The Survey sponsors a variety of different events throughout the year, including regular meetings of the Group on American Indian Languages (GAIL), as well as the biennial Breath of Life Workshop. If you would like to receive periodic emails updating you about our activities, join the Friends of the Survey email list.
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The Shoshonean Wedge: Language Dynamics and the Uto-Aztecan Presence in Southern California
Jane Hill (University of Arizona)
Apparent long-term archaeological and human-genetic continuity in areas of Southern California occupied historically by Takic-speaking peoples have led many archaeologists to continue to advocate a great antiquity for this presence (estimates vary between 5000 and 3500 years of time depth) that is inconsistent with the linguistic data. Bright and Bright (1969) long ago suggested the presence of a substantial substratum vocabulary in Gabrielino/Tongva and the Cupan languages. A new look at the languages based on three samples of vocabulary (basic vocabulary, flora-fauna vocabulary, and cultural vocabulary) collected for the project 'Dynamics of Hunter-Gatherer Languages' (NSF BCS 0902114) suggests that Bright and Bright were correct in identifying an unusually large number of words which lack Uto-Aztecan etymologies in these languages. The paper compares the California languages with the Uto-Aztecan languages of the Great Basin and shows that the California languages exhibit substantially higher percentages of untraceable lexical items in the sample than do the Numic languages.
Meet the ELP
Jason Rissman (Google)
June 3-9, 2012
Breath of Life Workshop
The 2012 Breath of Life Workshop, for California Indians whose languages have no remaining first-language speakers, will be held on campus in June. More information is available at www.aicls.org.
On Word Class and Predication in Karuk
Line Mikkelsen (University of California, Berkeley)
In this talk I examine non-verbal predication in Karuk, an indigenous language of northwest California. Karuk is thought to be part of the Hokan family, and shares the polysynthetic character of the neighboring northern Hokan languages. The example in (1) shows a typical Karuk sentence, in which the verb contains several derivational affixes, expressing event iteration (ip-), purpose (-ar), direction (-uk), and event plurality (-vu) and several inflectional affixes, expressing participant number and person (na-), aspect (durative -tih) and tense (future -heesh):
|`You can come back to see me sometime.'|
|Julia Starritt, "Coyote Marries His Own Daughter"|
While verbal predication is the norm, Karuk also exhibits robust nonverbal predication, where a noun, adjective, adverb or quantifier functions as the predicate of the clause. As shown in (2), non-verbal predication exhibits tense marking, but not agreement:
|`I'm going to be pretty'|
|Imkyanváan, "Coyote Doctors a Girl"|
The suffix -hi derives verbs from adjectives and nouns and the resulting forms do agree, as the minimal pair in (3) shows. (The sentences in (3) occur in close succession, describing the same eventuality, in Emily Donohue's telling of "The Pikiawish at Katamin".)
|`Then the world renewal was over.'|
|`Then the world renewal ended.'|
In (3a), the perfect marker tá attaches to the quantificational root koo `all'. There is no agreement on the resulting form. In (3b), the verbalizing suffix -hi attaches to the same root, koo, followed by the durative suffix -ti, and the resulting form bears 3SG subject agreement (u-).
Bright's (1957) interpretation of this pattern is that (2) and (3a) are instances of non-verbal predication. The tense and aspect markers that cooccur with non-verbal predicates are clitics, and hence not limited to verbal hosts, whereas the agreement markers are affixes that can only attach to verbs. Macaulay (1989) offers a reanalysis wherein tense and aspect marking of seemingly non-verbal predicates always involves verbalizing by -hi, though regular morphophonemic processes conspire to obscure the presence of this morpheme on the surface. Macaulay's analysis explains why all non-verbal predicates take h-initial allomorphs of the suffixal/enclitic tense and aspect markers, something that Bright must stipulate. To account for the lack of agreement on verbs derived in this manner, she appeals to semantics (p. 176-8), specifically that agreement is absent due to such clauses having an equative meaning.
In the talk, I explicate what Macaulay's claim amounts to in the terms of Stassen's typology of intransitive predication and evaluate it against a body of examples drawn from published texts and from original field work. I conclude that it is largely supported, though it leaves some data unexplained. In the final part of the talk I consider two ways of accomodating the recalcitrant data, while preserving the gains of Macaulay's analysis.
Bright, William (1957) The Karok Language. University of California Publications in Linguistics. Bind 13. CA: University of California Press.
Macaulay, Monica (1989) A Suffixal Analysis of the Karok `Endoclitic'. Lingua 78:159—180.
Stassen, Leon (1997) Intransitive Predication. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Sierra Miwok Dialect Geography
Hannah Haynie (University of California, Berkeley)
The Sierra Miwok languages spoken along the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada are traditionally treated as a subgroup of Eastern Miwok comprised of three primary languages/dialects. In this talk I describe a somewhat more complex Sierra Miwok dialect network that is evident in early twentieth century documentation. In examining these dialects I pay special attention to the role of inter-dialect contact in shaping the Sierra Miwok dialect continuum. I propose that both cultural factors and physical geography have influenced the development of the Sierra Miwok dialects, and briefly discuss the use of quantitative tools and geographic models in investigating the relationships between linguistic patterns and extra-linguistic factors.