Historical and Areal Linguistics

Arawak Linguistics and Max Schmidt’s Account of Arawak Expansion

Lev Michael
2008

The following is a piece that I wrote far back in 2008 as I was finishing my dissertation and starting up as an Assistant Professor at UC Berkeley. I was invited to write it as one of a number of commentaries for a new edition of Max Schmidt's 1917 work "Die Aruaken. Ein Beitrag zum Problem der Kulturverbreitung" [The Arawak: A Contribution to the Problem of Cultural Dissemination]. The volume ended up never being published, but over the years a number of people have asked me for this piece and it has been cited in a number of works on Arawakan history and ethnography. I've decided to make...

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. 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 Survey of California and Other Indian Languages. We will continue to update it as we learn more.

The course in its present guise began in the 1948-1949 academic...

The syntactic diversity of SAuxOV in West Africa

Hannah Sande
Nico Baier
Peter Jenks
2019

Surface SAuxOV orders abound in West Africa. We demonstrate that apparent examples of this word order have important structural differences across languages. We show that SAuxOV orders in some languages are due to mixed clausal headedness, consisting of a head initial TP and head-final VP, though this order can be concealed by verb movement. Other languages are more consistently head-initial, and what appear to be SAuxOV orders arise in limited syntactic contexts due to specific syntactic constructions such as object shift or nominalized complements. Finally, we show that languages which...

Classification of Guébie within Kru

Hannah Sande
2018

Guébie, a Kru language spoken in Côte d’Ivoire, is currently doubly classified within Eastern Kru according to Ethnologue (Lewis et al. 2013). It is listed as a dialect of two distinct subgroups, Bété and Dida. This double classification is clearly problematic, and this paper provides the initial work towards addressing the correct classification of the language. Here I compare the phonological and syntactic properties of Guébie with surrounding Bété and Dida languages in order to determine its relatedness to each subgroup. I conclude that Guébie is more closely related to Vata, a Dida...

Theory and description in African linguistics

Emily Clem
Peter Jenks
Hannah Sande
2019

This collection contains 36 papers presented at the 47th Annual Conference on African Linguistics at UC Berkeley from March 23-March 26, 2016.1 This meeting of ACAL coincided with a special workshop entitled “Areal features and linguistic reconstruction in Africa”, and we are glad to include four papers from that workshop in this collection as well. Collectively, these papers add a sizable body of scholarship to the study of African languages, including valuable new descriptions of African languages, novel theoretical analyses of them, and important insights into our...

Kavitskaya presents at Edinburgh Symposium on Historical Phonology

November 30, 2021

Darya Kavitskaya will have a co-authored poster at the 5th Edinburgh Symposium on Historical Phonology (on Zoom) on December 6, at 7 am PST. Here is the link to the conference site: http://www.lel.ed.ac.uk/symposium-on-historical-phonology/eshp5/, and to the program: http://www.lel.ed.ac.uk/symposium-on-historical-phonology/pdf/eshp5-final-prog.pdf

Phonology

Florian A. J. Lionnet
Larry M. Hyman
2018

In this extensive article we survey the major recurrent and interesting phonological properties of African languages.

Common Bantoid verb extensions

Larry M. Hyman
2018

In this paper I survey verb extensions within different Bantoid languages and subgroups, comparing them to Cameroonian Bantu zone A. Extending my survey of Niger-Congo extensions (Hyman 2007), I show that there is a band of contiguous languages in the Grassfields area where a number of contrastive verb extensions have relative productivity (cf. the studies in Idiata & Mba 2003). Interestingly, the languages in question belong to several subgroups: Limbum (NE Eastern Grassfields Bantu), Noni (Beboid), Kom and Babanki (Ring Western Grassfields Bantu), Bafut and Mankon (Ngemba...

Third person pronouns in Grassfields Bantu

Larry M. Hyman
2018

In this paper I have two goals. First, I propose a reconstruction of the pronoun system of Grassfields Bantu, direct reflexes of which are found in Eastern Grassfields, with a close look at the pronoun systems, as reflected across this varied group. Second, I document and seek the origin of innovative third person pronouns in Western Grassfields. While EGB languages have basic pronouns in all persons, both the Momo and Ring subgroups of WGB have innovated new third person (non-subject) pronouns from demonstratives or perhaps the noun ‘body’. However, these languages show evidence of...

More reflections on the nasal classes in Bantu

Larry M. Hyman
2019

Although long considered to be a Bantu innovation, Miehe (1991) proposed that the nasal consonants present in Bantu noun classes 1, 3, 4, 6, 9 and 10 should be reconstructed in pre-Proto-Bantu, even possibly at the Proto-Niger-Congo stage. Since there has been no comprehensive response to Miehe, the two of us organized a workshop to look at the question in more detail. In this paper I update the problem from Hyman (1980b) and Miehe (1991), expanding the coverage and considering various scenarios that could have led to innovation (or loss). While there have been three hypothetical...