UGA Working Papers in Linguistics is an online, peer-reviewed journal published by the Linguistics Society at UGA that showcases current research by student and faculty linguists at UGA in annual issues and other special volumes. Though still in its early stages, the goal of this journal is to be a venue for quality, scholarly work in the field of linguistics, drawing readership from within and outside UGA. 



Ich haute aufs Land ab, melkte eine Kuh, und backte einen Kuchen: Regularization of strong verbs in modern German

Conni Covington

Regularization of Germanic strong verbs is an expected process. Lieberman et al. (2007) and Carroll et al. (2012) showed that less common verbs are more likely to regularize than more common verbs. Edited texts represent a more formal register than unedited texts, and change in progress is more likely to be seen in informal texts (Weerman et al. 2013). Three verbs currently undergoing regularization are backen ‘to bake,’ abhauen ‘to go away,’ and melken ‘to milk.’ This corpus-based study supports the findings of Lieberman et al. (2007), Carroll et al. (2012), and Weerman et al (2013).


The Impact of EFL Teacher Motivational Strategies on Student Motivation to Learn English in Costa Rica

Madeline Jones

This paper explores the relationship between EFL (English as a Foreign Language) teacher motivational strategies and student motivation. Previous research has shown a positive relationship between EFL student motivation and student acquisition of the target language; however, little work has been done to explore what EFL teachers can do to generate, foster, and maintain the motivation of their students. The present study uses the MOLT scheme (as developed by Guilloteaux and Dörnyei, 2008) in middle and high school classrooms in Costa Rica. Student self-reported questionnaire data was compared to student and teacher classroom observation data. The study found strong positive correlations between student motivation and all aspects of the teacher’s motivational practice except ‘teacher discourse,’ suggesting that a teacher who speaks too frequently in the EFL classroom may impede student motivation.


The Development of Proto-Oceanic *R in Kaiwa (Iwal)

Trey Lackey

In a seminal text in the diachronic study of Oceanic languages, Malcolm Ross (1988:141,147) reports the sound change Proto-Oceanic *R > lk/_# in the language Kaiwa. A few lexical witnesses of this sound change are reported in that text, but otherwise it is not discussed in detail. Subsequent works that have mentioned Kaiwa have tended to implicitly reject the accuracy of this original claim or be ambivalent to it, but have continued to not address it in detail. This paper re-examines the literature discussing Kaiwa lexicon and phonology, provides some more apparent witnesses of this sound change, and ultimately concludes in favor of its historical veracity. The sound change is also discussed in the context of the wider history of Proto-Oceanic liquid phonemes in the Kaiwa lexicon, and we provide phonological motivation for the changes represented in this history.


Syntax from above: Towards a top-down, phrase-theoretic model of sentence generation

Doug Merchant

The incremental derivations of phase theory (Chomsky, 2001, 2005, etc.) raise the question of the directionality of derivations (den Dikken, 2018). In this squib, I outline some arguments for top-down generation, arguing that grammatical theory must treat as axiomatic the notion that derivations mirror actual structure-building processes in the brain; given the limited nature of temporary memory capacity (Cowan, 2015), bottom-up generation does not survive long under such scrutiny. Next, I briefly review some theory-internal evidence (Phillips, 1996, 2003; Chesi, 2007, 2015) with respect to conflicting results from constituency tests. Finally, I seek to characterize the phases with respect to what Chomsky (2005, 2007) calls the ‘duality of semantics’, arguing that roots are inserted in the upper phase (CP) for discourse purposes, but are interpreted with respect to the core proposition in the lower phase (vP).


Phonological patterns in BEG-raising

Joseph A. Stanley

Prevelar raising, or the raising of /ɛ/ before voiced velars, has been treated as a sound change that applies uniformly across relevant lexical items. Using self-reported responses from 434 participants, this paper shows that prevelar raising is more likely to occur if the velar is word-final (begleg) or intervocalic (negativelegacy) while raising is significantly less likely to occur when the velar is followed by a sonorant (pregnantregulate), especially if that sonorant is a liquid (negligentsegregate). The set of words containing /ɛɡ/ is more heterogeneous than previously reported, suggesting that there are language-internal factors that must be controlled for when studying prevelar raising.


Call for Papers

We will soon open the call for manuscripts for the fifth volume of the UGA Working Papers in Linguistics, to be published in 2019. We extend a special invitation to those who present research in Colloquium, at Tiny Talks, or as qualifying papers to consider submitting their work. We also invite students and faculty in the Departments of Linguistics, Romance Languages, Germanic and Slavic Studies, Language and Literacy Education and other related fields to consider submitting thesis-related research, modified term papers, or any other papers that fit within the scope of the journal.

These manuscripts will be peer-reviewed by a team of anonymous reviewers with the goal of having as many non-UGA-affiliated reviewers as possible. In addition to being published online at, we hope to have physical editions of the final volume printed, bound, and donated to the UGA Main Library and the Department of Linguistics library as permanent contributions to our institution.

Submissions should adhere to the these style guidelines and should ideally be between 10 and 15 pages of body text. Contributors may submit electronic versions of their papers via email to