MALLT Colloquium

Spring 2009

Wednesday, April 29, 1:30pm

Yair Mazor, Hebrew Studies Program, Department of Foreign languages and Linguistics
Literary Theories and the Hebrew Bible. Excavating the Hebrew Bible's Aesthetic Secrets
Curtin Hall, Room 839

This presentation aims to introduce my part in a forthcoming co-taught MALLT seminar (Spring of '09/'10). The seminar will be about literary theories and their application to both the Hebrew Bible (The Old Testament) and the Christian Bible (The New Testament). The part on the New Testament will be taught by Professor Demetrius Williams.

This colloquium will focus on applying literary theories to selected texts from the book of Genesis. I will display some of the aesthetic functions and analytical tools of literary interpretation which stem from the dynamic, sequential nature of literary text. Upon introducing the literary theories, I will succinctly relate them to the dynamics of the literary text since it is the very bedrock of the literary theories in particular and of any text in general. The dynamics of the literary text will be first demonstrated on three "run-on lines" and a Hebrew children's poem. Subsequently, the literary theories will be applied to a sample of texts from the Hebrew Bible.

Wednesday, April 15, 1:30pm

Petra Eccarius, Purdue University
Recognizing the differences within: an examination of handshape distributions within American Sign Language
Enderis Hall, Room 127

When analyzing a spoken language, it is unwise to assume that sounds behave or are distributed consistently across the entire language; this is because social and historical factors influence language change unevenly across different types of words. In sign languages, distributional differences are also found between words with varying backgrounds (e.g. 'core' words, fingerspelled borrowings, classifiers). This presentation will examine some of the distributional differences for handshape across the ASL lexicon, focusing on which handshape features (e.g. joint positions, finger combinations) are used in various kinds of signs.

Wednesday, April 8, 1:30pm

Garry W. Davis, Department of Languages, Linguistics, and Translation
The "Chinese" of the Rhine, or how a few Dutch and German dialects developed tone (kinda)
Curtin Hall, Room 893

Many languages use tone (differing levels of pitch) to distinguish lexical or grammatical meaning. In languages such as Chinese or Thai, for example, each syllable of a word can carry its own tone. Many dialects of the Rhine valley originally made use of tone accent (also called pitch accent) in which there is a maximum of one tone per word, which is associated only with its stressed syllable. This talk will describe both sorts of tone systems and discuss theories of how they may have originated (a process sometimes referred to as tonogenesis).

Friday, February 27, 12:30pm

Erin Ament, Department of Languages, Linguistics, and Translation
What is a "Nailkey"?
Curtin Hall, Room 368

This talk investigates the claim that children and adults process speech in the essentially same manner. For example, when the phrase nail~key is said as a compound word, do listeners respond as if they heard a new compound (nailkey) or as if they heard two familiar words (nail and key) said in a odd manner? The results show that adults and children respond differently to this questions, but that their answers are related in intriguing ways.

Fall 2008

Friday, November 21, 12:30pm

Elena Mihas, Department of English
Applicative -ako in Kampan (Arawak) languages of Peru
Curtin Hall, Room 368

Prototypical applicatives are derivational processes within the verbal morphology that add a peripheral participant e.g. a semantic recipient, goal, stimulus, location, source, associate to the set of core arguments. One of the most notable features of the typological profile of Kampan (Arawak) languages of Peru is the presence of elaborate applicative systems which include polyfunctional or generalized applicative markers referring to multiple thematic participants. The present study is concerned with the generalized applicative -ako 'with reference to' whose meaning and syntactic status have remained problematic in Kampanist literature. The talk will address the following issues:

  1. What are the functions of ako-applicatives in semantic terms?
  2. What are the effects of the ako-applicative on the argument structure of the applied verbs?
  3. In which contexts are the uses of ako-applicatives non-canonical?

The data for this paper mainly come from the collections of texts and research materials published by SIL linguists.

Wednesday, November 19, 1:30pm

César Ferreira, Department of Spanish and Portuguese
Author and Self in Mario Vargas Llosa and Gabriel García Márquez
Curtin Hall, Room 839

This talk will examine the private and public figure of two canonical contemporary Latin American writers through their autobiographical writings.

Friday, October 17, 12:30pm

Hyowon Song, Department of Languages, Linguistics, and Translation
Korean speech patterns in the U.S.
Curtin Hall, Room 368

Do you know how many languages are spoken in the USA? More than 230! Korean is one of them. In this paper I will discuss speech patterns of Korean speakers living in the U.S. We will see that U.S.-Korean exhibits code-switching; i.e., the alternating use of two or more languages in the same conversation. I will further show that the amount of code-switching differs between the generations of speakers and even within single generations depending on social and other environmental conditions.

Wednesday, October 15, 1:30pm

Yanmei Jiang, Department of English
Anger, Teaching, amd Learning: Reflections on the possibility of using anger as a pedagody of discomfort in the classroom
Curtin Hall, Room 839

Black Feminist writer Audre Lorde writes: "When there is no connection at all between people, then anger is a way of bringing them closer together, of making contact." In this presentation, I will discuss the possibility of creating a multi-perspective classroom through the use of anger as a pedagogical tool. I will first examine my experience of growing up as a teenager in China when I had to work through my anger caused by the discrepancy between the inculcation of the official doctrines and an increasing awareness of alternative perspectives. Then I will examine an emotionally charged scene in a freshman composition class at UWM and analyze the different expressions of anger in the classroom. Finally, I will discuss what I could have done to unite the class through the transformative power of anger, rather than turning it into a divisive force that hinders learning and understanding.