Tuesday Seminar: Christian Mortensen, Andrew Pick

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.

Abstract 2:

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.

Check our website for more information about the speaker and for this semester’s schedule. Contacts: Coordinator, Amy Schafer (aschafer@nullhawaii.edu) & Graduate Assistant, Gyu-Ho Shin (ghshin@nullhawaii.edu).

Graduate Student News (Fall 2016/Winter 2017)

Brad Rentz, along with Dr. Victoria Anderson, presented a poster at the 5th Joint Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America and Acoustical Society of Japan entitled The Pohnpeian stop contrast between laminal alveolars and apical dentals involves differences in VOT and F2 locus equation intercepts. The poster and data can be viewed here.

Raina Heaton presented a paper at the Society for the Study of Indigenous Languages of the Americas (SSILA) Annual Meeting at LSA, entitled Towards a unified account of variability in Kaqchikel focus constructions.

Thomas Kettig presented his poster One hundred years of stability: The case of the BAD-LAD split at the LSA 2017 meeting. He also received a GSO grant of $700 for his trip to Spain last summer to present at the Sociolinguistic Symposium.

PhD students Dannii Yarbrough and Thomas Kettig at the 2017 LSA Annual Meeting.

PhD students Dannii Yarbrough and Thomas Kettig at the 2017 LSA Annual Meeting.

Alex Smith’s journal article Merap historical phonology in the context of a central Bornean linguistic area was accepted for publication in Oceanic Linguistics, and his article Sebop, Penan, and Kenyah internal linguistic subgrouping was published in the Borneo Research Bulletin. He also finished his fieldwork on 78 languages of Borneo during Fall 2016.

Victoria Chen’s paper When synthetic meets analytic: A note on structural borrowing in Kaxabu Pazeh was published in Oceanic Linguistics 55(2).

Victoria Chen’s paper Pivot ≠ Absolutive: Evidence from Formosan, was published in the Proceedings of the 42nd Annual Meeting of the Berkeley Linguistic Society.

Victoria Chen, along with Dr. Shin Fukuda, published their paper “Absolutive” marks agreement, not Case: Against the syntactic ergative analysis for Austronesian-type voice system in the Proceedings of the 46th Annual Meeting of the North East Linguistics Society.

Victoria Chen and Dr. Robert Blust‘s paper The pitfalls of negative evidence: ‘Ergative Austronesian’, ‘Nuclear Austronesian’ and their progeny is in press at Language & Linguistics.

Victoria Chen’s paper, Philippine-type “voice” affixes as A’-agreement markers: Evidence from causatives and ditransitives is in press in the Proceedings of the 23rd Meeting of the Austronesian Formal Linguistics Association.

Victoria Chen and Dr. Shin Fukuda’s published a paper Re-labeling “Ergative”: Evidence from Formosan is in press in the Proceedings of the 23rd Meeting of the Austronesian Formal Linguistics Association.

Ryan Henke and Dannii Yarbrough took part in the workshop “Building Capacity in Linguistics and Endangered Languages at Tribal Colleges and Universities”, which was put on by the Linguistic Society of America and the Endangered Language Fund. The workshop brought together linguistics faculty and students as well as students and faculty from TCUs to discuss how we can better use linguistics to help TCU programs with their language teaching and learning goals.

Photo provided courtesy of the LSA.

Photo provided courtesy of the LSA.

Meagan Dailey and Ryan Henke presented their poster Data citation, attribution, and employability at the 2017 LSA meeting. Their poster investigated how data citation and attribution relate to the job market and training of up-and-coming linguists. It can be viewed here.

Ryan Henke, Meagan Dailey, and Kavon Hooshiar presented their poster Questions, curiosities, and concerns: Talking points for data citation and attribution” at the 2017 LSA meeting. The poster is part of the larger effort to change the way linguists, university departments, and administrations approach data citation and attribution. It can be viewed here.

John Elliott presented a poster at the Acoustical Society of America annual meeting entitled For bilinguals, Enxet vowel spaces smaller than Spanish, which was a phonetic vowel analysis of Enxet, a Paraguayan language with a typologically rare small vowel system.

John Elliott was awarded a grant from the Endangered Languages Documentation Programme (ELDP) for “The Enxet Documentation Project”, a video documentation project working with speakers of Enxet Sur, a threatened Enlhet-Enenlhet language of Paraguay.  The project focused on bushwalk videos as a means of eliciting stories about and descriptions of the uses of medicinal and food plants in the Enxet indigenous communities.

John Elliott and Russell Barlow attended a training session for the Endangered Languages Documentation Programme (ELDP) as part of their being awarded ELDP grants for documentation projects. The training focused on details of video and audio recording and the ever evolving best-practices in archiving, and was attended by researchers and endangered language community members working on documentation projects in almost every region of the globe.

Andrew Pick presented a poster titled Word boundaries attenuate the effects of emphasis in Lebanese Arabic at the Acoustical Society of America annual meeting.