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Grants awarded for digital repository of spoken Hawaiian language

The National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) have collectively awarded grants totaling $448,464 over a three-year period to fund a project involving multiple University of Hawaiʻi campuses to build a digital online repository of spoken Hawaiian language, or ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi.

The NSF grant is for $283,464, while the NEH portion totals $165,000. The awards are effective August 1, 2017 and will be managed by Principal Investigator Keiki Kawaiʻaeʻa, director of Ka Haka ʻUla O Keʻelikolani (KHUOK) College of Hawaiian Language at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo, along with co-Principal Investigators Larry Kimura, associate professor at KHUOK, and Andrea Berez-Kroeker, associate professor in the Department of Linguistics at UH Mānoa.

The project, entitled “Building a Hawaiian Spoken Language Repository,” will create Kaniʻāina, a digital corpus of recordings and transcripts of Native Hawaiian language. Kaniʻāina will feature hundreds of hours of audio and video recordings, fully searchable transcripts in ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi, catalog information in both English and ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi, and a unique crowd-sourcing feature for soliciting enhanced transcription and content-tagging of the recordings from the public.

The recordings and transcripts will be accessible online at Ulukau: The Hawaiian Electronic Library, beginning with Phase 1 of the first two collections: Ka Leo Hawaiʻi and Ku i ka Manaleo, later this year. The content will be archived for long-term preservation in Kaipuleohone, the University of Hawaiʻi Digital Language Archive, which is part of ScholarSpace, the UH institutional repository.

Kawaiʻaeʻa says the awards also include funding for undergraduate research opportunities and for a cross-campus graduate educational exchange in language documentation and revitalization, which is especially timely.

“We are elated that we can now move toward building a larger public repository of audio and visual native speaker collections to support the growing population of Hawaiian speakers,” Kawaiʻaeʻa said. “Kaniʻāina comes at a crucial time when the number of Hawaiian speakers is increasing as the last of the native speaking elders is rapidly dwindling. We now estimate the number of elder native speakers outside of the Niʻihau community to total between 20 and 30.”

Data from an April 2016 report by the State Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism on Hawaiʻi’s non- English speaking population found the number of persons aged 5 and older who spoke Hawaiian at home statewide totaled 18,400. Kawaiʻaeʻa also noted that more than 3,000 students are presently enrolled in Hawaiian-immersion schools P-12, while 13,500 are enrolled in Hawaiian language coursework in public and private educational institutions, and 2,000 students are enrolled in similar coursework at UH campuses.

Kawaiʻaeʻa says the broader impacts of Kaniʻāina will include its integration into immersion-based language education from pre- school to the university level, Hawaiian knowledge in the natural and social sciences, and beyond. The project will also engage underrepresented groups as citizen scientists through its creation of a publicly available corpus of an endangered U.S. language.

Publication Updates: Raina Heaton and Thomas Kettig

Raina Heaton and Patricia Anderson (Tulane University) have been published in the International Journal of American Linguistics (83:2), with their article “When Animals Become Humans: Grammatical Gender in Tunica.”

Thomas Kettig and Bodo Winter have been published in Language Variation and Change (), with their article “Producing and perceiving the Canadian Vowel Shift: Evidence from a Montreal Community.”

You may click on each title for the abstract, and find the citations below.

Heaton, Raina, and Patricia Anderson, “When Animals Become Humans: Grammatical
Gender in Tunica,” International Journal of American Linguistics 83, no. 2 (April 2017):
341-363. DOI: 10.1086/689832

Kettig, Thomas, and Bodo Winter. “Producing and Perceiving the Canadian Vowel Shift:
Evidence from a Montreal Community.” Language Variation and Change, vol. 29, no. 1,
2017, pp. 79–100., doi:10.1017/S0954394517000023.

Alumni Update: Chae-Eun Kim

Dr. Chae-Eun Kim is currently an Assistant Professor (tenure track) in the Department of English, Chosun University in Gwangju, Korea.
Chae-Eun graduated from our department in 2013. A copy of her dissertation (chaired by Dr. William O’Grady) is still available for download: Asymmetries in the Production of Relative Clauses: First and Second Language Acquisition (PDF).

Victoria Chen wins 2017 Award for Excellence in Doctoral Dissertation Research from the UHM College of Languages, Linguistics, and Literature

Department of Linguistics PhD candidate Victoria Chen has been awarded the 2017 Award for Excellence in Doctoral Dissertation Research from the UHM College of Languages, Linguistics, and Literature, for her dissertation, “A reexamination of the Philippine-type voice system and its implications for Austronesian primary-level subgrouping.” Her dissertation investigates the comparative grammar of indigenous languages spoken in Taiwan, which provides new evidence for the classification of higher-order Austronesian languages. Congratulations, Victoria!


 

Original LLL news article

PDF with other awardees

Alumni Update: James Grama

Dr. James Grama is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow affiliated with the ARC Centres of Excellence at the Australian National University. He is working on the Sydney Speaks project, which is focused on language variation in Sydney, Australia. He has been with the project since January 2017.

James graduated from our department in 2015. You can read a copy of his dissertation (chaired by Dr. Katie Drager), Variation and Change in Hawai’i Creole Vowels, by clicking on the title. Utilizing similar acoustical analyses, he’s currently investigating features of Australian English and its function in regard to socioeconomic status, network affiliation, and ethnicity.

Austronesian Comparative Dictionary: New Search function

Re the audience’s feedback at the Tuesday Seminar talk on 2/21, Steve Trussel has added a search form to the Austronesian Comparative Dictionary. The search is set to do: Introduction, Cognate Sets, Formosan, Roots, Loans, Near Comparisons, and Noise. There are search forms at the top of all pages in those sections. Any feedback is welcome. For feedback on production of the website, please email Steven Trussel. For feedback on the content, please email Robert Blust.

Please find a screenshot below:

螢幕快照 2017-03-05 上午9.24.47 - Yen-hsin Chen

ICLDC5 Opening Ceremony

The Fifth Annual International Conference on Language Documentation & Conservation, held by the University of Hawaii at Manoa, is now under way! Here is a peek at the Opening Ceremony, featuring UH Linguistics professors, Dr. Andrea Berez-Kroeker and Dr. Gary Holton.


The conference runs from March 2-5, 2017 at the Hawai’i Imin International Conference Center. The theme this year is “Vital Voices: Linking Language & Wellbeing.” For more information, please visit the ICLDC5 site or get real-time updates on their Facebook page.

Spring 2017 Pre-Defense Dissertations

Pre-defense dissertations are submitted to our department two weeks prior to each defense. Upcoming dissertations for Spring 2017 include:

We will be adding to this list as the semester continues. You can also check the Dissertations page for updates on other pre-defense dissertations for the current semester, or final dissertations from previous semesters.