Category Archives: Linguistics

Aspects of Yaghnobi Grammar – Thesis Finished! « The Yaghnobi

In December of last year I submitted my MA thesis, Aspects of Yaghnobi Grammar to the graduate school of the University of Oregon and it has been accepted. You can read or download it here: Aspects of Yaghnobi Grammar – Thesis Finished!

Formatting LSA Style Linguistic Data Citations in Microsoft Word

Academic papers in the field of linguistics are often written folowing LSA style, which is the style used in Language, the journal of the Language Society of America. One of the aspects of style that is fairly unique to linguistics writing is the way linguistic data is presented. The following quatation is from the Language style sheet:

a. Type each numbered item on a separate indented line with the number in parentheses; indent after the number; use lowercase letters to group sets of related items:

(2)  a.  Down the hill rolled the baby carriage.
      b.  Out of the house strolled my mother’s best friend.

b. In the text, refer to numbered items as 2, 2a, 2a,b, 2(a- c).

The Problem

One of the problems I run into when writing long papers, is keeping the numbered examples synchronized with my references to them in the text of the paper. If I add an example, remove an example, or change their order, then I have to go through the whole paper and update the references.

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Language Documentation & Conservation – Online Journal « Living Languages

A new free, peer-reviewed linguistics journal was announced in this post on Living Languages:

The e-journal Language Documentation & Conservation (LD&C) was launched last month by the University of Hawai‘i Press to journal endangered language issues.

New Book: What Counts as Evidence in Linguistics?

I just read an announcement for a new book: What Counts as Evidence in Linguistics Edited by Martina Penke and Anette Rosenbach, and published this year by John Benjamins.  According to the description of the book on the LingusitList, this book focuses on the innateness debate and shows how formal and functional approaches to linguistics have different perspectives on linguistic evidence. The three guiding questions for this volume are: What type of evidence can be used for innateness claims (or UG)?; What is the content of such innate features (or UG)?; and, How can UG be used as a theory guiding empirical research?

This book will be on my list of books to read after I finish my MA Thesis.

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2nd Annual Endangered Language Programme Workshop

The NWO (Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research) Endangered Language Research Programme (ELP) will hold its 2nd International Workshop September 7, 2007,  at the University of Amsterdam. The theme of the workshop is Language Description and Linguistic Typology. The  keynote speakers will be Dr Peter Austin (SOAS, London), and Dr Claire Moyse-Faurie (CNRS-LACITO, Paris). Read more at:  NWO – Invitation to the 2nd International ELP Workshop, September 7, 2007 .

Overview of Yaghnobi grammar « The Yaghnobi

I posted a copy of my handout on Yaghnobi grammar on The Yaghnobi blog. Read it here: Overview of Yaghnobi grammar « The Yaghnobi

Language Documentation Courses in Oregon

The University of Oregon Department of Linguistics and the Northwest Indian Language Institute (NILI) announce the 2007 session in Language Documentation June 25 – July 20 2007, Eugene, Oregon

As documenting languages takes on greater importance, there is a growing need for well-trained fieldworkers who are prepared to collaborate with community members. There are few places where students can gain practical, hands-on experience. The UO Linguistics Department focuses on lesser-known languages and empirical work. NILI has a ten-year history of working with tribes, communities and endangered languages. We look forward to having you join us! Continue reading

UNESCO World Language Documentation Centre Opens

On May 9th, UNESCO officially launched the World Language Documentation Centre.  While the WLDC has a mission broadly defined as “championing linguistic research and facilitating the needs of linguistic communities”, they initially seem to be focused primarily on promoting multilingualism in cyberspace. The OmegaWiki  is an example of the type of initiative in which they are currently involved. The prime sponsor of the WLDC is GeoLang (the successor to Linguishphere) who is the registration authority for the ISO 639-6 database. (The ISO 639-6 standard is a system for identifying not only languages, but also variants within each language.) Continue reading

Notes on Functional Linguistics

I mentioned in a previous post that the department of linguistics at the University of Oregon, where I study, is a “bastion of functional linguistics”. So, what is functional linguistics?

Those who call themselves “Functional Linguists” differ on many aspects of linguistic theory, but the one central principle they all share is the answer to the question “What constitutes a satisfactory explanation for the observable facts about language?”Functional explanations are based on communicative function. Languages around the world are in some ways very similar and in other ways radically different because they have been shaped by differing social, and historical processes, but for the one universal purpose of communication based on human cognition. This is in contrast to a formalist explanation that seeks to explain observable (surface) facts about language in terms of a deeper (underlying) level of language. Continue reading

Universal Grammar Ghosts « The Language Realm

The Language Realm blog reports:

A new chapter in the debate about Chomsky’s theory of universal grammar has opened up with real excitement. So even if you’re not into hard-core linguistics and have only heard of UG, read on. It’s worth it.

The story starts with field research nicely summarized on Physorg. The key point is that Daniel L. Everett, a linguist at Illinois State University, claims that the language Pirahã lacks certain fundamental features that UG predicts and requires.

Read it here:  The Language Realm Blog Universal Grammar Ghosts «
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