Loading Events

I-language and interspeaker variation in a refugee community

Mary Paster, Pomona College

November 6, 2019 · 4:30 pm · 1-S-5 Green Hall

Program in Linguistics

This talk advocates an approach to interspeaker linguistic variation that aligns with the ‘I-language’ view (Chomsky 1986). On this view, the object of study in linguistics is mental grammar; language is understood as being internal to the individual, in contrast to the ‘E-language’ approach, where language is external to individual speakers. In this talk I present a case study from Maay (a Cushitic language spoken in southern Somalia) in which interspeaker variation in a refugee community defies analysis in E-language terms. An I-language approach allows for a straightforward analysis of the observed variation, specifically in the domains of (1) plural noun morphology, (2) semantics of plural nouns, and (3) vowel length alternations.

Humanities Council Logo
Italian Studies Logo
American Studies Logo
Humanistic Studies Logo
Ancient World Logo
Canadian Studies Logo
ESC Logo
Journalism Logo
Linguistics Logo
Medieval Studies Logo
Renaissance Logo
Film Studies Logo