Linguistics Department News (Calques)

Recent Stories

Jenks profiled on the Berkeley Letters and Science website

April 18, 2024
news article about Peter Jenks on the occasion of his receiving the Distinguished Teaching Award has been published on the Berkeley Letters and Science website.  The public ceremony to celebrate this year's DTA recipients will be on Tuesday April 23, 5:00 - 6:30 pm, in the West Pauley Ballroom in MLK Student Center, followed by an open reception. 

Dąbkowski publishes on A'ingae phonology

April 12, 2024

Maksymilian Dąbkowski's paper "The phonology of A'ingae" has been published in Language and Linguistics Compass 13 (2024) e12512. Abstract:

"A'ingae (or Cofán, ISO639‐3:con) is an indigenous language isolate spoken in northeast Ecuador and southern Colombia. This paper presents the first comprehensive overview of the A'ingae phonology, including descriptions of (i) the language's phonemic inventory, (ii) phonotactics and a number of related phonological rules, (iii) nasality and nasal spreading, as well as (iv) stress, glottalisation, their morphophonology, and aspects of clause‐level prosody."

Nichols publishes on language history and areas

April 4, 2024

Johanna Nichols has three new articles:

  • "Founder effects identify languages of the earliest Americans", American Journal of Biological Anthropology 2024;e24923
  • "The East Caucasian homeland and dispersal: A preliminary model", in Cultures and languages of the Caucasus: A Festschrift for Kevin Tuite (Wiesbaden: Reichert, 2024), ed. by Florian Muehlfried, pp. 57-72
  • "Northern Asia as a linguistic area", in The languages of Northern Asia: Typology, morphosyntax and socio-historical perspectives (Berlin:  Mouton de Gruyter, 2024), ed. by Edward J. Vajda, pp. 741-744

Skilton accepts position at Edinburgh

March 12, 2024

Berkeley alumna Dr. Amalia Skilton (PhD 2019) has accepted a tenure-track position as a Chancellor's Fellow in the Department of Linguistics & English Language at the University of Edinburgh. Congratulations, Amalia!

Dąbkowski and Beguš publish in Glossa

February 23, 2024

Maksymilian Dąbkowski and Gašper Beguš have published a new paper, "Complex diachronies of final nasalization in Austronesian and Dakota", in Glossa 9/1 (2024). Abstract:

"Final nasalization of voiced stops is phonetically unmotivated (i.e. not a consequence of universal articulatory or perceptual tendencies). As such, final nasalization has been deemed an impossible sound change. Nonetheless, Blust (2005; 2016) proposes that final nasalization took place in four Austronesian languages: Kayan-Murik, Berawan dialects, Kalabakan Murut, and Karo Batak. In this paper, we argue final nasalization in these languages is not a single sound change and reduce it to a combination of phonetically grounded changes. We demonstrate that in Austronesian, final nasalization involved four steps: (i) fricativization of voiced stops, (ii) devoicing of the fricatives, (iii) spontaneous nasalization before voiceless fricatives, and (iv) occlusion of the nasalized fricatives to nasal stops. Finally, we extend our account to final nasalization in Dakota (Siouan) and propose a new explanation for the development of the unnatural final voicing in the related Lakota language. Our results shed light on the role of phonetic naturalness in diachrony and synchrony. We maintain that while phonetically unnatural phonological processes may arise via a sequence of sound changes or analogical extension, sound changes are always natural and phonetically grounded."