Speaker: Christian Mortensen; Andrew Pick
Date: 9/26 (Tues.), 12:00-1:15PM
Title: The Lun Bawang Language of Long Semadoh, Lawas, Sarawak; Classifying the Croisilles languages
Abstract 1: Lun Bawang (also called Lun Dayeh or Lundayeh) is an Austronesian language belonging to the North Sarawak subgroup on Borneo, most closely related to Kelabit and Sa’ban, and spoken primarily in the north of Sarawak and Indonesian Kalimantan, with smaller numbers of speakers in Sabah and Brunei. This talk draws on two months of work on the dialect spoken in Long Semadoh, a string of seven villages located along the headwaters of the Trusan River in Sarawak and consists essentially in three parts: (1) an introduction to the location and its residents, (2) a cursory glance at the synchronic phonology of the Long Semadoh dialect, and (3) diachronically-oriented cross-dialectal phonological comparisons.
The linguistic ecology of Papua New Guinea, characterized by prevalent multilingualism and an extremely high density of languages in long-standing close contact, has resulted in a situation where languages freely borrow features that have been said to be resistant to borrowing, such as basic vocabulary and pronouns (Foley 2000). Distinguishing between directly inherited and borrowed material can be especially challenging, presenting an interesting test case for the application of the comparative method.
This talk concerns a group of around fifty languages in Madang province that Ross (2005) terms the Croisilles linkage. Using primary data from my own fieldwork, as well as previously published wordlists and dictionaries, I propose a new internal structure for the group based off of shared phonological innovations, and compare this to previous classifications arrived at by other methods.
Foley, W. A. (2000). The Languages of New Guinea. Annual Review of Anthropology, 29, 357-404.
Ross, M. (2005). Pronouns as a preliminary diagnostic for grouping Papuan languages. Papuan pasts: Cultural, linguistic and biological histories of Papuan-speaking peoples, 15-65.