Working Papers in Linguistics - 2017

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    An Ergative Intervention in Heritage Samoan
    (University of Hawai'i at Mānoa Department of Linguistics, 2017-09-01) Muagututia, Grant
    Ergativity has been shown to be a fragile feature that is often disproportionately lacking in the grammar of heritage speakers (Dyribal, Schmidt 1985; Hindi, Montrul et al. 2012). The current paper presents two studies investigating morphological and syntactic ergativity in Samoan heritage language. The first study measured the rate at which heritage speakers produce ergativity, while the second probed the question of whether an increase in ergative features could be induced through carefully targeted intervention. The results revealed that although heritage speakers initially lacked key ergative features, following the intervention, a significant increase and extension in both morphological and syntactic ergative features was observed. These findings potentially carry important implications for not only linguistic theory (i.e., language development), but also language revitalization and maintenance (i.e., pedagogical methodology).
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    The Acquisition of Ergativity in Samoan
    (University of Hawai'i at Mānoa Department of Linguistics, 2017-09-01) Muagututia, Grant
    What little research there is on the acquisition of ergativity focuses on morphological ergativity (Ochs 1982; Bavin and Stoll 2013). This paper investigates the acquisition of ergativity in Samoan, which exhibits both morphological (case) and syntactic (relative clauses) ergativity. The results of two experiments (picture description; children, adolescents and adult controls) show that both morphological and syntactic ergativity is acquired rather late. Experiment 1 (case) revealed that children only produce the ergative case-marker 32% of the time. Remaining responses involved alternative strategies such as using an intransitive/control verb. Experiment 2 (relative clauses) revealed that in producing Object-relatives, children made errors 15% of the time, but produced the target form only 31% of the time. However, with (transitive) subject-relatives, accuracy exceeded 60%. Adolescents were adult-like in all respects. We conclude that morphological and syntactic ergativity is acquired by roughly age 8yrs.
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    Understanding Preview-Subject Clause Changes in Kamano Kafe
    (University of Hawai'i at Mānoa Department of Linguistics, 2017-08-01) Elliott, John
    Clause chaining, a phenomenon identified in Papuan languages as involving strings of medial verbs with limited inflection followed by a final verb with full inflectional possibilities, is as common as it is var.ied in the Papuan languages of New Guinea. This paper details aspects of the clause chaining system in Kamano Kafe, a language of the Eastern Highlands group, in which medial verbs not only show morpho.logical alternations for same vs. different subject between clauses in a clause chain – common in many clause chaining systems – but they also feature a paradigm of preview subject agreement (PSA) markers which inflect for person and number of the subject of a following clause in the clause chain. The interac.tion between TAM morphology and PSA is explored here in order to make claims about the syntactic struc.ture of clause chains in Kamano Kafe, primarily to argue for a subordination relationship of medial clauses to final verb clauses, and for the functional use of these syntactic structures in establishing
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    Kū Kia ‘I Manua: The Linguistic Landscape of the Mauna Kea Protectors Movement
    (University of Hawai'i at Mānoa Department of Linguistics, 2017-05-01) Lee, Catherine
    This paper describes the linguistic landscape of a single protest by the Mauna Kea Protectors’ movement against the proposed Thirty Meter Telescope project in Hawai.i on June 24, 2015. It focuses primarily on the written language of protest signs and clothing, which move through the landscape over time. Using geosemiotics and intertextual analysis, this paper shows how this linguistic landscape helped to create a place of resistance using polylanguaging practices that mix English, Pidgin (Hawai.i Creole), and Hawaiian. Communities of practice such as the Mauna Kea Protectors not only affect the discourse over land-use decisions, but also affect the visibility and prestige of indigenous languages.
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    Referential Choice in Korean-Speaking Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
    (University of Hawai'i at Mānoa Department of Linguistics, 2017-02-01) Lee, Yuri
    This study examines the referential choices in narratives by Korean-speaking children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and a well-matched typically developing control group in relation to discourse-pragmatic features. The arguments were coded for the categories of referential forms and accessibility features. The referential forms were coded as three types: (1) nominal forms, (2) pronominal forms, and (3) null forms. The accessibility features were coded as six types: (1) newness, (2) ambiguity, (3) absence, (4) animacy, (5) query, and (6) third person. The results reveal that both groups’ referential choices were highly influenced by accessibility features. However, a group difference was found in that the children with ASD showed overspecification and less ability to integrate various factors simultaneously, which implies atypical performance in pragmatics.