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Richard P. Meier, Chair CLA 4.304, Mailcode B5100, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-1701

Patience L. Epps

Associate Professor Ph.D., University of Virginia

Patience L. Epps

Contact

Biography

 

Patience Epps is an associate professor in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Texas at Austin. She received her Ph.D. in Linguistic Anthropology from the University of Virginia in 2005, and held a pre-doctoral fellowship at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig (2003-2005). Her publications include the monograph A Grammar of Hup (Mouton Grammar Library 43), as well as papers in Diachronica, International Journal of American Linguistics, Linguistic Typology, and Studies in Language. Her research interests involve descriptive and documentary work on indigenous Amazonian languages, typology, language contact and language change, and the implications of the latter for studying Amazonian prehistory.

 

LIN 345 • Lang Change And Lang Variation

41445 • Spring 2014
Meets MWF 1000am-1100am BEN 1.126
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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.

LIN 392 • Lang Diversification And Death

41590 • Spring 2014
Meets W 1200pm-300pm CLA 4.716
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Instructors: Pattie Epps and Tony Woodbury

New languages come into being via various pathways: the splitting of proto-languages into daughters, the emergence of pidgins, creoles, and mixed languages in extreme contact situations, and the spontaneous development of signed languages. At the same time, languages die out – at unprecedented rates in recent decades – primarily via processes of language shift. These processes raise intriguing questions regarding the cognitive motivations for linguistic structures (function-driven or innate), the nature of human communication, and the relationship between language and the dynamics of social interaction. While this course deals primarily with linguistic problems and evidence, it emphasizes the importance of a cross-disciplinary approach – drawing on evidence from archaeology, population genetics, cultural anthropology, and other fields – to understand the human processes behind the linguistic patterns.

Readings:

Comrie,Bernard (ed.). In press./Language and genes/. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Comrie, Bernard, Stephen Matthews and Maria Polinsky. 2003. /The Atlas of Languages: The Origin and Development of Languages throughout the World./ Facts on File, Inc.

Joseph, Brian D. (Ed.). (2003). /When languages collide: Perspectives on language conflict, language competition, and language coexistence/. Columbus: Ohio State University.

Laks,Bernard (ed.). 2009. /Origin and Evolution of Languages//: Approaches, Models, Paradigms/. Equinox Publishing.

Nichols, Johanna. 1992. /Linguistic Diversity in Space and Time/. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Plus a range of recent journal articles.

Assignments:

40%: Short essays

10%: In-class presentations

50%: Final paper (initial and revised drafts)

LIN 392 • Linguistic Typology

41423 • Fall 2013
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm CLA 4.716
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An introduction to the typological study of language, the investigation into the nature of human language from an empirical perspective informed by cross-linguistic comparison. Despite the immense variation among the world's languages, basic patterns emerge through large-scale comparison of linguistic phenomena, allowing the identification of cross-linguistic universals and tendencies. This course will explore these patterns and investigate explanations for their existence, appealing primarily to the communicative function of language and the historical evolution of languages in doing so.Grading Policy Class requirements will consist of a series of short writeups on various linguistic phenomena in a language of the student's choice (drawing from original fieldwork or published grammatical description) for comparison and discussion in class (40%), class participation and a presentation based on one of the write-ups (20%), and a 15-20 page final term paper (40%).

LIN 345 • Lang Change And Lang Variation

40935 • Spring 2013
Meets MWF 1100am-1200pm WEL 2.256
show 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 forchange 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 (50%), and two in-class examinations (50%).

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

LIN 393 • Language Contact

40865 • Fall 2012
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm MEZ 2.118
show description

In this graduate-level course, we will examine the phenomenon of language contact from both structural and sociocultural angles. We will investigate the formation of pidgins, creoles, and koines; grammaticalization in response to contact influence; and strategies for tracing borrowing and other contactrelated influences in a given language. We will discuss the concept of a ‘linguistic area’ and look at examples of linguistic areas, in particular the Vaupés region of Amazonia. 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. How do shared narrative genres and cultural practices transport features across language boundaries? What happens in situations of linguistic exogamy – where people are culturally required to marry outside their own language group? Why do speakers assimilate one feature from a neighboring language into their speech, and not another? What causes languages to grow closer and closer together in their grammars, while preserving distinct lexicons?

Texts:Winford, Donald. 2003. An Introduction to Contact Linguistics, Blackwell.Other readings (available on Blackboard at http://courses.utexas.edu)

LIN 345 • Lang Change And Lang Variation

40780 • Spring 2012
Meets MWF 100pm-200pm PAR 301
show description


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.

LIN 392 • Linguistic Typology

40915 • Spring 2012
Meets MWF 1100am-1200pm PAR 210
show description

An introduction to the typological study of language, the investigation into the nature of human language from an empirical perspective informed by cross-linguistic comparison. Despite the immense variation among the world's languages, basic patterns emerge through large-scale comparison of linguistic phenomena, allowing the identification of cross-linguistic universals and tendencies. This course will explore these patterns and investigate explanations for their existence, appealing primarily to the communicative function of language and the historical evolution of languages in doing so.Grading Policy Class requirements will consist of a series of short writeups on various linguistic phenomena in a language of the student's choice (drawing from original fieldwork or published grammatical description) for comparison and discussion in class (40%), class participation and a presentation based on one of the write-ups (20%), and a 15-20 page final term paper (40%).

CGS 360 • Language And Thought

33875 • Spring 2011
Meets MWF 100pm-200pm SZB 416
(also listed as LIN 350, PHL 365 )
show description

Does the language we speak influence the way we think? And does our social, cultural, and physical environment help to shape our language, even on the level of grammatical structures? This upper-division course examines the relationship between language, culture, and thought, bringing together aspects of linguistics, anthropology, and cognitive science.  We will consider whether the structure of our language and grammar influences the way we attend to things in our daily lives, such as the shapes of objects, the materials they are made of, their position in the landscape, or the genders of people and animals. We will explore how the role of our experience as physical and social beings is reflected in linguistic structures, such as metaphor and noun classification. Within this investigation, we will explore current debates on the nature of the relationship between language and thought, and will gain insight into the ways in which languages are structured and how these structures may vary cross-linguistically.

Texts:

Dedre Gentner and Susan Goldin-Meadow (eds.) 2003. Language in Mind: Advances in the Study of Language and Thought. Cambridge, MA/London: MIT Press.

 

Cross-listed with CGS 360

LIN 350 • Language And Thought

41125 • Spring 2011
Meets MWF 100pm-200pm SZB 416
(also listed as CGS 360, PHL 365 )
show description

Does the language we speak influence the way we think? And does our social, cultural, and physical environment help to shape our language, even on the level of grammatical structures? This upper-division course examines the relationship between language, culture, and thought, bringing together aspects of linguistics, anthropology, and cognitive science.  We will consider whether the structure of our language and grammar influences the way we attend to things in our daily lives, such as the shapes of objects, the materials they are made of, their position in the landscape, or the genders of people and animals. We will explore how the role of our experience as physical and social beings is reflected in linguistic structures, such as metaphor and noun classification. Within this investigation, we will explore current debates on the nature of the relationship between language and thought, and will gain insight into the ways in which languages are structured and how these structures may vary cross-linguistically.

Texts:

Dedre Gentner and Susan Goldin-Meadow (eds.) 2003. Language in Mind: Advances in the Study of Language and Thought. Cambridge, MA/London: MIT Press.

 

Cross-listed with CGS 360

LIN 382 • Historical Linguistics

41205 • Spring 2011
Meets MWF 1200pm-100pm UTC 4.120
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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 392 • Linguistic Typology

40815 • Fall 2010
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm CAL 323
show description

            Across the field of linguistics, more and more scholars are using experiments to investigate linguistic issues, and to provide evidence that stands up to skeptical scrutiny. This course is a hands-on introduction to how one does this. Students will design and run two small-scale experiments on any linguistic issue they choose: a production experiment oriented toward the speaker, and a corresponding reception experiment oriented toward the listener. The topic of the research can be in any area of linguistics, and involve any particular language.

            We will work through the process of doing an experiment step by step from the beginning:

  • Coming up with a hypothesis
  • Designing an experiment
  • Formulating and submitting a human subjects research proposal
  • Recording speech
  • Doing acoustic measurements using Praat
  • Synthesizing speech using Praat
  • Presenting stimuli
  • Running the experiment
  • Doing basic statistical analysis in R
  • Presenting results of experimental work - orally and in print.

          In order to learn how your work can be interpreted and evaluated, we will read and critique published work from the experimental literature in various areas of linguistics, including phonetics, phonology, syntax, semantics, language acquisition, language processing, sociolinguistics, and language change. The readings will be made available in electronic form.

          The grade for the course will be based on two short papers presenting the results from the two pilot experiments.

          The course is open to any graduate student.

LIN 345 • Lang Change And Lang Variation

41125 • Spring 2010
Meets MWF 1200-100pm CBA 4.328
show description

For detailed Course Schedule, download attachment

LIN 382 • Historical Linguistics

41227 • Spring 2010
Meets MWF 200pm-300pm PAR 103
show description

For detailed Course Schedule, download attachment.

LIN 393 • Language Contact

41610 • Fall 2009
Meets TTH 1100-1230pm CAL 323
show description

In this graduate-level course, we will examine the phenomenon of language contact from both structural and sociocultural angles. We will investigate the formation of pidgins, creoles, and koines; grammaticalization in response to contact influence; and strategies for tracing borrowing and other contactrelated influences in a given language. We will discuss the concept of a ‘linguistic area’ and look at examples of linguistic areas, in particular the Vaupés region of Amazonia. 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. How do shared narrative genres and cultural practices transport features across language boundaries? What happens in situations of linguistic exogamy – where people are culturally required to marry outside their own language group? Why do speakers assimilate one feature from a neighboring language into their speech, and not another? What causes languages to grow closer and closer together in their grammars, while preserving distinct lexicons?

Texts:

Winford, Donald. 2003. An Introduction to Contact Linguistics, Blackwell.

Other readings (available on Blackboard at http://courses.utexas.edu)

Requirements:

• Four ‘discussion write-ups’ (600-800 words) summarizing main points of the reading for a particular day or week, with thoughtful questions and comments. Each write-up should be HANDED IN ON THE DAY THE MATERIAL IS DISCUSSED IN CLASS (this will ensure a good basis for class discussions). Writeups are due at your discretion, but within 2-3 week intervals; deadlines indicated on the syllabus are latest possible dates, not fixed due dates. (25%)

• In-class presentations of readings: Students will rotate in presenting summaries for class discussion, one per class meeting (ideally should be based on discussion write-up). AIM FOR NO MORE THAN 15 MINUTES OF ACTUAL PRESENTATION TIME, broken up or followed by discussion. (5%)

• Midterm essay (6-8 pages): study of a linguistic area or of the contact phenomena in a particular language (25%)

• 15-20 p. term paper dealing with some aspect of language contact (preliminary version 30%; revised version 15%) YOU SHOULD CONSULT WITH ME ABOUT THE TOPIC BEFORE NOV. 10.

Class policies:

ATTENDANCE AND HOMEWORK SUBMISSION: Please be punctual! Points will be deducted for excessively late assignments. Excessive absences will also incur penalties.

COMMUNICATION AND FEEDBACK

Announcements will be posted from time to time on Blackboard – please check regularly. Particularly urgent announcements may be sent to the class by email. Any and all feedback about the class is always welcome (structure, assignments, lecture/discussion, etc.).

SCHOLASTIC (DIS)HONESTY: See the UT website – http://deanofstudents.utexas.edu/sjs/scholdis.php.

SPECIAL NEEDS: Please let me know of these before the second class meeting; for more information contact Services for Students with Disabilities, 471-6259.

RELIGIOUS HOLIDAYS AND OTHER EXCUSED ABSENCES: Please let me know at least two weeks before a deadline (in person and by email).

For detailed Course Schedule, download attachment.

LIN 345 • Lang Change And Lang Variation

40520 • Spring 2009
Meets MWF 1100-1200 CBA 4.328
show description


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.

LIN 392 • Linguistic Typology

40649 • Spring 2009
Meets MWF 1000-1100 CBA 4.326
show description

            Across the field of linguistics, more and more scholars are using experiments to investigate linguistic issues, and to provide evidence that stands up to skeptical scrutiny. This course is a hands-on introduction to how one does this. Students will design and run two small-scale experiments on any linguistic issue they choose: a production experiment oriented toward the speaker, and a corresponding reception experiment oriented toward the listener. The topic of the research can be in any area of linguistics, and involve any particular language.

            We will work through the process of doing an experiment step by step from the beginning:

  • Coming up with a hypothesis
  • Designing an experiment
  • Formulating and submitting a human subjects research proposal
  • Recording speech
  • Doing acoustic measurements using Praat
  • Synthesizing speech using Praat
  • Presenting stimuli
  • Running the experiment
  • Doing basic statistical analysis in R
  • Presenting results of experimental work - orally and in print.

          In order to learn how your work can be interpreted and evaluated, we will read and critique published work from the experimental literature in various areas of linguistics, including phonetics, phonology, syntax, semantics, language acquisition, language processing, sociolinguistics, and language change. The readings will be made available in electronic form.

          The grade for the course will be based on two short papers presenting the results from the two pilot experiments.

          The course is open to any graduate student.

Publications

Brown, Cecil H., Eike Luedeling, Soeren Wichmann, & Patience Epps. Forthcoming. 'The paleobiolinguistics of domesticated squash (Cucurbita spp.).' In Explorations in Ethnobiology: The Legacy of Amadeo Rea, ed. by Dana Lepofsky and Marsha Quinlan.

Epps, Patience. Forthcoming. ‘Between headed and headless relative clauses.’ In Typological and Empirical Studies of Relative Clauses, edited by Zarina Estrada and Bernard Comrie. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Epps, Patience. Forthcoming. ‘Reduplication in Hup.’ For a volume on reduplication in Amazonian languages, ed. by Gale Goodwin Gómez and Hein van der Voort. Leiden: Brill.

Epps, Patience. Forthcoming. 'Review of A Grammar of Cavineña, by Antoine Guillaume.' Anthropological Linguistics.

Epps, Patience. Forthcoming. ‘Language and subsistence patterns in the Amazonian Vaupés.’ In The Languages of Hunter-gatherers: Global and Historical Perspectives, edited by Tom Güldemann, Richard Rhodes, and Patrick McConvell. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Epps, Patience. 2012. ‘On form and function in language contact: A case study from the Amazonian Vaupés region.’ In Dynamics of Contact-Induced Language Change, edited by Isabelle Léglise and Claudine Chamoreau. Berlin: de Gruyter Mouton.

Patience Epps, Claire Bowern, Cynthia Hansen, Jane Hill, and Jason Zentz. 2012. 'On numeral complexity in hunter-gatherer languages.' Linguistic Typology 16: 39-107.

Bowern, Claire, Patience Epps, Russell Gray, Jane Hill, Keith Hunley, Patrick McConvell, and Jason Zentz. 2011. 'Does lateral transmission obscure inheritance in hunter-gatherer languages?' PLoS ONE 6(9):e25195.

Epps, Patience. 2011. ‘Reciprocal constructions in Hup.’ In Reciprocals and Semantic Typology, edited by Nicholas Evans, Alice Gaby, Stephen Levinson and Asifa Majid, pp.315-328. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Epps, Patience. 2010. ‘Linking valence change and modality: Diachronic evidence from Hup.’ International Journal of American Linguistics 76(3):335-356.

Epps, Patience. 2010. ‘Linguistic typology and language documentation.’ The Oxford Handbook of Linguistic Typology, edited by Jae Jung Song. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Epps, Patience. 2010. ‘A escola entre os Hupd'äh do Alto Rio Negro: encontrando um caminho.’ In Viviendo en el Bosque: Ensayos Sobre los Makú del Noroeste Amazónico, edited by Gabriel Cabrera. Universidade Nacional de Colombia - Sede Medellín.     

Epps, Patience. 2009. ‘Escape from the noun phrase: From relative clause to converb and beyond in an Amazonian language.’ Diachronica 26(3):287-318.

Epps, Patience and Alexandre Arkhipov (eds.). 2009. New Challenges in Typology: Transcending the Borders and Refining the Distinctions. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. xi + 428.

Epps, Patience. 2009. ‘Language classification, language contact, and Amazonian prehistory.’ Language and Linguistics Compass 3(2):581-606.

Epps, Patience and Herb Ladley. 2009. ‘Syntax, souls, or speakers? On SIL and community language development.’ In Lise Dobrin et al. ‘Academic priorities, SIL International, and the past and future of linguistics’ (set of associated short papers), Language 85(3):640-646.

Epps, Patience. 2009. ‘Where differential object marking and split plurality intersect: Evidence from Hup.’ In New Challenges in Typology: Transcending the Borders and Refining the Distinctions, edited by Patience Epps and Alexandre Arkhipov, pp. 85-104. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Epps, Patience. 2009. ‘Hup vocabulary.’ World Loanword Database. edited by Martin Haspelmath and Uri Tadmor. Munich: Max Planck Digital Library. (Online at www.loanwords. info.)

Epps, Patience. 2009. ‘O nascimento de um sistema de classificação nominal,’ (revised and translated version of Epps 2007, in Wetzels [ed.]). ReVEL (Revista Virtual do Estudo da Linguagem); special edition on indigenous languages of Brazil, edited by Wilson Silva.

Epps, Patience. 2009. ‘Loanwords in Hup, a Nadahup language of Amazonia.’ Loanwords in the world's languages: a comparative handbook, edited by Martin Haspelmath and Uri Tadmor. Berlin and New York: De Gruyter Mouton.

Epps, Patience. 2009. ‘Review of Linguistic Fieldwork, by Claire Bowern.’ Invited review, Linguistic Typology 13(3):491-498.

Epps, Patience. 2008. A Grammar of Hup.  (Mouton Grammar Library 43.) Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. xxiii + 983.

Epps, Patience. 2008. ‘Hup’s typological treasures: Description and explanation in the study of an Amazonian language.’ Linguistic Typology 12(2):169-193.

Epps, Patience. 2008. ‘From “wood” to future tense: Nominal origins of the future construction in Hup.’ Studies in Language 32(2):383-404.

Epps, Patience. 2008. ‘Grammatical borrowing in Hup.’ Grammatical Borrowing: A Cross-linguistic Survey, edited by Yaron Matras and Jeanette Sakel, pp. 551-565. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Epps, Patience. 2007. ‘The Vaupés melting pot: Tucanoan influence on Hup.’ Grammars in Contact: A Cross-linguistic Typology, edited by Alexandra Aikhenvald and R.M.W. Dixon. Explorations in Linguistic Typology 4, pp. 267-289. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 

Epps, Patience. 2007 . ‘Birth of a noun classification system: The case of Hup.’  Language endangerment and endangered languages: Linguistic and anthropological studies with special emphasis on the languages and cultures of the Andean-Amazonian border area, Indigenous Languages of Latin America series (ILLA), edited by Leo Wetzels, pp. 107-128. Publications of the Research School of Asian, African, and Amerindian Studies (CNWS). Leiden University, The Netherlands.

Epps, Patience. 2006. ‘Growing a numeral system: The historical development of numerals in an Amazonian language family.’ Diachronica 23(2):259-288.

Epps, Patience. 2005. ‘Areal diffusion and the development of evidentiality: Evidence from Hup.’ Studies in Language 29(3):617-650.

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