Calques 3.24

March 11, 2016

Tubularity | Festivity | Newly published | Talks and events | Deadlines

Please send information and news of departmental interest to Andrew Garrett. The editor calls to the attention of interested parties the newly published and fascinating State of Linguistics in Higher Education Annual Report 2015, prepared by the Linguistic Society of America.


Linguistics undergraduates Libby Perfitt and Emma Wilox have both received 2016 Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships — pleonastically, "SURF Fellowships". Congratulations, Emma and Libby!


The next Inkling will take place on Thursday, March 17, from 3:30 to 5 pm in 1229 Dwinelle. All are welcome to our monthly social hour (and a half) with tea, coffee, and potluck treats — you'll find talk about work, life, ideas, and the pursuit of happiness. (The next Inkling will be on a Wednesday in April, so that people with classes on Wednesday or Thursday afternoon will be able to attend at least one.)

  • Potluck: We encourage you to bring a snack or treat if your surname begins with the letters S through Z. (Examples would include Saussure and Trubetskoy.)
  • Prize: A fascinating prize will be given to the creator of the most pleasing artwork (verbal, visual, or performance, but no media installations) displaying a vision of how linguists might enjoy the upcoming spring break

Newly published: One week, two books, one article

Natalia Chousou-Polydouri, Joshua Birchall, Sergio Meira, Zachary O'Hagan, and Lev Michael, "A test of coding procedures for lexical data with Tupí-Guaraní and Chapacuran languages", Proceedings of the Leiden Workshop on Capturing Phylogenetic Algorithms for Linguistics (University of Tübingen, 2016)

  • Recent phylogenetic studies in historical linguistics have focused on lexical data. However, the way that such data are coded into characters for phylogenetic analysis has been approached in different ways, without investigating how coding methods may affect the results. In this paper, we compare three different coding methods for lexical data (multistate meaning-based characters, binary root-meaning characters, and binary cognate characters) in a Bayesian framework, using data from the Tupí-Guaraní and Chapacuran language families as case studies. We show that, contrary to prior expectations, different coding methods can have a significant impact on the topology of the resulting trees.

Lev Michael and Zachary O'Hagan, A Linguistic Analysis of Old Omagua Ecclesiastical Texts (Cadernos de Etnolingüística Série Monografias, 4, 2016)

  • This monograph presents a detailed philological study of the oldest known texts written in Omagua, a Tupí-Guaraní language of western Amazonia. Produced in the 17th and/or 18th centuries by Jesuit missionaries as a central component of their evangelical work in the Gobierno de Maynas, these texts include: 1) a version of the Lord's Prayer (Pater Noster); 2) a short fragment of a longer catechism; 3) a second complete catechism; and 4) a Profession of Faith. In addition, we present an analysis of brief Omagua passages found in the diary of Manuel Uriarte, a Jesuit missionary active among the Omaguas during the mid-18th century. Each text is presented in a detailed interlinear format that allows the reader to follow, from the original lines of each text, analytical decisions regarding the successive steps of resegmentation of word boundaries, phonemicization, morphological segmentation and glossing, and generation of free translations. Each text is footnoted extensively with bibliographic and interpretive annotations. In addition to philological analyses of each text, we present a substantial grammatical sketch of Old Omagua (i.e., 17th- and/or 18th-century Omagua) as attested in these texts, drawing comparisons where helpful with modern Omagua, its sister language Kokama, Proto-Omagua-Kokama, and colonial-era Tupinambá, the next most closely related language. This grammatical sketch not only serves as the basis for insights into how Omagua has evolved since the early colonial period, and helps to clarify the relationship of Omagua and Kokama to other Tupí-Guaraní languages (a subject of much controversy), but also allows the reader to critically evaluate the interlinearized and annotated ecclesiastical texts presented in the volume. We conclude by historically contextualizing the production and circulation of Omagua ecclesiastical texts, summarizing Jesuit engagement with the linguistic diversity of the Gobierno de Maynas, and discussing the strategic role played by successively reworked and re-edited ecclesiastical texts in surmounting the evangelical challenges posed by this diversity. We further show how a close examination of the texts themselves yields additional insights into Jesuit linguistic and text development practices.

Ruth Rouvier, A Report on Tribal Language Revitalization in Head Start and Early Head Start (National Center on Cultural and Linguistic Responsiveness, 2016)

  • The Office of Head Start (OHS) has long supported the cultural and linguistic diversity of the families and children in its programs. This commitment includes support for language revitalization in tribal programs. In early 2015, OHS commissioned a project to learn directly about the efforts underway in the field, and the findings are presented in this report. Under a National Center on Cultural and Linguistic Responsiveness contract, visits were made to 17 tribal Head Start or Early Head Start (HS/EHS) programs. Visits also were made to four other early childhood programs that are considered leaders in language revitalization with young children. The programs were selected to ensure diverse representation of geographic region, community language situation, language goals, resources and teaching methods. Tribal leaders, elders, program staff, parents and community members provided information during the visits. Academicians, researchers and other experts were consulted, along with participants at conferences and workshops. The information in this report is drawn from these visits and contacts, unless otherwise indicated by references to published materials or websites.

Talks and events

  • Friday, March 11
  • Monday, March 14
  • Tuesday, March 15
  • Wednesday, March 16
    • 5–6: Society of Linguistics UndergraduateS, presentation by graduate student Sarah Bakst (Society of Linguistics UndergraduateS, 3401 Dwinelle)
  • Friday, March 18
  • Later in March
    • ACAL 47: the 47th Annual Conference on African Linguistics, March 23-26
      • full program here!
    • Three lectures by Prof. Dr. phil. Tom Güldemann (Berlin and Jena)
      • M March 28, 3 pm: "How to become a Macro-Sudan belt language: The Gulf-of-Guinea creole (GGC) case" (colloquium)
      • Tu March 29, 11 am: "Synthetic morphology in Niger Congo and Bantu: Addressing a historical-comparative problem" (Lx 230, all welcome)
      • W March 30, 4 pm: "What gender systems? Agreement classes vs. noun form classes in Niger-Congo with particular reference to Ghana-Togo-Mountain languages" (*dhworom)


  • Graduate and Undergraduate Mini-Grant Program, Joseph A. Myers Center for Research on Native American Issues, UC Berkeley
    • Application deadline: March 14
  • NoWPhon 2: Northwest Phonetics and Phonology Conference, University of Oregon, Eugene, May 13-15
    • Abstract deadline: March 28
  • ICCG9: 9th International Construction Grammar Conference, Universidade Federal de Juiz de Fora, Brazil, October 5-7
    • Abstract deadline: March 31