John Huisman will defend his thesis on Tuesday 30th of March 2021

24 March 2021
On Tuesday 30th March 2021, at 10.30, John Huisman will defend his thesis entitled "Variation in form and meaning across the Japonic language family with a focus on the Ryukyuan languages".
Due to the restrictions surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak, and the corresponding limitations regarding number of guests allowed in the Academiezaal, the event will be accessible via live-stream. As with all defences, it is a public event and everybody is welcome to join online.

Link to live-stream

In his thesis, John Huisman combined new data collected through linguistic fieldwork with existing dictionary data to study whether there are differences in the patterns of linguistic variation between connected land and islands, to what extent semantic variation occurs across related languages, whether semantic variability differs between language families, and to what extent sematic categories in endangered languages are affected by contact with majority languages.

Taken together, his findings show that geography and time affect linguistic diversity differently in mainland languages as opposed to island languages, that meanings can vary substantially even within a language family, that meanings in related languages tend to resemble each other more than across unrelated languages, and that semantic systems are able to resist outside influence.

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