Expressions of interest are invited: Visiting Positions in Anthropolical Linguistics

Alexandra Aikhenvald a.y.aikhenvald at LIVE.COM
Wed Feb 22 06:38:03 UTC 2012

Exciting research opportunity in Anthropological Linguistics

Language and Culture Research Centre, James Cook University, Australia
An opportunity has arisen, for a top-class, highly motivated linguist, to spend 6-10 months as a Visiting Fellow within the Language and Culture Research Centre, at James Cook University, situated in the tropical city of Cairns, North Queensland, Australia. They would work with Distinguished Professor Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald and Professor R. M. W. Dixon within the Project 'The world through the prism of language: a cross-linguistic view of noun classes, genders and classifiers'. We invite expressions of interest from scholars at all levels, from Post-Doctoral on up.
The summary of the project is:
Genders, noun classes and classifiers are the grammatical means for linguistic categorisation of nouns and nominals. Semantic features they encode offer ‘a unique window’ into how humans construct representations of the world and encode them into their languages. The aim of this project is to investigate, across the world's languages, the gamut of noun classification devices, their meanings, and their correlations with the socio-cultural and physical environment in which a language is spoken. Particular attention will be paid to little known languages from New Guinea and Amazonia. The project has far-reaching implications for studies of human interaction and cognition.
The Language and Culture Research Centre (LCRC) brings together linguists, anthropologists, other social scientists and those working in the humanities. The primary intent of the Centre is to investigate the relationship between language and the cultural behaviour of those who speak it. It also studies the relations between archaeology, prehistory, human biology, cognition studies and linguistics, based on in-depth empirical investigations of languages and cultures in the tropical areas, including those of the Pacific (especially the Papuan languages of New Guinea), the languages of Amazonia, and of Indigenous Australia. (The website is under construction). 

 Further information on the position, and the LCRC, is available from Professor Aikhenvald at Alexandra.Aikhenvald at

Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald, PhD, DLitt, FAHA
Distinguished Professor and Research Leader (Peoples and Societies of the Tropics)
The Cairns Institute 
James Cook University
PO Box 6811
Queensland 4870

mobile 0400 305315
office 61-7-40421117
home 61-7-40381876
alexandra.aikhenvald at


Date: Fri, 16 Sep 2011 13:24:34 +0200
From: W.Schulze at LRZ.UNI-MUENCHEN.DE
Subject: passive/causative homonymy

Dear friends,
I'm currently working on instances of passive/causative homonymy. Let me just give two examples from Manchu (Tungus) to illustrate the problem:

tere         inenggi         mi-ni            jakûn     morin                hûlha-bu-fi
that         day               1SG-GEN     eight      horse:NOM      steal-PASS-PFV:CNV
'On that day my eight horses were stolen (by bandits).'

bi                morin    be        ule-bu-me
1SG:NOM   horse    ACC     drink-CAUS-IPFV:CNV
'I let the horse drink (water).'

For -bu- marking the causative we might think of the verb bu- 'give' as a potential source of grammaticalization. However, it is far from being clear whether the same -bu- is present in the passive form.  Usually, -bu- is said to represent a homonymous pair, not an instance of polysemy. However note that in some other Tungus languages, the formal merger of passive and causative may show up, too (apart from another, specialized passive morpheme). Similar instances occur in Korean (e.g.  cap-hita 'let/have catch, be caught', mul-lita 'have/let bite, be bitten' etc.). Again, grammars normally speak of secondary homonymy due to specific sound processes. Nevertheless, I'm not sure whether the parallel between (Southern) Tungus and Korean is mere coincidence (given the fact that the languages at issue are spoken in relative neighborhood). However, before trying to provide an explanation based on the assumption of the presence of polysemy (that would be rather complex in nature - I do not want to bother you with this here), I would be eager to learn whether there are other languages that exhibit the same type of homonymy, that is a single (!) strategy (morphological or analytic) to encode passives and causatives. Likewise, I'm totally ignorant whether this phenomenon has already been discussed in the literature (my fault, I admit!). So, I would be extremely thankful, if you could tell me about helpful references and whether there are other languages  that show analogous strategies. Maybe Estonian is another candidate,  cf. soovi-ta 'be wished' ~ '*have something being wished' ~ '*have s.o. wish' > 'recommend', but I'm not sure whether I have got these data right.  

Very best wishes,


Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Schulze                                                                     
Institut für Allgemeine & Typologische Sprachwissenschaft      
Dept. II / F 13                                                                                                     
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München                                                       
Ludwigstraße 25                                                                                 
D-80539 München                                                                                                                 
Tel.: 0049-(0)89-2180-2486 (Secretary)                                                            
         0049-(0)89-2180-5343 (Office)                                            
Fax:  0049-(0)89-2180-5345                                                                               
Email: W.Schulze at /// Wolfgang.Schulze at       
Personal homepage:
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