Abstract: To what extent can the results of variation studies in large-scale speech communities be extended to small-scale speech communities? Many sociolinguistic differences would lead us to reject the "uniformitarian principle" that allows us to extrapolate across space and time (Labov 1972), for example: rates of linguistic change, rates and types of multilingualism, and conditions of language acquisition are all different between WEIRD and small-scale societies like in southern New Guinea. In this talk, I will discuss how I planned, collected, analyzed, and interpreted a sociolinguistically annotated corpus of Ende, a Pahoturi River language of southern New Guinea, taking into account the unique characteristics of this community. Together, we can discuss the advantages and difficulties for engaging in this type of research in small-scale speech communities.
Phonological Variation and Gradient Representation
This Friday, I would like to discuss two topics with the P-interest group. For the first half of our meeting, I will discuss a phonological variable relevant to my dissertation: verb-final /n/-realization in Ende. I will discuss my methods and preliminary findings. Then, I will present a recent paper (Smolensky & Goldrick 2016) on the use of Gradient Symbolic Representations (GSR) to model French liaison consonant realization. The big take-away from this paper is that a symbol in the input can be gradient in its degree of presence in the input (i.e., partially present), such that it incurs a partial violation of Dep to be realized and a partial violation of Max to not be realized. My hope is that we can discuss the advantages and disadvantages of introducing gradience in the input of phonological grammars in order to account for idiosyncratic patterns in languages like French and Ende.
Giving native speakers a voice improves linguistic data collection. In this talk, Kate Lindsey will detail the ways in which actively engaging native speakers in the linguistic exploration of the Ende language resulted in better research outcomes for her doctoral work on phonological variation in the Ende verb. This half-hour presentation will be followed by the screening of a short film, which is the culmination of collaboration between Ende community members, who directed and narrated the auto-documentary, and Lindsey, who provided technical training during an eight-week class.
The movie shows life as it was in southern Papua New Guinea before Christianity and how it all changed when two missionaries came from up river, and sent two Ende couples to bible school in the late 50s. They returned three years later as the first Ende pastors. The movie talks about the hardships they faced and how the arrival of Christianity came with the arrival of clothes, medicine, air strips, and schools. Ende Tän e Indrang is a unique ethnographic document as it details the cultural conversion of a little-known tribe from their own perspective.
Film: Ende Tän e Indrang ‘Light into Ende Tribe’. Papua New Guinea, 30 mins. In Ende language with English subtitles.
BY ALEX KEKAUOHA
Three years ago, linguistics PhD student Kate Lindsey was looking for new research projects when an advisor told her about a small tribe in Papua New Guinea that was seeking help preserving their language, called Ende. The tribe invited Lindsey to stay with them and create a dictionary and grammar, as well as translate various texts from English. Deciding that this field research could be developed for her dissertation, Lindsey set out a year ago for the tiny village, called Limol, 7,000 miles away.
Full Article here.
Talk: Parallel variation in two speech communities: a comparison of final /n/ elision in Idi and Ende.
An end. A beginning.
I’m settled in at Kwale and Aruwa’s house. Our second home in Upiara. The run up to this departure was so exaggeratingly slow, that I’m surprised at how fast the past two days have felt.
Tuesday was my last work day in Limol, and consequently everyone who had ignored my requests for language help in the last two weeks came at the same time to help. I was able to get a few good recordings in and I also recorded some tutorials in Ende for how to use the camera and video cameras. Otherwise I spent the day organizing the corpus for leaving here and finishing some last minute transcriptions.
I spent all day Wednesday packing, giving things away to friends, and organizing what I’m leaving for Catherine as clearly as possible. The men all went hunting and the women went for fish. I went with Wagiba our dog Maya for sago and got my 18th run in a row! Wagiba said some really nice things to me, like how nice my Ende has gotten and how I’m everyone’s daughter in the village. We had a really nice feast. Quite a few people gave thank you speeches which felt good. At least seven mothers brought me a plate of food! Though I had more work to do on the computer, I decided to have one last showing of the Ende movie and Moana for everyone. People really liked it.
This morning was filled with last minute packing, pictures, and goodbyes. It was sadder than usual since I’m not sure when I’ll come back next. Everyone kept telling me all the old people will die while I’m gone, which, obviously, added to the sadness. But it actually felt quite rushed, I walked out of the village and it was hard to tell if my backpack was more full with my few possessions or leaves and flowers slipped in by my friends.
Now I’m in Upiara after an uneventful but very slow canoe ride in the hot sun. I sweated in two layers, a rain coat, and an umbrella but I think I avoided sunburn. I am looking forward to this trip to Daru, as I’m taking Wagiba with me on the plane and I know she will help me get what I need to get done done. Besides the usual shopping for Limol, my top priority is to get some recordings of an Agob speaker - Agob is the last language we need for a full survey of the Pahoturi River language family. I also hope to get a lot of transcribing done and to watch the World Cup final, but that depends on how many people come to visit and the TV channel selection at Tobest. Fingers crossed!
While this is an end to something big - my year here ‘down under’ - I also see it as the beginning of the last year of my PhD, which I am really, really excited to begin. This year will be all about writing, publishing, presenting, applying for jobs, and networking. I’ve got quite a few papers and talks lined up, and I’m excited just to do my best and talk about my work - which is something I still love! Many people experience getting burnt out from their dissertation, so perhaps I’m lucky that I had even more frustrating things to get burnt out on that my relationship with my thesis is still in tact :) hope it lasts through the year!
For now my mind is all on Australia. A few papers, presentations, meetings, and even a movie premiere are all scheduled for the next two weeks. I’m also starting my writing bootcamp, which is four hours of writing every morning, which I hope to keep up throughout the year! Penny is also taking me out for a birthday dinner (!) and Andrey has booked me a day at the spa (!) so I’m looking forward to getting nice and pampered too.
I am overcome with gratitude - the Ende Language Project has been awarded the generous Firebird Fellowship for the fourth year in a row! This year’s project: Passing On Knowledge - a seven week technology workshop training youth in Limol how to use video cameras and computers to make short films about their grandparents and ancestors. We wouldn’t have been funded if not for the amazing work done first by Grace, Diana, Elizabeth, Catherine, Gwynn, and Lauren. Cheers to you all and may this project open up doors to knowledge and opportunity for everyone in Limol.
All smiles after 10 weeks of language work! I had intended on staying in Limol through June but I had some computer troubles and made the decision to come out to Canberra for a month and stay in through July instead. The fieldtrip was another wild success. Although I was alone this trip, I was still able to double the size of the spoken corpus by conducting 62 sociolinguistic interviews. I made a lot of progress on the grammar and phonology and trained Warama and Tonny how to transcribe with the computer.
Third version of the Ende dictionary printed and bound today! More names and faces on this year’s cover and most importantly way more words inside!
Talk: Diachronic typology meets contact typology - a regional case study from Southern New Guinea (ALT 12)
What an exciting talk to give with Nick Evans, Dineke Schokkin, Eri Kashima, Mark Ellison, Kyla Quinn, and Jeff Siegel! Together, we presented some discussions on the following questions: Do different levels of linguistic structure change at different rates? and Are those levels affected differently in language contact? Nick introduced a new word vergence to talk about convergence, divergence, and nonvergence among the languages in Southern New Guinea. We presented and compared phonemic, lexical, kinship, and morphological data across the region. As you can see in the photo above - it was a popular talk!
Spent a blissful few days on the south coast with Nick, Penny, and the happiest dog Pepper. Plenty of beach walks and December ocean swims! Feeling refreshed and happy.
With the generous help from people who contributed to my Light for Limol campaign, the Ende Language Team was able to bring in 120 solar lanterns and 2 water rollers for Limol! We will be bringing more in on future trips, but for now enjoy this photo of all the mothers in Limol with their new solar lanterns. Feeling very grateful to be a part of something that means so much to the people of Limol.
Another enormously successful field trip to Limol in the books. I learned so much, not just about the language, but about what it means to be kind, generous, and selfless, Ende qualities that abound in KT village. This picture is of me and "the boys" who make this crazy dictionary/grammar/corpus thing happen! Jeff, Joshua, Warama, Tonny, and Jerry far right. Couldn't do what I do without their hard work and awesome attitudes!
This year on my birthday, I was able to be in the beautiful city of Paris, at the lovely Australian and Papuan Languages and Linguistics conference talking about my favorite subject: Pahoturi River languages.
The talk covered some general facts about Pahoturi River languages, including a literature review, a map where the languages are spoken, etc., and presents summaries from the 2015 Pahoturi River family survey and the 2016 Yamfinder Lexical Database survey. I present some preliminary summaries of the Pahoturi River phoneme inventory, pronouns, lexicon, case, and verbal morphology.
The talk seemed well received and I was happy to get the albeit preliminary data out into the open, hopefully inspiring some more linguists to come look at Pahoturi River!
[03/2018 UPDATE: After six more months in the field - this talk is outdated! Email me before citing anything in this talk for more reliable data.]
I am happy to announce that I will be moving to DC for the summer on an invited visiting scholarship at my alma mater, American University. I will be hosted by the Department of World Languages and Cultures. I'm so grateful to my undergraduate advisor Professor Naomi Baron for making this happen.
While at AU, I will be preparing for this year's fieldtrip back to Limol and beginning to write my dissertation.
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.
Kate Lynn Lindsey