LSA 225: Phonological typology of Papuan languages

Mark Donohue | session 2 | TuTh 3:30 – 5:15, 50 Dwinelle Hall

This course examines the languages of New Guinea and their surrounds from the lens of phonologies. While all of the languages concerned belong to the Pacific Rim area, identified by Maddieson (2006) and Bickel and Nichols (2006) as showing lower than average phonological complexity, we find a number of sub-areas in different parts of New Guinea. We shall examine the types and distributions of phonological systems, discussing in detail points of theoretical and typological interest arising from the survey, and develop a familiarity with the techniques of quantified areal typology as they can be applied to a database of the area. We shall investigate the areal vs. genetic properties of different phonological features, and question the dichotomy between "Papuan" and "non-Papuan" that is frequently applied to the New Guinea region.

Reading: Selected materials available online.

Prerequisites: Minimum of one undergraduate course each in phonetics/phonology and in historical linguistics.

Areas of linguistics: Areal and historical linguistics; Phonetics, phonology, and morphology; Languages of Australia and the Pacific

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