Category: General, Talks

Colloquium: Friday 12/07, Gabriela Caballero (UCSD)

Published: December 4, 2012

Gabriela Caballero (UCSD) will give a colloquium talk this Friday in Rolfe 3126, at 11 a.m. As always, a social hour will follow at 1 pm in Campbell 2122. The title of the talk is: Assessing perceptual functionality of Multiple Exponence in Choguita Rarámuri
(joint work with Vsevolod Kapatsinski (University of Oregon))

Speaker: Gabriela Caballero (UCSD)
Title: Assessing perceptual functionality of Multiple Exponence in Choguita Rarámuri
Location: Rolfe 3126
Time: Friday, December 7, 11-1pm
Contact: Anoop Mahajan/Dustin Bowers

Please see her abstract below:

In this talk, I report on our preliminary investigation about the potential functional role of Multiple Exponence (ME) in Choguita Rarámuri, a Uto-Aztecan language spoken in Northern Mexico. In Choguita Rarámuri, words containing an inner derivational marker that is either of limited productivity or phonologically reduced optionally add a second, outer exponent without a concomitant semantic change (e.g. sú-ni ~ sú-n-ki ‘sew-APPL(-APPL)’ ‘to sew for X’). Under some theories of word recognition (e.g., MacWhinney 1987), it may be expected that recognition of the meaning associated with multiple exponent(s) will be facilitated if semantically redundant exponents enhance robustness of acoustic cues or add cues that strengthen the form-meaning connection of the complex word. The potential functionality of ME in morphological processing has only recently begun to be investigated: Harris & Samuel (2011) found that ME conveyed no functional advantage in lexical decision and grammaticality judgment tasks, in fact slowing down recognition in Batsbi, a Nakh-Dagestanian language spoken in Georgia.  While we had expected our results would be similar to Harris & Samuel’s (2011) – where ME is detrimental to word recognition, our new field experiment with speakers of Choguita Rarámuri suggests that ME may indeed have advantages for word recognition. And while our divergentresults might be the result of differing methodologies used to assess the functionality of ME (a lexical decision task vs. a gating task), our results might also suggest that functionality of ME may be available for certain types of ME patterns, but not others. Thus, further experimental study of these patterns, together with continued documentation of complex morphological processes in understudied languages of the world, may provide further insights into a typology of the phenomenon of ME.