Austronesian Circle

Speaker: Dr. William O’Grady
Title: The syntax of symmetry
Time: 4/26, 3-4 pm
Location: Moore 575 (conference room)
Abstract: I’ll be exploring some ideas about the relationship between symmetrical voice and other types of alignment (i.e., accusativity and ergativity), with special attention to case and a handful of syntactic operations in Austronesian languages.
Join us for the last meeting of the semester!

Austronesian Circle

Speaker: Dr. Robert Blust
Title: Six patterns of recurrent metathesis in Austronesian languages
Most sound changes show clear evidence of phonetic motivation. However, one type of change that has long been difficult to reconcile with this view is metathesis. In this paper, I will argue that metathesis is a cover term for several quite different phenomena, and that while many metatheses may be the deceptively simple outcome of complex phonetic processes, others do seem to fit the classic definition of a one-step segmental transposition by a speaker. More problematically, many of the latter kinds of changes do not find a ready explanation within any theoretical framework that has yet been proposed. The most challenging of these changes are those that are recurrent, since here the question of motivation is more pressing than when a metathesis affects a single lexical item.

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

Austronesian Circle: The Case of the Missing Austronesian Languages

Speaker: Dr. Joel Bradshaw

Austronesian (An) languages are scattered all along the coast and offshore islands of the mainland of Papua New guinea, from the Indonesian border all the way around to Central Papua. But there is an exceptionally wide, unexplained gap of 270 km between Numbami, the last an language on the south coast of the Huon Gulf, and Maisin, the first An language in southeast Papua. This stretch of coast is now populated entirely by speakers of Binanderean (Bin) languages belonging to the larger Trans-New Guinea family. Nevertheless, traces of contact with Oceanic (Oc) languages can be found among Bin languages, even in a few Proto-Binandere reconstructions. Bin structural influence on Maisin has been so heavy that scholars once argued about whether Maisin was basically Austronesian or Papuan. Ross (1984, 1996) has now definitively made the case for Maisin as Oc. This work presents linguistic and ethnohistorical evidence of Numbami contact with its neighboring Guhu-Samane languages, which form a very divergent group related to Bin (Smallhorn 2011), and may owe some of their divergent features to heavy contact with languages like Numbami.