Graduate student Tory Sampson will present at the 57th meeting of the Chicago Linguistics Society, hosted by the University of Chicago. Her talk will focus on the diachronic change and grammaticalization of the copula and copular expressions in 150 years of American Sign Language history.
Obiri-Yeboah, Michael & Sharon Rose. 2021. Vowel harmony and phonological phrasing in Gua
In Gua, an underdocumented Tano Guang language spoken in Ghana, regressive ATR vowel harmony applies within words and non-iteratively across word boundaries. Although vowel harmony is known to cross word boundaries in some languages, little is known about the domains and extent of such harmony. We show that ATR harmony in Gua operates within phonological phrases that preferentially consist of two or three words, with binary phrases at the left edge and ternary phrases at the right edge of the utterance. Syntactic structure can exert an influence, but only with respect to subjects. In addition, we demonstrate that unary phrases are permitted, but not at the edge of the utterance. Gua is the first reported vowel harmony case that shows the same kind of phonological phrasing sensitivity as other prosodic phenomena, such as tone and duration.
Issue 9 of San Diego Linguistics Papers, our open-access online working papers series, has just been published and available here. It was edited by Yuan Chai, Neşe Demir, Duk-Ho Jung, and Nina Hagen Kaldhol, and includes two papers:
- Yuan Chai, “Predicting discrimination accuracy by assimilation pattern, overlap score, and acoustic properties”
- Eric Meinhardt, Anna Mai, Eric Baković, Adam G. McCollum, “On the proper treatment of weak determinism: Subsequentiality and simultaneous application in phonological maps”
Faculty members Gabriela Caballero and Michelle Yuan and co-author Claudia Juárez Chávez presented a virtual talk at the 39th meeting of the West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics (WCCFL 39), hosted by the University of Arizona. Their talk, part of the Formal Linguistics for Language Reclamation special session, was entitled, “The representation of tone in San Juan Piñas Mixtec: Phonological and orthographic implications.”
Faculty member Michelle Yuan just gave two virtual colloquium talks on her ongoing research on the morphosyntactic properties of noun incorporation in Inuktitut:
- “Movement in Inuktitut incorporation” (UC Berkeley; Monday, March 15, 2021)
- “Noun incorporation and movement chains in Inuktitut” (Harvard Linguistics Circle; Friday, March 26, 2021)
Several departmental members are presenting talks at the online Annual Conference on African Linguistics 51-52 on April 8-10 at the University of Florida. Graduate students Neşe Demir, Yaqian Huang and José Armando Fernández Guerrero are presenting research on Rere (Koalib) stemming from the 2019 field methods classes with Taitas Kanda. Graduate student Anthony Struthers-Young is presenting on Northern Toussian based on his fieldwork in Burkina Faso, and graduate student Nina Hagen Kaldhol and faculty member Sharon Rose are presenting new work on Tira with Himidan Hassen.
Wittenberg, E., Momma, S., & Kaiser, E. (2021). Demonstratives as bundlers of conceptual structure. Glossa: A Journal of General Linguistics, 6(1), 33. 1-30. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5334/gjgl.917
Pronoun resolution has long been central to psycholinguistics, but research has mostly focused on personal pronouns (“he”/“she”). However, much of linguistic reference is to events and objects, in English often using demonstrative pronouns, like “that”, and the non-personal pronoun “it”, respectively. Very little is known about potential form-specific preferences of non-personal and demonstrative pronouns and the cognitive mechanisms involved in reference using demonstratives. We present a novel analysis arguing that the bare demonstrative “that” serves a different function by bundling, and making linguistically accessible, complex conceptual structures, while the non-personal pronoun “it” has a form-specific preference to refer to noun phrases mentioned in the previous discourse. In two English self-paced reading studies, each replicated once with slight variations, we show that readers are reading the demonstrative slower throughout, independently of frequency or complexity of the referent, as a reflection of differences in processing demonstratives vs. pronouns. These findings contribute to two distinct but connected research areas: First, they are compatible with an emergent experimental literature showing that pronominal reference to events is preferably done with demonstratives. Second, our model of demonstratives as conceptual bundlers provides a unified framework for future research on demonstratives as operators on the interface between language and broader cognition.
Ashwini Vaidya & Eva Wittenberg (2020). Productivity and argument sharing in Hindi light verb constructions. Journal of South Asian Linguistics 11, 52-82. PDF
Faculty member Ivano Caponigro gave a virtual colloquium talk in the Linguistics Department at the University of Kansas on Thursday February 25, 2021. His presentation was on ‘Mesoamerican insights on headless relative clauses and the syntax/semantics interface’ with data and generalization from his new book Headless Relative Clauses in Mesoamerican Languages, which he co-edited with Harold Torrence and Roberto Zavala Maldonado. The book results from a 4-year collaborative project studying 15 languages from 5 language families and involving 21 scholars from Mexico, USA, Canada, and France. On Friday February 26, Ivano had individual meetings with graduate students and faculty members.
Several of our graduate students, faculty members, and alumni are presenting at the 34th Annual CUNY Conference on Human Sentence Processing, hosted by the University of Pennsylvania, which will take place virtually this week from March 4th to March 6th, 2021. In alphabetical order by first-mentioned author’s last name:
- Qi Cheng and Rachel Mayberry (with Sheila Price) are presenting a short talk on “When animacy overshadows word order in sentence comprehension: The case of late first-language acquisition” https://www.cuny2021.io/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/CUNY_2021_abstract_335.pdf
- Andrew Kehler (with Clare Patterson, Petra B. Schumacher, Bruno Nicenboim and Johannes Hagen) is presenting a short talk on “German pronoun interpretation follows Bayesian principles” https://www.cuny2021.io/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/CUNY_2021_abstract_116.pdf
- Boyoung Kim and Grant Goodall are presenting a short talk on “The COMP-trace effect and sentence planning: Evidence from L2” https://www.cuny2021.io/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/CUNY_2021_abstract_236.pdf
- Alex Rodríguez and Grant Goodall are presenting a short talk on “Do islands affect only filler-gap dependencies? Evidence from Spanish” https://www.cuny2021.io/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/CUNY_2021_abstract_237.pdf
- Maho Takahashi and Grant Goodall are presenting a short talk on “Gap-filler dependencies are sensitive to islands: The case of Japanese relative clauses” https://www.cuny2021.io/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/CUNY_2021_abstract_123.pdf
- Eva Wittenberg (with Hossein Karimi and Michelle Diaz) is presenting a short talk on “Longer encoding times facilitate subsequent retrieval during sentence processing” https://www.cuny2021.io/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/CUNY_2021_abstract_65.pdf