Out now: Expressing possibility in two Oceanic languages

We can often choose between more basic, highly grammaticalized, ways to express a given meaning, and more verbose ways of doing so. Thus, in English, we may say “Brenda can catch the train” or “it is possible that Brenda will catch the train”, with quite similar interpretations. In my article with Anna Margetts, we argue that expressions of possibility in Daakaka and Saliba-Logea correspond to it is possible that in terms of their syntactic complexity, but to can in terms of their paradigmatic properties, frequencies and meaning. Look at the publication here or download the preprint.

Paradigms and rules

I was invited to the University of Potsdam to talk about some of my recent work on morphology. I took the opportunity to discuss some of my observations about word-like properties of complex phrases, in particular the way they combine into word-like paradigms. You can see my slides here.

Reciprocal strategies in a language without reciprocal markers

There was a very enlightening small workshop on reciprocals in Utrecht just now. I was invited to talk about reciprocals in Daakaka, which was an interesting assignment since Daakaka does not have reciprocal pronouns or verbal reciprocal morphology. Speakers do not have to distinguish between reciprocal, reflexive and regular transitive structures. There are however things they can do to facilitate, or force, reciprocal interpretations. Look at my slides to find out more.

Out now: Public access to research data in language documentation

There was an expert-only workshop in Cologne in 2016 on Open Access and Open Data, which had the goal to produce a white paper with recommendations on best practices for publishing Data from language documentation. This paper has now been published in Language Documentation and Conservation and is freely available here.

Linguistics and ideologies in თბილისი

There was a wonderful small conference on Ideologies and Linguistic Ideas in beautiful Tbilisi last week, and I’m very happy I had the opportunity to team up with my colleague Marcin Kilarski to present some of our work on bias and ideologies in old and new debates on linguistic complexity. I also learned a lot about the role of ideologies in the history of linguistics, which is new and exciting territory to me. Download our slides here.

APLL in Leiden

My colleagues Ana Krajinović and Manfred Krifka are currently at APLL in Leiden to present our joint work on timitive structures in Oceanic, which have the shape it’s not good/it’s bad if . Timitive modality is a category often found in Oceanic, which typically occurs in warnings (Watch out, you might fall!) or negative purpose clauses (You should take an umbrella, lest you get wet!). Download the poster here.

Out now: Counterfactuality and Past

My article on counterfactuality and past is out now, and it’s free to access. In 2011, while I was working on the Daakaka grammar, I looked at the system of TAM markers and asked myself how hard it would be to figure out their meanings. Manfred Krifka suggested I start working with branching time to account for the realis/irrealis distinction, which I did. Except that the distinction we find in the Daakaka system isn’t binary, but tripartite.

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MelaTAMP at LTC 19 in Poznań

Our project was represented with two papers in this year’s Language and Technology Conference in Poznań. Ana Krajinović presented joined work with colleagues from Vanuatu and Melbourne on community-led language documentation. She won the award for the best student presentation.

Annika Tjuka, in a joined paper with Lena Weißmann and me, presented our tag set for the MelaTAMP corpora with a focus on tagging habitual aspect: the fact that habituality or genericity can be a property of stretches of discourse larger than a sentence makes clause-wise tagging complicated.