This Friday (2/20, 4 pm, Eastern Time), Carmel O'Shannessy will participate in a symposium hosted by the Center for Academic Research and Training in Anthropogeny at the UC San Diego. The symposium will focus on the theme of "How Language Evolves", and will feature presentations by, amongst others, Carmel (of course), Ann Senghas, Mark Aronoff and Ray Jackendoff. The whole symposium will be available via live web cast so that even those of us in frigid Michigan can watch Carmel presenting in warm and sunny California! The title and abstract of Carmel's talk are given below.
Contact Languages and Light Warlpiri
Contact languages represent some of the ways that new languages can be created, as they systematically combine elements from more than one existing language, resulting in novel linguistic systems. When multiple sources provide input to a rapidly emerging new system, elements are likely to be reanalyzed, and new structural categories may be created that differ from those in the source languages. For example, Light Warlpiri, a newly emerged mixed language spoken in north Australia, combines Warlpiri nominal structure with verbal structure from varieties of English and/or Kriol (an English-lexified creole), but with the addition of radical restructuring of the verbal auxiliary system. In this talk, I will give examples of restructuring in contact languages, including Light Warlpiri.