CanIL Electronic Working Papers Volume 1

Volume 1, 2015




Sean Allison

Borrowings? Yes! But diffusion?
A case of language contact in the Lake Chad basin

Makary Kotoko, Kanuri, borrowings, calquing, diffusion

Josh Cadd

A comparison of anger in Kenyan Sign Language and English

Kenyan Sign Language (KSL), anger, metaphor, prototypical cognitive model

Moss Doerksen

Over time over time: A diachronic exploration of the temporal sense of over

corpus, semantics, prepositions, temporal

Jonathan Janzen

A Preliminary Discourse Analysis of Kwak̓wala Narratives: G̱waw̓ina and Dzunuḵwa

Kwak̓wala, Wakashan, discourse, cohesion strategies, emphasis strategies

Janel Swenson

ATR Quality in the Luo Vowel System

Luo, Western Nilotic, phonology, ATR



Sean Allison: Borrowings? Yes! But diffusion? A case of language contact in the Lake Chad basin

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Makary Kotoko, a Chadic language spoken in the flood plain directly south of Lake Chad in Cameroon, has an estimated 16,000 speakers. An analysis of a lexical database for the language shows that of the 3000 or so distinct lexical entries in the database, almost 1/3 (916 items) have been identified as borrowed from other languages in the region. The majority of the borrowings come from Kanuri, a Nilo-Saharan language of Nigeria, with an estimated number of speakers ranging from 1 to 4 million. In this article I first present the number of borrowings specifically from Kanuri relative to the total number of borrowed items in Makary Kotoko, and the lexical/grammatical categories in Makary Kotoko that have incorporated Kanuri borrowings. I follow this by presenting the linguistic evidence which not only suggests a possible time frame for when the borrowings from Kanuri came into Makary Kotoko, but also supports the idea that this is essentially a case of completed language contact. After discussing the lexical and grammatical borrowings from Kanuri into Makary Kotoko in detail, I explore the limited evidence in Makary Kotoko for lexical and grammatical ‘calquing’ from Kanuri, resulting in almost no structural diffusion from Kanuri into Makary Kotoko. I finish with a few proposals as to why this is the case in this instance of language contact in the Lake Chad basin.

Josh Cadd: A comparison of anger in Kenyan Sign Language and English

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This paper considers the emotion ANGER in Kenyan Sign Language (KSL) and in English. It looks at the lexical range of words used in both languages to refer to this emotion, making note of some of the difficulties and misconceptions associated with lexical analysis of sign languages. It then gives a grammatical analysis of the words used to express ANGER, showing how these lexical expressions can be used within each language. It notes that emotion lexemes in KSL appear to be verbs and not adjectives. It discusses the metaphorical expressions used in each language to describe ANGER looking at similarities as well as cultural differences. Finally, it notes that the cognitive model for how anger is understood in each of these language communities appears to be very similar.

Moss Doersken: Over time over time: A diachronic exploration of the temporal sense of over

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This paper looks at the development of the temporal sense of the preposition ‘over’ by examining corpus data from the Corpus of Historical American English (COHA) and Google Books. Temporal ‘over’ has come into usage in only the last 200 years, and has become especially common in the last 80. A precise definition of temporal ‘over’ is worked out and then analysed diachronically in the corpora. These findings are compared against the origins of the temporal sense proposed by Tyler and Evans (2003) in The Semantics of English Prepositions. It is shown that the temporal sense of ‘over’ is not derived from a motion sense, as Tyler and Evans imagined, but rather from senses of covering and/or control. Additionally, some evidence is given to indicate that temporal ‘over’ originated first among people concerned with the stock market and finances.

Jonathan Janzen: A Preliminary Discourse Analysis of Kwak̓wala Narratives: G̱waw̓ina and Dzunuḵwa

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This paper presents a discourse analysis of two narratives in the North Wakashan language of Kwak̓wala: G̱waw̓ina (Raven) and Dzunuḵwa (Wild Woman). Kwak̓wala narratives shed light on the use of many elements of the language which do not appear in dialogue or other types of speech. Specifically, cohesion strategies between clauses are shown to provide the audience with topical and event line information, through connectives la̱m̓is, la̱’a̱m̓ and the absence of either. Kwak̓wala narratives are also shown to employ two emphasis strategies within the discourse: subject fronting, and use of hem̓(is).Fronting is shown to introduce key actors in the discourse, as well as other objects important to highlight within their episode. Hem̓is, being morphologically derived from a demonstrative, is used to bring focus to a particular clause. This acts both to highlight its contents as holding significance throughout the narrative, and to conclude episodes of the discourse.

Janel Swenson: ATR Quality in the Luo Vowel System

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ATR quality in Luo has received a fair amount of attention and study, with substantial research dating as far back as Jacobson’s 1978 radiographic investigation of ATR vowels in four Western Nilotic languages. Despite the amount of research that has been done, there is no clear consensus on the acoustic and articulatory properties of Luo ATR quality, nor the harmony patterns seen within the language. The wide variance in articulation of ATR qualities among Luo speakers presents a challenge for researchers who are seeking consistent, measurable data. The equally challenging ATR harmony patterns in Luo reflect a combination of [+ATR] dominance, commonly found in Western Nilotic languages, and assimilation patterns that are triggered from the root, which some have suggested indicates a shift towards the ATR patterns of West African languages (Kutsch Lojenga, 1986).

Thus, the purpose of this description of Luo is twofold. A preliminary discussion of the acoustic qualities of Luo ATR vowels will first be presented with discussion of relevant literature and the results of an acoustic analysis of Luo’s underlying nine-vowel system. Second, a description of some of the characteristic ATR harmony patterns in Luo will be given. The argument will be made that despite the profuse examples of ATR harmony patterns triggered by the root, there are other factors that suggest that Luo is characterized by strong [+ATR] dominance, namely, strong dominant [+ATR] suffixes, the failure of second person prefixes to harmonize to the root, [+ATR] leftward spreading across word boundaries, and the presence of an allophonic variant of /a/.