Asia Studies Seminar | How many verbs does it take to kill a chicken in Hmong?

30 October, 2013
5.00- 6.30pm

Dr Nerida Jarkey
Department of Japanese Studies, the University of Sydney

White Hmong is a minority language spoken in mainland Southeast Asia and southern China, and by some hundreds of thousands of Hmong now living in Western countries as a result of the ‘Secret War’ in Laos. It is a language with many fascinating features, including highly complex initial consonants and seven phonemic tones. One particular interesting aspect of Hmong syntax is its wealth of serial verb constructions (SVCs): constructions involving two or more verbs that are construed and ‘packaged’ as a single conceptual event. This presentation will discuss what SVCs in Hmong have to tell us about the cognitive and cultural construct of ‘event-hood’, and explain how Hmong SVCs challenge the widely accepted correlation between high semantic Transitivity and canonical transitive coding.

Dr Nerida Jarkey is a Senior Lecturer in Japanese Studies in the School of Languages and Cultures. Her primary research interest is in Asian area linguistics. She is concerned with the ways in which speakers use grammar to convey meaning, and how this might relate to cognition, culture and the expression of social identity.

Location: SLC Common Room 524, level 5 Brennan MacCallum Building A18

Contact:Dr Eileen Rose Walsh
Phone: 61 2 9351 6670

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