Professor Emeritus Al Schütz featured in Fiji Airways’ FijiTime

Professor Emeritus Al Schütz has been featured in an article published in the Fiji Airways in-flight magazine FijiTime. The article covers his extensive fieldwork in Fiji and his recently published Fijian Reference Grammar, an update to his 1985 publication The Fijian Language.

You can view the article here.

Ph.D. Graduate Samantha Rarrick receives Postdoc Fellowship for Sinasina SL in PNG

Dr. Samantha Rarrick has received a Postdoctoral Fellowship with the National Science Foundation’s Directorate for Social, Behavioral & Economic Sciences. Through this two-year fellowship, Sam will work to document and describe Sinasina Sign Language, a previously unreported sign language which she encountered during her dissertation fieldwork. This sign language is one of the first indigenous sign languages to be reported in Papua New Guinea and its documentation and description has potential to drastically contribute to the typology of sign languages in this region.

Find more about Sam’s project here.

Congratulations, Dr. Rarrick!

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

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.

Graduate Student Updates: Kavon Hooshiar

Kavon Hooshiar, along with Brenda Clark, Sejung Yang, and Kevin Bätscher, presented at the special session on language documentation in undergraduate education at the Linguistic Society of America’s annual meeting. Their talk, titled The Language Documentation Training Center’s contribution to undergraduate education, presented LDTC and their efforts to attract undergraduate students to the program.

Kavon Hooshiar presented a poster at the 2017 LSA session on data citation and attribution, titled Data management across academic disciplines.

Kavon Hooshiar presented at the 2016 Symposium on Verbs, Clauses and Constructions in Logroño, Spain; his talk was titled Clause chaining in Gimi, a language of Papua New Guinea.

Kavon Hooshiar presented a paper titled An initial look at Manirem, also known as Betaf (bfe) and Vitou (vto) at the 4th Workshop on the Languages of Papua in Manokwari, West Papua, Indonesia.

Kavon Hooshiar, Dr. Katie Drager, and Cassidy Copeland presented at the ASA on Coronal Stop Deletion in Hawaiʻi English. They presented their variationist study on reduction of t/d in consonant clusters in this variety of English. This auditory and acoustic analysis is the first look at this type of variation in Hawaiʻi English.

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.

Emerson Odango (PhD, 2015) Awarded 3 Million Dollar Grant from NSF for Geo-literacy Education in Micronesia

It is with great pleasure and pride that we announce that Emerson Odango has just been awarded a three million dollar grant from NSF for a project in the Freely Associated States (FAS) in geographic Micronesia: the Republic of Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands. A description of the project—Geo-literacy Education in Micronesia (GEM)—can be found here:

(The dollar amount given in it is for the first two years of a five-year project.) Moreover, Ken Rehg (his then-supervisor) tells us that he got the award on his first try.

This project uses a community-based participation research framework to collaborate with communities in the FAS to explore geo-literacy—how one reads the skies, the lands, and the waters so as to make informed decisions that have positive impacts on the local community. GEM will create spaces for communities to investigate how Indigenous, local, and traditional knowledge systems co-exist with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The linguistic connections to GEM include documenting how language encodes the connections among these domains of knowledge and worldviews, and leveraging language—from the lexical to the ethnopoetic—with informal STEM learning.

Please stay tuned for an official press release from Pacific Resources for Education and Learning []. Many, many congratulations to Emerson!

Katie Drager’s New Book Published

About the Book:  Speakers use a variety of different linguistic resources in the construction of their identities, and they are able to do so because their mental representations of linguistic and social information are linked.

While the exact nature of these representations remains unclear, there is growing evidence that they encode a great deal more phonetic detail than traditionally assumed and that the phonetic detail is linked with word-based information. This book investigates the ways in which a word’s phonetic realisation depends on a combination of its grammatical function and the speaker’s social group. This question is investigated within the context of the word like as it is produced and perceived by students at an all girls’ high school in New Zealand. The results are used to inform an exemplar-based model of speech production and perception in which the quality and frequency of linguistic and non-linguistic variants contribute to a speaker’s style.

The book is published by Language Science Press and is freely downloadable from:

Drager, Katie (2015) Linguistic Variation, Identity Construction, and Cognition. Berlin: Language Science Press.

About the Author:  Katie K. Drager is Associate Professor of Sociolinguistics at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. Her research is located at the intersection of sociolinguistics and phonetics, combining qualitative and quantitative methodologies to examine the ways in which social factors influence the production and perception of linguistic variables, and vice versa. Her recent work has appeared in Language Variation and Change, Journal of Phonetics, and Language and Speech, and she is currently leading a project on the production and perception of linguistic variation in Hawai‘i.

Fijian Reference Grammar

Kudos to Albert Schutz on the May 2014 publication of his comprehensive, seminal Fijian Reference Grammar!  For more information read about it in Pacific News from Manoa.


Schütz, Albert J. 2014. Fijian Reference Grammar. Honolulu: PacificVoices. xxxvii, 453 pp. Order from Amazon, U.S. $22.50. (As of 4 July 2014, Amazon was offering free shipping on orders over $35, but this offer seems to apply to the U.S. only.)


When Al Schütz was asked by his Cornell professor in early 1960 if he’d be interested in going to Fiji, his response was “Sure. Where is it?” This is understandable, perhaps, for someone only five years removed from the family farm, and who had not yet seen the Pacific Ocean. Obviously, geography was not part of his undergraduate Liberal Arts education.

If someone had told him that he’d still be working on Fijian over a half-century later, he would not have believed it.

The two years that followed could not have been more of a contrast. He spent the summer at the University of Hawai‘i, working as an assistant teacher for two courses and gathering information on Fijian at the UH and Bishop Museum Libraries. For ten months in 1960–61, he conducted a dialect survey in Fiji, recording information from speakers in 105 villages from most of the major island groups. How did he travel? By small car, bus, foot, outboard, government boat, sailboat, plane, and horseback. (He would like to add to the list “bamboo raft,” cleverly referred to by Fijians as “H.M.S. No-Come-Back,” but that was only for an afternoon’s respite from interviews on the island of Vanua Levu.)

After leaving Fiji, he spent a term at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies, taking anthropology courses, working on the data he’d collected, and conferring with George B. Milner, who was kind enough to serve as his mentor. Later, back at Cornell, he finished his PhD dissertation—“A Dialect Survey of Viti Levu”—just in time to accept a position at the University of Hawai‘i.

His next contact with the language took place after two summers of fieldwork on a related language, Nguna, from what was called then the New Hebrides, and now Vanuatu. In 1967 and 1968, he worked with Rātū Rusiate T. Komaitai on language lessons for Peace Corps trainees, eventually published as Spoken Fijian (University of Hawai‘i Press, 1971).

Schütz’s most concentrated work on Fijian grammar began when he served as Director of the Fijian (Monolingual) Dictionary Project (1972–79), sponsored for the first two years by a grant from Raymond Burr’s American-Fijian Foundation, the Australian Cultural Fund, UNESCO, and the Fiji Government. After 1979, Schütz continued to work with the project, concentrating on completing the grammar, aided significantly by a grant from the U.S.’s National Endowment for the Humanities. Titled The Fijian Language, it was finished in 1985 and published by the University of Hawai‘i Press. Now, long out of print, it served as the foundation for the new grammar.

The grammar

Fijian Reference Grammar is based on data, not on linguistic theories, and relies heavily on language in context. The data used include material written and spoken by Fijians–ranging from advice offered by the author’s colleagues in the Fijian Dictionary Project to Fijian-language newspapers and textbooks. Included also are recordings of loanwords and casual conversations, and—most recently—the text and DVD of a Fijian play, Lakovi, by Apolonia Tamata and Larry Thomas.

For the historical and linguistic background, the author consulted collections in sixteen libraries and archives in the following cities: Cambridge MA, Canberra, Dunedin, Honolulu, London, Salem MA, Sydney, Suva, Sydney, Washington D.C., and Wellington.

Although the book is based on The Fijian Language, it includes significant deletions and additions. First, the long historical introduction and the appendix of twenty annotated pre-missionary word lists were removed and combined into a work tentatively entitled Early Studies of Fijian, to appear on-line for students and teachers in Fiji.

Here are the major changes:

1. Now that the monolingual Fijian dictionary, Na iVolavosa vakaViti, has been published, it has been possible to expand the discussion of the sound system to include more recent additions to the alphabet—borrowings from both related and unrelated languages within Fiji. Some new words do not follow the traditional Fijian syllable structure. However, the dictionary does not go far beyond identifying the sources of the new words. Therefore, the treatment in the grammar is open-ended, pointing the way to potential research on which domains allow, or do not allow, what appear to be non-Fijian sounds and combinations of sounds.

2. The beginnings of such a sociolinguistic study grew out of the play Lakovi, which exists in both printed and DVD form. It offers written and spoken examples of different speech styles in context, while also providing such information as approximate ages and kinship relationships among the speakers. Fijian-language plays now in progress promise to provide additional data.

3. Many recent studies of Polynesian languages and Fijian attempt to write rules to predict the placement of accent. A study of the relationship between accent units and morphemes (meaningful elements of words) adds weight to Schütz’s argument that accent guides the hearer to meaning, not the other way around. Rules can apply only to forms up to and including four short syllables.

4. Suggestions from two extensive reviews of the previous grammar have been considered; some have been incorporated, others rejected.

5. Some studies that appeared after 1985, especially those conducted by linguists familiar with the language, provided additions to the lists and discussions of grammatical markers. Other studies, in particular those by linguists with very little contact with the language, provided convenient targets for criticism of statements about the language based on selected sentences taken out of context.

The author

Albert J. Schütz, Professor Emeritus of Linguistics, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, has been engaged in Fijian language research since 1960. His first fieldwork, for a dialect geography, involved collecting and analyzing data from 105 villages. In 1971 he was appointed Director of a monolingual dictionary project in Suva, a position he held until 1979. With the help and advice of the dictionary staff, he continued to work on a grammar, The Fijian language, the predecessor to the present work. Dr. Schütz has published 40 books, monographs, articles, and reviews dealing with the Fijian language, its history, phonology, grammar, and dialects. He developed materials for workshops and, along with Rusiate T. Komaitai, language materials for the Peace Corps. Most recently, he is finishing Hawaiian: Past, Present, and Future and producing an e-book for visitors to Fiji, with words and phrases read by a native speaker.