Wamesa is a member of the under-studied South Halmahera-West New Guinea subgroup of the Austronesian language family, with roughly 5000 speakers in West Papua, Indonesia. This course will rely on both primary data, including my fieldnotes and recordings, and published work to look at the phonology, morphology, and syntax of the language. We’ll also look at Wamesa as it compares to its sister languages within SHWNG, and see what it can tell us about linguistic theory. Finally, we’ll take a look at the cultural and political context in which Wamesa is spoken. This course will utilize theoretical tools of linguistic analysis as well as addressing practical skills
useful for collecting, organizing, and analyzing raw field data and making it useful for the speech community from which it was collected
This course is designed to provide further training in formal phonology, in terms of both data analysis and the fundamentals of phonological theory. We'll look deeply at both classic and later derivational versions of Optimality Theory, such as Harmonic Serialism and Stratal OT. Once a common theoretical foundation has been established we will explore these topics through critical reading of major articles form the linguistic literature, as a way of exploring the details of the theories discussed, their strengths and weaknesses, and the rich cross-linguistic data that underlie them.