Course Outline: Topics in Dravidian Linguistics

SARS 319/519, LING 319/519, Spring Semester 2005
Tuesday-Thursday 3:00--4:30, Room WILLIAMS 1

H. Schiffman, Instructor

Office hours

The focus of this course will be on the topic of Grammaticalization both as a general phenomenon in various languages of the world, and in the Dravidian languages of South India. Many examples will be drawn from Tamil, the Dravidian language with the oldest literary history, but data from other languages, including western languages, African languages, and others will also be examined.

The languages of the Dravidian family have been known to be separate genetically since the latter half of the 19th century, and serious linguistic analysis exists from both pre-historic periods (the oldest Tamil text Tolkaappiyam is in fact a grammar of Tamil, dating from the early centuries of the C.E.) and from the period of missionary-grammarians, early applications of Bloomfieldian linguistics (especially the work of M. B. Emeneau), and finally the post-independence period revival of interest in Dravidian matters, much of it inspired by the so-called Rockefeller Project, and Title 6 funding.

Readings, Research Materials, Course Packets


Reading materials will be on reserve in Van Pelt Library, Rosengarten Reserve. Monographs on the bibliography will be on reserve; articles and chapters will either be distributed in class as handouts, or made available as a coursepak or *pdf files on Blackboard.

General Plan of Attack

This course will be run like a seminar, with all participants exploring the subject of grammaticalization in general (with examples from many languages) and with particular attention to the phenomenon in Tamil, a diglossic language whose spoken form differs radically from its written form. Spoken Tamil (ST) exhibits many examples of grammaticalization, such as verbal aspect marking, a reorganization of the case/postposition system, and other kinds of verbal affixation and reanalysis. Students will present material on topics of interest to them, either in Tamil or in other languages.

Research Paper:

The major part of a grade for this course will be based on a research paper, on a topic relevant to the course. It need not focus on a Dravidian language. See this page for a schedule of deadlines for submissions of drafts, etc.

Week-by-Week Schedule, Spring Semester 2005

  1. Jan. 11-13: Introduction Read:

  2. Jan. 18-20:

  3. Jan. 25-27: Reanalysis and Analogy.

  4. Feb. 1-3: Pragmatic Inferencing

  5. Feb. 8-10: Unidirectionality and Generaliza tion

  6. Feb. 15-17: Introduction to Tamil Syntax, and Grammaticalization issues:

  7. Feb. 22-24: Tamil aspectual verbs: How do they fit the model of Grammaticalization that Hopper & Traugott present? What role does metonymy and/or metaphor play in the grammaticalization of aspect?

  8. Mar. 1-3: Problem of negation and its effect on aspectual verbs, modal verbs, defective verbs, and its unusual morphology.

  9. Mar. 7-11: Spring Break!

  10. Mar. 15-17: Clause-internal Grammaticalization, a.k.a. Morphologization

  11. March 22-24: Summing Up

  12. March 29-31: Student Presentations TBA

  13. April 5: Boyland's article on grammaticalization or morphologization of would+have. (which comes out sounding like [wuda].) And of course there's also 'shoulda, 'coulda' and 'sposeta'.

  14. April 7: Material in Heine, Claudi and Huennemeyer (1991) on Metaphor and other conceptual processes.

  15. Apr. 12: Guest Lecture by Gillian Sankoff, on grammaticalization in pidgins and creoles.

    April 19: More from Heine, Claudi and Huennemeyer, Chapter 3: Context-induced Reinterpretation

  16. Apr. 23-25: Discussion of two Herring articles.

  17. April 22: More Student presentations

  18. Link to Tamil Grammar quotative particle sections, and grammaticalization thereof.

  19. Apr. 24: Summing Up.

Some other resources: