Assistant Professor — Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin
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- Office: CLA 4.432
- Campus Mail Code: B5100
LIN 345 • Lang Change And Lang Variation
TTH 1230pm-200pm CLA 1.108
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
TTH 930am-1100am CLA 0.108
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
MWF 100pm-200pm WEL 3.266
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
MWF 1100am-1200pm CLA 0.104
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
TTH 200pm-330pm CLA 1.108
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.
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%).
"An Introduction to Historical Linguistics" by Terry Crowley and
Claire Bowern (ISBN: 9780195365542), and supplementary readings.
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.