The TÜling talk series was launched in Autumn 2019 as a chance to hear about a wide range of topics in linguistics from experts in the field. Speakers come from Tartu, Estonia and elsewhere. Talks take place on Tuesdays, currently from 4:00–5:00 p.m. and are open to everyone. Time is given after talks for questions and discussion, which continues in the common room with drinks and snacks.
Suggestions for potential speakers are very welcome. If a guest is coming to the university or Tartu colleagues are interested in giving a talk to get feedback, please get in touch with the organisers (contact: virve.vihman [ät] ut.ee). Anyone interested in joining the mailing list is also asked to write to the same contact.
ProgramTuesdays 16:00-17:00, Jakobi 2-438
11. 02 Saeede Shamsaee (Mazandaran University of Science and Technology, Iran)
As the dean of English Department in an Iranian university and now on a short visit to Europe, Saeedeh Shamsaee is concerned with the interaction of top-down macro language policies determined by the governments and bottom-up micro linguistic experiences of English learners and teachers. The talk has three parts: 1) Iran's linguistic profile in the past; 2) Main issues of TEFL in the present; and 3) further plans for research and practice in the future. She has published on the evaluation of foreign language policies by experienced Iranian English teachers, and is currently involved in Teacher Education for Teaching English to Young Learners (TEYL). In her lecture she will provide a succinct linguistic background of Iran alongside a brief history of foreign language teaching (French, Arabic and English) during the last century particularly the post-revolutionary era since 1979. Highly concerned with the quality and success of teaching English to young learners and providing evidence from her current research, she will explain how micro experiences can be impeded or improved by the macro policies on three fronts namely intercultural complexities in L1-L2 encounter, teacher education standards, and parent involvement. She is determined to expand her research into a broader comparative framework or any other possible form of cooperation with European colleagues interested in similar issues in their own national or regional context. She likes to work toward promoting Iran's international academic relations with Europe. She hopes to benefit her audience in Tartu, and also learn from their insights and questions.
18. 02 Jeremy Bradley (Vienna, Austria)
The Volga-Kama Region of European Russia, located some 700 kilometres east of Moscow around the confluence of the Volga and Kama rivers, has been a meeting place of different cultures, religions, and languages from time immemorial. Today, languages spoken in the region belong to three families: Uralic (Mari, Mordvin, Udmurt), Turkic (Tatar, Bashkir, Chuvash), and Indo-European (Russian). Uralic and Turkic languages of the region are frequently placed in the so-called Volga-Kama Sprachbund due to their striking convergence. While convergence in lexicon and phonology has been extensively studied, the study of structural similarities on other levels of language remains on a comparatively nascent stage. The talk at hand will give an overview on what is known about structural convergence between languages and varieties of the Volga-Kama Region, and what desiderata for future research remain.
25.02 Helle Metslang, Külli Habicht, Tiit Hennoste & Külli Prillop (Tartu)
Meie ettekande teemaks on diskursusemarkeri (ma) arvan (et) kasutus. Marker võib esineda neljal kujul (ma arvan, ma arvan et, arvan, arvan et) ja kanda kahte põhitähendust (arvamuse avaldamine ehk ’minu arvates’ ja ebakindluse väljendamine propositsiooni tõeväärtuse suhtes ehk ’arvatavasti’). Meie eesmärgiks on võrrelda, kuidas markerit kasutatakse erinevates keeleregistrites.
Esmalt anname ülevaate sellest, mis eristab diskursusemarkerit samavormilisest pealausest. Selleks toome välja eri keelte grammatiseerumise mudelites leitud markeri tunnused.
Teiseks vaatame, millised on erinevate markerivariantide esinemissagedused eri süntaktilistes positsioonides (lause alguses, keskel, lõpus või järel) ning eri keeleregistrites (suuline keel, netikeel, kirjalik keel ja nende alamregistrid).
Kolmandaks analüüsime, millised kontekstuaalsed tegurid seostuvad markeri eri variantide kasutussagedusega (suuline-kirjalik keel, dialoog-monoloog, spontaanne-redigeeritud tekst, kirjakeel-mittekirjakeel jm).
Lõpuks proovime arutleda selle üle, kuidas tõlgendada piiripealseid juhtumeid, milles esineb et ja mis paiknevad lausete alguses ja mille poolest erineb eesti marker teiste keelte analoogilistest markeritest (I think jm).
3.03 Josefina Budzisch (Hamburg, Germany)
Selkup, a Uralic language belonging to the Samoyedic branch of the language family, is spoken in Western Siberia by approximately 1,000 speakers.
In the past years, two corpora covering the three main dialectal groups of Selkup (Northern, Central and Southern Selkup) have been published in Hamburg: the Selkup Language Corpus (SLC) and the NEL Selkup Corpus 0.1. The SLC corpus is based on previously published texts which are now made digital available for further research; the basis for the INEL corpus are field research materials from Angelina Kuzmina which she collected mostly in the sixties and which are mainly published for the first time in the corpus.
With these materials, it became possible to research Selkup corpus based with more ease and get reliable results. Regarding the topic of definiteness, it can, for instance, be shown that the non possessive use of the possessive suffixes is to be found in Selkup for marking referents as identifiable but also other strategies are used to mark referents as definite, e.g demonstratives and quantifiers.
10.03 Tuuli Tuisk (Tartu)
Tartu Ülikooli eesti murrete ja sugulaskeelte arhiivi loomisaeg ulatub Esimese maailmasõja järgsesse aega ja on tihedalt seotud tänavu oma 100. sünnipäeva tähistava Emakeele Seltsiga. Nimelt võttis Emakeele Selts 1920. aastatel endale peamiseks ülesandeks süstemaatilise murdekogumise ja -uurimise. Murdekogude säilitamisel saadi 1930. a abi Tartu Ülikoolilt ja ülikooli juurde loodi eesti ja sugukeelte arhiiv (aadressiga Lai tänav 34, korter 6). Ettekandes annan ülevaate sellest, kuhu on huvitava ja keerulise kujunemis- ning ajalooga arhiiv tänaseks päevaks jõudnud. Kõnelen järgmistest punktidest: (a) millised käsikirjalised materjalid, helifailid, fotod ja videod arhiivis leiduvad, (b) kus ja kuidas neid säilitatakse, (c) kuidas neid on võimalik oma uurimistöös kasutada, (d) kuidas arhiivi veebilehel orienteeruda ja sealt vajalikku materjali otsida.
17.03 Denys Teptiuk (Tartu) Talk postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, date TBA.
Among languages of the world, quotative markers sometimes develop new functions and follow the grammaticalization path (verb ‘say’ >) quotative marker (> complementizer >) reason/purpose clause marker. The grammaticalization of quotatives into reason/purpose-clause linkers implies stages where both meanings can simultaneously arise within one construction, e.g.: my father always talked me out of it, saying/because I don’t have a gift for it anyway. The reported discourse describes the purpose/reason of an action or its lack and transfers the quoted speaker’s perspective.
In this talk, first I look at the cases of such ambiguity in the use of grammaticalized quotative particles in reported discourse constructions of six Finno-Ugric languages (Hungarian, Estonian, Finnish, Erzya, Udmurt, Komi). Second, I check for such use among quotative markers in English and Russian. I argue that to achieve a reason and purpose meaning quotative markers and RD need to follow particular syntactic conditions, e.g. possibility to use the quotative marker as a single quote-introducer, preference to indirect reported discourse, etc.
24.03 Ulla Meeri Petti (Cambridge, UK) Talk postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, date TBA.
Alzheimeri tõbi on kõige sagedasem dementsuse vorm, mis moodustab 60-70% kõigist dementsuse juhtudest. Dementsuse all kannatajaid on maailmas üle 50 miljoni ning vananeva rahvastiku tõttu ennustatakse, et aastaks 2050 see arv kolmekordistub. Hiljutised uuringud on näidanud, et muutused keeles ja kõnes võivad olla esimesed märgid, mis viitavad dementsusele ning väikesed muutused võivad esineda isegi kümmekond aastat enne diagnoosi. Muutusi keeles ja kõnes (näiteks akustikas, kõne ladususes, süntaksi keerukuses, informatsiooni tiheduses ja semantikas) on võimalik tuvastada automaatselt, kasutades loomuliku keele töötlust, signaalitöötlust ja masinõpet, ning viimastel aastatel on selles vallas saavutatud paljulubavaid tulemusi. Automaatse tuvastamise tehnoloogia väljatöötamine aitaks muuta Alzheimeri tõve tuvastamise odavamaks, kiiremaks ja kättesaadavamaks, kuna ohumärke saaks tuvastada nutiseadme abiga. Haiguse varajane avastamine võimaldaks raviga varem alustada ja tõsta vanemaealiste elukvaliteeti. Oma ettekandes teen ülevaate uuringutest, mis keskenduvad Alzheimeri tõve automaatsele tuvastusele keelest ja kõnest.
31.03 Robert Millar (Aberdeen, UK) Talk postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, date TBA.
When we discuss Scots as a system, it tends to be the usage of the Central dialects which is considered. This makes sense in many ways: most Scottish people live in the areas where these dialects are spoken. But the other dialects of Scots are altogether more interesting from the point of view of origin. To a considerable extent this is due to linguistic contact, whether that be with Gaelic (as with North East and Caithness Scots, as well as the now moribund dialects of the Black Isle), Norse (the dialects of Shetland and Orkney, as well as that of Caithness), Irish (with Ulster Scots and South Western Scots) and varieties of English (as with Ulster Scots and Southern Scots).
This paper will address this diversity in a manner informed by theories concerned both with contact in general and those associated with contact phenomena and language shift as well as the formation of new dialects.
7.04 Joshua Wilbur (Tartu) Talk postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, date TBA.
Since the advent of the digital age, digital tools and computational approaches to linguistics have been and continue to be developed for linguistics research and in support of majority languages. While not the most common target of such language technology, endangered minority languages also stand to benefit from such advances. Technological advances in linguistics research thus have the potential to have real-world, practical effects in addition to theoretical outcomes, even in the context of critically endangered languages. In my talk, I will present a case study of how this can work, specifically for Pite Saami, a critically endangered Uralic language spoken by around 35 individuals from Swedish Lapland and (historically) adjacent areas of Norway. I will provide an overview of digital, lexical and grammatical tools developed for automatic corpus annotation for Pite Saami, and then I will discuss how these are being used to support revitalization efforts and promote an increase in language use, thereby hopefully increasing the chances of the Pite Saami language surviving beyond current generations.
14.04 Sali Tagliamonte (Toronto, Canada) Talk postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, date TBA.
This study examines investigates a new discourse-pragmatic use of the word wait in a 10-million-word multi-community corpus of spoken vernacular North American English. This function is an extension from an original lexical meaning of pausing or lingering which as extended to indicate a pause in discourse as the speaker reflects on or corrects an earlier topic. Over 300 examples permit comparative sociolinguistic methods and statistical modelling in order to offer an early assessment of the variation among alternates of this innovative use and to test for broad social and linguistic factors in order to understand the underlying processes. The results expose notable recent developments: older people use longer, more temporally specified variants, wait a minute/wait a second, while wait alone is increasing in apparent time with women leading its advance. The robust increase in use of wait alone, e.g. “I haven’t seen her yet. No wait. Yes, I have”, co-occurrence with other markers, e.g. no, and the function of reflection and/or self-correction can be pinpointed to the generation of speakers born after 1970. Further, the unique contribution of the sociolinguistically stratified corpora under investigation also demonstrates that this development is proceeding according to well-known principles of linguistic change as wait develops from a verb with temporal specification to a full-fledged discourse-pragmatic marker on the left periphery of the main clause.
28.04 Külli Prillop (Tartu) Vana kirjakeele sõnad ja sõnaraamat Talk postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, date TBA.
5.05 R. Harald Baayen (Tübingen, Germany) NB! The talk will take place online.
Naive Discriminative Learning (NDL, Baayen et al., 2011) and its twin Linear Discriminative Learning (LDL, Baayen et al., 2019) make use of the mathematics of multivariate multiple linear regression to model the production and comprehension of both morphologically simple and morphologically complex words. The networks that map
form onto meaning, and meaning onto form, constitute a simple memory that has turned out to be surprisingly
effective. However, there must be limits to what such a memory can store. Although simple two-constituent
compounds can potentially be handled, longer compounds such as Estonian "põllumajandusministeerium"
(ministry of agriculture) or Dutch "arbeidsongeschiktheidsverzekering" (insurance for being disabled and unfit for
work) are likely to overtax these simple network memories. I have therefore started working on a computational
model for the production of simple utterances that extends NDL and LDL with additional networks. A first
network takes a pre-linguistic communicative intention (that is hypothesized to be largely language-independent)
and maps this onto a (language-specific) set of bundles of core meanings (lexomes). A second network maps
these lexome bundles onto a time-ordered sequence of points in a high-dimensional lexical space. The points
in this space are then mapped by an LDL network onto sequences of phones. Within this set-up, compounds as
well as idioms can be straightforwardly accounted for. The model also predicts frequency effects for word
sequences. Possible implications of as well as challenges for this approach will be discussed.
12.05 Francis Nolan (Cambridge, UK) Talk postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, date TBA.
Parseltongue, in the Harry Potter books and films, is the fictional language which allows humans and snakes to speak to each other. No samples of the language are offered in the books, and so when the producer of the second Harry Potter film decided to include a scene with Parseltongue he needed the spoken language to be created. This talk will discuss the creation of fragments of Parseltongue, including what the rationale was for adopting particular phonetic and other features. In presenting Parseltongue I will mention for comparison two other ‘conlangs’ (constructed languages) and show how the creation of a made-up language draws on all levels of the analysis of human languages. In the case of Parseltongue some imaginative reasoning is also needed based on how snakes might shape the shared language. The process constitutes a somewhat unusual application of linguistic knowledge, one which touches on both the differences and the underlying commonalities found in human languages.
19.05 Suzanne Lesage (Paris Diderot, France) Talk postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, date TBA.
In English and many other languages, third person possessives may take a local or nonlocal antecedent (1).
(1) Peteri lead Johnj to hisi/j parents’ place.
Some languages have reflexive possessive forms (RPs), typically used to refer to the local subject; compare the distribution of oma vs. the ordinary possessive tema in Estonian (2). Note that possessors can also stay unexpressed.
Peeteri led Jaanj to his parents’ place.
Reflexive possessives are seldom discussed in the literature, and usually assumed to obey the same binding constraints as ordinary reflexive pronouns (Kiparsky 2002). Preliminary observations suggest however that binding constraints on reflexive possessives are looser, and non-categorical. We hence predict that speakers will entertain the possibility that oma be bound by a nonlocal subject (3).
Peeterj convinced Jaani to talk about hisi/j mother/himselfi/*j
English and other languages also possess emphatic possessive forms such as French son propre (Charnavel 2012) or English his own. Such forms are comparable to RPs in being biased for reference to a local argument. However, restricting reference is not the main function of such pseudo-RPs. Hence we expect that binding constraints on pseudo-RPs are less tight than on RPs.
To test our hypotheses, we ran parallel crosslinguistic web-based experiments comparing two languages with pseudo-reflexives (English: his own, French: son propre) and one with reflexive possessives (Estonian: oma). A fourth experiment on Czech, another language with true RPs, is underway. In all our items, there are two possible antecedents for a possessive form: a local subject or some more distant expression.
We manipulated Type of clause embedding the possessive (independent and infinitive clause) and Type of possessive (with non-reflexive and pseudo-RPs in English and French, RP, simple possessive and covert possessive in Estonian). The items (20 for English and French and 24 for Estonian) and fillers (36) were translation equivalents (as far as possible) in all languages. 244 participants took part in this experiment (79 for English, 99 for French and 66 for Estonian). Sentences as in (4) were shown to native speakers who had to fill a gap as in (5).
(1) ENG : John allowed Donald to leave his (own) documents at the reception.
John made arrangements. Donald will leave his (own) documents at the reception.
FR: Jean a autorisé Paul à laisser ses (propres) papiers à l’accueil.
Jean s’est arrangé. Paul laissera ses documents à l’accueil.
EST: Peeter laseb Triinul ø/oma/tema dokumendid registratuuri jätta.
Peeter on kõik läbi mõelnud. Triinu jätab ø/oma/tema dokumendid registratuuri.
(2) _____________'s documents will be at the reception.
Les documents de __________ seront déposés à l’accueil.
_____________dokumendid jäetakse registratuuri.
In the infinitive condition, the possible antecedents were the matrix subject (John) and the local subject, i.e. the infinitive controller (Donald). In the independent condition, the possible antecedents were the local subject (Donald) and the subject of the first sentence (John).
Across languages, RPs (in Estonian) and pseudo-RPs (English and French) have a stronger bias for the local subject for independent sentences. As predicted, this preference is stronger for Estonian where the reflexive is grammaticalized, leading to a significant Type of clause * Type of reflexive form (pseudo-RP vs. RP) interaction.
Overall these crosslinguistic experiments give a gradient perspective on binding constraints with constraints for the RPs in Estonian less strong than what is assumed for reflexives but considerably stronger than what we found for pseudo-RPs in English and French.
Charnavel, I. (2012). On her own: Probing syntax and semantics with French propre (PhD Thesis). Doctoral dissertation, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA.
Kiparsky, P. (2002). Disjoint reference and the typology of pronouns. na.