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UH Manoa was recently ranked by Forbes as one of America’s best value colleges. Within its description of UH Manoa, it lists linguistics as one of the top departments at UHM, one that produces “pioneering research”. It’s good being recognized for what we do, but there’s a lot more to come!
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).
Bryn Hauk was awarded ‘Best Student Paper’ for her talk, ‘Tsova-Tush “intensive” consonants’ at the 16th Conference on Laboratory Phonology (LabPhon) in Lisbon, Portugal, on June 21, 2018. Slides from her talk are available here: https://scholarspace.manoa.hawaii.edu/handle/10125/56592.
Thomas Kettig, co-authoring with Prof. Katie Drager, presented “The social meaning of TRAP-backing in Montréal English” at Sociolinguistics Symposium 22 in Auckland, New Zealand, in June. He was also invited to present a compilation of his research, “Peripherality and representations: A safari through the English low vowels” at the Australian National University in Canberra in May and at the New Zealand Institute for Language and Brain Behaviour in Christchurch in June.