Penn Arts & Sciences Logo

Home

Thursday, February 12, 2015 - 11:00am

IRCS Conference Room

Jeremy Kuhn
Department of Linguistics
NYU

On the /-oo/ ‘suffix’ of Campbell’s monkeys (C. campbelli)

Ouattara et al. 2009 make the novel claim that Campbell's monkey alarm calls demonstrate a simple pattern of linguistic morphology. The authors observe that there are at least two distinct alarm calls that are used in two different contexts, and that each may be followed by a low frequency sound (glossed /-oo/) that alters the meaning of both calls in predictable ways. In light of these facts, /-oo/ is analyzed as a meaning-bearing, combinatorial morpheme. In this talk, I examine this claim, using as counterpoint the hypothesis that /-oo/ arises incidentally from other articulatory processes. However, after discussing the articulation of /-oo/ and contextual principles that govern articulation, I ultimately reject this alternate hypothesis, thus strengthening the robustness of the morphological analysis.