Language and Linguistics Seminar Series: Week 23 with Dr Charlotte Hemmings, University of Oxford

Differential Case Marking in Northern Sarawak

  • Thu 2 May 19

    12:00 - 14:00

  • Colchester Campus


  • Event speaker

    Dr Charlotte Hemmings, University of Oxford

  • Event type

    Lectures, talks and seminars
    Language and Linguistics Seminar Series

  • Event organiser

    Language and Linguistics, Department of

  • Contact details

    Victoria Mead

In week 31, we are joined by Dr Charlotte Hemmings, University of Oxford, to talk about their recent research.

12-1pm Dr Charlotte Hemmings will take to the stage to deliver their talk, followed by a lunch provided by Language and Linguistics from 1pm-2pm.

We look forward to seeing you there: this event is open to all students and staff! 


This talk discusses two interesting cases of differential case marking in Northern Sarawak: differential actor marking in Kelabit and differential undergoer marking in Lun Bawang. In both cases, the patterns are found in the pronominal system, where earlier more extensive systems of Western Austronesian case-marking are preserved. However, in contrast to other Western Austronesian languages, where case is determined by grammatical function, the choice of pronominal form is determined by other factors in Kelabit and Lun Bawang. In this talk, I argue that information structure plays an important role in determining the choice of pronominal form and explore the implications: particularly, that oblique form does not necessarily equate to oblique function and that grammatical function ought therefore to be established on the basis of syntactic phenomena rather than morphological encoding.

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