- Wednesday, April 4, 5:30 PM, CILSE 106B (Kilachand Center, 610 Commonwealth Avenue)
- Who: Elizabeth Coppock (Linguistics)
- What: “Targeted Comparative Fieldwork in Linguistic Semantics”
There are documentary linguists who ride camels through the mountains and produce grammars of previously undescribed languages. There are typologists who use these grammars to map out the space of variation across the world’s languages. And there are more theoretical linguists who do detailed studies on a particular aspect of one or two languages, aimed at developing formally explicit models of grammatical systems (that’s me, normally). I will report on my recent, perhaps foolhardy, attempts to become all of these things at once: Documenting a particular empirical issue across a broad sample of languages, one that arises out of theoretical considerations. I call the method “targeted comparative fieldwork”. The reason for attempting this is that linguists like me often have data questions that are not addressed in documentary grammars, for which additional fieldwork is necessary, and mapping out the space of variation across human languages with respect to this issue might shed light on the human language faculty. For endangered languages, collecting this information is quite time-sensitive. As evidence that my research team has achieved something towards this end, I submit the following interactive map:I will report on how I arrived at these classifications, and claim that I have discovered a linguistic universal. I will then seek advice from my wiser peers as to whether and how to take this research program forward.
- Wednesday, May 2, 5:30 PM, CILSE 106B (Kilachand Center, 610 Commonwealth Avenue)
- Who: Sarah Davies (Biology)
- What: TBD