buckeye language network
Buckeye Language Network Symposium 2023
Friday, March 31st, 2023, 9am – 12:45pm
Oxley Hall 103
9 – 9:15am Welcome
9:15 – 9:45am Invited Talk by Prerna Nadathur (OSU, Linguistics): Talking about causation: cause, make, and causal intentions
9:45 – 10:15am Invited Talk by Maike Rocker (OSU, Germanic Languages and Literatures): Morphosyntactic change on fast forward: observations from German contact varieties
Abstracts for the talks below
10:45 – 12:15 Graduate Student Poster Session
12:15 – 12:30-ish Break (Poster Judging)
12:30 – 12:45pm BLN News and Prizes awarded
Shuaichen Chang: Dr. Spider: A Diagnostic Evaluation Benchmark towards Text-to-SQL Robustness
Sara Court, Andrea Sims & Micha Elsner: Analogy in Contact: Modeling Maltese Plural Inflection
Courtney C. Jewell, Victoria Diedrichs, Rebecca Hunting Pompon & Stacy M. Harnish: Exploring Resilience and Naming Treatment Outcomes in People With Aphasia
Ellie Kaiser: Phonetics of Coda Liquids in Western Cuban Spanish
Holly C. Lind-Combs: Age-related differences in visual social attention: Results from a pilot study
Jory Ross & Cynthia G. Clopper: Limited attention shifts judgments in socioindexical perception
Jessica Timog, Victoria Diedrichs, David Osher & Stacy Harnish: Lesion-Symptom Mapping of Semantics and Phonology in People with Aphasia
Jinwei Ye: An Error Analysis of L2 Cantonese Learners’ Speech Production
Yuhong Zhu: Evaluating the lack of tones with computational tools: variable f0 realization of toneless moras in Suzhou Chinese
Talking about causation: cause, make, and causal intentions
Prerna Nadathur (joint work with Sven Lauer)
Natural languages typically have a range of expressions which describe causal relationships, such as the English periphrastic causatives in (1)-(4):
- Stravinsky causedthe audience to riot.
- Stravinsky madethe audience riot.
- Stravinsky letthe audience riot.
- Stravinsky gotthe audience to riot.
On classical analysis, these verbs uniformly refer to a single core causal dependence relation (e.g., CAUSE; Dowty 1979), which makes their interpretive variation–that is, the intuition that (1)-(4) appropriately describe different situations—difficult to explain.
I propose that natural languages causatives do not make reference to a single dependency type, but instead draw on an inventory of contrastive causal relationships. To illustrate this claim, I focus on cause and make: I point out several differences in their inferential profiles, and argue that these can be predicted if cause predicates a relation of causal necessity between cause and effect, while make asserts causal sufficiency. I formalize these notions as distinct structural configurations in a (language-independent) network model of causal relationships, and discuss how they interact with context-dependent considerations such as causal participants’ agency and/or intentions, explaining for instance the inference of coercion that arises from use of a make causative in cases where the stated effect describes a volitional action.
Morphosyntactic change on fast forward: observations from German contact varieties
The study of language variation and its potential influences on language change has been a fruitful field within linguistics, but has so far mostly focused on majority society languages with large speaker groups, such as English (Labov 1990). In this presentation, we will consider the language change processes of two minority Germanic languages in the USA, namely verb-third structures Iowa Low German (LG) and am-progressive usage in Pennsylvania Dutch (PD) as spoken in Ohio.
The community in Iowa was founded in the 1850s, and was originally diglossic: High German was used in media, church, and education, whereas Low German was used in spoken domains as the community language. With sociocultural changes in the early 20th century (new technology, urbanization), the community shifted first to English in the High German domains but retained Low German in the spoken sphere. However, by the 21st century, only a small group of speakers remains, who were born between 1928 and 1950. By analyzing spoken data, it was found that the use of canonical verb-second structures has been extended to allow for verb-third structures after sentence-initial adverbs (dann, mien moder was up ‘then my mother was awake’) (Rocker 2022). Interestingly, the use of these structures has increased considerably between 1998 and 2018, due to a rapid generational language change. Thus, while this form is not grammaticalized in the group, it provides evidence for how quickly uncanonical structures can spread within small communities.
Pennsylvania Dutch developed as a koine of different German dialects with considerable influences from Palatine and Alemannic in the 18th century. Nowadays, it is mainly spoken by Anabaptist groups who form religious communities and often forego modern technology. Nonetheless, they use English as their language of education and hold business relations with their English-speaking neighbors. Thus, the community is both diglossic and bilingual. The use of the “am-progressive” to mark ongoing or durative events, which is inherited from the German source languages, has been described since the 1940s (Reed 1947). However, at that time, the structure was considered restricted in its use and extremely rare. Within eighty years, the use of this structure was expanded to allow additional constituents between the progressive marker and the infinite verb and to all tenses, to passive voice, and has become mandatory to express progressivity (Louden 2020). With this grammaticalization came a phonetic reduction of the ‘am’ marker, which is now often expressed as /m/, /n/ or sometimes even omitted. In comparison, what took several centuries in English was done within less than one in PD.
By exploring the generational changes of verb-third usage in LG and the grammaticalization of the progressive in PD, I will argue that contact languages may show language change much faster than majority languages. Although these communities may be moribund or differ significantly from the majority society in terms of their sociocultural habits, they may shed light on grammatical structures which may exist only in terms of linguistic variation or whose grammaticalization process may still be ongoing in majority languages.
Labov, William. 1990. “The Intersection of Sex and Social Class in the Course of Linguistic Change.” Language Variation and Change 2:205–54.
Louden, Mark 2020. ‘The English ‘Infusion’ in Pennsylvania German.’ in Raymond Hickey (ed.), English in the German-Speaking World (Cambridge University Press: Cambridge).
Reed, Carroll E. 1947. ‘The Question of Aspect in Pennsylvania German’, Germanic Review, 22: 5-12.
Rocker, Maike H. 2022. “Variation in Finite Verb Placement in Heritage Iowa Low German: The Role of Prosodic Integration and Information Structure.” PhD dissertation, The Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA.
These events were funded in whole or in part with funds from the Arts and Sciences Study of Language Variation grant awarded to the BLN.
- 9th Annual BLN Symposium, April 1st 2022, 12-2:30pm: a local conference including presentations by graduate and undergraduate researchers. John Ross won the graduate poster competition and Kate Kinnaird the undergraduate competition; both received $150 prizes.
- Lisa Green, “African American English in America”
- Kathryn Davidson, “Combining continuous and discrete components in speech, sign, and gesture”
- BLN Spring Symposium (2019) featuring Irina Castellanos (Otolaryngology) and Christa Teston (English).
Interested in following up on Christa’s talk? Try this!
- Lego Grad Student
Domenica Romagno, “The representation of linguistic categories in the brain: between grammatical distinctions and semantic properties”
Sudha Arunachalam, “How Toddlers Acquire Words that Denote Events”
- Screening of Talking Black in America with the BLN Student Association
David Beaver, The University of Texas at Austin:“Realsemantik: finding meaning in a non-ideal world”
- 30th North American Conference on Chinese Linguistics (NACCL-30)
- Second Language Research Forum 2017: Growing Connections in SLR
- 22nd Mid-Contenental Phonetics & Phonology Conference (MidPhon22)
- OSU Congress on Hispanic and Lusophone Linguistics (OSUCHiLL)
- Current Issues and Methods in Speaker Adaptation
- Workshop on Reference
- The Ohio Speaks Project Workshop
- Buckeye Language Network Symposium
- How to Conduct Language Science Research at COSI
- Buckeye Language Network Labs in Life Grand Opening
- Innovations in Cantonese Linguistics
- Understanding Language Problems in the Elderly
- Everything You Wanted to Know about Getting a Job Outside of an R01 University, But Were Afraid to Ask