Focal projects for time in Sweden:

1) From Dictionary to Ethno-thesaurus: Vernacular definitions, constructional prefabs and semantic relations in Warlpiri (a planned monograph resulting in a Warlpiri Ethno-thesaurus and detailing its theoretical significance to lexical semantics)

Between 1984 and 1998 the late Paddy Patrick Jangala (PPJ), a Warlpiri man from Lajamanu, produced around 1700 vernacular definitions for the Warlpiri Encyclopaedic Dictionary project. In my project, PPJ's vernacular definitions are treated as textlets which manifest discourse regularities that can be fruitfully explored using standard corpus linguistic tools. Preliminary research demonstrates that recurrent structures across these definitions identify semantic relations and semantic categories (from the perspective of a Warlpiri speaker). This allows us to make a principled move from the list structure of the dictionary to a truly ethnographic Ethno-thesaurus of Warlpiri. Moreover, this project is a replication of Casagrande and Hale's (1967) seminal paper on 'Semantic relationships in Papago folk-definitions', using modern tools and a different language. Casagrande and Hale's work is much cited for discovering 13 types of semantic relationship from which the 800 Papago definitions were constructed, and these relationshops have largely been taken as 'universal'. Early work on PPJ's body of Warlpiri defintions suggest we need to rethink our understanding of semantic relations (and question the proposed universals).

2) Chomsky's Gestures (substudies to be concluded and written up)

Few people have been publicly video-recorded so much over a long period of time as Noam Chomsky. This research project uses approximately 70 videos of Chomsky's (interactional) interviews and informal discussions between 1969 and 2013. This allows a study of an individual's gestural consistency over a forty year period. Here gesture includes not only manual gesture, but gaze, facial expressions (such as the 'lip shrug'), head movements, shoulder movements, and so on. Since Chomsky often repeats the same information and anecdotes over the years, it is possible to compare verbal consistency with gestural consistency. Moreover, we can investigate the interactional pragmatics that license the use of some gestures over others. Preliminary observations suggest the data will not only be of interest to live theoretical issues in gestural semantics and pragmatics but also to issues in discourse-level semantics and pragmatics.