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Language Specific

Language Specific

  • The Structure of Cantonese

    Stephen Matthews

    This course focuses on distinctive aspects of Cantonese as spoken in Hong Kong, chosen for their typological and theoretical interest. Topics will include tone, parts of speech, verbal aspect, noun classifiers, relative clauses and sentence-final particles, with a particular focus on properties which diverge from written Chinese and Putonghua. Examples will be given in the Jyutping romanization as well as in Chinese characters, so that prior knowledge of Chinese is not required.

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  • The Structure of Hittite

    Petra Goedegebuure

    Hittite belongs to the extinct Anatolian sub-branch of Indo-European. Written in cuneiform script, this language is attested on ca. 30,000 (fragments of) clay tablets found mainly in the royal archives of the capital Hattusa (modern Boghazkale, Turkey). Covering the centuries of the second half of the second millennium BCE, it is the oldest Indo-European language that is available to us through contemporaneous documents.

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  • The Structure of Jiwarli

    Peter K. Austin

    Jiwarli is a Pama-Nyungan language (Mantharta subgroup of the Nyungic group) that was formerly spoken in the north-west of Western Australia (the last fluent speaker died in 1986). It shows a highly complex morpho-syntax that is typical of languages of the area, with split-ergative case morphology that is sensitive to grammatical relations, animacy, clause type and inter-clausal coreference (interacting with a system of switch-reference). Syntactically Jiwarli is non-configurational and shows pragmatically-based word order and operates in ways that challenge various theoretical proposals.

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  • The Structure of Kalaallisut

    Jerry Sadock

    An introduction to Kalaallisut, the typologically extreme Inuit language
    of 50,000 people in West Greenland and Denmark. The course will be organized around the productive morphological system of derivations, inflections and clitics, and will discuss the relation of morphology to the syntax and to the semantics. Noun and verb incorporation will be taken up in detail, while other morphological processes and their connections to syntactic and semantic organization will be more briefly considered.

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  • The Structure of Lak

    Victor Friedman

    Lak is a Northeast Caucasian (Nakh-Daghestanian, Daghestanian branch) language spoken by over 100,000 people, mostly in the central highlands of Daghestan.  It is characterized by a four-way series of stop oppositions, phanyngealized vowels, unusually complex declension, a five-way deictic opposition, four noun classes, agreement markers on any part of speech, a complex verbal system, interesting uses of agreement and cliticization to express focus, evidentiality, and other categories, complex case-marking strategies, and much more.   This course will begin with a brief introduction to Dagh

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  • The Structure of Swahili

    Fidele Mpiranya

    Based on my newly published textbook (Swahili Grammar and Workbook, Routledge, 2014), this course will focus of some features and patterns that are typically found in African languages but are relatively rare among other languages of the world.

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  • The Structure of the Dene (Athabaskan) Verb

    Keren Rice

    Dene (Athabaskan) languages are well known for their complex verb morphology, being analyzed as a verb stem that is potentially preceded by a large number of prefixes. Traditionally treated as templatic in structure, in Rice 2000 I argue that semantic scope plays a major factor in the order of the morphemes. In this course we examine phonological and syntactic factors in addition to the semantic that play a role in determining the order of morphemes in the verb, looking both at particular languages and across the family.

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  • Topics in Balkan Linguistics

    Brian Joseph, Victor Friedman

    The Balkans was the first sprachbund to be identified as such. (We treat sprachbund as a German loanword into English, like pretzel). It has been called "the world's most famous contact situation" (Thomason and Kaufman 1985:95). This course will be a general introduction to Balkan linguistics, covering the sociolinguistic situation, theoretical and methodological considerations, phonology, lexicon and semantics, morphosyntax, syntax and pragmatics.

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  • Topics in Creole Studies: From historical linguistics to computational phylogenetics

    Michel DeGraff

    Computational phylogenetics is an umbrella term for fascinating methods and tools that can be put to great use toward evaluating phylogenetic hypotheses. As such they have been gaining currency among linguists of various theoretical stripes. Yet, these methods and their results are often not fully understood. Certain results are cited as “irrefutable” even when the corresponding empirical bases and methods can be shown to be flawed upon thorough examination.

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  • Topics in Romance Linguistics

    Luis Lopez

    Many languages classify direct objects in two classes along some semantic parameter by assigning them a mark. This property is referred to as Differential Object Marking (DOM). A non-exhaustive list of semantic parameters that have been described in the literature is the following: animacy, specificity, definiteness, topicality and telicity. The actual marking can adopt several external forms: case or adposition on the object, agreement morpheme on the verb, clitic doubling, even plain scrambling can be taken to be a form of DOM.

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  • Topics in South Asian Linguistics

    Rajesh Bhatt

    Research on South Asian languages has contributed to formal syntax and semantics in a number of domains: the interaction of case (ergativity, differential object marking) with agreement (object agreement, long distance agreement) and the interpretation of agreement, argument structure (productive unaccusative/transitive alternations and causativization, direct versus indirect causation, and non-nominative subjects), correlativization across domains (relativization, conditionals, comparatives, temporal clauses), scrambling, rightward movement and the wh-in-situ characterization of these lang

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