Dr Gwendolyn Hyslop Seminar
Topic: When “tone” is “voice” and “voice” is tone: tone and tonogenesis in Kurtöp
Date: Tuesday, 30th January 2018, 12noon - 1.00pm
Venue: The Australian Hearing Hub, Level 3, Room 3.610, Macquarie University
Speaker: Dr Gwendolyn Hyslop, The University of Sydney
Host: Distinguished Professor Katherine Demuth
It is understood that variation is among the seeds involved in language change; that is, speakers exploit the variation inherent in production and perception. For example, in tonogenesis, intrinsic differences in pitch following voiced versus voiceless consonants are re-analysed as being the primary contrast. However, we still do not know if, in case of reported variation, it is evidence of change in progress, or simply stable variation. And even in instances of ‘change in progress’ the issue of synchronic representation cannot be ignored. In this talk I present production and perceptual evidence that Kurtöp, a Tibeto-Burman language of Bhutan, is undergoing tonogenesis; tone is slowly diffusing through the phonology of the language. In addition to showing that tonogenesis happens, in part, through a predictable pathway, I also raise the question of representation of otherwise mutually exclusive categories, like tone and voice.
Gwendolyn Hyslop is a Lecturer in Linguistics at the University of Sydney. She received her PhD from the University of Oregon in 2011, producing the first reference grammar of Kurtöp. In addition to working in language documentation broadly, she also publishes in the areas of historical linguistics and laboratory phonology.