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lun. 26/03/2018 Réunion Interne
Conseil de laboratoire

ven. 30/03/2018 Séminaire DTT - Atelier Morphosyntaxe - Extension de la transitivité
ISH, salle Léger

Sylvia Tufvesson (MPI Nijmegen): The role of transitivity in syntactic alignment in Semai (Austroasiatic, Malaysia) Short abstract: This talk will address the role of transitivity in syntactic alignment in Semai, an Austroasiatic language of Peninsular Malaysia. I will examine the importance, or non-importance, of transitivity in case marking of the clausal subject. Current data and analysis suggest an alignment pattern split between ergative and active. In addition to a potential split in alignment, Semai makes a fundamental distinction between active events (processes) versus inactive events (states and completed events). This split strongly resembles a division between situation types/aspect. The relation between a split in alignment and that between situation types will also be examined.

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ven. 06/04/2018 Séminaire DTT - Conférences (dry run)
Natalia Eraso (DDL)
Magdalena Lemus (DDL)
ISH - Salle Ennat Léger

Natalia Eraso, L’épenthèse syllabique sur les racines verbales en tanimuka
L’objectif de cette communication est de présenter un phénomène non répertorié dans les langues tucano de l’Amazonie colombienne, à savoir, l’apparition d’une syllabe épenthétique qui permet de supporter le deuxième ton (ton flottant) d’une mélodie tonale. Cette syllabe est rattachée aux racines verbales monosyllabiques et à certains morphèmes monosyllabiques. Dans cette présentation, on examinera de l’épenthèse syllabique sur les racines verbales.
La langue en question est le tanimuka, de la famille tucano oriental, parlée par les groupes tanimuka et letuama, dans les départements de Amazonas y Vaupés, en Colombie.

Deux tons ponctuels, Haut (H) et Bas (L) forment trois mélodies tonales qui se superposent sur les racines verbales. Trois éléments permettent de reconnaitre si une racine verbale est monosyllabique : l’apparition de la syllabe épenthétique, une manifestation différente de la nasalité et une différente réalisation de l’impératif. Ces manifestations regroupent la conjugaison verbale de la langue en deux classes différentes.

Magdalena Lemus, Verbal prosody in Yukuna
The goal of this paper is to offer a detailed account of verbal prosody in Yukuna (North-Amazonian Arawak). Arawak languages show a great diversity with regards to their prosodic systems (Wetzels and Meira 2010). Languages from the North-Amazonian branch are often described as having a “pitch-accent” system (Aikhenvald 2003), namely, a system in which “…pitch is the primary correlate of prominence and there are significant constraints on the pitch patterns for words...” (Bybee, Chakraborti, and Scheibman 1998, 277). This description also applies to Yukuna. However, previous studies (Schauer and Schauer 1972; Lemus Serrano 2016) had failed to grasp the role of pitch in the prosody of the language, and proposed an analysis in terms of a stress system. Robayo (2016) was the first to point out the tonal aspects of the language, but his study was based on a small fraction of the paradigm of verbal roots.

This paper aims at providing an in-depth description of the word-level prosody of the language, on the basis of a first-hand corpus of approximately 60 paradigms of verbal roots, each including about 30 different forms. Each target word was recorded three times, in non-final position within a frame sentence. The recordings were made with one female speaker, using a Zoom H4N and a Shure Beta 53 Omnidirectional Condenser Headworn Microphone.

The major findings revealed by this data are that: a. Surface tonal patterns are made up of four different tones: L, M, H, HL (falling); b. There is at least one H peak within the word (*#LL#), each peak possibly containing several adjacent H moras; c. L tone is not obligatory, as there can be words with only H (#HH#); d. Once the pitch drops, it can rise again, but always below the height of the preceding H peak; e. The position of H peaks is largely unpredictable and variable, as a single verbal root can display several surface tonal patterns throughout its paradigm; f. According to the tonal variations they display, roots can be grouped together in five distinct lexical classes; and lastly, g. The surface realization of most affixes depends on the lexical class of the root they attach to. Each claim will be illustrated with support from both sound files and spectrograms.
After describing the detail of the surface tonal patterns attested, we will conclude by discussing the possible analyses of Yukuna’s underlying prosodic system, and by comparing the features of this system to the tonal and the stress prototypes, following Hyman (2009). In doing so, this paper will contribute to the general knowledge on the typology of word-prosodic systems in the Arawak family, and more generally, in Amazonian languages.


ven. 06/04/2018 Séminaire DTT - Atelier Morphosyntaxe - Extension de la transitivité
ISH, salle Léger

Natalia Aralova & Brigitte Pakendorf (DDL) : " The causal/non-causal alternation in Negidal (North Tungusic)" Negidal offers several strategies for opposing causal and non-causal events. Most important are several transitivizing and detransitivizing morphemes, but other strategies, such as suppletion, ambitransitivity and equipolence occur as well. In our presentation we will show how these strategies function, using the twenty verb meaning list proposed by Denis Cressels (AMS, 26.01.18). Moreover, special attention will be paid to a polysemantic morpheme functioning both as a transitivizer and detransitivizer (which in the latter function sometimes carries the meaning of an adversative passive). We will investigate its relation to the medio-passive, on the one hand, and the causative, on the other hand. Where possible, we will draw parallels to the other North Tungusic languages, Even and Evenki.

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mer. 11/04/2018 Atelier "Histoire et Ecologie des Langues" - Anna Ghimenton: Aspects sociolinguistiques et démographiques depuis l'union de l'Italie
ISH-Andre Frossard

L’Italie est un pays relativement récent, son unification datant, en effet, de 1861 (De Mauro, 1976). L’unité politique ne correspond pas à une unité linguistique, car de nombreuses langues sont parlées dans le pays et représentent des entités politiques et culturelles historiquement ancrées dans le territoire. C’est dans un arrière-plan sociolinguistique plurilingue qu’ont eu lieu les premiers recensements de la population italienne. Nous remarquons que les recensements entre 1861 et 1921 ne contiennent pas d’informations détaillées sur les langues « régionales » mais plutôt sur l’italien et les langues « étrangères » parlées sur le territoire comme le français, le serbe, l’allemand etc. Ensuite, les recensements contenant des informations linguistiques ont été interdits dans la période fasciste. C’est à partir des années 1970, que les usages des langues étrangères et des langues régionales font à nouveau l’objet des recensements. Dans cette présentation, je montre comment les informations linguistiques dans les recensements ont changées au fur et à mesure des années, en particulier vers la prise en compte en détail des usages déclarés des langues régionales. Je me centrerai sur les recensements disponibles depuis les quarante dernières années afin d’illustrer les évolutions des répertoires plurilingues sur le territoire italien.

Références :
De Mauro, T. (1976). Storia linguistica dell’Italia unita (5ème éd.). Bari-Roma: Laterza.

jeu. 12/04/2018 Séminaire DTT: Helder Perri Ferreira Direction, location and associated motion in the Yanomama verbal morphology
ISH, Salle Jeanine Sontag

lun. 16/04/2018 Séminaire DTT -- Towards the typology of Verbal Compounds (provisional title)
Alexey Vinyar (ASLAN visitor, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow)
ISH - salle Ennat Léger

In this talk, I would like to discuss my ongoing research of verbal compounds (VC further). VC is a construction, where two or more verbal elements are combined in a single wordform. VCs are frequently considered as one-word serial verb constructions (SVCs, see [Aikhenvald & Dixon 2006], [Durie 1997], [Matissen 2004]). However, as opposed to serial verb construction, the phenomenon of verb compounding has not received much typological attention by itself. My talk is devoted to two issues. The first one is methodological. Although [Aikhenvald & Dixon 2006], [Haspelmath 2015] and other studies develop a framework which can be used to classify VCs as well as SVCs, not all notions used in this framework are clearly defined and universally applicable (see [Enfield 2009]). Hence, I will discuss several comparative concepts which I use to deal with problematic notions like ‘word’, ‘same verb’, ‘asymmetric SVC’. The second issue is conceptual. I will apply the developed concepts to a small sample (~25 languages) and discuss some preliminary generalizations about the composition of argument structure and ordering of elements in VC. I will show that the generalizations made by previous researchers for SVCs hold for some VCs in some languages. However, in some VCs the order of components and the whole construction’s argument structure are determined by different principles.

Aikhenvald & Dixon 2006 — A. Y. Aikhenvald, R. W. Dixon (eds.). Serial verb constructions: A crosslinguistic typology. Oxford: Oxford Univeristy Pres, 2006.
Durie 1997 — M. Durie. Grammatical Structures in Verb Serialization // A. Alsina, J. Bresnan, P. Sells (eds.). Complex Predicates. Stanford: CSLI, 1997. P. 289–349.
Enfield 2009 — N. J. Enfield. Review of the book Serial verb constructions: A cross-linguistic typology ed. by Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald and R. M. W. Dixon. Language, 85, 445-451.
Haspelmath 2015 — M. Haspelmath. The serial verb construction: Comparative concept and cross-linguistic generalizations // Language and Linguistics 17(3), 2015. P. 291–319.
Mattissen 2004 — J. Mattissen. A structural typology of polysynthesis // WORD 55.2, 2004. P. 189–216.


ven. 20/04/2018 Séminaire DTT - Atelier Typologie sémantique
Sylvia Tufvesson (MPI-Nijmegen)
ISH - Salle André Frossard

Language of perception in Semai

This talk will discuss linguistic resources used to encode sensory perception in Semai (Aslian, Malaysia). The semantic structure of our five sensory domains will be presented: covering different types of colour terms, strategies for capturing sound and acoustic contrast (including the use of metaphors), as well as the internal semantic structure of touch, taste and smell. We will see how speakers refer to sensory qualities in all modalities with the use of dedicated abstract vocabulary (cf. Levinson et al. 2007), i.e. descriptive terms that capture a specific domain quality, equivalent to English words such as ‘blue’, ‘rough’ or ‘musty’. With mainly abstract-based vocabularies, Semai contradicts earlier proposals that languages, generally, do not have developed abstract vocabularies for all sensory domains (cf. Stevenson and Wilson 2007).

A subset of Semai sensory terms displays a multimodal quality, an ability of a single term to denote a quality in more than one sensory domain, as e.g. slqĩːk ‘pale coloured’ and ‘taste bland’ or plẽːt for an irritable physical sensation, a sharp smell or a quick burst of light. Examples of such terms will also be presented. In addition to terms associated with sensory modalities, Semai offers the lexical resource of ‘expressives’, a common part of speech throughout Southeast Asia, see Diffloth (1976) and Williams (2013), and closely related to words known as ‘ideophones’ in other linguistic areas of the world (see e.g. Voeltz & Kilian-Hatz (2001). Semai expressives are specialised in detailed and vivid descriptions of events and (sensory) experiences. Special attention will be given to expressives encoding (visual) movement, and the way in which such expressives combine the three semantic dimensions of motion; Path, Manner and Figure (cf. e.g. Talmy (1975)).

Semai sensory language, both expressives and general sensory vocabulary, show a distinct structural profile. This includes special derivational categories as well as separate syntactic behaviour – formal features that will be exemplified.

Attention will also be given to the senses in Semai cultural practices, including a look at food and taste taboos and the important role of odours in Semai ritual and spiritual life (cf. Dentan 1991). These practices will be linked to the high number of, in particular, odour categories in the language.


Dentan, Robert Knox. 1999. ‘Semai-Malay Ethnobotany: Hindu Influences on the Trade in Sacred Plants’. Akass Heritage Paper Series, no. 3: 1–33.

Diffloth, Gérard. 1976. ‘Expressives in Semai’. In Austroasiatic Studies, edited by P. N. Jenner, L. C. Thompson, and S. Starosta, 1:249–64. Oceanic Linguistics Special Publications. Honolulu: The University Press of Hawaii.

Levinson, S. C., Majid, A., & Enfield, N. J. 2007. Language of perception: The view from language and culture. In A. Majid (Ed.), Field Manual Volume 10 (pp. 10-21). Nijmegen: Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics.

Stevenson, Richard J, and Donald A Wilson. 2007. ‘Odour Perception: An Object-Recognition Approach’. Perception 36 (12): 1821 – 1833.

Talmy, Leonard. 1975. Semantics and syntax of motion. In John Kimball (Ed.), Syntax and Semantics, vol. IV (181–238). New York: Academic Press.

Voeltz, F. K. Erhard, and Christa Kilian-Hatz, eds. 2001. Ideophones. Vol. 44. Typological Studies in Language. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Williams, Jeffrey P. 2013. The Aesthetics of Grammar: Sound and Meaning in the Languages of Mainland Southeast Asia. Cambridge University Press.


jeu. 26/04/2018 Réunion Interne
Réunion Axe DENDY
ISH, salle E. Léger

ven. 27/04/2018 Séminaire DTT - Atelier Morphosyntaxe - Extension de la transitivité
ISH, salle Frossard

Frank Seifart (DDL) : "(Anti-)Causative marking and verb frequencies in corpora from nine languages" In this talk I will report on work-in-progress from an ongoing project carried out in collaboration with Stefan Schnell, Anna Margetts, Katja Hannß, Katharina Haude, Claudia Wegener, Sonja Riesberg, Sonja Gipper. In this project we investigate /form-frequency correspondenes /in (anti-)causative marking in verb pairs like laugh – amuse or break (intr.) – break (trans.). Haspelmath et al. (2014)predict that overt (anti-)causative marking should occur on the less frequent verb of such pairs. Such relative frequencies are used to motivate hierarchies of verb meanings, according to which, e.g., verbs like cook are expected to carry overt causative marking (e.g. Spanish /hervir /‘boil ([ntrans.]’ vs. /hacer hervir /‘boil [trans.]’) and verbs like break should most likely carry anticausative marking (e.g. Spanish /romper-se /‘break [intrans.]’ vs. /romper /‘break [trans.]’ (Haspelmath et al. 2014). We test this hypothesis using data from eight language documentation corpora of about 20,000 words each (Bora, Chipaya, Movima, Savosavo, Sudest, Totoli, Vera’a, and Yurakaré). First results suggest that for individual verb pairs, there is indeed an overwhelming tendency of overt marking on the less frequent verb form, e.g. Bora /gooco/ ‘laugh’ (frequency: 46) vs. /gooco-tso/ (laugh-causative) ‘amuse’ (frequency: 5). On the other hand, we don’t find support for previously proposed hierarchies (Haspelmath 1993, Nichols et al. 2004)of verb meanings according to the probability of taking overt (anti-)causative marking,. According to these, verbs for dry should be much more likely to carry overt causative marking than verbs for open, while in our data, it is the other way around. Haspelmath M. 1993. More on the typology of inchoative/causative verb alternations. In /Causatives and Transitivity/, eds. B Comrie, M Polinsky, 87–120. Amsterdam: Benjamins Haspelmath M, Calude A, Spagnol M, Narrog H, Bamyaci E. 2014. Coding causal–noncausal verb alternations: A form–frequency correspondence explanation. /Journal of Linguistics/. 50(3):587–625 Nichols J, Peterson DA, Barnes J. 2004. Transitivizing and detransitivizing languages. /Linguistic Typology/. 8(2):149–211

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jeu. 03/05/2018 Atelier "Méthodes" : Oscillations cérébrales
ISH - Salle Ennat Léger

ven. 04/05/2018 Séminaire DTT - Conférence
Laurent Besacier (Université de Grenoble) : Breaking the unwritten language barrier

Dans ce séminaire, je présenterai les résultats du projet ANR Franco-Allemand BULB (Breaking the Unwritten Language Barrier). Dans un contexte où un nombre croissant de langues se trouvent en danger de disparition et les linguistes ont le plus grand besoin d'outils efficaces pour la documentation des langues, BULB vise à apporter à la documentation des langues non-écrites le soutien des technologies modernes de traitement des langues, en particulier la reconnaissance automatique de la parole et la traduction automatique.

Ce projet ANR/DFG repose sur une forte coopération franco-allemande entre linguistes et informaticiens de ZAS, KIT, Université de Stuttgart du côté allemand, ainsi que le LPP, LLACAN, LIMSI et LIG du côté français. Ces chercheurs et leurs équipes locales mettent en commun leur expertise pour traiter la documentation de trois langues africaines de la famille bantoue qui sont pour l'essentiel non-écrites et pour lesquelles les ressources disponibles sont généralement limitées: Basaa (Cameroun), Myene (Gabon) et Embosi (République du Congo).



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