A colloquium with Dr. Fay Wouk, Department of Applied Language Studies and Linguistics, University of Auckland, New Zealand
This paper examines one of the ways in which the interactive function of language interacts with syntax to shape the structure of actual utterances. Spoken language is produced, not in clauses or sentences, but in prosodic units, bursts of speech that are often termed intonation units. Intonation units vary greatly in their syntactic makeup, as shown by prior studies of English, Japanese, Mandarin and Thai. There also appear to be cross-linguistic differences in the relative frequency of different syntactic types.
This study examines the syntactic nature of intonation units in Sasak, and compares the distribution of syntactic types with previously published work on other languages, in particular Mandarin. I argue that cross-linguistic differences in the relative frequencies of different types of syntactic constituents are best explained partly in terms of the syntactic resources available in a given language, and partly in terms of cultural variation in conversational practice.
The study also investigates the functions of nominal intonation units (IUs) in Sasak conversation, and compares findings for Sasak with findings for Japanese and Mandarin. Significant differences in the relative frequencies of various functions of nominal IUs are found. I suggest that these differences may relate more to genre than to language. However, the limited corpora used in studies to date make this difficult to determine.
Fay Wouk holds a BA in linguistics and an MA in linguistics from the University of Michigan, and a Ph.D. in Linguistics from UCLA. Her research interests include grammar and interaction, conversational analysis, cross-cultural pragmatics, and the languages of Indonesia. She is a Senior Lecturer in Linguistics in the Department of Applied Language Studies and Linguistics at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. She is currently on sabbatical at the University of Colorado, where she is working with Barbara Fox on a project on the cross-linguistic study of self-repair in conversation.
Cost: Free and open to the public.
Note change in scheduled time; Parking at UCLA costs $7.