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[Please do not hesitate to contact me if you would like to know more about these works.]

Post-doctoral project 2016-2018:
‘Can the language we speak change the way we feel?
Language and emotions in Indigenous Australia’

In 2016 I joined the Linguistics Department at the University of Sydney as an ARC DECRA Research Fellow. My project undere his fellowship extends my work on emotions to a whole region of Australia’s Top End, as well as to other Australian languages via collaborations with colleagues. During this project I am collecting primary data in three languages of the same family as Dalabon (the language I did my PhD on, see below): Bininj Gun-wok, Jawoyn and Rembarrnga. I will then compare the encoding of emotions in these languages with Dalabon and with Barunga Kriol, so as to obtain a full picture of the linguistic variation in the linguistic encoding of emotions for a culturally unified region. This will give us an idea about the scope of linguistic variation in this semantic domain, and about the cultural significance of this variation. Comparing this data with data from other Australian languages and, further, from elsewhere in the world, will give us an idea of what is typical of the Australian continent, and of what is universal.


Post-doctoral project 2013-2015:
‘The language of emotions in Barunga Kriol: Towards an Australian typology’
From 2013 to 2015 I was a researcher at Dynamique du Langage (CNRS, Lyon), conducting a project on the language of emotions in Barunga Kriol. After describing the linguistic encoding of emotions (lexicon, metaphors, syntax, interjections, prosody…) in Dalabon (doctoral research, see below), I am examined the linguistic encoding of emotions in Barunga Kriol, the variety of the Australian creole which is now replacing Dalabon.

In this project, I compare the two languages, and assess what has changed and what has been preserved, the influences of various languages within the post-colonial linguistic ecology, as well as the weight of various cultural and linguist factors upon linguistic emotional resources. I have compiled a 16 hour corpus, based on which I am currently finalizing publications on emotion metaphors, the emotion lexicon, as well as expressive functions such as intonation contours and interjections, in each case showing what is common and what differs between Dalabon and Barunga Kriol.

Edited volume
Morphology and emotions across the world’s languages
With Marine Vuillermet
To appear in Studies in Language (42(1), 2018).
This volume is the outcome of a 2-day workshop held in Lyon (CNRS laboratory Dynamique Du Langage) on 29-30th April 2015. It contains 10 articles that explore the morphological encoding of emotions across languages on 5 different continents (South America (3), Europe (1), Africa (2), Asia (1), Australia (1)). The introduction and the last article adopt a cross-linguistic perspective. Four of the contributions discuss evaluative affixes (focusing on their emotional values), two deal with the expressive functions of reduplication, three with the emotional value of verbal and other miscellaneous morphology. The introduction (Ponsonnet & Vuillermet) offers a preliminary typology of the morphological encoding of emotions. We consider, for instance, which specific emotions (endearment, anger etc.) are more typically taken charge of by which type of morphological features (evaluative morphology, verbal morphology); whether areal patterns can be identified in this respect; in diachronic terms, what are typical etymologies and extensions for emotional morphemes.

Papers to appear
Conceptual representations and figurative language in language shift. Metaphors and gestures for emotions in Kriol (Barunga, northern Australia)
To appear in Cognitive Linguistics (28(4), 2017)
This article explores the correlations between linguistic figurative features and the corresponding conceptual representations, by considering their respective continuities and discontinuities in language shift. I compare the figurative encoding of emotions in Barunga Kriol, a creole of northern Australia, and Dalabon, one of the languages replaced by this creole. The conclusions are three-fold. Firstly, the prominent figurative association between the body and emotions observed in Dalabon is, overall, not matched in Barunga Kriol. Secondly, although this association is not prominent in Barunga Kriol, it is not entirely absent. It surfaces where speakers are less constrained by linguistic conventions: in free tropes, and gestures in particular. The third observation is that therefore, in language shift, conceptual figurative representations and linguistic figurative representations are independent of each other.

A preliminary typology of emotional connotations in morphological diminutives and augmentatives
To appear in M. Ponsonnet and M. Vuillermet ed., Morphology and emotions across the world’s languages, special issue of  Studies in Language (42(1), 2018).
This article presents a preliminary typology of emotional connotations in evaluative morphology, starting with diminutives and augmentatives. I inventory the emotional meanings and connotations found in a sample of nineteen languages for diminutives, and nine languages plus a few additional regional studies for augmentatives. Given the small size of the samples, this typology remains preliminary, but it does highlight a number of points. Across languages and continents, diminutives can express positive emotions such as compassion, love and admiration, as well as negative emotions such as contempt. The emotional connotations of augmentatives are more limited, but do display a blend of positive and negative emotions including contempt and repulsion, admiration and respect, endearment and compassion. Diminutives and augmentatives do not contrast sharply with respect to emotional valence (positive or negative), but while diminutives are anchored in intimacy, the emotions conveyed by augmentatives more often relate to broader social contexts.

Expressive values of reduplication in Barunga Kriol (northern Australia)
To appear in M. Ponsonnet and M. Vuillermet ed., Morphology and emotions across the world’s languages, special issue of  Studies in Language (42(1), 2018).
This article describes the semantic values of reduplication in Barunga Kriol, with a focus on its expressive functions. Barunga Kriol reduplication has two types of functions. Its most frequent meaning is aspectual atelicity. In addition, it has a number of expressive meanings and connotations: hypocoristic usages; descriptions of children’s games and imitations; and a softening role in imperatives and reprimands. Contrary to the aspectual value of reduplication which is iconically motivated, expressive values are motivated by the pragmatic association of reduplication with children.
Expressive uses of reduplication are rarer and less regular than its grammaticalized aspectual uses, which are very frequent. Aspectual reduplication is optional most of the time, so that explaining its actual distribution in discourse is a complicated matter. This article shows that this distribution can often be explained in the view of the expressive values of reduplication (some of them also conveyed by affixal evaluative morphology in the Australian languages that have been replaced by this creole). Thus, taking into account the expressive dimension of reduplication contributes significantly to the linguistic analysis of the grammaticalized aspectual function of reduplication.

Lexical semantics in language shift. Comparing emotion lexica in Dalabon and Barunga Kriol (northern Australia)
To appear in The Journal of Pidgin and Creole Languages (33(1), 2018)
This article analyzes some of the lexical semantic features of Barunga Kriol, in comparison with Dalabon, which is one of the Australian Aboriginal languages replaced by Barunga Kriol. Focusing on the semantic domain of emotions, this study spells out the exact nature of the lexical resemblances between the two languages, and highlights major differences as well. The conclusions of the study are two-fold. Firstly, I show that the Barunga Kriol emotion lexicon shares a great many properties with the Dalabon emotion lexicon. As a result, speakers in Barunga Kriol and Dalabon respectively are often able to package meaning in very similar ways: the two languages offer comparable means of describing events in the world. From that point of view, language shift can be considered to have a lesser impact. Secondly, I show that the lexical resemblances between Barunga Kriol and Dalabon are not limited to simple cases where the lexemes in each language share the same forms and/or meanings. Instead, lexical resemblances relate to a number of other properties in semantics and combinatorics, and I devise a preliminary typology of these lexical resemblances. Beyond the comparison between Barunga Kriol and Dalabon, this typology may tentatively serve as a grid to evaluate lexical resemblances between languages more generally.

The metaphors of anger in Dalabon
To appear in 2015 in P. Boyeldieu and N. Tersis ed. L’expression des émotions : syntaxe et sémantique, by ENS Editions.
Among all emotion metaphors, metaphors of anger are the ones which have attracted the most cross-linguistic research. They have been documented for at least a dozen languages across the world, on several continents. Kövecses (1995, 2005) argued that they are cross-linguistically consistent, possibly universal, and that this is presumably because they are inspired by physiological reactions to anger. Dalabon metaphors are interesting because they differ both from cross-linguistically common metaphors for anger, and from other Dalabon metaphors for emotions. This paper presents the Dalabon metaphors for anger and questions their particularities.

Generic term of subsections (‘skins’): sources and semantic networks
To appear in P. McConvell and P. Kelly ed. Skins, kin and clans, ANU E-Press.
With Patrick McConvell (Australian National University, Austkin project)
A number of Australian groups use a system of socio-centered kin classification called subsections—also known as ‘skins’ in English. In some languages, the generic term for ‘subsection’ is polysemous with ‘skin’, but in many other languages, the words display different polysemies: with body, smell and taste, country… We study these polysemies, explore their semantic networks, suggest graphic representations under the form of semantic maps, and question the correlation with geographic distribution and historical diffusion.

Documentation corpora
The corpus of Dalabon that I collected and elaborated between 2010 and 2013 can be accessed from ELAR, the Hans Rausing Endangered Languages Project archive. The corpus is still in the course of being edited and glossed. My corpus of Barunga Kriol will also be archived at the end of 2015.