A. Research Papers (Peer-Reviewed)

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    Voice And Pronominal Forms In Kayan (Uma Nyaving)
    ( 2024-05-01) Smith, Alexander D. ; Erlewine, Michael Yoshitaka ; Sommerlot, Carly J.
    We provide a description of the basic clausal syntax of the Kayan language of Borneo (Austronesian) as spoken in Uma Nyaving (Sarawak, Malaysia), with particular emphasis on the inventory of voice and pronominal forms and their interactions. We show that this variety of Kayan includes two distinct types of analytic passive constructions, an undergoer voice construction specifically encoding first or second person agent features, and a maximally four-way distinction between pronominal forms. We highlight similarities to voice and pronominal forms in related language varieties of the region, and also discuss the potential historical relationship between different passive marker forms. Uma Nyaving Kayan’s voice and pronominal system exemplifies a profile of grammatical features that have been described as “Central Bornean type.”
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    Iu Mien Tone Change in Real Time: A Restudy Of L-Thongkum (1988)
    ( 2024) Yang, Cathryn ; Engelkemeir, Jennifer ; Arisawa, T. Daniel
    This study investigates tone changes in Iu Mien, a Hmong-Mien language with two complex contour tones: high rising-falling (T3) and low rising-falling (T4). L-Thongkum (1988) observed younger speakers producing rising variants of T3 and T4, which she attributed to Thai contact. This study replicates L-Thongkum’s study 34 years later to observe tone changes in real time and examine the potential role of peak delay, a phonetic bias resulting in a later f0 peak. 40 speakers (ages 12-84) produced T3 and T4 monosyllables in isolation and in a carrier phrase. f0 was modeled using Generalized Additive Mixed Modeling (GAMM). Results confirm incremental change toward rising variants of T3 and T4. Older speakers showed peak delay (with more of a rising contour) under conditions of shorter duration and preceding low tone. Critically, younger speakers produced peak-delayed, rising variants in all conditions, indicating generalization of the rising contour. While language contact may have initiated the changes, a phonetic bias toward peak delay generated the seeds of potential change. The change from rising-falling > rising aligns with apparent-time studies in other Asian languages, suggesting this may be a crosslinguistically unidirectional pathway.
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    Chronology of Registrogenesis in Khmer: Analyses of Poetry and Inscriptions
    ( 2024) Maspong, Sireemas
    This study examines the phonological changes in Khmer, focusing on the loss of onset voicing, the emergence of register contrast, and the development of a bifurcated vowel system. By analyzing rhyme pairs from Khmer poetry (16th-19th centuries) and spelling variations in Khmer inscriptions (late 7th-mid-18th centuries), I propose a chronology of these changes. The results indicate that vowel mergers resulting from vowel bifurcation in the rhyme pairs appeared from the 17th century onwards. Additionally, spelling variations reflecting the loss of onset voicing and the vowel mergers were observed in inscriptions dating back to the late 16th century. These findings align with previous research, suggesting that both the loss of onset voicing and the vowel bifurcation occurred in the late 16th century. However, the relative chronology of these changes remains uncertain since evidence for both changes emerges around the same time.
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    The Phonological History of Tai Nüa: Implications from the Sino-Baiyi Manual of Translation
    ( 2024) Tangsiriwattanakul, Shinnakrit ; Buragohain. M.
    Although the phonological history of Tai Nüa can be roughly demonstrated through comparison of its modern dialects against their reconstructed ancestor, namely, Proto-Southwestern Tai, neither the chronology nor the pathway of the transformative sound changes can be established in detail with any certainty. This study demonstrates a more fine-grained understanding of both the chronology and pathway of the sound changes through the examination of the recently available Sino-Baiyi Manual of Translation, a Chinese-Tai Nüa section of bilingual glossary books produced for diplomatic use during the Ming Dynasty. By comparing the phonological inventory of Tai Nüa as attested in this manuscript against the pre-established list of all characterizing sound changes from Proto-Southwestern Tai to Modern Tai Nüa dialects, we chronologize all the sound changes into the pre-16th versus post-16th century changes. Employing the pre- & post-16th century changes as the demarcating criteria, we tentatively propose a tripartite chronological division of Tai Nüa into 1) Old Tai Nüa, 2) Early Modern Tai Nüa, and 3) Modern Tai Nüa dialects.
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    Classifiers and Definiteness in Longdu (Min Chinese)
    ( 2024-01-29) Sio, Joanna Ut-Seong
    This study examines a pair of classifiers in Longdu which show overt definiteness marking. In Longdu, the classifier pair nɛɪː¹¹ and ɑ⁵⁵ gives rise to an indefinite and a definite interpretation respectively. This pair of classifiers is compatible with nouns that denote discrete entities (e.g., apples) or homogeneous substances (e.g., water). The resulting [CLF - N] phrase expresses an accumulation of entities or substances with an underspecified number or amount. I call them ‘fuzzy’ classifiers, referring to the lack of precise quantity specification. The explicit definiteness marking in this pair of ‘fuzzy’ classifiers provides a valuable glimpse into the definiteness of classifiers when embedded in different kinds of nominal phrases. I present data showing that the indefinite and definite fuzzy classifiers in Longdu have different properties with respect to the licensing of NP-ellipsis, reduplication, and modification. Only the indefinite fuzzy classifier can license NP-ellipsis and reduplicate, while only the definite fuzzy classifier can appear in a [bare modifier - CLF - N] phrase. I will present evidence which suggests that the presence of two kinds of classifiers with definiteness contrast can be a phenomenon that spans over other Chinese varieties. All Longdu data presented here were gathered in my own fieldwork.