Tuesday Seminar Series

The Linguistics Department Tuesday Seminar is held in Agricultural Science Building, Room 204 at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa from 12:00pm to 1:15PM every Tuesday in both Fall and Spring semesters.

Any topic related to linguistics is welcome. The seminar coordinator will be Dr. Gary Holton (Linguistics Department).  If you are interested in giving a talk or would like further information, please contact Gary Holton (holton@nullhawaii.edu).

November 2019

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  • [TS] Professor: Dr. Robert Blust, Linguistics Department
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  • [TS] Doctoral Candidate: Bryn Hauk, Linguistics Department
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  • [TS] Doctoral Students: Leah Pappas & Christina Truong, Linguistics Department
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5-Nov-2019
  • [TS] Professor: Dr. Robert Blust, Linguistics Department

    5-Nov-2019  12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
    Agricultural Science, Room 204, 1955 East-West Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA

    Abstract for Dragons for Dummies: Dragons are entirely fanciful, as are some other creatures, such as unicorns or mermaids.  Given this apparent fact it must be asked why a belief in this creature is globally distributed, while a belief in other types of fanciful creatures is not.  I start by considering the Rainbow Serpent of aboriginal Australia, which is commonly regarded as unique to that continent, but is actually attested among many traditional societies around the world.  Six specific traits of the Rainbow Serpent are documented, and then shown to have a non-random overlap with traits of the Horned Water Serpent of aboriginal North America, the Plumed Serpent of Mesoamerica, the water serpents of various South American and African societies, and with the dragon of Europe and China.  It is concluded that the simplest explanation for this agreement in global trait distribution is that the Rainbow Serpent belief arose early in the history of our species, at least 100,000 years ago.  In Australia, which was considered the culturally most conservative region on the planet when first encountered by Europeans, it has been preserved most faithfully.  In parts of the planet which experienced the rise of agriculture, urbanization and literacy early the rainbow and the serpent were decoupled, leaving the rainbow as a physical phenomenon, and the serpent that was earlier identified with it as a survival from an earlier cultural era, left to lead a mythological life of its own.

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19-Nov-2019
  • [TS] Doctoral Candidate: Bryn Hauk, Linguistics Department

    19-Nov-2019  12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
    Agricultural Science, Room 204, 1955 East-West Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA

    Abstract for Shifty clusivity in Tsova-TushThis paper outlines a new domain of shifted indexicals—shifty clusivity—in Tsova-Tush, an endangered Northeast Caucasian language of Georgia. Current debates about indexical shift have not explicitly addressed the behavior first-person inclusive pronouns under shift, although different predictions arise depending on theoretical assumptions about the mechanism behind shift of first-person and second-person pronouns, given that 1INCL involves features of both. I find that shifty 1INCL is indeed possible in Tsova-Tush and further demonstrate that shifty 1INCL in Tsova-Tush can never co-occur with either unshifted 1SG or 2SG, indicating that author and addressee must shift together in Tsova-Tush. 

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26-Nov-2019
  • [TS] Doctoral Students: Leah Pappas & Christina Truong, Linguistics Department

    26-Nov-2019  12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
    Agricultural Science, Room 204, 1955 East-West Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA

    Abstract for Which way to go?: Directionals in Hawu (Leah Pappas):  Hawu is a Central-Malayo Polynesian language of East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia. Its spatial language has been little-studied despite areas that show promise for future research, such as its complex demonstrative system of ten contrastive terms and several areas where grammatical choices are dependent on a referent's distance and visibility. This presentation will focus on directionals in Hawu. It will introduce directionals used on a local-scale, such as 'up-down,' 'hither-thither,' and 'left-right.' It will further discuss the variation found in absolute directionals and how their usage contrasts with those found in other Austronesian languages.  

    Abstract for Language Documentation with the Semai Community of Peninsular Malaysia (Christina Truong):  Semai is an indigenous language of the Mon-Khmer family spoken by around 10,000 people in central peninsular Malaysia. In this presentation, I give an overview of the Semai language community and some notable aspects of the phonology and syntax of the language as spoken in southeastern Perak State. I also discuss documentation of traditional storytelling in Semai and show examples from three traditional narratives which were recorded, transcribed, and translated with Semai community members in Perak.

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