Historical Linguistics

Claire Bowern publishes in Diachronica

Claire Bowern is an author, headed by Jayden Macklin-Cordes and Erich Round (Ling PhD 2009) of a new study on phylogenetic signal in phonotactics. The paper uses data from Pama-Nyungan (Australian) languages to track the extent to which phoneme inventory characteristics (phoneme presence/absence, unigram and bigram frequency) show phylogenetic signal. This is relevant for claims that Australian languages do not show sound change. The paper is open access and supplementary materials are available.

Claire Bowern and former students publish paper on Pama-Nyungan kinship

Former Pama-Nyungan lab member Catherine Sheard (lead author), department PhD alum Rikker Dockum, Claire Bowern, and Bristol Anthropology Professor Fiona Jordan, recently published a paper in the journal Evolutionary Human Sciences using phylogenetic methods to study the ways that different kinship systems change across the Pama-Nyungan family.

Sigríður Sæunn Sigurðardóttir presents a talk at DGFS

Sirrý Sigurðardóttir gave a talk at a workshop during the DGfS (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Sprachwissenschaft) last week. Sirrý’s talk, entitled “The Anti-Occam’s Razor: The distinction between pronouns and expletives in Icelandic” (link to abstract), was presented at the workshop “Theoretical approaches to grammatical (non-)identity in synchrony and diachrony.”

Parker Brody publishes in Journal of Historical Linguistics

Parker Brody has published an article in the most recent issue of Journal of Historical Linguistics.  “Morphological exceptionality and pathways of change” explores the notion of analyzing cross-linguistically uncommon morphosyntactic structures in terms of their historical development. What may seem extraordinary in the synchronic snapshot of a language can often be clearly accounted for through diachronic considerations.

Samuel Andersson, Sirrý Sigurðardóttir, Rikker Dockum, and Claire Bowern present at ICHL24

A contingent of Yale linguists has traveled to Canberra, Australia this week for the 24th International Conference on Historical Linguistics, hosted at the Australian National University. Participants from our department include Professor Claire Bowern, PhD candidate Rikker Dockum, and PhD students Sirrý Sigurðardóttir and Samuel Andersson.
Their talks, with links to abstracts, are as follows:

Claire Bowern, Sarah Babinski, and Rikker Dockum present at the 5th Workshop on Sound Change at UC Davis

This past weekend (June 21-23), the 5th Workshop on Sound Change (WSC 5) took place at UC Davis. Yale Linguistics was represented by Professor Claire Bowern, PhD candidate Rikker Dockum, and graduate student Sarah Babinski, who all presented at the workshop. Claire Bowern gave a talk entitled “Language, Culture, and Australian Exceptionalism,” while Rikker and Sarah gave posters.

Sigríður Sæunn Sigurðardóttir contributes chapter to a book on diachronic stability

Graduate student Sigríður Sæunn Sigurðardóttir and her collaborator Thórhallur Eythórsson have contributed a chapter in the recent book The Determinants of Diachronic Stability, on stability and change in the history of Icelandic weather verbs. The paper was originally presented at the pre-conference workshop of DiGS 18 (19th Diachronic Generative Syntax conference) in Ghent, 2016. The abstract for this chapter is given below:

Martín Fuchs and María Piñango publish paper on the cognitive forces underpinning grammaticalization paths

PhD candidate Martín Fuchs and Professor María Piñango recently published a paper in the proceedings of the last Annual Meeting of the Linguistic Society of America. Their paper provides an account of the synchronic variation between the use of the Simple Present marker and the Present Progressive marker in the expression of the habitual reading in Modern Spanish.

Sarah Babinski and Claire Bowern publish paper in Linguistics Vanguard

Graduate Student Sarah Babinski and Professor Claire Bowern recently published a paper on mergers and contextual probability in sound change in the journal Linguistics Vanguard. The journal special issue – on predictability in shaping sound patterns in human language – was co-edited by linguistics department faculty member Jason Shaw and Shigeto Kawahara.

Rikker Dockum presents at SEALS

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.

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