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Anthony C. Woodbury, Chair CLA 4.304, Mailcode B5100, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-1701

Danny Law

Assistant Professor Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin

Danny Law

Contact

Interests

Historical Linguistics, Language Contact, Mayan Languages, Writing Systems

LIN 345 • Lang Change And Lang Variation

40050 • Spring 2015
Meets MWF 1000am-1100am PAR 306
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An introduction to the study of how languages change and to the principles developed by linguists to account for these changes. The course will investigate the social and linguistic motivations for change and learn about change in sound systems, word structure, word meaning, and grammar. Students will also learn the methods linguists have developed for reconstructing the vocabularies and grammars of  the prehistoric parent languages of languages which exist today, or  which have been preserved in writing.

LIN 393 • Language Contact

40165 • Spring 2015
Meets W 1200pm-300pm CLA 4.716
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In this graduate-level course, we will examine the phenomenon of language contact from both structural and sociocultural angles. We will investigate lexical borrowing and language shift, the formation of pidgins, creoles, and koines and grammaticalization in response to contact influence. We will also hone and question methodologies for tracing borrowing and other contact-related influences in a given language. We will discuss the concept of a ‘linguistic area’ and look at examples of linguistic areas, in particular the Maya lowlands of Guatemala and southern Mexico. Finally, we will consider the role of discourse strategies and norms, bilingualism, and code-switching, and cultural practices in determining the nature of the contact that takes place and its effects on the languages involved. Texts: Winford, Donald. 2003. An Introduction to Contact Linguistics, Blackwell. Other readings available on Canvas.

LIN 345 • Lang Change And Lang Variation

41065 • Fall 2014
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm CLA 1.108
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An introduction to the study of how languages change and to the principles developed by linguists to account for these changes. The course will investigate the social and linguistic motivations for change and learn about change in sound systems, word structure, word meaning, and grammar. Students will also learn the methods linguists have developed for reconstructing the vocabularies and grammars of  the prehistoric parent languages of languages which exist today, or  which have been preserved in writing.Requirements:Classes will be a mix of lectures, discussion, and problem solving using data from a wide range of languages. Grade is based on homework assignments (60%), two in-class examinations (40%).Textbook:"An Introduction to Historical Linguistics" by Terry Crowley and

LIN 393 • Iconicity In Speech Sign & Txt

41210 • Fall 2014
Meets TTH 930am-1100am CLA 0.108
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Saussure and many since have argued that, “the linguistic sign is arbitrary”. Iconicity (forms that are not arbitrary, but motivated by similarity between a sign and its meaning) have been noted for certain types of words (e.g. onomatopoeia), or in certain language modalities (signed languages), but these are generally seen as exceptional. This seminar will explore the pervasiveness of iconicity in language. We will look at the effect of modality (speech vs. sign vs. text) on iconicity and the relationship between iconicity in language and iconic forms in other kinds of communication, such as gesture. We will look beyond sound symbolism to consider structural iconicity in syntax, imitation in first language acquisition, the iconic nature of social stereotypes and the projection and performance of sociolinguistic identity. Students will participate in, and occasionally lead, class discussions and will produce a final paper on a relevant topic of their choosing.

LIN 350 • Linguistics Of Writing Systems

41452 • Spring 2014
Meets MWF 100pm-200pm WEL 3.266
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Human language is often hard to separate from the technologies that humans have invented to record and imitate it. The relative permanence these technologies give to language has arguably been central to the development and administration of complex states and empires. That permanence is also crucial to the scientific study of language. In this course, students will become familiar with the diverse human efforts to capture language in permanent form. We will consider how writing systems vary across the globe and over time, what those technologies assume about the nature and structure of language, and what social and communicative purpose each form of writing has fulfilled. Topics will include the typology and evolution of writing systems, the psycholinguistics of reading and writing, and the role of writing in contemporary language politics. Using case studies ranging from ancient inscriptions in long-dead languages to efforts by contemporary linguists and language activists to develop new ways of writing previously unwritten languages, we will investigate how language relates to the written word and how linguistic analysis is intertwined with the process of writing.Basis of Grading: Grades will be based on in-class quizzes, three short analysis essays and a final paper on a writing system of the student’s choice.Required Text: Writing Systems: A Linguistic Approach (2004, Blackwell) by Henry Rogers

LIN 382 • Historical Linguistics

41565 • Spring 2014
Meets MWF 1100am-1200pm CLA 0.104
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This course explores traditional and contemporary approaches to historical linguistics, the study of language change. We will address various types of change - phonological, morphological (particularly involving analogy), semantic, and syntactic - and the methods used to investigate these changes, most notably the Comparative Method and internal reconstruction. We will also explore the social and linguistic motivations for change, and the role of synchronic variation. Finally, the course will consider the effects of language contact, the genetic/genealogical classification of languages, and the insights historical linguistics brings to understanding prehistory.

LIN 345 • Lang Change And Lang Variation

41302 • Fall 2013
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm CLA 1.108
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Course Description

An introduction to the study of how languages change and to the
principles developed by linguists to account for these changes. The
course will investigate the social and linguistic motivations for
change and learn about change in sound systems, word structure, word
meaning, and grammar. Students will also learn the methods linguists
have developed for reconstructing the vocabularies and grammars of  the
prehistoric parent languages of languages which exist today, or  which
have been preserved in writing.

Requirements:
Classes will be a mix of lectures, discussion, and problem solving
using data from a wide range of languages. Grade is based on homework
assignments (60%), two in-class examinations (40%).

Textbook:
"An Introduction to Historical Linguistics" by Terry Crowley and
Claire Bowern (ISBN: 9780195365542), and supplementary readings.

Publications

In Press.      Language contact, inherited similarity and social difference: The story of linguistic interaction in the Maya Lowlands. Current Issues in Linguistic Theory Series. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

2013            Inherited similarity and contact-induced change. Journal of Language Contact.

2013            (with Stephen Houston, David Stuart, Nicholas Carter and Marc Zender) Reading In context: the interpretation of personal reference in Ancient Maya hieroglyphic texts. Journal of Linguistic Anthropology 23(2), 23-47.

2013            Mayan Historical Linguistics in a New Age. Language and Linguistics Compass 7(3), 141-156.

2012            Appropriating Sacred Speech: Aesthetics and Authority in Colonial Ch’olti’. In Kerry Hull and Michael D. Carrasco (eds.) Parallel Worlds: Genre, Discourse and Poetics in Contemporary, Colonial and Classic Maya Literature.  Boulder, CO: The University Press of Colorado.

2010          (with John Robertson and Robbie Haertel). Colonial Ch’olti’: The 17th Century Morán Manuscript. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press. 

2009            Pronominal Borrowing among the Maya. Diachronica 26(2). 214-252.

2009            (with John Robertson, Stephen Houston and Robbie Haertel) Most Maya Glyphs are Written in Ch’olti’an. In The Ch’orti’ Region Past and Present, Brent Metz, Cameron McNeill and Kerry Hull (eds.). Gainesville: University Press of Florida. 29-42.

2009            (with John Robertson) From Valency to Aspect in the Ch’olan-Tzeltalan Family of Mayan. International Journal of American Linguistics 75(3), 293-316.

2007            Poetic Style in Colonial Ch’olti’ Mayan. Latin American Indian Literatures Journal 23(2). 142-168.

2006            (with John Robertson, and Stephen Houston) Split Ergativity in the History of the Ch’olan Branch of the Mayan Language Family. International Journal of American Linguistics 72(4). 415-450.

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