Michael Obiri-Yeboah and Sharon Rose have new paper in NLLT

Graduate student Michael Obiri-Yeboah and faculty member Sharon Rose have a new paper out in Natural Language and Linguistic Theory:

Obiri-Yeboah, Michael & Sharon Rose. 2021. Vowel harmony and phonological phrasing in Gua

Abstract
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.

SDLP Issue 9 has been published

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”

Gabriela Caballero and Michelle Yuan at WCCFL 39

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.”

Graduate students and faculty at the Annual Conference on African Linguistics

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.

Eva Wittenberg has a new paper in Glossa

Faculty member Eva Wittenberg, together with former postdoc Shota Momma (UMass Amherst) and colleague Elsi Kaiser (USC), has a new paper out in Glossa:

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

Abstract
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.

Ivano Caponigro’s virtual colloquium talk and meetings at University of Kansas

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.

SDLP Issue 8 has been published

Issue 8 of San Diego Linguistics Papers, our online working papers series, has just been published and is freely available. It was edited by Yuan Chai, Neşe Demir, Duk-Ho Jung, and Nina Hagen Kaldho, and includes five papers by our graduate students, encompassing theoretical and empirical work on phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax,semantics, pragmatics, and fieldwork:

  • Yuan Chai, “The source of creak in Mandarin”
  • Yaqian Huang, “A mixed height and ATR system of vowels in Rere”
  • Seoyeon Jang, “A compositional semantic analysis of echo questions in Korean”
  • Nina Hagen Kaldhol, “Grammatical gender agreement with nominal compounds in Somali”
  • Maxine Van Doren, “Intrinsic fundamental frequency of Amharic vowels”