Historical and Areal Linguistics

Graduate Field Methods Course History

This page summarizes the history of graduate instruction in linguistic field methods at Berkeley, with information about academic year, language(s), consultant(s), and instructor(s), when known. Links in the Language column are to archival collections in the California Language Archive (CLA). The information has been reconstructed from archival course catalogs, which occasionally do not reflect the ultimate instructor of record, and in consultation with Linguistics faculty, graduate students, alumni, and records in the CLA. We will...

Publication of first two volumes of Amazonian Languages: An International Handbook

January 31, 2023

The first two volumes of Amazonian languages: An international handbook were officially published on January 30. Edited by Patience Epps and Lev Michael, these two volumes present grammatical descriptions of all reasonably well-attested linguistic isolates of the Greater Amazonian region. Volume I covers Aikanã to Kandozi-Shapra, and Volume II covers Kanoé to Yurakaré. (A chapter in Volume III will summarize what we know about the more poorly-attested isolates and small language families known only from colonial-era materials.)

Linguists currently or formerly affiliated with Berkeley contributed significantly to these volumes:

Introduction (freely available online): Patience Epps (UT Austin) and Lev Michael

Aʔɨwa: Christine Beier and Lev Michael

Cholón: Astrid Alexander-Bakkerus (University of Amsterdam) and Kelsey Caitlyn Neely (Endangered Languages Documentation Programme; Berkeley PhD 2019)

Muniche: Lev Michael, Stephanie Farmer (Berkeley PhD 2015), Greg Finley (Meta, Berkeley PhD 2015), Karina Sullón Acosta (Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos), Christine Beier, Alejandrina Chanchari Icahuate (Munichis, Peru), Donalia Icahuate Baneo (Munichis, Peru), and Melchor Sinti Saita (Munichis, Peru)

Mỹky: Bernat Bardagil (University of Groningen; Berkeley postdoc 2017-2020)

Omurano: Zachary O'Hagan (Berkeley PhD 2020)

Taushiro: Zachary O'Hagan

Warao: Andrés Romero-Figueroa (Universidad Católica Andrés Bello) and Konrad Rybka (University of Leiden; Berkeley postdoc 2015-2018)

In addition, Zachary O'Hagan was the editorial assistant in the first several years of the project.

The next volumes in the series will focus on the small language families of Greater Amazonia, and the final volumes, on the large language families of the region.

Ko publishes in Diachronica

November 8, 2022

Congratulations to Edwin Ko on the publication of a new article, "On the origins of multiple exponence in Crow," in the journal Diachronica.

Ko speaks at the American Philosophical Society

September 28, 2022

Edwin Ko will be sharing his dissertation work at the American Philosophical Society (APS) Brown Bag series on Tuesday, October 4th from 9-10 am Pacific time (hybrid). His dissertation is provisionally entitled "Inferring the history of the Siouan languages: Phylogeny, chronology, and geography." For the Zoom link to attend this event, contact Edwin Ko.

Andrew Garrett

Professor of Linguistics, Nadine M. Tang and Bruce L. Smith Professor of Cross-Cultural Social Sciences

PhD, Harvard

Historical linguistics; Indo-European; Karuk, Yurok, and California Indian languages; language documentation and revitalization

O'Hagan speaks at Societas Linguistica Europaea

August 22, 2022

Zachary O'Hagan is in Bucharest, Romania this week giving a presentation on "Nominalizers in Caquinte" as part of a workshop on nominalizations in Arawak languages, at the annual meeting of the Societas Linguistica Europaea (August 24-27). He will be working remotely from Europe until October 10.

Distinguishing cognitive from historical influences in phonology

Gašper Beguš
2022

Distinguishing cognitive influences from historical influences on human behavior has long been a disputed topic in behavioral sciences, including linguistics. The discussion is often complicated due to empirical evidence being consistent with both the cognitive and the historical approach. This article argues that phonology offers a unique test case for distinguishing historical and cognitive influences on grammar, and it proposes an experimental technique for testing the cognitive factor which controls for the historical factor. The article outlines a model called catalysis for...

Yiddish Linguistics

Isaac L. Bleaman
2020

Linguistic studies of Yiddish span several centuries and incorporate a wide range of research questions and methodologies, from philological analyses of Old Yiddish texts to generative approaches to particular grammatical constructions. The historical development of the language has undoubtedly been, and continues to be, the most hotly debated research topic in Yiddish linguistics. However, other productive areas of inquiry have included structural analysis (e.g., syntax, semantics, and phonology), dialectology and other fields of sociolinguistics (e.g., language contact and interspeaker...

Nichols published in Diachronica

April 18, 2022

Johanna Nichols and her Helsinki colleagues have co-authored a new paper in Diachronica. Congrats, Johanna!

Grünthal, Riho, Volker Heyd, Sampsa Holopainen, Juha Janhunen, Olesya Khanina, Matti Miestamo, Johanna Nichols, Janne Saarikivi, and Kaius Sinnemäki. 2022. Drastic demographic events triggered the Uralic spread. Diachronica. Advance online publication: https://doi.org/10.1075/dia.20038.gru; supplement: https://zenodo.org/record/6345559.

This research was also featured in a press release to Helsingin Sanomat (Finland's main newspaper): https://www.hs.fi/kaupunki/helsinki/art-2000008761777.html