Wednesday, November 30, 2011

COOL Newsletter: Fall 2011 Volume 2, Issue 2

All the news that's fit to print! Find out about the most recent accomplishments of the COOL project (Cayuga: Our Oral Legacy). The COOL project's aims are "to increase the number of Cayuga speakers, fluency levels, and the number and variety of contexts in which Cayuga is spoken."   

More information available here.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Seminar Series Talk by Eric Acton, November 24

We are pleased to have Eric Acton (a PhD student at Stanford University) in town on November 24th to give us "That straight talk": Demonstratives, solidarity, and Sarah Palin. (Co-authored with Christopher Potts). All are welcome to attend. Time:  3:30. Location: SN 2098. 


Sarah Palin’s manner of speaking has been the subject of both fervent praise and impassioned criticism.  Supporters find Palin’s speech to beaccessible, engaging, and “real” while opponents label her manner ofspeaking presumptuous, inauthentic, and “pseudo-folksy.” This talk focuses on one salient feature of Palin’s speech—namely, that characteristic use ofdemonstratives, as in the quote below from the 2008 vice-presidentialdebate:
 (1)   Americans are craving that straight talk. 
Echoing Lakoff (1974), Liberman (2008, 2010) claims that such “affective demonstratives…carry an emotional as well as demonstrative load,” byimplying a degree of “shared familiarity” between interlocutors.  In thistalk, I will present the results of two corpus-based experiments that speakto this claim.  The first, based on users’ responses to posts on a socialmedia web site, provides quantitative support for the notion thatdemonstratives can foster or manufacture a sense of familiarity, empathy,and solidarity.  The second examines the 2008 vice-presidential debate,showing that Palin used demonstratives at a much higher rate than heropponent, Joe Biden.  The results of the study further suggest that Palin’suse of demonstratives was part of a broader stylistic approach for engagingand aligning with her audience.The talk concludes by reflecting on how Palin’s use of demonstratives mayhelp to explain why her speech is so polarizing.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Sara Mackenzie To Give Upcoming Seminar Series Talk

When: November 17th at 3:30pm
Location: SN 2098

on the topic of

Contrast and phonological similarity: evidence from consonant harmony
This talk argues that phonological similarity is evaluated over contrastive, phonological features. Evidence for this position is provided through analyses of consonant harmony processes. Typological studies of consonant harmony (Hansson, 2001, 2010; Rose and Walker, 2004) have shown that similarity plays a role in consonant harmony patterning with only highly similar segments interacting as targets and triggers. In this talk, two types of cases provide evidence that the relevant properties determining interacting segments are contrastive phonological representations. In one type of case (e.g. Bumo Izon), segments that appear to share a phonetic class with participating segments fail to participate in harmony. In the second type of case (e.g. Dholuo and Anywa), consonant harmony patterns differ between languages with similar phonetic inventories.