Indigenous language reclamation is about the efforts of Indigenous people who are learning their languages, and learning about their languages. This is happening in various places including schools, community centres, and on the land, and we are coming together to celebrate that.
In conjunction with local Indigenous groups, the School of Languages, Linguistics, Literatures & Cultures and other University partners invite you to join us in celebrating reclamation of the languages of Indigenous peoples in Alberta.
Dr. Gunnar Hanson's Talk
Friday, November 1st, at 3pm in Craigie Hall E212.
The practice and pedagogy of theoretical phonology relies to a considerable extent on a ‘canon’ of classic cases, examples of sound patterns in particular languages that have, for a variety of reasons, become well known among phonologists and lend themselves well to illustrating some point of theoretical argumentation or analytical practice. Less well known is the extent to which this canon often involves unreliable (even made-up) data, inaccurate transcription, misleading or radically oversimplified descriptive generalizations, or tacit assumptions that have been carried over from earlier works (often inadvertently) and which may no longer be consistent with current theory. Though the causes for such discrepancies vary somewhat from case to case, a key contributor has been the unfortunate practice of citing material from secondary or tertiary sources, rather than engaging in careful and circumspect reading of the original descriptive works (let alone conducting primary data collection). This gives rise to ‘textual traditions’ where errors or inaccuracies, once they appear, tend to persist and spread; conversely, important disclaimers, cautionary notes and points of clarification made by earlier authors—often hidden in footnotes—tend to get overlooked and disappear from the record.
In this talk, I will discuss two cases with which I have first-hand familiarity: Yowlumne (a.k.a. Yawelmani Yokuts) and Icelandic. For Yowlumne, an astonishing amount of the data in circulation, often adduced to illustrate opaque interactions (rule ordering) or prosodic morphology (templates), turns out to have been contrived—that is, generated by phonologists—rather than actually attested (Weigel 2004). Other problems relate to misinterpretation of Americanist transcription conventions, or ignorance of the heavily morphologized nature of some of the sound patterns under consideration. Modern Icelandic is likewise often cited as an example of opaque interaction (ordering) among phonological processes, many of them supposedly motivated by syllable structure. However, Icelandic data are nearly always presented in what is in fact orthography rather than phonological transcription. This leads to serious problems, as does the ignorance of the richness and complexity of Icelandic morphology and the wealth of morphologically-conditioned alternations, e.g. stem or suffix allomorphy. The data in circulation include some incorrect (made-up or generated) forms, as well as inflectional forms or lexical items which are no longer part of Modern Icelandic usage but rather reflect earlier historical stages.
What further unites presentations of Yowlumne and Icelandic in the theoretical literature is the continued tacit assumption of underlying representations that are highly abstract, a legacy of the SPE era of the 1960s–1970s when these cases first entered the purview of generative phonological theory. I will conclude by re-examining a case in point, a pair of Icelandic suffixes whose abstract underlying representation (as /-r/, becoming [-ʏr] by Epenthesis) is the cornerstone of the ‘canonical’ analysis of various well-known phenomena (U-Umlaut, Glide Deletion) as genuinely phonological processes. I hope to show that, when viewed from the perspective of current constraint-based theoretical models, this abstract analysis is no longer tenable, suggesting instead an approach in terms of phonologically-conditioned allomorph selection.
Gunnar Ólafur Hansson is Associate Professor of Linguistics at the University of British Columbia and Adjunct Associate Professor of Icelandic and Comparative Cultural Studies at the University of Iceland. He holds a PhD in Linguistics from the University of California, Berkeley (2001) and an MA in Icelandic Language Studies from the University of Iceland (1997). A primary focus of Hansson’s research in theoretical phonology has been non-adjacent interactions in segmental phonology (e.g. in consonant and vowel harmony); other topics of interest include the phonological manifestation of morphological paradigms (e.g. paradigm gaps, allomorphy, inflection classes) and the role of diachronic processes in shaping synchronic language structure and cross-linguistic typology. He is editor of the Nordic Journal of Linguistics (Cambridge University Press) together with Marit Julien (Lund University) and Matti Miestamo (University of Helsinki).
YYC Pronouns 2019
The University of Calgary’s School of Languages, Linguistics, Literatures, and Cultures and Linguistics Division are hosting a workshop on pronouns. This is the latest in a series of workshops on the syntax of nominal (and related) structures, rotating across Canada for the past 15 years.
The workshop will take place at the University of Calgary on November 15 and 16, 2019.
Talks and Community Outreach
Save the dates for plenty of exciting talks. Linguistics Division presents the list of speakers that will share their current work with us and give a talk on their research.
UofC Open House
Learn more about Linguistics
Almost ready for tomorrow’s (05 October) #OpenHouse! Our faculty and student volunteers will warmly welcome queries from potential students and their families at this display in the Jack Simpson gym from 10am to 3pm.
The School of Languages, Linguistics, Literatures and Cultures at the University of Calgary invites you to the 2019 NorthWest Conference on Phonetics & Phonology. NoWPhon 2019 will be held at the University of Calgary.
You may view the conference program here. Oral presentations will be held in ICT 114. Poster session will be held in Craigie Hall CHE 212.
NoWPhon Dry Run
This is to let you know that the NoWPhon practice talks will be in Craigie Hall D 419 on Tuesday 3:00-6:00pm, September 17th. Each presenter will have 20 minutes for presenting their work and 15 additional minutes for questions and comments.
New Academic Year!
Welcome to the new 2019/2020 academic school year! Let’s make it more enjoyable and more efficient than the previous one. Start by checking out the academic calendar – don’t miss the important dates!
MA Thesis Defense - Mingyu & Mahyar
Two MA Theses will be defended on June 27, CHD 419! Please feel free to attend and provide support for our two brilliant MA students.
LaTeX Workshop with Dr. Storoshenko
The LaTeX workshop will be held on July 30th from 2-4pm (location TBD). The plan is to work through an abstract template which will give you experience in typesetting, creating linguistic examples, and citing sources in LaTeX. Looking forward to seeing you there!
CLA Dry Run
This is to let you know that the CLA practice talks will be in Craigie Hall C room 110 on Thursday and Friday 1:30-4:00pm, May 23rd and 24th.
Annual Performance Review Workshop
Dr. Mary O’Brien, GDP for the LLAC program, is hosting a workshop on the Annual Performance Review (APR) on April 24 at 12:00 pm in CHC309. All continuing students and their supervisors are required to fill out an annual performance report every year. The reports will be made available to you online on May 1. The goal of the workshop is to work through all of the sections of the report and to answer any questions you may have. A sample copy of the report will be provided so that you can take notes in preparation for filling it out in May.
Brown Bag Series
Visiting speaker: Seunghun Lee
Dr. Lee will give a talk on prosodic effects of DP-internal word order variation in Xitsonga (4 April, Friday, CHD 420, 3pm).
Abstract: Bantu languages generally have a noun-initial DP word order. However, all (or nearly all) Bantu languages also allow for demonstratives and sometimes a quantifier meaning ‘each, every’ to precede the noun. Beyond this, Bantu languages generally allow changing the relative order of the post-nominal modifiers which leads to subtle (focus-related) changes in meaning but generally Bantu languages do not allow for adjectives, numerals and possessives to appear before the noun. However, Tsonga(S53), Tswana (S31), Haya (JE22) and Basaá (A43a) allow these kinds of nominal modifiers to appear in the pre-nominal position. While the general properties of Bantu noun phrases are well documented, there are few studies about the specific ordering constraints in the various Bantu languages (Carstens 1991, 2006, 2009; Rugemalira 2007; Iorio 2009, Letsholo and Matlhaku 2014), nor any larger cross-linguistic comparisons. Discussions of Bantu language noun phrases generally focus on nominal morphology (Schadeberg 2003) or the augment (du Blois 1970; Ferrari 2008; Halpert 20015, to appear). Bantu languages also have penultimate lengthening where the penultimate syllable of a sentence is lengthened. There is an extensive literature on penultimate lengthening in Bantu languages (Hyman 2009), but none of this addresses DP-internal patterns. This talk seeks to address this gap by introducing and analysing syntactic and phonological patterns, including new data from Xitsonga, a southern Bantu language. Xitsonga allows for multiple modifiers to appear pre-nominally with N Adj Num being able to appear in any of the logically possible orders. This pattern has not been reported for other Bantu languages, except for Basaá (Bassong 2018) and violates Greenberg’s Universal 20 (Greenberg 1966:11) and Cinque’s predictions on possible and impossible ordering (Cinque 1996, 2000, 2005). We offer an overview of noun phrase word order patterns in Xitsonga and analyse these patterns in terms of prosodic effects on penultimate lengthening.
9th Annual Colloquium
The 9th Annual Colloquium organized by Verbatim will take place on Friday, March 29, in the Scholar’s Academy Lounge in Mackimmie Library. The event will run from 10am to 4pm, with undergraduate students presenting their research throughout the day. Refreshments will be provided, and there will be a longer break halfway through for lunch.
Your attendance at this event would show our presenters support for their work, as well as help contribute to the strong relationship between Verbatim and the members of the SLLLC. There is no need to RSVP – just showing up to listen to our students’ presentations is enough! As always, we appreciate your support and consideration of our club’s endeavours. We hope to see you there!