1. University of Virginia
  2. Arts & Sciences

Linguistic Anthropology Seminar -- Fall 2017

Friday, November 10, 4:00 pm (Brooks Hall Commons)

Emiliana Cruz, CIESAS-DF and Comisariado de Bienes Comunales, San Juan Quiahije, 2015-2018

Chatino Language and Landscape

In this presentation I will share our experiences during collaborative efforts for the protection of the Chatino Language and Landscape. We carried out a project to document and promote the use of place-names and Sacred Places in our Municipality of San Juan Quiahije, Oaxaca, Mexico.

For the documentation, we hiked across the territory together with different members of the community, and made multimedia recordings of meaningful places. In each one, we registered its name, significant physical elements, memories, stories and practices related to the places. We are archiving the material in AILLA (The Archive of the Indigenous Languages of Latin America hosted at the University of Texas, Austin).

To promote the use and knowledge of these areas we organized community activities that traditionally were held in these places but, in recent times, their practice had stopped. We focused on three very important Sacred Places: nten’F tiyu’G, keC reB and k’yaC kche’B. We placed signs with their names in Chatino and we also labeled some important plants and other elements of landscape. We are preparing pedagogical materials such as printed and digital maps to transmit the documented knowledge to younger generations.

We believe these are important efforts to make our language and cultural heritage visible. Yet, problems such as deciding whether or not to include Spanish names, insufficient resources for producing long-lasting signs, and dealing with different attitudes among our people about the relevance of these activities are some obstacles we dealt with and wish to address in this presentation.


Friday, November 3, 3:00 pm (Brooks Hall Commons)

Sam Beer, University of Virginia

Balancing data collection methods in terminal speaker-based language description

Collecting linguistic data from terminal speakers inevitably causes a linguist to confront two problems: the data is often incomplete, with lexical gaps and hole-ridden paradigms, and the data is often unreliable, with attested forms changing from interaction to interaction. These problems surface to different degrees depending on the technique used to collect the data. Data collected by direct elicitation tends to be more complete but less reliable, and data collected by text collection tends to be less complete but more reliable. Using case studies from Nyang’i (Kuliak: Uganda), I account for these tendencies as reflections of differing interactional pressures on non-fluent speakers, and I demonstrate the promise of internal reconstruction as a technique for harmonizing data collected via the disparate methods.


Monday, October 23, 6:30 pm (Brooks Hall Commons)

Vikram Jaswal, University of Virginia

Autism and Communication: About 1/3 of autistics do not use spoken language or do not use spoken language reliably. Why? What can we learn from those who have developed effective alternative ways of communicating? In this talk, I'll describe two on-going lines of research: One having to do with parent perceptions of their nonspeaking children's interest in social connection and communication, and another focused on characterizing and understanding alternative ways some nonspeakers have developed to communicate.


Monday, October 9, 7:30 pm (Brooks Hall Commons)

Julia Barnes, University of Virginia

Josh Wayt, University of Virginia

Julia Barnes will give an overview of her time spent in the Italian-Slovenian borderlands this summer with her younger sister. She will discuss her time spent learning Slovene as well as the surreal experience of collecting oral histories from opposing sides in two conflicts: the Second World War and the Foibe massacres--and problems with a biased translator.

Josh Wayt will present on his time visiting with fluent Dakota speakers at Lake Traverse Reservation in South Dakota. He will talk about the strange combination of humorous (especially self-deprecating) and sorrowful stories that pervaded these visits, and how elders used these narratives as a highly indirect advice-giving technique. Josh will tell some stories about making fun of himself, having a good cry, and receiving advice.


Monday, September 4, 6:30 pm (Brooks Hall Commons)

Lise Dobrin and Ida Hoequist, University of Virginia

Grace East, University of Virginia

Welcome back! The first seminar of the new year will feature two summer field trip reports:

Ida Hoequist and Lise Dobrin will present on their 5-week visit to Arapesh country in Papua New Guinea, where amazing language phenomena were observed, fascinating storytelling events were recorded, and numerous kin relations were deepened and acquired.

Grace East will present on her time in Nima, a small zongo, or "stranger's quarter" (immigrant neighborhood) in Accra, with predominantly Muslim, Hausa-speaking Ghanaians and immigrants from across the region.