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.
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
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.
Faculty member Eva Wittenberg, together with her colleague Ashwini Vaidya (IIT Delhi), has published a new open access article on processing Hindi light verb constructions:
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.
Faculty Rachel Mayberry recently gave two invited talks in discussing recent findings regarding the critical period for language:
“Post-childhood first-language development: What it looks like and what it means,” a keynote presented at the First National Conference about teaching Portuguese as a second language for the Deaf: the curriculum of basic education and higher education on November 10, 2020.
“The acquisition of sentence structure under conditions of extreme language delay,” an invited talk given to the Linguistics Department at the University of Pennsylvania on November 13, 2020.