March 8, 2016

Guest speaker: Christopher Green (University of Maryland)

We are delighted to welcome guest speaker Christopher Green, currently a researcher at the Center for Advanced Study of Language (CASL) at the University of Maryland. He earned his Ph.D. from Indiana University in 2010, and his research interests include fieldwork (particularly on languages of Africa), documentation, phonology, prosody, and morphology.

His talk, "Matches (and mismatches) in prosodic and grammatical structure: Somali phonology and its interfaces," will be taking place at 3 PM on Friday, March 11, in SS 560A.

Somali is a language full of linguistic complexities and typological peculiarities, yet some of these apparent oddities melt away when the language's grammar is viewed through the lens of prosodic structure. In this talk, I discuss the role that prosodic structures play in Somali in mediating and influencing segmental and tonal processes occurring at the phonology-morphology, phonology-syntax, and phonology-information-structure interfaces that have heretofore been considered to be fairly haphazard and otherwise unpredictable. I will present three case studies drawn from my ongoing research that illustrate key characteristics of Somali’s prosodic domains. I will show that these domains and the phenomena that they govern can be formalized and represented in a version of Prosodic Hierarchy Theory that permits some degree of domain recursion. Finally, I will show that while there are a number of clear matches and strong correlations between phonology and its closer interfaces, there are also mismatches that begin to arise as the interfaces grow more distant.

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