Claire Bowern adds an article on the origins of Pama-Nyungan to The Conversation.
Field Linguistics & Language Documentation
Members of the Pama-Nyungan lab recently published a write-up of their results on forced alignment algorithms. Their paper on “A Robin Hood approach to forced alignment: English-trained algorithms and their use on Australian languages” was recently published in the proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Linguistic Society of America. They show that for some purposes, English-trained models can be used without crucial loss of accuracy.
2018 marked the 20th anniversary of the publication of the article by Nikolaus Himmelmann, which introduced the distinction between “language documentation” and “language description” (or analysis). In this Open Access special publication in the journal Language Documentation and Conservation, linguists reflect on the changes to the field, to fieldwork practices, and to the state of language records and endangerment across the world.
Many members of the Yale linguistics department made a mass exodus to the the recent LSA annual meeting in New York City, where they gave 19 oral and poster presentations at the main meeting, workshops, and sister society meetings. These included:
Ph.D. candidate Matthew Tyler has recently published two journal articles concerning his work on clitics in Choctaw (Muskogean). One, published in Natural Language & Linguistic Theory, is titled “Absolutive Promotion and the Condition on Clitic Hosts in Choctaw”; this article proposes a morphosyntactic analysis of Choctaw clitics.
PhD candidate Rikker Dockum presented at the 28th meeting of the Southeast Asian Linguistics Society (SEALS), where he discussed his fieldwork on Khamti, a language spoken in Myanmar and India. Rikker has spent a substantial amount of time in the region documenting various languages, as he conducts his dissertation research on tone systems in Tai-Kadai, a family of languages that includes Khamti and Thai.
As a Presidential Visiting Fellow, Stephanie has spent the past year at Yale teaching the Mohegan language and raising interest in language revitalization.
Based on field research and a translation of the Bible, Joshua’s paper investigates the difference between the first-person pronouns ai and mi.
Sixteen presentations and posters from current and former Yale faculty and students were showcased at the annual meeting of the LSA.
Claire and Rikker showcased their results from the Pama-Nyungan Laboratory at the Association for Linguistic Typology.
Rikker talked about how tonal systems change over time, using statistical analysis on a large dataset he compiled to identify a strong phylogenetic signal.
Scholars from a wide range of institutions and disciplines came to Yale to discuss the cognitive foundations of variation and change in meaning.
Luke spent the summer at the University of Texas at Austin, working on the Texas German Dialect Project.
We are delighted to welcome Samuel Andersson, Sigríður Sigurðardóttir, and Randi Martinez to our department!
Two linguists were honored at this year’s Yale University Commencement.
Matt’s talk is “In Choctaw, everyone’s a clitic.” Rikker’s is “Prosodic context in computational modeling of tone: citation tones vs. running speech.”
He provides an overview of Mayan phonology and, together with Jessica Coon and Robert Henderson, an introduction to Mayan linguistics.
Rashad Ullah, Martín Fuchs, Josh Phillips, Andy Zhang, Dan Schwennicke, Yiding Hao, and Rikker Dockum presented their work at four different conferences and workshops.
Several current and former members of our department will be taking part in the annual meeting of the LSA and its sister societies, held this year in Austin, TX.
Members of our department traveled all over the world for summer institutes, conferences, and fieldwork, and we hosted several visiting undergraduate researchers on campus.
One talk discussed computational modeling of Khamti tone, and the other examines how syntactic borrowing may explain similarities between Khmer and Thai numeral classifiers.
We are delighted to have Sarah Babinski (Swarthmore ’16), Yiding Hao (UChicago ’15), Dan Schwennicke (Oxford ’16), and Andy Zhang (Yale ’15) join our department.