Submitted theses 2019

Thesis: Placing spatial language and cognition in context through an investigation of Bininj Kunwok navigation talk

Claudia CialonePhD: Claudia Cialone

Submission year: 2019

Supervisors: Nicholas Evans, Evan Kidd, Danielle Barth & Mark Ellison

CoEDL node: Australian National University 

CoEDL program: Shape & Learning

Abstract:

The broad questions asked in this PhD thesis are: How do Bininj Kunwok people from Western Arnhem Land navigate in the bush? Why do they navigate that way, and how do they verbalize their orientation systems? The motivation behind these questions is to expand our understanding of the way humans rely on and use language during spatial navigation. Spatial navigation is more than a decision-making, memory, and planning process. 

 
 

Thesis: Universal and language-specific processing : the case of prosody

Martin IpPhD: Martin Ip

Submission year: 2019

Supervisors: Anne Cutler, Jason Anthony Shaw & Mark Antoniou

CoEDL node: Western Sydney University 

CoEDL program: Processing

Abstract:

In this thesis, I examined both the production and perception of prosodic cues to prominence and
phrasing in native speakers of English and Mandarin Chinese. In focus production, our research revealed that English and Mandarin speakers were alike in how they used prosody to encode prominence, but there were also systematic language-specific differences in the exact degree to which they enhanced the different prosodic cues (Chapter 2). This, however, was not the case in focus perception, where English and Mandarin listeners were alike in the degree to which they used prosody to predict upcoming prominence, even though the precise cues in the preceding prosody could differ (Chapter 3). Further experiments examining prosodic focus prediction in the speech of different talkers have demonstrated functional cue equivalence in prosodic focus detection (Chapter 4). Likewise, our experiments have also revealed both crosslanguage similarities and differences in the production and perception of juncture cues (Chapter 5). Overall, prosodic
processing is the result of a complex but subtle interplay of universal and language-specific
structure.

Open access: https://researchdirect.westernsydney.edu.au/islandora/object/uws%3A53200

 

Thesis: Prosody, prominence and segments in Djambarrpuyŋu

Kathleen JepsonPhD: Kathleen Jepson

Submission year: 2019

Supervisor: Janet Fletcher

CoEDL node: University of Melbourne

CoEDL program: Processing

Abstract:

This thesis is an investigation of the phonetics of prosodic structure and prominence in Djambarrpuyŋu, an Australian Indigenous language of the Pama-Nyungan language family spoken in northeast Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, Australia. The aim of this study is to provide a phonetic description of aspects of prosody in Djambarrpuyŋu that contributes to the phonological and phonetic understanding of this language, and that will inform phonological and phonetic investigations of Australian languages in the future. Specifically, it provides a phonetic account of the effects of word- and phrase-level prominence on segments, and how information structure is expressed by intonational means. Working with controlled speech data collected with Djambarrpuyŋu speakers on the island community of Milingimbi (Yurrwi), and through a perception study, this thesis is the first substantial quantitative phonetic analysis of Djambarrpuyŋu.

Open access: https://minerva-access.unimelb.edu.au/handle/11343/227802

 

Thesis: A grammar of Kunbarlang

Ivan KapitonovPhD: Ivan Kapitonov

Submission year: 2019

Supervisors: Rachel Nordlinger & Ruth Singer

CoEDL node: University of Melbourne

CoEDL program: Shape

Abstract:

This thesis is a comprehensive description of Kunbarlang, an Aboriginal language from northern Australia. The description and analysis are based on my original field work, as well as build on the preceding body of work by other scholars. Between 2015 and 2018 I have done field work in Warruwi (South Goulburn Island), Maningrida, and Darwin. The data elicited in those trips and the recordings of narratives and semi- spontaneous conversation constitute the foundation of the present grammar. However, I was fortunate in that I was not working from scratch. Carolin Coleman did foundational work on Kunbarlang in central-western Arnhem Land from 1981, which resulted in the first grammar of the language (Coleman 1982). In her subsequent work in the area in the 1990’s, she carried on with lexicographic research in Kunbarlang, Mawng and Maningrida languages. More recently, Dr. Aung Si (Universität zu Köln), Dr. Isabel O’Keeffe (University of Sydney), and Dr. Ruth Singer (University of Melbourne / Australian National University) made a number of recordings of Kunbarlang speakers at Maningrida, Warruwi, Minjilang and Darwin. These recordings provided an invaluable extension to the empirical basis of this grammar.

Open access: https://minerva-access.unimelb.edu.au/handle/11343/225743

 

Thesis: Morphs in search of meaning: Southeast Solomonic transitive morphology in diachronic perspective

Kate NaitaroPhD: Katerina Naitoro

Submission year: 2019

Supervisor: Bethwyn Evans

CoEDL node: Australian National University

CoEDL program: Evolution

Abstract:

In this thesis I examine the distribution, functions and the development of transitive morphology in Southeast Solomonic languages, a subgroup of the Oceanic language family. The valency changing devices, and their allomorphs, are analysed both synchronically and diachronically. The synchronic transitivity marking and argument structure systems are compared with the reconstructed system of the ancestral language Proto Oceanic, and the thesis discusses processes which underpin the changes that have taken place, and their motivations.

Open access: https://openresearch-repository.anu.edu.au/handle/1885/163714

 

Thesis: Revitalisation of an Australian Aboriginal Language: Archival Utterances as Scaffolding for Independent Adult Language LearningMark Richards

PhD: Mark Richards

Submission year: 2019

Supervisor: Caroline Jones

CoEDL node: Western Sydney University

CoEDL program: Learning

Abstract:

Increasingly, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are seeking to maintain, revitalise and reawaken their traditional languages. In contexts where there are few fluent speakers of the languages or few learning resources, this can present particular challenges. The goal of this thesis is to investigate how adult community members can be supported towards greater independence as language learners and teachers in their communities. This was explored in the context of Jilkminggan, a remote Aboriginal community in the western area of the Northern Territory, 135 km south-east of Katherine. A design-based methodology was adopted to investigate learning in its natural context, involving community members in resource creation across several iterations and allowing for a more collaborative approach to the research. The research was conducted in three phases.

Open access: https://researchdirect.westernsydney.edu.au/islandora/object/uws%3A55583

 

Thesis: Rescuing a Language from Extinction: Documentation and Practical Steps for the Revitalisation of (Western) Yugur

Yarjis Xueqing ZhongPhD: Yarjis Xueqing Zhong

Submission year: 2019

Supervisor: Jane Simpson

CoEDL node: Australian National University 

CoEDL program: Shape

Abstract:

The Yugur ethnic group, also known as the Yellow Uyghur, are one of the smallest ethnic minorities in north-western China. Yugur people speak three distinct languages: Western Yugur (also known as Saryg Yugur), a Turkic language with about 2,000 speakers; Eastern Yugur (also known as Shira Yugur), a Mongolic language with about 2,000 speakers; and the local Mandarin Chinese dialect. Both Western and Eastern Yugur are classified as critically endangered (Janhunen, 2010), and maintaining these languages faces challenges. One of the principal objectives of this research is to add to the currently small amount of documentation of Western Yugur.

Open access: https://openresearch-repository.anu.edu.au/handle/1885/173110

  • Australian Government
  • The University of Queensland
  • Australian National University
  • The University of Melbourne
  • Western Sydney University