Category Archives: Faculty News

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.

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!

Linguistics Department Update 02.27.2018

UHM Linguistics affiliates published together

Language Isolates, edited by Dr. Lyle Campbell, has been released in the Routledge Language Family series (2018). The work surveys the world’s language isolates, which form approximately one-third of the world’s “language families”. Contributions from people connected with University of Hawai’i linguistics (as current or former faculty and students) include a survey of the language isolates of Mesoamerica and Northern Mexico by Raina Heaton, a chapter on the endangerment of language isolates by Eve Okura Koller, a description of Burushaski by Alexander D. Smith, a sketch grammar of Ainu by Thomas Dougherty, and an introduction and a chapter on language isolates and their history by Lyle Campbell.

A.L. Blake awarded Luce Graduate Research Fellowship

A.L. Blake was awarded the Luce Graduate Research Fellowship for the project, “Documenting the botanical language of the Abui people of Alor Island, East Nusa Tenggara province, Indonesia.” Blake will be doing interdisciplinary research this summer in order to document ecological knowledge encoded in the Abui language. Emphasizing Abui nomenclature, classification, characteristics, and use of food- and medicinal- plants, the project generates Abui audio- and video- recordings, with accompanying transcriptions and translations, as well as high-quality photographic images of plants.

Ryan E. Henke presents at SSILA

PhD student Ryan E. Henke presented a paper, “The development of possession in the L1 acquisition of Northern East Cree”, at the 2018 Winter Meeting of the Society for the Study of the Indigenous Languages of the Americas (SSILA) in Salt Lake City, UT. In support of this presentation, Henke was awarded a travel grant from SSILA.

Ryan E. Henke receives GSO Award

Congratulations to PhD student Ryan E. Henke for receiving a Graduate Student Organization grant award. This grant supported his summer research project assisting with community efforts to document Nakota, a Siouan language spoken in Alberta, Canada.

UH linguists publish new book about department’s Catalogue of Endangered Languages project

Cataloguing the World’s Endangered Languages, just published, describes the creation and findings of the Catalogue of Endangered Languages (ELCat, available at www.endangeredlanguages.com). The chapter authors and the editors are current or former linguists in the UHM Department of Linguistics, and members of the ELCat team. The book is edited by Lyle Campbell and Anna Belew, with chapters written by Russell Barlow, Anna Belew, Lyle Campbell, Yen-ling Chen, Bryn Hauk, Raina Heaton, Nala Lee, Sean Simpson, and John Van Way.

Cataloguing the World’s Endangered Languages outlines the research on which ELCat is based, discusses challenges and approaches to large-scale language cataloguing, presents new findings about the state of the world’s endangered languages, and outlines ELCat’s potential applications for students, funding bodies, researchers, and language communities.

The book is published by Routledge, and can be seen at: https://www.routledge.com/Cataloguing-the-Worlds-Endangered-Languages/Campbell-Belew/p/book/9781138922082

101 Problems and solutions in historical linguistics: a workbook

This 512 page workbook in historical linguistics, authored by Dr. Robert Blust, will be published by Edinburgh University Press in February, 2018. It contains 101 problems and solutions covering 5 distinct problem areas (the establishment of genetic relationship among languages, sound change, phonological reconstruction, internal reconstruction, and subgrouping). Flyers are being mailed to Dr. Blust, and should arrive soon.

Dr. Al Schütz’s 1977 Publication Republished in Fiji Times Feature Series

Beginning in late 2017, the Fiji Times (“The First Newspaper Published in the World Every Day”) has been reprinting chapters of Albert J. Schütz’s Diaries and Correspondence of David Cargill, 1832–1843 (Australian National University Press, 1977). This book covers three main themes:

  1. The first deals with the Wesleyan missionaries’ conversion of the Fijians to Christianity.
  2. The second concentrates on linguistic matters: Developing Fijian’s unusual but efficient alphabet; writing the first grammar and dictionary of a Fijian language; discovering extensive language/dialect variation; and eventually choosing a lingua franca.
  3. The third describes Cargill’s extreme reaction to unimaginable “field” conditions in Tonga and Fiji, which eventually affected his professional and personal life.

Schütz is grateful to the Fiji Times editorial staff for making this book available to local readers, thus giving them easy access to an important, but mostly unknown, part of Fijian history.

Read the 9-part series:

  1. Part 1 (published 29 Oct, 2017)
  2. Part 2 (published 14 Jan, 2018)
  3. Part 3 (published 12 Nov, 2017)
  4. Part 4 (published 19 Nov, 2017)
  5. Part 5 (published 26 Nov, 2017)
  6. Part 6 (published 03 Dec, 2017)
  7. Part 7 (published 10 Dec, 2017)
  8. Part 8 (published 24 Dec, 2017)
  9. Part 9 (published 07 Jan, 2018)

Professor Emeritus Al Schütz featured in Fiji Airways’ FijiTime

Professor Emeritus Al Schütz has been featured in an article published in the Fiji Airways in-flight magazine FijiTime. The article covers his extensive fieldwork in Fiji and his recently published Fijian Reference Grammar, an update to his 1985 publication The Fijian Language.

You can view the article here.

Dr. William O’Grady and Ph.D candidate Sejung Yang help in publication of Jejueo language textbook

A sample page from the textbook. Courtesy of Sejung Yang.

Dr. William O’Grady and Ph.D candidate Sejung Yang, along with Dr. Changyong Yang from Jeju National University, have seen the first volume of their Jejueo textbook published on July 5, 2017. The textbook, written for Korean speakers, is the first of its kind for Jejueo, recognized by several international groups (including UNESCO, Endangered Language Group, and Ethnologue) as an independent language rather than a dialect of Korean.

The textbook is the first in a projected four-volume series. You can purchase the textbook from Kyobo (website in Korean).

For more information, including small previews of the book, please read the Center for Korean Studies article.