Dr. Amalia Skilton (University of California, Berkeley) has been awarded SSILA Mary R. Haas Book Award for her thesis Spatial and Non-Spatial Deixis in Cushillococha Ticuna. This dissertation is an exquisite piece of work in both methodology and the theoretical contributions. The replicability of the several experiments—both with other Ticuna speakers and cross-linguistically—is a highly desirable feature in the context of the study of Indigenous languages. It also makes important theoretical contributions to the area of semantics and pragmatics of demonstratives, providing evidence that demonstratives encode visibility contrasts. This finding challenges the current dominant view that demonstratives carry information regarding distance but do not encode perceptual deictic content. The study also provides evidence that demonstratives do not contrast necessarily in terms of ‘distance’ between speaker/addressee and referents, but in terms of ‘peripersonal space,’ the space within reach of the speaker.
Kelsey Neely (PhD, 2019) was selected for an honorable mention for the award:
Dr. Kelsey Neely (University of California, Berkeley) has also been selected for honourable mention for The Linguistic Expression of Affective Stance in Yaminawa (Pano, Peru). The committee praised this thesis for its comprehensive nature, consisting of both a grammar of Yaminawa with context-rich examples and a detailed study of affective stance, and for its potential broader impacts of the work, particularly with respect to language education.
Congratulations, Amalia and Kelsey!