From the 25th to the 28th of May, I rode on the California Zephyr from Emeryville (San Francisco) to Washington, DC. I moved out of my Stanford apartment and brought my triathlon bike and two suitcases with me on the train! The first half of the trip through California, the Sierra-Nevadas, the deserts of Nevada, and Utah and the Rocky mountains in Colorado were incredibly beautiful. I stayed in the observation car the entire ride, where a pleasant narration and cheers of “Holy Smokes!” filled the air. The ride through Nebraska, Iowa and Illinois was greener than I expected, less diverse, but still beautiful.
On May 23rd, I submitted my dissertation proposal to my committee, which includes Arto Anttila and Nicholas Evans (co-chairs) and Vera Gribanova. This dissertation will comprise a detailed description and analysis of the phonology and morphology of the verb in Ende, a language spoken in southern Papua New Guinea. This proposal provides the context for this work, gives a basic description of the Ende verb, and outlines several analytical puzzles to be solved. Final outcomes of this dissertation will include an annotated corpus, a description of the phonology, morphology, and semantics of each piece of the verbal complex, and a theoretical explanation for some of the phonological and morphological phenomena. The project will contribute significantly to what is known about one of the most linguistically diverse and understudied regions of the world.
I am very happy to report that I have been awarded support from the Lewis and Clark Fund for Exploration and Field Research. They have accepted my proposal to collect and annotate the Ende spoken corpus and expand the Ende dictionary and grammar. Their support will go directly toward this important documentation task that has been requested directly by the Ende speaking community. I feel very honored to have their support and look forward to sharing this with Limol.
On May 19th, I gave a talk titled “Verbal Reduplication in Ende” at the 3rd annual Northwest Phonetics and Phonology Conference. The data presented in this talk were collected in 2015 and 2016 and the proposed analysis for the three reduplication patterns is part of my dissertation proposal. I got some great feedback and stayed with my friend Oksana, whom I met in 2011 at the LSA Institute in Boulder. I’ve attached the slides below.
Today, I received the wonderful news that my proposal to continue research on the phonology and morphology of the Ende verb was accepted by the Stanford Vice Provost for Education Diversity Dissertaiton Research Opportunity fund. This grant will support travel and equipment fees related to my dissertation.
On May 6, I completed my first 100-mile bike ride - the Wine Country Century - to raise awareness for my Light for Limol campaign. During the month of April, I shared videos and stories about life in Limol, where solar powered lanterns and water rollers will make a big difference in the lives of Ende speakers. My goal was to raise $1000 to bring 2 water rollers and 40 solar lanterns - one lantern for every house in Limol. My friends and family went above and beyond to support me and as of May 6, we raised $2025 for Limol! This money will go to 4 water rollers and 80 solar lanterns, which will be shared between the villages of Limol and Malam.
I had the wonderful opportunity to share some data and thoughts on nominal and verbal reduplication in Ende with the Stanford Phonology Interest group before presenting my talk at NoW Phon. I got some great feedback from my dissertation committee and other members of the reading group.
Teaching Assistantship: These Languages Were Here First: A Look at the Indigenous Languages of California
I really enjoyed being the course development assistant for Sarah Ogilvie’s class “These Languages Were Here First: A Look at the Indigenous Languages of California”. It was my first time being a part of a Stanford Sophomore Seminar and I really enjoyed the small class size (15 students) and interactive teaching style. I helped arrange the visits of 10 experts on Californian indigenous history, culture, and language, which provided a variety of perspectives and important issues to discuss. I also helped arrange a class visit to UC Berkeley to visit the Californian language archives in the Bancroft library and the artifacts in the Hearst museum. I really enjoyed giving a guest lecture on my methods of Community-Based Fieldwork in Papua New Guinea, in contrast to the historical accounts of Californian fieldwork in the 20th century. I’ve attached these slides here.
This year, I was very happy to be assigned as the teaching assistant for LING-110, Introduction to Phonology, taught by Arto Anttila. This was a very fun class to teach - the students were incredibly engaged with the material. Even in the second week, so many students were attending my office hours that I had to turn them into a weekly session to not only review key points of the textbook (Introductory Phonology by Bruce Hayes) but to cover many exciting topics that didn’t fit into our two weekly class periods. I very happily taught two class lectures on stress and syllable weight. In these lectures, I tried out a new way of interacting with the class - I asked for anonymous feedback throughout the lecture that monitored comprehension and engagement, automatically populating a graph on the screen. Within seconds, I could determine how many students had done the reading or the homework, without any student having to publicly admit to being behind. This allowed me to tailor the lecture to the class. I also used this tool to gather data for discussion, for example students could submit topics to a live-updating word cloud for discussion in small groups. You can see these strategies in the lecture recording below.
Finished my first half ironman in 7 hours and 10 minutes! Came in two minutes early for the 1.2 mile swim, and three minutes early for the 56 mile bike! Amazingly that included my total wipe out at mile 30 and 30+ minutes in medical care. But I caught back up on the second half of the bike course and pushed through a very hot and hilly half marathon! Ended up with five stitches in my knee, a thumb splint and lots of road rash 😳 So surprised and happy to see my family so many times on the course! Feeling very loved and accomplished.
The Syntax of English was a really exciting class to TA. I assisted Vera Gribanova, which meant that the class was fast-paced, challenging, and covered a lot of material. One of my biggest take-aways from Vera's teaching style was how she trusted the class enough to let them build generative syntax theory by themselves. Every class was based on empirical English data, and when our model failed to capture new data (or predicted ungrammatical data), the class gave their own suggestions for how to change the model to better capture the English language. In the end, the class had derived standard X-bar theory and truly understood all the steps that led them there.
I taught a weekly, mandatory section, in which we went through practice problems, reviewed complex concepts, and played with some fun English sentences.
Strengthening the Ende Language Project with Sustainable Community Development
The Ende Language Project is a local initiative to write down and translate Ende, a language spoken in Western Province, Papua New Guinea. I was invited to join the team in 2015 to develop a writing system, begin a dictionary, and translate important texts. As a linguist, I brought my own questions and collected a wealth of information about one of the last undocumented languages. The trip was so successful that I am returning this summer to continue training the team and to gather data for my dissertation.
However, language does not exist in a vacuum and the community that speaks it struggles with daily survival. My previous trip addressed some needs, but the Community Engagement Grant would empower the Ende Language Project to combine our academic pursuits and community engagement in a life-saving, sustainable way. Lack of knowledge and means for proper handwashing puts the entire community in danger. For $4,000, the Ende Language Project can translate important hygiene information into Ende and set up six handwashing stations around the village. This initiative has been requested by the community, will involve local materials and workers to ensure sustainability, and has been shown to improve community health.
Expanding the Ende Oral Literature Collection
Dear George Appell and the Firebird Foundation Fellowship Committee,
I am excited to bring you more fantastic news regarding the Ende Oral Literature Collection, a project graciously funded by the Firebird Foundation in 2015. I have previously informed you about the overwhelming success of our 2015 trip in letters and with the materials that we sent to the Firebird Foundation Archive, also summarized below. The Ende people of Limol, Papua New Guinea were also very pleased with the project and have attached their signatures below in support of its continuation.
The present proposal seeks to expand last year’s goals, which were to record Ende traditional stories, establish an Ende orthography, and explore the range of Ende orature. This year, I’m bringing two more specialists to enhance my linguistic expertise. The first, Diana Johnson, is an illustrator, storyteller, nurse with Doctors Without Borders, experienced project coordinator, and an avid outdoorswoman, who plans to apply all her skills to writing and illustrating the first short books for the local elementary school and health post. Second, Elizabeth Conlan is a horticultural scientist with expertise in plant anatomy, physiology, and nutrition, international agriculture, and rural development. Her aim is to understand how storytelling and traditional knowledge can inform both our knowledge of the role of agricultural crops in the community and the natural sciences more broadly. Finally, I will be exploring a question of interest to my linguistics dissertation: does the act of writing down spoken language reveal a hyper-correct grammar? Ende is the perfect language for this study, as we can document the progression of the two diverging grammars (what can be said and what can be written), from the origins of writing itself.
Continued support from the Firebird Foundation ensures this project’s success and allows for a continuity of materials and focus. We foresee a long-term relationship with this community and we are grateful for your support.
Kate L. Lindsey
Diana L. Johnson
Preparing Future Professors (PFP) is a shadowing program that offers doctoral students the opportunity to experience faculty life first-hand at a comprehensive, teaching-focused university or a community college. Stanford students are paired with professors whom they shadow weekly. PFP broadens graduate students' perspectives on higher education and helps them compete for, and successfully teach in, jobs at undergraduate-focused institutions. This highly successful program is offering students one of two choices: an experience at San Jose State University or Foothill College, a community college in Los Altos Hills.
Throughout my academic career, I have had the opportunity to learn from some truly exceptional teachers. These intellectual heroes of mine incorporated three simple, profound elements in their teaching: (1) model success by having high expectations of your students, (2) model learning by taking risks in the classroom, and (3) model motivation by expressing general excitement in the subject and in the students.
I have used these principles in my teaching in the Linguistics department, where I study linguistic diversity and what it can tell us about human cognition. I’ve also applied them to my work as an Academic Skills Coach at Stanford’s Center for Teaching and Learning.
I am eager to join this program and learn from more teachers, as I know that teaching styles must adapt to be most effective for different types of student populations. I want to learn how I can develop and translate my skills to create safe spaces for growth and learning for as many students as possible.
Today, I enjoyed talking to the Fieldwork Forum about Word Order in Ende.
Title: Sentence structure in Ende: just what the linguist ordered?
Abstract: Ende is a Pahoturi language spoken in southern Papua New Guinea. Speakers of Ende generally smiled and laughed “Yes, that’s okay!” when I scrambled their words into various orders. Is there free word order in Ende or were my experts simply very agreeable? To explore this question, I set aside the elicitations and looked at three types of non-elicited data with varying formality (1) oral texts, (2) written texts, and (3) translated texts. Throughout the talk, we will discuss some challenges of eliciting syntactic judgments, methods for finding order in a handwritten corpus, and the pros and cons of working with elicited, oral, written and translated data.
Note: From 9:30-9:40, as we wait for everyone, I will play some video clips of daily life in a Papuan village.
I was very excited to be able to present my work on Sonority-Driven Stress in Chuvash at the Annual Meeting of Phonology in Vancouver! I saw some great talks; I particularly enjoyed Ellen Kaisse's plenary talk on postlexical processes and Arto Anttila's talk on meter across genres. I was also looking forward to meeting Shu-Hao Shih, who presented a poster titled "Sonority-driven stress does not exist." Now there's a poster title! It was fun discussing sonority in Gujarati with Shu-Hao, especially as it made my talk the next day a bit more interactive for the audience. All in all, a wonderful experience!
Three week exploration trip to Limol, Papua New Guinea!
Incredibly successful. Here are some of our outcomes:
Assessed phoneme inventory
Gathered three full sets of minimal pairs.
Revised orthography to distinguish all phonemes.
Rewrote, glossed and translated 18 short stories.
Audio-recorded (3), transcribed (2), glossed (1) and translated (1) sacred stories.
Collected and glossed ~2000 words (some also have Ende definitions and example sentences)
Audio-recorded, transcribed, glossed and translated MPI’s Staged Event Stimuli and Positional Verbs Stimuli.
Discussed modals, negation, weather verbs, dialectal variation, word order, comparatives.
Full verbal paradigms for six verbs (bite, hit, sleep, arrive, fall, say)
Collected 14 Pahoturi River Language Family surveys (121 tokens (26% of Yamfinder) 1 Agob, 3 Ende, 3 Kawam, 2 Idi, 2 Tame) Includes phrases and the Leipzig list of least borrowed words. (Next year I’ll use Yamfinder!)
Discussed and typed up entire Book of Mark in Ende.
Trained and tasked three volunteers to record and transcribe 30 stories each with Aikuma for collection next year.
Recorded 40 interviews with women (in Ende/English) about their lives, desires, problems, etc.
Mapped village buildings with GPS and conducted census at each house.
Collected nearly 1000 photos of daily life, plants and animals.
Video recorded harvesting sago, women fishing, welcome dances, women’s initiation ceremony.
Recorded five songs.
Visited four villages (Limol, Malam, Janur and Wim).
Delivered 150 bars of soap (three per family).
Administered first aid (and left supplies there).
Supplied gifts (cash and material) to men, women and schools.
Supplied phone owners with top-up flex cards.
Purchased necessary parts to repair the village truck.
Helped draft and collect signatures for seven letters on the following topics: language project, sago production, clean water, health care, solar lamps, transportation, and schools.
Kate Lynn Lindsey