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Chimiini and the Phonology-Syntax Interface – Professor Charles W. Kisseberth, Tel Aviv University of the University of Illinois
October 26, 2017 @ 3:30 pm
This talk will provide a fairly comprehensive survey of the prosodic phonology of Chimiini, an endangered Bantu language closely related to Kiswahili. The term “prosodic phonology”, in the context of Chimiini, refers to the pervasive pattern of vowel length alternations (which are the consequence of a system of “abstract stress”) and accept (=High tone). Chimini prosody is phrasal in nature, and Chimiini has been one of the most important languages in the evolution of thinking about how phonology and syntax interface with one another. In this talk, Prof. Kisseberth will survey the development of theories of the phonology-syntax in the course of the last forty years (particularly, the Indirect Reference Model, the Optimality Theoretic implementation of the Indirect Reference Model, and Match Theory) and examine the way in which Chimiini fits into these theories and either supports or challenges these theories. The paper will focus much more on the pervasive patterns of prosody in Chimiini and the main ideas of the interface theories rather than on technical details. Thus it is anticipated that the talk will be accessible without prior knowledge of the theories discussed.