Linguistics to host 'Talking About Kin in Tiwa' March 4 at 4 p.m.

Western's Linguistics Department will host 'Talking About Kin in Tiwa,' presented by Assistant Professor of Linguistics Virginia Dawson, at 4 p.m. on Thursday, March 4 via Zoom.

This event is free and open to the public, and connection information is below.

Languages vary widely in how they express kinship relations. The Boro-Garo languages of northeast India in particular are known to have complex and typologically unusual systems of kinship reference, but have received relatively little attention in the broader literature (Bouchery and Longmailai 2018).

In this study, Dawson provides a systematic description of Tiwa kinship terminology and its interface with Tiwa cultural practices, and highlights one way in which the study of kinship terminology in Tiwa has real consequences for semantic theory more generally. Specifically, Tiwa has a series of nominals denoting groups of people in particular kin relationships. While nominals in Tiwa more broadly cannot be directly modified by numerals (instead requiring a classifier), these group kin terms can. Dawson compares these expressions to what Bradley (2001) terms "group classifiers" in Yi languages, and highlights their implications for the ongoing debate about numeral modification in classifier languages (e.g. Bale and Coon 2014).

Virginia Dawson's research centers on semantics, pragmatics and language documentation, with a primary focus on Tiwa, a Tibeto-Burman language of northeast India. She received her doctorate in Linguistics from the University of California, Berkeley in 2020.



Thursday, March 4

4:00 p.m.


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Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 996 2604 0027

Passcode: 079135


This meeting will be recorded and shared online.