The Fall 2020 graduate student colloquium featuring Joy Peltier and Moira Saltzman took place on Friday, November 20, from 4-5:30 pm on Zoom. Joy presented “The Pragmatics of Multifunctional Items in Kwéyòl Donmnik, French, and English.” Moira presented “A sociophonetic study of tones on Jeju Island.” Read the abstracts below.



The Pragmatics of Multifunctional Items in Kwéyòl Donmnik, French, and English

As a Creole emerges and evolves, its creators alter and shift the functions of the words and structures contributed by its various source languages, yielding an abundance of multifunctional items whose meanings are challenging to determine. In the field of pragmatics, whole research areas are dedicated to the complexities of multifunctional items, particularly elements like deictics and pragmatic markers that help speakers navigate discourse. The discourse-level contributions of multifunctional items are rarely the focus of work on Creoles and other contact varieties, and pragmatic research tends to focus on better-documented languages of prestige. As a result, there is much room for fruitful work at the intersections between creolistics and pragmatics, and such scholarship both expands our knowledge of multifunctional items cross-linguistically and deepens our understanding of language contact by addressing it at the pragmatic level. The goal of my research is to explore these intersections. Using corpus-based and experimental methods, I examine the pragmatics of multifunctional elements such as locative deictics and pragmatic markers in Kwéyòl Donmnik (an understudied Creole language declining in use) and its superstrates, French and English. In this talk, I will describe the fruits of my research journey thus far as well as the dissertation work I am now conducting.

A sociophonetic study of tones on Jeju Island
Moira Saltzman

In this talk I will discuss the results of a sociophonetic study on the emergence of a tonal distinction in Jejueo, an endangered Koreanic language indigenous to Jeju Island, South Korea.  The three-way stop contrast in Korean, between fortis, lenis and aspirated voiceless stops is well documented.  In recent years the length of the VOT which comprised the phonetic distinction in the three-way contrast has been converging for lenis and aspirated stops across many varieties of Korean.  At the same time, vowels following the converging lenis and aspirated stops have developed low and high pitch, respectively.  The shifting of cues from VOT to tone for Korean stop consonants can be described as tonogenesis, first discovered in Seoul Korean. With the degree of influence that the highly prestigious Seoul variety of Korean has on media and education, tonogenesis has spread outward from the Seoul/ Gyeonggi province area. 

In this talk I will present updated results of an apparent-time sociophonetic study of the development of a tonal distinction in Jejueo.  The study shows that tonogenesis has spread outward from mainland Korea and has entered Jejueo for all speakers, but to varying degrees, based on extralinguistic factors of age, language dominance in Korean and Jejueo, and language attitudes toward Jejueo. More broadly, this study adds to the discussion of language loss and sound change, as language dominance and attitudes are shown to contribute to phonological attrition of heritage language in a disglossic environment.