Michelle Yuan has a new article in Language

Faculty member Michelle Yuan has a new paper in Language:

Yuan, Michelle. 2022. Ergativity and object movement across Inuit. Language 98(3): 510-551. doi: https://doi.org/10.1353/lan.0.0270


Although the Inuit language is generally characterized as ergative, it has been observed that the ergative case patterning is relatively weaker in certain Eastern Canadian varieties, resulting in a more accusative appearance (e.g. Johns 2001, 2006, Carrier 2017). This article presents a systematic comparison of ergativity in three Inuit varieties, as a lens into the properties of case alignment and clause structure in Inuit more broadly. Building on the previous insight that ergativity in Inuit is tied to object movement to a structurally high position (Bittner 1994, Bittner & Hale 1996a,b, Woolford 2017), I demonstrate that the relative robustness of the ergative patterning across Inuit is tightly correlated with the permissibility of object movement—and not determined by the morphosyntactic properties of ERG subjects, which are uniform across Inuit. I additionally relate this correlation to another point of variation across Inuit concerning the status of object agreement as affixes vs. pronominal clitics (Yuan 2021). These connections offer testable predictions for the status of ergativity across the entire Inuit dialect continuum and yield crosslinguistic implications for the typology of case alignment, especially in how it interacts with the syntactic position of nominals.


Yuan Chai and Marc Garellek have a new publication in JASA

Yuan Chai (Ph.D. 2022) and Marc Garellek have a new publication in Journal of the Acoustical Society of America entitled “On H1–H2 as an acoustic measure of linguistic phonation type”: https://doi.org/10.1121/10.0014175.

This paper, which is part of a special issue in JASA called “Reconsidering Classic Ideas in Speech Communication,” revisits the use of the acoustic measure H1–H2 for characterizing phonation types, and proposes a new measure that is argued to be better for measuring creaky voice in particular.

Duk-Ho Jung and Grant Goodall have a new article in Journal of Linguistics

Graduate student Duk-Ho Jung and faculty member Grant Goodall have a new publication in Journal of Linguistics entitled “Filler–gap dependencies and the remnant–correlate dependency in backward sprouting: Sensitivity to distance and islands.” It is available open-access at https://www.doi.org/10.1017/S0022226722000366

The article examines “backward sprouting” (Although it is unclear what, Mary was drinking on the bus). Superficially, this structure looks very similar to filler-gap dependencies (It is unclear what Mary was drinking __ on the bus), but the article shows experimentally that there are actually some intriguing differences, with important implications for how sprouting structures are formed. The experiments in this article are part of Duk-Ho’s work for his forthcoming Ph.D. dissertation.

Marc Garellek has a new publication in Journal of Phonetics

Faculty member Marc Garellek has a new publication in Journal of Phonetics, entitled “Theoretical achievements of phonetics in the 21st century: Phonetics of voice quality”: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wocn.2022.101155.

The paper reviews the developments in the phonetic study of voice quality over the last twenty years, and includes discussion of some of the research done by Marc Garellek and graduate students in the department.

Ebru Evcen has a new publication in Proceedings of CogSci2022

Graduate student Ebru Evcen and the former faculty member Eva Wittenberg published the paper “Making Question under Discussion explicit shifts counterfactual interpretation” in Proceedings of the 44th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society. Using eye-tracking data, the paper shows that comprehenders have tough time to think about the real world hearing a counterfactual utterance (e.g., If there had been zebras, then there would have been lions in the zoo) in general, but the absence of causal connection and well-defined QuD makes it even harder!

Ebru is presenting the paper in a short talk format (virtually) at the Annual Meeting of Cognitive Science Society (CogSci2022), which is held in Toronto, Canada on July 27-30, 2022.

Evcen, E., & Wittenberg, E. (2022). Making the Question Under Discussion explicit shifts counterfactual interpretation. Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society, 44. Retrieved from https://escholarship.org/uc/item/43z0w42j

San Diego Linguistics Papers Issue 11: Allison Park on the linguistics of keysmashes

Have you ever been so flustered, amused, frustrated, or surprised that you… just… lkajhslkasdf?

Well, Allison Park sure has, and they’ve turned their experience with the online practice of keysmashing into a topic of serious linguistic study. In their recent paper ‘On the linguistic behavior of keysmashes’, Allison argues that keysmashes are fundamentally linguistic, behaving according to many of the normal criteria used for establishing that expression is ‘language’, like semanticity, standards of form, and arbitrariness. Then, Park goes on to evaluate the kinds of criteria which go into people’s judgements about whether a keysmash is ‘well formed’ and ‘acceptable’, finding that not only do keysmashes have to be the right length and have the right amount of repetition, but that the location on the keyboard of the characters used is crucial, along with other important characteristics.

For more information about this work, their findings, and the social, linguistic, and communicative goals of keysmashing, have a look at San Diego Linguistics Papers Issue 11 on eScholarship.

San Diego Linguistic Papers is the working papers archive of the Department of Linguistics at UC San Diego.

Tory Sampson and Rachel Mayberry have a new publication in Language

Graduate student Tory Sampson and faculty member Rachel Mayberry have a new publication in Language, titled “An Emerging SELF: The Copula Cycle in American Sign Language.” The abstract is as follows:

We question the commonly accepted assumption that American Sign Language (ASL) has no overt copula. We present evidence that one of the functions of the sign self in present-day ASL is as a copula. This sign evolved into its current function by way of a grammaticalization process called the ‘copula cycle’ (Katz 1996). The copula cycle consists of a deictic item transforming into a demonstrative pronoun and then into a copula by means of a series of syntactic reanalyses. We present corpus evidence from Old French Sign Language (LSF) in the 1850s, Old ASL in the 1910s, and present-day ASL dating to the 2000s and the late 2010s, and with these data analyze ASL examples of syntactic structures outlined by Li and Thompson (1977) that led to the increased use of self as a copula. We also find that self, which is not generally regarded as a pointing sign, follows the grammaticalization scheme for pointing signs outlined by Pfau and Steinbach (2006), indicating that the scheme may be used for signs that are derived from demonstratives. Ultimately, we conclude that ASL undergoes the same grammaticalization processes as spoken languages.