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THE AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL UNIVERSITY

the Chameleon
edition #8
March, 2006


In this edition:

News

Profile

Editorial

Grammatical change and the CRLC: diversity and dialogue

Events

Education

Publications & Research Projects

Management
Committee

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New Members and Affiliates

A warm welcome to our new CRLC members for 2006!

New full members:

  • Koichi Honda (PhD student, ANU)

New associate members:

  • Dr. Nicholas Enfield (Language and Cognition Group, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics)
  • Professor Graham Thurgood (English Department, Calfornia State University, Chico)

News of members

Professor Peter Bellwood has received two major book prizes for his book First Farmers: The Origins of Agricultural Societies. The first is from the Society for American Archaeology – the SAA Book Award, 2006 – and the second from the Association of American Publishers.

Koichi Honda has been awarded the Master of Linguistics degree from ANU and has enrolled in a PhD program in the School of Language Studies, with a project on Vietnamese tone.

Ann Kumar has been promoted to Professor and has been appointed as Dean of the Faculty of Asian Studies at ANU for the first half of 2006

Andrew Pawley and Malcolm Ross have received a grant from the Australian Research Council to continue work on their project, The Lexicon of Proto Oceanic. Proto Oceanic was the common ancestor of the Austronesian languages of Melanesia, Polynesia and Micronesia – and almost certainly the language of the bearers of the Lapita culture, who colonised Remote Oceania some 3000 years ago. The goal of the project is to reconstruct the lexicon of Proto Oceanic and the terminologies used by Proto Oceanic speakers, thus making a contribution to the culture history of the region which complements the findings of archaeologists.

Gunter Senft (MPI for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen), in cooperation with Marie Salaün (University of Paris 5 Sorbonne) organized a session on "Endangered Languages – Endangered Cultures" at the 6th International Conference of the European Society for Oceanists in Marseille, 6-8 July 2005. Presenters were D. Blundell (Taiwan National U.), G. Cablitz (MPI Nijmegen), W. Crombie (U. of Waikato), H.-C. Dosedla (Deutsches Kunst Forum Stuttgart), M. Ewing (U. of Melbourne), M. Florey (Monash U.), I. Hoem (KonTiki Museum Oslo), D. Johnson (U. of Waikato), A. B. Ngaha (U. of Auckland), S. Nock (U. of Waikato), M. Salaün (U. Paris 5 Sorbonne), G. Senft (MPI Nijmegen), J. Troy (New South Wales Aboriginal Languages Research and Resource Centre) M. Walsh (U. of Sydney), and D. Tryon (ANU). It is planned to publish the papers presented.

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Publications


Allen, Cynthia. 2005. Changes in case marking in NP: From Old English to Middle English. In Amberber, M. & H. d. Hoop (eds.) Competition and variation in natural languages: The case for case. Amsterdam: Elsevier. 223-249.

Allen, Cynthia. 2005. Loss of the post-head genitive in English. In Fisiak, J. & H.-K. Kang (eds.), Essays on medieval English language and literature in honor of Young-Bae Park: A festschrift. Seoul: Taehaksa Publishing Co. 203-222.

Allen, Cynthia. 2005. English: Old English. In Brown, K. (ed.) Encyclopedia of language and linguistics, 2nd ed. Oxford: Elsevier. 181-184.

Arbib, M.A., 2005, Interweaving Protosign and Protospeech: Further Developments Beyond the Mirror, Interaction Studies: Social Behaviour and Communication in Biological and Artificial Systems 6:145–171.

ABSTRACT: We distinguish “language readiness” (biological) from “having language” (cultural) and outline a hypothesis for the evolution of the language-ready brain and language involving seven stages: S1: grasping; S2: a mirror system for grasping; S3: a simple imitation system for grasping, shared with the common ancestor of human and chimpanzee; S4: a complex imitation system for grasping; S5: protosign, breaking through the fixed repertoire of primate vocalizations to yield an open repertoire for communication; S6: protospeech, the open-ended production and perception of sequences of vocal gestures, without these sequences constituting a full language; and S7: a process of cultural evolution in Homo sapiens yielding full human languages. The present paper examines the subhypothesis that protosign (S5) formed a scaffolding for protospeech (S6), but that the two interacted with each other in supporting the evolution of brain and body that made Homo sapiens “language-ready”.


Arbib, M.A., 2005, The Mirror System Hypothesis: How did protolanguage evolve?, in Language origins: perspectives on evolution (Maggie Tallerman, Ed.), Oxford: Oxford University Press. 21-47.

ABSTRACT: We define a protolanguage as a system of utterances which serves as a precursor to human language, but which is not itself a human language in the modern sense. We develop the mirror system hypothesis, suggesting that the evolution of the brain mechanisms which support protolanguage involved at least three pre-hominid stages –S1: Grasping; S2: A mirror system for grasping shared with the common ancestor of human and monkey; and S3: A simple imitation system for grasping shared with common ancestor of human and chimpanzee – and three stages which distinguish the hominid line from that of the great apes – S4: A complex imitation system for grasping; S5: Protosign, a manual-based communication system, breaking through the fixed repertoire of primate vocalizations to yield an open repertoire; and S6: Proto-speech, resulting from the ability of control mechanisms evolved for protosign coming to control the vocal apparatus with increasing flexibility.


Arbib, M.A., 2005, From Monkey-like Action Recognition to Human Language: An Evolutionary Framework for Neurolinguistics (with commentaries and author’s response), Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 28:105-167. (Supplemental commentaries and the author’s “electronic response” are at Behavioral and Brain Sciences, online.)

ABSTRACT: The article analyzes the neural and functional grounding of language skills as well as their emergence in hominid evolution, hypothesizing stages leading from abilities known to exist in monkeys and apes and presumed to exist in our hominid ancestors right through to modern spoken and signed languages. The starting point is the observation that both premotor area F5 in monkeys and Broca’s area in humans contain a “mirror system” active for both execution and observation of manual actions, and that F5 and Broca’s area are homologous brain regions. This grounded the mirror system hypothesis of Rizzolatti and Arbib (1998) which offers the mirror system for grasping as a key neural “missing link” between the abilities of our nonhuman ancestors of 20 million years ago and modern human language, with manual gestures rather than a system for vocal communication providing the initial seed for this evolutionary process.The present article, however, goes “beyond the mirror” to offer hypotheses on evolutionary changes within and outside the mirror systems which may have occurred to equip Homo sapiens with a language-ready brain. Crucial to the early stages of this progression is the mirror system for grasping and its extension to permit imitation. Imitation is seen as evolving via a so-called simple system such as that found in chimpanzees (which allows imitation of complex “object-oriented” sequences but only as the result of extensive practice) to a so-called complex system found in humans (which allows rapid imitation even of complex sequences, under appropriate conditions) which supports pantomime. This is hypothesized to have provided the substrate for the development of protosign, a combinatorially open repertoire of manual gestures, which then provides the scaffolding for the emergence of protospeech (which thus owes little to nonhuman vocalizations), with protosign and protospeech then developing in an expanding spiral. It is argued that these stages involve biological evolution of both brain and body. By contrast, it is argued that the progression from protosign and protospeech to languages with full-blown syntax and compositional semantics was a historical phenomenon in the development of Homo sapiens, involving few if any further biological changes.


Roy, A.C., and Arbib, M.A., 2005, The Syntactic Motor System. Gesture 5:7-37.

ABSTRACT: The human brain has mechanisms that can support production and perception of language. We ground the evolution of these mechanisms in primate systems that support manual dexterity, especially the mirror system that integrates execution and observation of hand movements. We relate the motor theory of speech perception to the mirror system hypothesis for language and evolution; explore links between manual actions and speech; contrast “language” in apes with language in humans; show in what sense the “syntax” implemented in Broca’s area is a “motor syntax” far more general than the syntax of linguistics; and relate communicative goals to sentential form.


John Bowden and Nikolaus Himmelmann (eds). 2005. Papers in Austronesian subgrouping and dialectolgy. (Pacific Linguistics 563) Canberra: Australian National University.

ABSTRACT: This book is a collection of papers taking different approaches to the problems of classifying languages and varieties of languages within the Austronesian language family. A number of different approaches to historical genetic classification are taken in the papers by Mark Donohue on southeast Sulawesi, Malcolm Ross on Malayic languages, and Jae Jung Song on the Micronesian languages. The papers by Victoria Rau and René van den Berg deal with dialectology of Atayal from Taiwan and Muna from southeast Sulawesi respectively. Terry Crowley's paper presents an emic approach to language classification by looking at different indigenous ways of classifying Oceanic languages and language varieties. [see here]


Grant, Anthony and Paul Sidwell (eds). 2005. Chamic and beyond: studies in mainland Austronesian languages. (Pacific Linguistics 569) Canberra: Australian National University.

ABSTRACT A collection of papers dealing with issues in the ‘Mainland Austronesian Languages', Chamic, Acehnese and Moken/Moklen—not a single genetic sub-grouping but a number of related languages that have undergone parallel typological restructuring away from their Austronesian heritage, converging on a type that places them on the southern periphery of the broader Mainland Southeast Asian Linguistic Area . In prehistoric times speakers of these languages migrated to the Asian mainland from insular Southeast Asia . Over many years of independent development plus prolonged contact with mainland languages, they have shifted typological.lly, particularly towards reduced word structure, increased phoneme inventory, and more isolating syntax. The emphasis of the papers is on historical change, particularly in respect of lexical borrowings and the evolution of phonological systems. [see here]

Senft, Gunter. 2006. Review of “Darrel T. Tryon and Jean-Michel Charpentier. Pacific Pidgins and Creoles: Origins, Growth and Development". Linguistics 44: 195-200.

Broeder, Daan, Brugman, Hennie, and Senft, Gunter. 2005. "Documentation of Languages and Archiving Language Data at the Max-Planck-Institute for Psycholinguistics in Nijmegen". Linguistische Berichte 201: 89-103.

Zuckermann, Ghil`ad. 2005. '"Abba, why was Professor Higgins trying to teach Eliza to speak like our cleaning lady?": Mizrahim, Ashkenazim, Prescriptivism and the Real Sounds of the Israeli Language'. Australian Journal of Jewish Studies 19.

Zuckermann, Ghil`ad. 2005. 'Dare Forma all'Identità attraverso la Lingua: "Abbinamento Fono-Semantico" Xenofobo in Ebraico Antico e Moderno, Yiddish e Arabo' in Alessandro Mengozzi (ed.), Studi Afroasiatici (Afro-Asiatic Studies). Milano: FrancoAngeli, 269-84.

Zuckermann, Ghil`ad. 2005. 'Israeli (Modern Hebrew)' in Keith Brown (ed.), Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics, 2nd Edition (14 vols). Oxford: Elsevier.

Zuckermann, Ghil`ad. 2005. 'Phono-Semantiche Abgleichung' in Stefan Langer and Daniel Schnorbusch (eds), Semantik im Lexikon. Tübingen: Gunter Narr, 223-67.

Zuckermann, Ghil`ad. 2005. 'israelít safá yafá' (Israeli is a Beautiful Language). Ho!, Literary Magazine 2: 172-82.

Zuckermann, Ghil`ad. 2005. 'The Israeli Language'. The Mendele Review: Yiddish Literature and Language 09.013.

Zuckermann, Ghil`ad. 2005. 'Call Modern Hebrew By Its Name: "Israeli"'. The Forward CVIII.31,535: 6.

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Profile

Susan Love

As this Newsletter comes out, I should be mere weeks, perhaps just days from submitting my PhD. I have spent the last four years in the Department of Linguistics, RSPAS studying Tahitian French, including two field trips to Tahiti. My supervisors, Darrell Tyron, John Bowden and Harold Koch, are busy helping me through the final drafts. The title will be (something like) Tahitian French: The vernacular French of the Society Islands, French Polynesia. A study in language contact and variation.

Tahitian French is a previously little-studied contact language spoken on Tahiti and throughout French Polynesia. It is a variety of French exhibiting transfer features from Tahitian and serves as a vernacular for the population in addition to the major local Polynesian language, Tahitian. My thesis presents the language as a continuum of varieties, from an acrolect close to standard colloquial French to a basilect more heavily influenced by Tahitian. Based on my fieldwork experience, including recordings of conversational speech, I describe the principal features of Tahitian French and show how different speakers access different ranges of this continuum, with many speakers able to shift along it as determined by social context and register. Tahitian French displays many interesting features of language contact which I argue are not simply the result of codeswitching or relexification of Tahitian structures with French vocabulary. For example, speakers have formed stable Tahitian French structures by taking marked, often emphatic colloquial French structures which superficially resemble Tahitian syntactic patterns and adapting them to reflect the Tahitian meanings.

An article drawn from the thesis, “Possessive constructions in a language contact situation: Tahitian French” is to appear shortly in Monash University Linguistics Papers, based on a paper given at the Symposium Language Contact, Hybrids and New Varieties: Emergent Possessive Constructions held at Monash University in September 2004.

Prior to moving to Canberra four years ago, I spent a year studying at the Université de Provence where I obtained a DEA (Master's equivalent) with a thesis on Le tây bôi: Un pidgin français du Vietnam (2001), supervised by Robert Chaudenson. At the University of Adelaide, I had also completed my MA with Peter Mühlhäusler on French and Tây Bôi in Vietnam: A study of language policy, practice and perceptions (2000). These two theses studied Tây Bôi, a colonial-era French-based pidgin spoken in Vietnam, and its socio-historical context.

I hope to continue working with my interests in French in the Asia-Pacific region.

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Editorial

Grammatical change and the CRLC: diversity and dialogue

Rachel Hendery

The study of grammatical change is not new. Many of the popular modern ideas and approaches to such phenomena as grammaticalization, reanalysis and the relationship between language acquisition, language contact and grammatical change have their roots in work from the nineteenth century and earlier, in some aspects even as far back as Aristotles, the Sanskrit grammarians and the Arabic linguistic tradition (as discussed by Harris & Campbell 1995: 16-17).

Then, as now, the research programme has been multifaceted, but of enduring interest have been the mechanisms and motivations of change. Studies of diachronic universals have sought to identify possible limits on types and directions of change. Causes of change have often been explored from the perspective of language acquisition; both that of native (child) learners and in the specific processes of language acquisition that take place in contact situations (see e.g. Ziegeler 2000). Most recently, two areas of focus in particular have been especially well-represented in the literature: the ability of syntactic theories to describe and account for grammatical change, and the concept of "grammaticalization". Some of the recent literature on grammatical change has referred to the "polarization" of the field with regard to these two areas of research, and have noted an apparent unwillingness in many theorists to engage in dialogue with those on the "other side". Nigel Vincent, for example, states in the introduction to his paper "LFG as a model of syntactic change" that: "Research in historical syntax has increased exponentially over the last quarter of a century or so. Unfortunately, at the same time it has bifurcated into two different camps between which there is relatively little communication and exchange of ideas" (Vincent 2001: 1). He goes on to claim that the areas on which grammaticalization theorists and generativists disagree are no longer debated and "both groups by and large go their own separate ways" (p 2).

While this is undoubtedly true of some individual theorists, others have shown that elements from "grammaticalization theory" and other, traditional approaches to grammatical change can complement generative-style syntactic theories rather than conflict with them. Vincent's own work, in fact, is an example of this, as he uses a combination of Optimality Theory and LFG to formalise some of the observations made by grammaticalization theory (see e.g. Vincent 1999, 2000). Ian Roberts has attempted something similar within the framework of Minimalism (e.g. Roberts & Roussou 1999, 2001).

Such approaches that rely neither solely on the legacy of traditional historical linguistics nor purely on recent syntactic theories also make it easier to account for the seemingly paradoxical nature of change that is both gradual (when viewed through the lens of corpora) and disjointed (when analysed as a resetting of parameters or sudden reanalysis). This can be seen, for example, in Allen (1995), who also explicitly discusses this apparent conflict between gradualness and discontinuity (pp 436-439).

In fact, much of the work that has benefited the field of historical syntax in recent times has been a matter of synthesising the new with the traditional. Historically much of the work on description of grammatical change and reconstruction of unattested changes has been focused on Indo-European. More recently this focus has broadened and there has been significant work done on grammatical reconstruction in non-Indo-European languages and families (for example work on Austronesian by—among others—Bethwyn Evans 2003; Ritsuko Kikusawa 2002, 2003; Andrew Pawley 1973; Malcolm Ross 1998, 2002, 2004), while both descriptive approaches and reconstruction have also begun to turn to dialect studies, creoles, pidgins and mixed languages, and work on language endangerment and loss (e.g. Amuzu 2005; McConvell & Meakins 2005, to give a couple of examples of such work by members of our centre).

Growth in a field of study and the development of new approaches to age-old questions is a direct consequence of dialogue and interaction among the different branches of research. With members from so many different backgrounds and within different traditions working on grammatical change—at least 25 of the 67 members listed on our membership page count grammatical change among their research interests—the CRLC has a potentially valuable role in facilitating such dialogue. For this reason, we consider grammatical change to be an appropriate theme for this year’s CRLC workshop. See the separate announcement for this workshop below. We look forward to seeing you there!

References:

Allen, Cynthia. 1995. Case-Marking and Reanalysis: Grammatical Relations from Old to Early Modern English. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Amuzu, Evershed Kwasi. 2005. Revisiting the classic codeswitching -- composite codeswitching distinction: a case study of nonverbal predication in Ewe-English codeswitching. Australian Journal of Linguistics 25 (1), 127-151.

Evans, Bethwyn. 2003. A Study of Valency-Changing Devices in Proto-Oceanic. Studies in Language Change. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics.

Harris, Alice C & Lyle Campbell. 1995. Historical Syntax in Cross-Linguistic Perspective. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Kikusawa, Ritsuko. 2002. Proto Central Pacific Ergativity: Its Reconstruction and Development in the Fijian, Rotuman and Polynesian Languages. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics.

Kikusawa, Ritsuko. 2003. A new view of the Proto-Oceanic pronominal system. Oceanic Linguistics, 42 (1), 161-186.

McConvell, Patrick & Felicity Meakins. 2005. Gurindji Kriol: a mixed language emerges from code-switching. Australian Journal of Linguistics 25 (1), 9-30.

Pawley, Andrew. 1973. Some problems in Proto-Oceanic grammar. Oceanic Linguistics 12, 103-188.

Roberts, Ian & Anna Roussou. 1999. A formal approach to 'grammaticalization'. Linguistics 37, 1011-1041.

Roberts, Ian & Anna Roussou. 2003. Syntactic Change: A Minimalist Approach to Grammaticalization. Cambridge Studies in Linguistics 100. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Ross, Malcolm. 1998. Proto-Oceanic adjectival categories and their morphosyntax. Oceanic Linguistics 37, 85-119.

Ross, Malcolm. 2002. The history and transitivity of western Austronesian voice and voice-marking. In Fay Wouk & Malcolm Ross (eds.), The History and Typology of Western Austronesian Voice Systems. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics, pp 17-62.

Ross, Malcolm. 2004. The grammaticization of directional verbs in Oceanic languages. In Isabelle Bril & Françoise Ozanne-Rivierre (eds.), Complex Predicates in Oceanic Languages: Studies in the Dynamics of Binding and Boundness. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, pp 297-330.

Vincent, Nigel. 1999. The evolution of c-structure: prepositions and PPs from Indo-European to Romance. Linguistics 37 (1), 111-153.

Vincent, Nigel. 2000. Competition and correspondence in syntactic change: null arguments in Latin and Romance. In Susan Pintzuk, Georges Tsoulas & Anthony Warner (eds.), Diachronic Syntax: Models and Mechanisms. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp 25-50.

Vincent, Nigel. 2001. LFG as a model of syntactic change. In Miriam Butt & Tracy Holloway King (eds.), Time Over Matter: Diachronic Perspectives on Morphosyntax. CA: CSLI Publications, pp 1-42.

Ziegeler, Debra. 2000. Hypothetical Modality: Grammaticalisation in an L2 dialect. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

 

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Events

Forthcoming workshop

CRLC Workshop (see Editorial and our website)

A CRLC-sponsored workshop on the theme Grammatical change: theory and description will be held on Sunday 9th July, 2006 at the Australian Linguistic Society conference at the University of Queensland in Brisbane. The deadline for submissions has now passed, and the programme will be made available on the website in April. We would appreciate it if you could inform students and colleagues of this workshop. It would be great to see you all there!

Forthcoming conferences

Past conferences

Tenth International Conference on Austronesian Historical Linguistics: In the third week in January 2006, CRLC members Wayan Arka, John Bowden, Ritsuko Kikusawa, Andrew Pawley, Malcolm Ross, Graham Thurgood and Darrell Tryon took part, along with 200 other scholars and students, in the Tenth International Conference on Austronesian Historical Linguistics in Puerto Princesa on the island of Palawan in the Philippines. The conference was a great success, and included sessions on the history of the Austronesian language family. Laurent Sagart presented his new view of the early history of Austronesian, based on developments in numerals and including the claim that the Kra-Dai (Tai-Kadai) language family is a subgroup of Austronesian (for a published presentation, see Oceanic Linguistics 43 (2004): 411-444). Other speakers on historical matters included Robert Blust, Isidore Dyen, Ritsuko Kikusawa, Malcolm Ross and John Wolff.

7th International Conference on Historical Linguistics, Madison, Wisconsin (ICHL). 31.07 - 5.08.2005.
Statistics compiled by Malcolm Ross, in comparison with those from ICHL 1999, Vancouver, compiled by Harold Koch.



2005


1999



No. of papers

Percent

No. of papers

Percent

No family

19


14







English

27

18.00

23

18.55

Other Germanic

36

24.00

28

22.58

Romance

22

14.67

28

22.58

Slavonic

10

6.67

2.5

2.02

Balkans/Albanian

2

1.33

0

0.00

Greek

0

0.00

2

1.61

Baltic

1

0.67

0

0.00

Celtic

1

0.67

2.5

2.02

Indo-Iranian

0

0.00

2

1.61

Ancient IE

10

6.67

3

1.61






Basque

0

0.00

1

0.81

Finnic

2

1.33

0

0.00

Georgian

0

0.00

1

0.81

Dravidian

1

0.67

0

0.00

Japanese/Korean*

11

7.33

13

10.48

Austroasiatic

0

0.00

1

0.81

Austronesian

3

2.00

2

1.61

Papuan

0

0.00

1

0.81

American

12

8.00

10

8.06

African

1

0.67

1

0.81

Australian

5

3.33

2

1.61

Sinitic

1

0.67

0

0.00

Tibeto-Burman

2

1.33

1

0.81

Semitic

3

2.00

1

0.81






Total IE

109

72.67

91

73.39

Total non-IE

41

27.33

33

26.61






Total IE + non-IE

150

100.00

124

100.00






Total overall

169


138


*Figures for 1999 apparently exclude workshops on: Grammatical relations and grammatical change, Historical Pragmatics, Patterns of actualization in language change, but do include 8 papers from a workshop on Korean-Japanese historical linguistics. Figures for 2005 include all workshops.

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CRLC Seminar Series, 2nd Semester 2005
[information supplied by Rachel Hendery]

19 July 2005

Claire Bowern (Rice University) and Barry Alpher
“Yolngu Matha subgrouping”

Various proposals exist in the literature regarding the internal subgrouping of the Yolngu languages of Eastern Arnhem Land (Northern Australia). The Yolngu languages are Pama-Nyungan; we take this as given [Blake 1988, Alpher 2004] but are not geographically contiguous with the vast majority of Pama-Nyungan languages (there are two other such non-contiguous languages: Yanyuwa and Western Torres Strait Islands). As such, Yolngu languages assume great importance in the reconstruction of Proto-Pama-Nyungan because of their relative insulation from other related languages as sources of loans. We present evidence that the Yolngu languages constitute a genetic subgroup of Pama-Nyungan; furthermore we present hypotheses as to the placement of Yolngu within PN and the internal subgrouping of Yolngu, reviewing earlier work done on a more impressionistic basis.

Features diagnostic of a Yolngu subgroup within Pama-Nyungan include the loss of a stop after a homorganic nasal (e.g. second person dual *nhumpala > nhumala-), the specifics of the phonological contrast of tense and lax stops, the forms of verb inflection, and the generalization of the Ergative alternant *dhu the most productive of ergative allomorphs.

Innovations that distinguish groups of Yolngu languages from one another include the sets and paradigms of demonstratives, (for example, proximate demonstratives nhangu vs dhangu vs dhuwal(a)), the replacement of certain inherited PN nominative pronouns with demonstratives (*dhana 3pl replaced by walala), and the organisation of the verb system (including the generalization of imperative forms as counterfactuals).

26 July

Peter Bakker (University of Aarhus, Visiting Fellow at La Trobe)
“Borrowing of verbs in Michif”

Michif is a language spoken as a first language by several hundreds of Metis in Canada and the USA. The Metis are descendants of French fur traders and their Amerindian wives. The Michif language is best characterized as a language with Cree (Algonquian) verbs and French noun phrases (except the demonstratives). Michif combines the more complicated parts of both languages. Cree, being a polysynthetic language, has highly complicated verbs, which are used without modification in Michif. French gender and definite marking are preserved in the NP.

In my talk I want to focus on a rather marginal phenomenon in the language, which is nevertheless highly interesting, both from the perspective of theories on the genesis of the language, as well as for general linguistics. Occasionally French and English verbs are used with Cree verbal morphology, seemingly contradicting my hypothesis on the genesis of the language in which it is claimed that stems and bound morphemes cannot be separated in Michif/Cree verbs. For general linguistics it is interesting, since there may be up to four switches from one language to another within one word, where all elements retain the phonological traits of the source languages.

11 August
Jay Jasanoff (Harvard University)
“Reduplicated preterites in Germanic”

This paper has two objects. The first is to show how the different early Germanic languages dealt with the process of reduplication, originally a productive device for forming preterite (past) tense stems, after reduplication had become opaque through sound change. The second, more specific object is to solve the classic problem of the origin of the Germanic “class VII” strong preterites — the forms that mostly replaced reduplicated preterites in North and West Germanic. How, in other words, did the type of preterite formation seen in Go. le:tan ‘let’ : pret. lailo:t turn into the preterite type seen in OE læ:tan, pret le:t? A new answer will be offered.

16 August

Russell Gray (Auckland University)
“How old is the European language family? Progress or more moths to the flame?”

The origin of the Indo-European language family is “the most intensively studied, yet still most recalcitrant, problem of historical linguistics”. Numerous genetic studies of Indo-European origins have also produced inconclusive results. In this talk I will outline how computational methods derived from evolutionary biology can be used to test two theories of Indo- European origin: the ‘Kurgan expansion’ and the ‘Anatolian farming’ hypotheses without repeating the well known errors of glottochronology. The Kurgan theory centres on possible archaeological evidence for an expansion into Europe and the Near East by Kurgan horsemen beginning in the sixth millennium BP. In contrast, the Anatolian theory claims that Indo-European languages expanded with the spread of agriculture from Anatolia around 8,000–9,500 years BP. In striking agreement with the Anatolian hypothesis, our analysis produced an estimated age range for the initial Indo-European divergence of between 7,800 and 9,800 years BP. These results were robust to changes in coding procedures, calibration points, rooting of the trees, priors in the Bayesian analysis and model specification. I will conclude by discussing some objections to our work and by outlining possible extensions of the approach to Austronesian languages.

References:
Gray, R.D. and Atkinson, Q. (2003). Language-tree divergence times support the Anatolian theory of Indo-European origins. Nature 426: 435-439
Atkinson, Q. and Gray, R.D. (2005). Curious parallels and curious connections: Phylogenetic thinking in biology and historical linguistics. Systematic Biology 54(4): 513-526.
Atkinson, Q., Nicholls, G. and Gray, R.D. (2005). From words to dates: water into wine, mathemagic or phylogenetic inference? Transactions of the Philological Society 103(2): 193-219.

23 August
Harold Koch (School of Language Studies)
“Divergent regularity in word-initial truncation in the Arandic languages”

The Arandic languages are among the Australian languages that have historically undergone the complete loss of word-initial consonants (others being Nganyaywana in New England and many languages of Cape York Peninsula). There are minor but nevertheless regular differences in the way initial CVs are treated in the two branches of Arandic. These can be accounted for by differential developments in a late stage of an initial consonant weakening process (all initial palatals having been reduced to a glide). According to this interpretation Glide+Vowel sequences *ya, *yu, and *wi in Proto-Arandic resulted in i, u, u respectively in the southern (Aranda) branch but in a, i, i in the northern (Kaytetye) branch. These historical changes will be justified by the citation of relevant etymologies where possible. The implications of these correspondences will also be explored: they involve issues not only of Arandic etymology but also of Pama-Nyungan comparative phonology and the methodology of linguistic reconstruction with respect to the Australian languages.

30 August
Jutta Besold (PhD student, School of Language Studies)
“Language Recovery of NSW South Coast Indigenous Languages - Philology, Analysis and Application to Community Reclamation”

It is regrettable, but undeniable that no more linguistic work can profitably be done with these [NSW South Coast] languages – either with ‘speakers’ or earlier sources. (Eades, 1976:19)

With the increased interest in reclaiming cultural traditions and languages in NSW Aboriginal communities and, needless to say from a linguistic viewpoint, the languages of the New South Wales South Coast have too long been neglected. The most recent grammar was published in the mid 1970s (Eades, 1976) and is in dire need of reworking within a more modern linguistic framework, and using language description from closely related and neighbouring languages as a comparative tool.

The challenges in this research lie in the interpretation of the archival material that comprises the majority of language material, and winning the respect and approval of the appropriate communities, whose collaboration is needed in order to produce a language description within a holistic framework.

I would like to use this seminar presentation as an opportunity to point out some of the challenges that present themselves to researchers of archival material and my proposed methodology of conducting language analysis within this framework. Any suggestions and or critique will be appreciated.

This seminar will not so much provide research findings but rather introduce my proposed research on the NSW South Coast languages (and neighbouring inland languages).

6 September

Malcolm Ross (Linguistics, RSPAS)
“Negative verbal clause constructions in Puyuma”

Puyuma (Austronesian, Taiwan) has separate intransitive and transitive verbal clause constructions. The verb is marked for transitivity. Intransitive S and transitive P are in the nominative, i.e. subject, case, whilst the A noun phrase (if any) is in the oblique case but is crossreferenced on the verb by a genitive proclitic. Schematically:
(1) ItrVerb ItrSubject:nom
(2) gen=TrVerb TrSubject:nom (TrAgent:obl)

(Since S and P are both marked as subject, one might say the language is ergatively aligned, but other features belie this epithet.) A first or second person subject appears as a nominative enclitic attached to the verb. In this circumstance, the two constructions are:
(3) ItrVerb=nom
(4) gen=TrVerb=nom (TrAgent:obl)
In the negative intransitive construction, the negator aDi precedes the verb, which retains its intransitive form. If there is a nominative enclitic, it is attached to aDi:
(5) aDi=nom ItrVerb
Thus the nominative enclitic appears to be a second-position clitic, and from these constructions one might expect to be able to predict the negative transitive construction, but one can't. The negator aDi precedes the verb as expected, but the verb itself has a special form found only in negative transitive clauses and the nominative enclitic remains attached to this verb, as in (4), not to the negator, as in (5), giving the negative transitive construction in (6):
(6) aDi gen=NegTrVerb=nom (TrAgent:obl)

The paper shows that this puzzling constructional disharmony is easily accounted for. The corresponding Proto Austronesian (PAn) constructions are readily reconstructed on the basis of data from other languages, and appear to have been in harmony with each other. The steps leading from the PAn constructions to Puyuma can be reconstructed, and I show that (6) reflects a PAn construction, although it is the seemingly disharmonic member of the set in Puyuma. It has become disharmonic because of changes in (4) which have, so to speak, left (6) stranded.

I conclude by asking why Puyuma has retained this disharmony, rather than bringing (6) into line with the other constructions and creating the ‘expected' but non-occurring construction in (7).
(7) **aDi=nom gen=TrVerb (TrAgent:obl)

20 September

Stefan Engelberg (University of Wuppertal)
“German language contact in Micronesia and Polynesia”

Although many German traders and planters were present in Micronesia and Polynesia from the middle of the 19th century until World War I, and large parts of the South Pacific were under German administration for almost three decades, not much is known about the role the German language has played in Polynesia and Micronesia. In this talk I will present ongoing research on language contact between German and other languages spoken in this area.

The first part of the talk will provide an overview on the topic. I will sketch the contact situation, i.e. how German explorers, traders, settlers, administrators and missionaries interacted with other parts of the population, indigenous and non-indigenous. I will also outline which kinds of consequences of German language contact can be observed (borrowings, language attrition, relexifications, bilingualism, etc.) and which kinds of sources have to be investigated in order to trace the history of German as a contact language in the South Pacific.

The second part of the talk will be devoted to case studies on single languages in Micronesia and Polynesia (Palauan, Kusaiean, Nauruan, Samoan) and how they reacted to German language contact. The outcome of the contact situation was surprisingly different on these islands and I will try to determine the factors that lead to these differences.

8 November

Jacinta Smallhorn (Honours student, School of Language Studies)
“Comparative reconstruction of Proto-Binandere”

In my thesis I made a start on the reconstruction of Proto-Binandere, a language ancestral to about fifteen languages of southeast Papua New Guinea, using the comparative method. A sound system was posited, over one hundred items of lexicon reconstructed, and some observations on morphology and semantic shifts made. The language Guhu-Samane was confirmed as a family-level isolate coordinate with Proto-Binandere, and a Proto-Nuclear-Binandere was set up as an intermediate stage between Proto-Binandere and the non-northern member languages. Four subgroups were identified among the daughters of Proto-Binandere, with one member seeming to stand alone.

15 November

Patrick McConvell (AIATSIS and Visiting Fellow, School of Language Studies)
“The Archaeolinguistics of Migration: Hunter-Gatherers and Farmers”

Migration is only just re-emerging as a respectable concept in archaeology, especially in Australia. In linguistics, the central model of language divergence over time has been often associated with migration, and this has been less stigmatised than in archaeology, but nowadays is to some extent under the shadow of theoretical frameworks which emphasise equilibrium, convergence and stasis. It is clear however that migration is the most important driving force in spreading languages and cultures in all eras, among hunter-gatherers as well as among farmers and pastoralists. There is often debate in discussions of language spread, between those who emphasise population replacement or displacement and those who emphasise language replacement (language shift on the part of a resident population when contacted by migrants). Both occur, often in complex combinations, and linguistic, archaeological and particularly recently bio-genetic research are assisting us to differentiate cases. A model of language spread (McConvell 2001) is presented, in which ‘upstream’ spread is primarily purely by migration and ‘downstream’ spread at least partially by language shift. The characteristics of these phases are compared with other models of language differentiation and convergence, and examples are presented from indigenous North America and Australia. The issue of marriage patterns and the feedback between this and change in kinship systems and terminologies in these different situations is also raised.

The question of how to muster evidence to decide if the spread of a language or cultural traits was by migration or language shift, or some combination, is crucial to those studying linguistic prehistory. For others interested in the mechanisms of migration more generally what may be of more immediate relevance are the approaches developed by archaeologists and linguists to how linguistic and cultural change occurs and is propagated in and between groups. Here archaeolinguistic prehistory has drawn on contemporary sociolinguistics and anthropology including social network theory. It is suggested that linguistic (and perhaps other cultural) convergence, while not as significant as some ultra-diffusionists suggest, can play a role within some migrant groups at certain phases.

22 November

Peter Trudgill (University of Fribourg)
“Dialect archaeology and predicting the past”

This talk will discuss J.C. Wells' assertion that: “The Australian and New Zealand accents of English are very similar to one another”. South African, although differing in a number of important respects, also has a general similarity to Australian. These facts are not surprising when we consider that all three territories were settled from Britain at about the same time, the English language becoming established in each around the beginning of the nineteenth century. All reflect, therefore, the developments which had taken place in the south of England up to that time: they are non-rhotic and have BATH Broadening.

29 November

Matthew Toulmin (PhD student, School of Language Studies)
“Reconstructing in a dialect continuum: sorting out chronology of changes in Kamota, Rajbanshi and North Bengali”

Dialect continua, marked by non-discrete boundaries between speech communities, pose methodological problems for historical reconstruction. Innovations do not necessarily nest discretely within a lect or a subgroup of lects. Thus, given the right socio-historical conditions, a more widespread innovation may be more recent than a more localised innovation. Consequently, it may be impossible to reconstruct the relative chronology of innovations using only ‘system-internal’ or ‘a-social’ linguistic methodologies, including the comparative method.

In this paper I take the dialect geography of phonological changes (reconstructed using the comparative method) and interpret the linguistic geography using extant and hypothetical socio-historical scenarios. The socio-historical reconstruction supplements the comparative reconstruction by disambiguating the chronology of innovations.

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CRLC Historical Linguistics Reading Group Schedule, 2005

[information supplied by Bevan Barrett]

29 April.

Selections from:
Gordon, Elizabeth, Lyle Campbell, Jennifer B Hay, Margaret Maclagan, Andrea Sudbury & Peter Trudgill.  2004.  New Zealand English: Its Origins and Evolution.  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

13 May.

Further selections from Gordon et. al. 2004.

17 June.

Selections from:
Trudgill, Peter.  2004.  New-Dialect Formation: the inevitability of colonial Englishes.  Edinburgh:  Edinburgh University Press.

12 July

Bakker, Peter & Pieter Muysken 1994. “Mixed languages and intertwining”. In Arends, Jacques, Pieter Muysken & Norval Smith (eds) 1994. Pidgins and Creoles: an introduction. Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins; pp. 41-52

Chapter 8, “The intertwining of French and Cree", of:
Bakker, Peter 1997. A Language of Our Own: The Genesis of Michif, the Mixed Cree-French Language of the Canadian Métis. New York & Oxford: Oxford University Press.

9 August

McConvell, Patrick & Felicity Meakins. 2005. Gurindji Kriol: A Mixed Language Emerges from Code-switching.     Australian Journal of Linguistics 25: 9-30.

Fri 2 September

Chapter 10 of:
Bellwood, Peter. 2005.  First Farmers: The Origins of Agricultural SocietiesMalden: Blackwell.

Fri 23 September

Renfrew, Colin. (2003)  'Convergence Theory, and Innovation in Proto-Indo-European: 'Old Europe' as a PIE Linguistic Area', in Bammesberger, Alfred & Theo Venneman (eds.) Languages in Prehistoric Europe. Heidelberg: Universitätsverlag Winter, pp. 17-48.

14 October

Sankoff, Gillian (2002). Linguistic Outcomes of Language Contact. In J.K. Chambers, Peter Trudgill & Natalie Schilling-Estes (eds.), The Handbook of Language Variation and Change.  Malden & Oxford : Blackwell. pp. 638-668.

 

Thomason, Sarah Grey (2003).  Contact as a Source of Language Change.  In Brian D. Joseph & Richard D. Janda (eds.), The Handbook of Historical Linguistics.  Malden, Oxford & Carlton: Blackwell.  pp. 687-712.

Fri 4 November

Harrison, S.P. (2003). On the Limits of the Comparative Method. In Joseph, Brian D, & Richard D. Janda (eds.) The Handbook of Historical Linguistics.  Malden: Blackwell.  Ch. 2, pp. 213-243.   

Janda, Richard D. & Brian D. Joseph. (2001). Reconsidering the canons of sound-change: Towards a 'Big Band' theory.  In Blake & Burridge (eds.)  Historical Linguistics.  Amsterdam & Philadelphia : John Benjamins.  pp. 206-219.

Fri 9 December

Kroch, Anthony. 2001. Syntactic change. In Mark R. Baltin and Chris Collins (eds.). The handbook of contemporary syntactic theory, pp. 699-729. Malden, Mass.: Blackwell.

Bresnan, Joan, Shipra Dingare & Christopher D. Manning. 2001. Soft Constraints Mirror Hard Constraints: Voice and Person in English and Lummi'.  In Miriam Butt and Tracy Holloway King (eds.). Proceedings of the LFG 01 Conference. CSLI Publications.

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Education

Courses taught 2nd semester 2005 at ANU:

Languages in Contact (LING2018) was taught by Dr. Jennifer Hendriks.
Study of a Language Family (LING3008) was taught by Professors Andrew Pawley and Malcolm Ross, on comparative Papuan linguistics.

Courses taught in 2006 at ANU:
Language Change and Linguistic Reconstruction (LING2005), an annual first-semester course, will be taught this year by Dr. Harold Koch.
Study of a Language Family (LING3008), a 2nd semester course, this year will be on the Chinese language family and will be taught by Dr. Phil Rose.

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Recent theses completed:

Honda, Koichi, Phonological history of Vietnamese—With special focus on the phonological system of Middle Vietnamese, 2004 (supervisor Paul Sidwell)

Smallhorn, Jacinta Mary, Comparative reconstruction of Proto-Binandere BA(Hons) thesis, Linguistics, ANU, October 2005 (supervisor Malcolm Ross)

In this thesis a start was made on the reconstruction of Proto-Binandere, the language ancestral to a family of about fifteen languages of southeast Papua New Guinea, by means of the historical comparative method. The study was based on one hundred and twenty lexical cognate sets. A proto-phoneme system and the proto-forms of the lexical items were reconstructed, and some preliminary observations on proto-morphology and on semantic shifts were made. The types of sound changes that have occurred, as well as some apparent irregularities, were discussed. Subgrouping of the language family was posited, based on shared innovations between various member languages. Three of the four defined subgroups were said to be mediated by a stage called Proto-Nuclear-Binandere, and lexical evidence was also given in support of this. Some lexical cognates and sound correspondences were found between Proto-Binandere and Guhu-Samane, the isolate language traditionally considered to be most closely related to the Binanderean languages and to form with them the Binandere Stock.

[Jacinta is continuing her research on Binandere historical linguistics in her PhD program in Linguistics, RSPAS.]

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Book notes

Up and down the Cline -- The Nature of Grammaticalization
Olga Fischer, Muriel Norde and Harry Perridon (eds). John Benjamins (2004)

This collection is a series of papers presented at the 2002 conference New Reflections on Grammaticalization II. Each paper in the volume was selected for its contribution to the construction of a “theory” of grammaticalization. Thus the collection includes papers addressing such fundamental questions of grammaticalization as the definition and role of unidirectionality (in the papers by Haspelmath, Rosenbach, Taeymans, Ziegeler, Yap et al, Visconti, and Tsangalidis), the existence of external factors affecting grammaticalization (see Miller, Laitinen, Herlin & Kotilainen), and the relationship between the source and outcome of a grammaticalization (the papers by Ng, Klamer, and Wong).

Several of the papers in this collection are written from a perspective more critical of the notion of grammaticalization. Ansaldo & Lim question how one can apply the term “grammaticalization” to changes occuring in languages that do not allow the sort of phonetic reduction that is usually associated with the phenomenon. Sergey Say finds that word order change does not demonstrate many of the hallmarks of grammaticalization at all: there is no change from lexical to grammatical, the development is reversible, and in the case of word order fixation, there is no reduction in variety. Ulrich Detges argues against the idea that there are a small, fixed number of grammaticalization pathways that reoccur cross-linguistically. Finally, Brian Joseph’s paper is critical of the usefulness of the concept “grammaticalization” in general, arguing that the mechanisms involved in what is usually understood under grammaticalization are well understood and accounted for without viewing them as subsidiaries of a greater phenomenon.

The studies in this volume concern a wide range of language: English, Scandinavian, Irish, Mandarin, Japanese, Malay, French, Italian, Greek, Catalan, Finnish, Passamaquoddy, Kambera, Cantonese, Hokkien and Lithuanian. As well as for those with an interest in these languages, however, this collection would be of interest to any researcher wishing to engage with the definitions and applications of the theoretical principles involved in grammaticalization. [Rachel Hendery]

Publish with the CRLC!!!

Manuscripts are solicited for series “Studies in Language Change”, the CRLC’s publication series produced in cooperation with Pacific Linguistics—see http://pacling.anu.edu.au/crcl.html. The SLC series aims to publish high-quality works on aspects of historical linguistics or related subjects, especially, but not exclusively, works on languages of Australia and the Indo-Pacific region. Potential contributors should contact Pacific Linguistics in the first instance, enquiring whether their manuscript would be suitable for publication in the SLC series.

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CRLC Advisory and Management Committee

Chair of Management Committee: Dr. Peter Veth, Director of Research, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies

Director: Dr. Cynthia Allen, FAHA, School of Language Studies, Faculty of Arts, ANU. e-mail: cindy.allen@anu.edu.au

Associate Directors:

·         Professor Malcolm Ross, FAHA, Department of Linguistics, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, ANU

·         Professor Ann Kumar, FAHA, Centre for Asian History, Faculty of Asian Studies, ANU

Other Management Committee members:

·         Dr. Harold Koch, School of Language Studies, Faculty of Arts, ANU

·         Ms.Rachel Hendery, School of Language Studies, Faculty of Arts, ANU (Graduate Student Representative)

·         Dr. Michael Smith, Director of Research, National Museum of Australia

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This newsletter edition was edited and compiled by Harold Koch
Thanks go to the contributors whose names appear within the newsletter
This document was last modified: 1st March, 2006
Copyright © 2006 by the Centre for Research on Language Change, ANU
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