Nanda Ernanda, Tuesday 26 November, 4.00-5 pm

The Phrasal Alternation in the Pondok Tinggi Dialect of Kerinci across two Generations

 The Kerinci “language”, spoken in Jambi province of Sumatra, Indonesia, is a complex of many dialects. Although obviously belonging to the Malay subgroup, Kerinci dialects differ markedly from other Malay varieties. The most salient and typical features of Kerinci is the morphological phenomenon, termed phrasal alternation, whereby nearly all lexical roots have two distinct forms differing in the rhyme of their final syllable.

This study examines the use of phrasal alternation across generations in one variety of Kerinci, namely the vernacular of the village of Pondok Tinggi (PT). Two age groups of the native speakers of PT participated in this study. The results show that the way the older speakers speak differs from that of the younger speakers. The language is indeed changing.

Bora Lushaj, Thursday 19 September, 4.00-5 pm

A comparison of contact-induced phonological changes in two Arbëresh varieties

The Arbëresh varieties spoken in Greci (Campania) and San Marzano (Salento) have developed similar phonological changes due to contact with two different Italo-Romance dialects. Unlike other Arbëresh villages, these varieties have introduced consonant lengthening (or gemination) in the Arbëresh lexicon. Other structural sound changes parallel to the Romance varieties are also evident. In this talk I present such contact-outcomes and compare similarities and differences in their realisation. I will also briefly present the history of the villages. Speculation as to the kind of contact scenarios we can postulate based on linguistic and extra-linguistic data for each individual communities will follow.

Jessie Nixon, Thursday 22 August, 4.00-5 pm

Statistical noise influences online processing of speech sounds: eye movement evidence from Cantonese VOT perception

How does the human brain process highly variable, non-discrete acoustic information in such a way as to comprehend an incoming signal? In particular, how does the degree of variation affect perceptual certainty? In a ‘visual world’ eyetracking study, native Cantonese listeners saw pictures of words beginning with unaspirated /b/ (e.g. 布bou3 ‘cloth’) or aspirated /p/ stops (e.g. 铺 pou3 ‘shop’). All participants heard a bimodal distribution of auditory stimuli. Distribution peaks corresponded to prototypical voice onset times for each of the aspirated and unaspirated picture names. Participants heard either a Wide (high-variation) or a Narrow (low-variation) distribution of auditory stimuli.

Data were analysed using an advanced new technique, Generalised Additive Modelling (GAM). Results showed increased looks to target between 200-400ms after stimulus presentation in the Wide condition, compared to the narrow condition. This was modulated by distance from category boundaries, as well as distance from category means. We are still working on interpretation, but this suggests that increased variation in the input increases processing cost, even for prototypical pronunciations.

Tuesday, 4 June, 4.00-5 pm: Laura Migliori and Giuseppe Torcolacci

Splitting and clustering grammatical information: the case of auxiliary selection in southern Italian dialects

Southern Italian dialects (SIDs) show a particular mechanism of selection of perfective auxiliaries in the active voice (cfr. D’Alessandro & Roberts (2010), Giammarco (1973), Manzini & Savoia (2005) a.o.). In these dialects, BE and HAVE auxiliaries are not selected according to the verbal class of the participle they combine with (cfr. Italian ho mangiato (HAVE.1sg eaten, I have eaten) versus sono andato (AM.1sg gone, I have gone)), but strictly conditioned by the person feature expressed on the sentential subject.

(1) a.       sɔ/si/ʃemə/ʃetə ‘viʃtə/dər’mi:tə/ve’nutə                            ‘viʃtə/dər’mi:tə/ve’nutə
                BE.1sg/BE.2sg/BE.1pl/BE.2pl seen/slept/come          seen/slept/come
               ‘I/you/we have seen/slept/come’
b.            a                                                                                             ‘viʃtə/dər’mi:tə/ve’nutə
                HAVE.3                                                                                  seen/slept/come
               ‘he/she/it has seen/slept/come

Southern Marchigiano [Manzini & Savoia, 2005]

The example in (1) indicates that BE is selected only in the presence of a subject being of 1st and 2nd sg/pl. Conversely, in the case of a 3rd person subject, the auxiliary selected is HAVE. The goal of the talk is twofold: in the first place, the diachronic development of the phenomenon of auxiliary selection in SIDs will be taken into consideration. In this part, a comparison between the system of auxiliation of SIDs and other Romance languages, both from a diachronic and in synchronic perspective, will be presented. The last part will concentrate on the typology of auxiliary selection in SIDs. Namely, it will be shown that the pattern shown in (1) is not the only one found in these dialects, but a very rich microvariation affecting BE/HAVE alternation in the present perfect is at hand in the spoken varieties nowadays.

Wednesday, 24 April, 4.00-5 pm: Jermy Balukh

Personal Pronouns of Dhao in Eastern Indonesia

Dhao is an Austronesian language spoken by about 3000 people mainly on Ndao Island, Eastern Indonesia. Dhao has four sets of personal pronouns. Two sets are morphologically independent and the other two are bound which requires hosts. The first set features bisyllabics which are considered free pronouns and the second set features monosyllabics which are considered clitics. The bound pronouns are prefixes which are attached to vowel-initial verbs and suffixes. The latter can only be attached to the verb la- ‘go’ to indicate agreement. The clitics are phonologically not identical to the free pronouns. This shows that the clitics are not the reduced forms of the free pronouns. The pronominal affixes are identical to the clitics, rather than to the free pronouns. For the syntactic distribution, not all the clitics can substitute the full NP as arguments of verbs. For example, nga ‘1pl-ex’ never appears as independent argument, na ‘3sg’ is preferably used in subject position and its counterpart ne ‘3sg’ in object position. Na ‘3sg’ is used as object only in combination with a complement. As Dhao lacks other types of pronouns, personal pronouns are also used as the possessor in possessive construction. The free pronouns but also the clitics appear immediately after the possessum, functioning as possessors. In addition, particular clitics, like ku ‘1sg’ are used for honorific expressions and emphasis, while the pronominal suffix –si ‘3pl’ is copied to express plurality.