpretational distinction between genitive and nominative transitive patients. I show that bare NP patients are interpreted as definites if marked with nominative case and as narrow scope indefinites if marked with genitive case. Bare NPs are understood as basically predicative; their quantificational force is determined by their syntactic position. If they are syntactically local to the selecting verb, they are existentially quantified by the verb itself. If they occupy a derived position, such as the subject position, they must type-shift in order to avoid a type-mismatch, generating a definite interpretation. Thus the paper develops a theory of how the position of an NP is linked to its interpretation, as well as providing a compositional treatment of NP-interpretation in a language which lacks definite articles but demonstrates other morphosyntactic strategies for signaling (in)definiteness.
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.
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.
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.