Don Daniels: "A method for mitigating the problem of borrowing in syntactic reconstruction", 21 October 2015
When: 4pm, 21 October 2015
Where: The Engma Room, Coombs, ANU
The last decade has seen a renewed interest in syntactic reconstruction, with particularly numerous attempts at reconstructing grammar being made within a constructional framework (e.g. Barðdal & Eythórsson 2012, Barðdal 2013, Barðdal & Smitherman 2013). But while scholars of all theoretical persuasions agree that grammatical borrowing is a serious obstacle to the successful reconstruction of grammar, to date there have been few proposed solutions to this methodological conundrum. In this talk I propose a method, couched in a constructional view of language, for mitigating the problem of borrowing in syntactic reconstruction. I then exemplify the effectiveness of this method by applying it to two pieces of grammar from the Sogeram languages of Papua New Guinea: clause chain subordination and the desiderative construction. The method allows the reconstruction of the former, but identifies the latter as a likely grammatical borrowing and therefore not a reconstructable Proto-Sogeram construction.
This presentation is hosted by the Centre for Research on Language Change.