Dr. Robert Blust SEALS Talk: “Two Birds with One Stone: The Aerodynamic Voicing Constraint and the Languages of Borneo”
Dr. Blust will present as a keynote speaker on Thursday, May 17, 2018 at the 28th Annual Meeting of the Southeast Asian Linguistics Society (SEALS), at Wenzao Ursuline University of Languages, Kaohsiung, Taiwan.
About the Talk
A hallmark of any good scientific theory is its ability to derive two or more superficially unconnected phenomena from a single unifying principle. A classic example is Newton’s gravitation theory, in which Galileo’s laws of motion for objects falling on the earth and Kepler’s laws of motion for the planets orbiting the sun — both of which had previously been recognized as valid but unconnected statements about physical processes — were shown to reflect the same fundamental force (gravity). This talk draws attention to the identity of a basic phonological process that has taken divergent paths in the history of particular languages or language groups. In particular, it is argued that the historical development of true voiced aspirates [bph], [dth], [gkh] in the Kelabit-Lun Dayeh languages of Borneo, and the replacement of word-final voiced stops by the homorganic nasals in a number of languages in Borneo are outcomes of the same phonetic limitation, namely the aerodynamic voicing constraint (AVC).
About the Speaker
Dr. Robert Blust is a professor in the UH Manoa Department of Linguistics. His interests include historical linguistics and Austronesian linguistics and culture history, among others. He received a BA in Anthropology and a PhD in Linguistics from the University of Hawaii. He has field experience on 97 Austronesian languages in Sarawak, Papua New Guinea, and Taiwan.