Talk by Luis Miguel Rojas-Berscia (DAB Nyelvészeti Esték online)

2021, February 3 - 10:00
The myth of a monoglossic competence: cases from Northwestern Amazonia and Western Australia through the lenses of Dynamic Linguistics

3 February 2021, 10:00

Az esemény nyelve angol.
The language of this event is English.
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Dr Luis Miguel Rojas-Berscia
University of Queensland, School of Languages and Cultures
Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, Confucius Institute
The myth of a monoglossic competence: cases from Northwestern Amazonia and Western Australia through the lenses of Dynamic Linguistics

This talk is a practical introduction to Dynamic Linguistics (DL), through the analysis of the linguistic competence of the Shawi of north-western Amazonia in Peru, and inhabitants of Balgo, a multilingual town in the heart of Australia’s Great Sandy Desert. These two cases illustrate the importance of incorporating variation and contact in our models of language production. This not only leads to a more accurate representation of synchronic competence, but a more thorough grasp of the historical development of linguistic systems as fluid in nature.
Dynamic Linguistics (DL) is modular theory of grammar that bridges the advances in the understanding of language production (Seuren, 2018 Semantic Syntax) and the incorporation of variation in the transformational machinery . One of its most important contributions is the idea of lect, as “a completely non-committal term for any bundling together of linguistic phenomena” (Bailey, 1973, p. 13). Mental grammars would therefore be poly-lectal and “whatever the level of abstraction represented by a grammar may be, it should contain underlying representations and rules which will generate all the systematic variation in the data at the systematic phonetic level of every lect abstracted from” (Bailey, 1973, p. 13). In addition, following Schuchardt (1885), DL attempts to incorporate internal reconstruction and the comparative method, as well as the concept of ‘creolisation’ as the axis of creation of new linguistic systems in the historical sense (cf. Seuren & Wekker, 1986).
In this talk I will show how such an encompassing model of competence. i.e. DL, updated and informed by recent developments in third wave sociolinguistics, particularly the notion of non-polyglossic multilingualism (Lüpke, 2017), as well as lingueme (Croft, 2000) or item-based approaches (Enfield, 2014), can help us to understand the development of small language families or isolates and contact languages in South America and Australia.

Bailey, C.-J. N. (1973). Variation and Linguistic Theory. Center for Applied Linguistics.
Croft, W. (2000). Explaining Language Change: An Evolutionary Approach. Longman.
Enfield, N. J. (2014). Natural causes of language: Frames, biases, and cultural transmission. Language Science Press.
Lüpke, F. (2017). African(ist) perspectives on vitality: Fluidity, small speaker numbers, and adaptive multilingualism make vibrant ecologies (Response to Mufwene). Language, 93(4), e275–e279.
Schuchardt, H. (1885). Ueber die Lautgesetze. Gegen die Junggrammatiker.
Seuren, P. A. M. (2018). Semantic Syntax (Second Revised Edition). Brill.
Seuren, P. A. M., & Wekker, H. (1986). Semantic transparency as a factor in Creole genesis. In P. C. Muysken & N. Smith (Eds.), Substrata versus universals in Creole Genesis: Papers from the Amsterdam Creole Workshop, April 1985 (pp. 57–70). Benjamins.

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