Fifth-year PhD student Michael Hamilton has recently accepted a 2-year Mellon Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at Cornell University, which he is set to take up later this year. At Cornell, Mike will continue his research into the syntax and prosody of Mi’gmaq and other Algonquian languages. Congratulations Mike!
Please join us for a special edition of Syntax Group/Ergativity Lab, this Wednesday at 2pm in room 117. All are welcome!
Speaker: Shobhana L. Chelliah (University of North Texas)
Title: The Source of Variability in Case and Semantic Role Marking in Tibeto-Burman
The predominant case marking pattern observed for Tibeto-Burman is non-obligatory morphological marking of A (transitive subject) and of S (intransitive subject) under various pragmatic and discourse conditions which cast A or S as as acontrastive or an otherwise foregrounded NP. In one Tibeto-Burman language,Meitei, agent, patient, associative, and locative semantic role markers all have developed secondary pragmatic meanings associated with speaker expectations. The same is true to some extent with other Tibeto-Burman languages as well. Additionally, when surveying recent descriptions of ergative languages, we see A/S marking curiously parallel in distribution to that found in Tibeto-Burman, with pragmatics or discourse structure determining the distribution of A/S marking.
It has been argued that case systems with pragmatic or discourse motivated marking have evolved from one of the known case-marking types and that this change has been due to language contact or obsolescence. Given the examples of A/S case marking developing contrastive topic readings even with robust languages that have undergone little contact, it would appear that some other factor is at work. I will argue that these case systems have developed through a process of language change by which certain grammatical categories increasingly reflect speaker perspective.
Who: Guilherme Garcia
When: Wednesday, Mar. 18, 3:00-4:00 in room 117
What: “Stress and Gradient Weight in Portuguese” (WCCFL practice talk)