3/7/2014 HmongFM



The Center for Hmong Studies will hold the 5th International Conference on Hmong Studies at Concordia University on March 21-22, 2014. For more info: www.csp.edu/hmongcenter 
Guests: Lee Pao Xiong, Director of the Center for Hmong Studies, Elisabeth Ginsburg and Mysee Chang - research presenters
Elisabeth Ginsburg is from the Australian National University. The title of her research is: "Hmong, a Language Without Tense - Implying Temporal Distinctions Using Aspect and Modality." Here is a brief abstract of her research: 


Grammatical marking of tense is found in many languages. Tense places events temporally in relation to the time of speech. White Hmong has grammatical markers that can be used to help situate events in time, but which are not grammatical tense markers. This paper explores some ways in which time reference (tense-like meanings) are conveyed in White Hmong. Instead of using tense, White Hmong utilizes its extensive aspect and modality system. Aspect describes events in terms of initial and final boundaries and can also highlight completion and progression. Modality can convey information about necessity, ability and reality. The type of modality that will be explored is the Irrealis, which denotes that an event has unknown reality at the time of speech. This talk will focus on four markers that would often be translated as past or future tense, showing first that they are not tense markers and then describing their actual functions. The first two markers, tau and lawm often occur with events with implied past time reference, but are best described as aspectual markers of Achievement and Completion. Similarly, mam li and yuav are often associated with events that have future time reference, but in truth, are better described as two different types of modal markers of Irrealis. White Hmong has many other aspectual and modal markers, but by focusing on these four markers, this talk presents the complexity of the system in White Hmong and shows how it expresses temporal relationships without grammatical marking of tense.


Mysee Chang is a McNair Scholar and a recent graduate from St. Catherine University. She graduated with a Bachelor's of Arts in Women's Studies. Her research study, "Reconciling Bicultural Values," was fueled by her personal experience as a second-generation Hmong-American. Mysee's research explores the identity negotiation of second-generation Hmong American women and the affects of higher education on the identity of the women in her study. Here is a brief abstract of her research:

Second-generation Hmong Americans often struggle with culture clash. Many feel the pressure to assimilate in order to achieve their family’s hope of the American dream, yet they are challenged because assimilating means losing their heritage. “Assimilation” is used to describe how immigrants adapt and integrate into the culture and society of the new country (Gordon, 1964). The literature on assimilation often focuses on how higher education functions as a way to assimilate immigrants into the dominant culture. The literature is primarily about social mobility and not enough attention has been given to the subjective aspect of assimilation. The purpose of my study is to better understand and explore the lived-realities of second-generation Hmong-American women. How do Hmong-American women come to understand their identities? How does higher education influence this process of identity development? How do they come to reconcile the values of the cultures they live in? Five second-generation Hmong-American women were interviewed for this study. In analyzing their narratives, I found that themes of difference and agency were common in their stories. Based on what I found, I would argue that higher education does not completely assimilate Hmong-American women because of their desire to remain connected to their community and the sense of agency they demonstrate in negotiating difference and reconstructing their identities.

Playlist Tracks: 
EVO - Our Hmong Song
Album: EVO; Label: Evolution Records
Ly Vangsoua Thao - Tiv Nag Tiv Cuas
Album: Vagabond Sounds; Label: CHAT
Sonic Rain - Lost Dance
Album: Unique; Label: Self
Jade and Kenny Lee - I Promise
Album: Vagabond Sounds; Label: CHAT
Chic Spittin Fire - Half Way There
Album: Vagabond Sounds; Label: CHAT
Lee Pao Xiong - Director of Center for Hmong Studies
Topics: 5th International Hmong Studies Conference
Mysee Chang - Research Presenter
Topics: "Reconciling Bicultural Values"
Elisabeth Ginsburg - Research Presenter
Topics: "Hmong, a Language Without Tense - Implying Temporal Distinctions Using Aspect and Modality"
Air Date: 
March 7, 2014