Yifei Bi, Tuesday 14 October, 4.00-5 pm

The interaction between word and sentence prosody: a case study of Dalian Mandarin

Dalian, a seaside city locates at the northeast of China, is only 938km away from the capital, Beijing. Dalian Mandarin belongs to Jiao-liao dialect, which is reported has an interesting but unclear tonal near-merged phenomenon in the literature. Take the ambiguous lexical prosody and the undeveloped natural-spoken sentential prosody in this dialect into consideration; studies aim to have a clear idea of the two levels of prosody, also investigate the interaction between them. I am now focusing on the part of lexical level prosody; especially pay attention to the merged or near-merged tonal phenomenon from various aspects, such as generations, word frequency and so on as first step.

Kate Bellamy, Tuesday 30 September, 4.00-5 pm

The lexicon of metallurgy: A means for investigating the linguistic past of Purépecha

Purépecha, spoken by around 110,000 people in Michoacán, West Mexico, has long been considered a language isolate. Of the unsuccessful attempts to find its linguistic relatives, Swadesh’s proposal linking Purépecha to Quechua is perhaps the most suggestive since it lends support to the pre-Columbian relations between cultures of West Mexico and South America found in the archaeological record. The most convincing of these connections is metallurgy, a technology that was transferred from the Pacific coast of South America (Ecuador) to West Mexico from 600AD onwards. Through a comparative study of the lexical domain of metallurgy, its materials, processes and tools, I am testing the hypothesis that there was contact, possibly even leading to genetic (linguistic) relatedness, between the peoples and languages of these two regions, with a focus on Purépecha.