LingLang Lunch (09/16/2020): Kate Lindsey (Boston University)

Kate Lindsey is an assistant professor in Linguistics at Boston University. She specializes in language description, phonology, and the Pahoturi River languages of Papua New Guinea. She received her Ph.D. from Stanford University for her dissertation titled “Ghost elements in Ende phonology”. For more information, you can find her website here.


Deriving the Pahoturi River vowel space using diachronic and synchronic methods

The Pahoturi River language family of southern New Guinea consists of at least six language varieties. However, only two of these languages have been described phonetically. In this talk, I will describe how I’ve used the comparative method and phonetically transcribed wordlist data to propose vowel spaces for all the varieties in the family. Data will be presented in terms of both F1/F2 quality and length. I’ll also show some puzzling correspondence sets where vowels appear with high variance across the family. This data has implications both for understanding rare processes of vowel harmony in Papuan languages but also for understanding the linguistic history of this understudied region.