Linguistics News, Announcements, and Publications
Linguistics News, Announcements, and Publications
This book explores linguistic and philosophical issues presented by sentences expressing personal taste, such as Roller coasters are fun, or Licorice is tasty. Standard semantic theories explain the meanings of sentences by specifying the conditions under which they are true; here, Peter Lasersohn asks how we can account for sentences that are concerned with matters of opinion rather than matters of fact. He argues that a truth-theoretic semantic theory is appropriate even for sentences like these, but that for such sentences, truth and falsity must be assigned relative to perspectives, rather than absolutely. The book provides a detailed and explicit formal grammar, working out the implications of this conception of truth both for simple sentences and for reports of mental attitude. The semantic analysis is paired with a pragmatic theory explaining what it means to assert a sentence which is true or false only relativistically, and with a speculative account of the functional motivation for a relativized notion of truth. https://global.oup.com/academic/product/subjectivity-and-perspective-in-truth-theoretic-semantics-9780199573684?cc=us&lang=en&#
This study examines heritage speakers’ knowledge of Standard Arabic (SA) and compares their patterns of SA acquisition to those of learners of SA as second/foreign language (L2). In addition, the study examines the influence of previously acquired language varieties, including Colloquial Arabic (QA), on SA acquisition.1 To this end, the study compares 35 heritage speakers, 28 L2 learners, and 16 controls with respect to sentential negation, an area where SA and QA diverge significantly. The participants completed five oral tasks targeting negation of eight different clause types. The findings showed that L2 learners and heritage speakers performed comparably, encountered similar difficulties, and produced similar patterns of errors. However, whereas L2 learners did not display clear transfer effects from L1 (English), heritage speakers showed both positive and negative influence of L1 (QA). The results shed light on the dynamics of the interaction between the spoken heritage languages and their written standard counterparts with specific focus on diglossic contexts.
An idiom is classically defined as a formulaic sequence whose meaning is comprised of more than the sum of its parts. For this reason, idioms pose a unique problem for models of sentence processing, as researchers must take into account how idioms vary and along what dimensions, as these factors can modulate the ease with which an idiomatic interpretation can be activated. In order to help ensure external validity and comparability across studies, idiom research benefits from the availability of publicly available resources reporting ratings from a large number of native speakers. Resources such as the one outlined in the current paper facilitate opportunities for consensus across studies on idiom processing and help to further our goals as a research community. To this end, descriptive norms were obtained for 870 American English idioms from 2,100 participants along five dimensions: familiarity, meaningfulness, literal plausibility, global decomposability, and predictability. Idiom familiarity and meaningfulness strongly correlated with one another, whereas familiarity and meaningfulness were positively correlated with both global decomposability and predictability. Correlations with previous norming studies are also discussed.
Peter Lasersohn's 1988 dissertation A Semantics for Groups and Events, published by Garland in 1990, has been reissued by Routledge. https://www.routledge.com/A-Semantics-for-Groups-and-Events/Lasersohn/p/book/9781138690905
Abstract: First published in 1990, this dissertation presents an event-based model-theoretic semantics for plural expressions in English. The author defends against counterarguments the hypothesis that distributive predicates are predicates of groups, and not just individuals. By defining the collective/distributive distinction in terms of event structure, he solves formal problems with previous group-level analyses. The author notes that certain adverbials have a systematic ambiguity between a reading indicating collective action, and readings indicating spatial or temporal proximity; the event-based definition of collective action makes possible a parallel treatment of these readings. This book presents a formal proposal on the algebraic structure of groups and events, and a semantically based analysis of number agreement.
We investigated factors that affect the comprehension of subject–verb agreement in English, using quantification as a window into the relationship between morphosyntactic processes in language production and comprehension. Event-related brain potentials (ERPs) were recorded while participants read sentences with grammatical and ungrammatical verbs, in which the plurality of the subject noun phrase was either doubly marked (via overt plural quantification and morphological marking on the noun) or singly marked (via only plural morphology on the noun). Both acceptability judgments and the ERP data showed heightened sensitivity to agreement violations when quantification provided an additional cue to the grammatical number of the subject noun phrase, over and above plural morphology. This is consistent with models of grammatical comprehension that emphasize feature prediction in tandem with cue-based memory retrieval. Our results additionally contrast with those of prior studies that showed no effects of plural quantification on agreement in language production. These findings therefore highlight some nontrivial divergences in the cues and mechanisms supporting morphosyntactic processing in language production and comprehension.
- In Tanner, Morgan-Short and Luck (2015; henceforth TMSL) we demonstrated how commonly-used high-pass filter settings can distort ERP (and analogously ERMF) data, and that these distortions can lead to spurious conclusions about the nature of the cognitive processes engaged during the experimental task. We appreciate Maess, Schröger, and Widmann's interest in our work, and we thank them for their thoughtful commentary. Indeed, we feel that open discussion of these issues – and importantly empirical demonstration of the benefits and pitfalls of high-pass filtering, baseline correction, and other issues – will benefit the field by helping establish a set of best practices for signal processing in ERP research. Establishing a consistent best-practices approach to filtering and ERP analysis more generally will help ensure cross-study comparability within sub-fields of ERP research and lead more reliable, consistent, and replicable results. Maess et al. raise two major points in response to our article. First, they argue that our original test data were not optimally suited to show the benefits of high-pass filtering because they simply did not contain enough low-frequency noise. Second, they argue that high-pass filtering should replace the common practice of baseline correction in ERP research, contra our recommendations. We will respond to both of these arguments here, as well as a point they raise about criteria for detecting filter-induced artifacts. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jneumeth.2016.01.002
Our recent alum Dr. Jennifer Cramer (Ph.D., 2010) will soon be releasing a second book, Contested Southerness: The Linguistic Production and Perception of Identities in the Borderlands. Be sure to look for it, as well as the rest of her research. Congratulations again, Jennifer!
We are proud to announce that Dr. Jennifer Cramer (Ph.D., 2010) has recently published a co-edited (with Chris Montgomery, University of Sheffield) volume on dialect perceptions for Mouton de Gruyter called Cityscapes and Perceptual Dialectology (2016). Congratulations, Jennifer!
Heritage speakers are native speakers of a minority language they learn at home, but due to socio-political pressure from the majority language spoken in their community, their heritage language does not fully develop. In the last decade, the acquisition of heritage languages has become a central focus of study within linguistics and applied linguistics. This work centres on the grammatical development of the heritage language and the language learning trajectory of heritage speakers, synthesizing recent experimental research. The Acquisition of Heritage Languages offers a global perspective, with a wealth of examples from heritage languages around the world. Written in an accessible style, this authoritative and up-to-date text is essential reading for professionals, students, and researchers of all levels working in the fields of sociolinguistics, psycholinguistics, education, language policies and language teaching.
We investigated interactions between morphological complexity and grammaticality on electrophysiological markers of grammatical processing during reading. Our goal was to determine whether morphological complexity and stimulus grammaticality have independent or additive effects on the P600 event-related potential component. Participants read sentences that were either well-formed or grammatically ill-formed, in which the critical word was either morphologically simple or complex. Results revealed no effects of complexity for well-formed stimuli, but the P600 amplitude was significantly larger for morphologically complex ungrammatical stimuli than for morphologically simple ungrammatical stimuli. These findings suggest that some previous work may have inadequately characterized factors related to reanalysis during morphosyntactic processing. Our results show that morphological complexity by itself does not elicit P600 effects. However, in ungrammatical circumstances, overt morphology provides a more robust and reliable cue to morphosyntactic relationships than null affixation.
There are users who generate significant amounts of domain knowledge in online forums or community question and answer (CQA) websites. The existing literature refers to them as ‘experts.’ These users attain such statuses by providing multiple relevant answers to the question askers. Past works have focused on recommending relevant posts to these users. With the rise of web forums where certified experts answer questions, strategies that are tailored towards addressing the new type of experts will be beneficial. In this paper, we identify a new type of user called ‘designated experts’ (i.e., users designated as domain experts by the web administrators). These are the experts who are guaranteed by web administrators to be an expert in a given domain. Our focus is on how we can capture the unique behavior of designated experts in an online domain. We have noticed that designated experts have different behaviors compared to CQA experts. In particular, unlike existing CQAs, only one designated expert responds to any given thread. To capture this intuition, we introduce a matrix factorization algorithm with regularization to capture the behavior. Our results show that the regularization method improves the performance significantly compared to the baseline approach.
Erosion of differential object marking (DOM)—the overt morphological marking of animate direct objects—has been observed in Spanish heritage speakers who are second-generation immigrants in the United States (Montrul 2004, Montrul & Bowles 2009). We investigated whether DOM is similarly vulnerable in heritage speakers of Hindi and Romanian, two other languages that also exhibit DOM, as well as in first-generation immigrants, adults who are presumably the main source of input to heritage speakers. We report the results of three experimental studies testing acceptability of DOM through a bimodal judgment task in first- and second-generation Spanish, Hindi, and Romanian speakers in the US and native speakers in Mexico, India, and Romania matched for age and socioeconomic status. Our results show structural changes with DOM in all of the heritage speaker groups to different degrees. Acceptance of nontarget DOM omission was more extensive in Spanish than in Hindi and Romanian. First-generation Hindi and Romanian immigrants did not differ in their grammatical proficiency and acceptance of DOM omission from the Hindi and Romanian speakers tested in India and in Romania. However, the first-generation Mexican immigrants displayed similar performance to the Spanish heritage speakers, suggesting that Spanish DOM is prone to L1 attrition in the first generation as well. We discuss linguistic and experiential factors relevant to the three languages and the three immigrant communities to explain these findings.
RESUMEN: En este artículo resumo la historia de los estudios sobre la pseudocoordinación verbal (por ejemplo tomo y me voy o fue y se cayó en español), un fenómeno poco estudiado interlingüísticamente. La variada terminología y una tradición de estudios desconectados hacen que comparar las investigaciones previas sea una tarea difícil. En §1 se explora el origen del término hendíadis, haciendo referencia a los primeros estudios sobre el uso no coordinativo de la conjunción copulativa y. Empezando con el Diálogo de la lengua, escrito por Juan de Valdés en 1535, se describen en §2 los primeros estudios sobre la pseudocoordinación verbal en español. En §3 se compilan las primeras investigaciones en algunas otras lenguas y las primeras descripciones sistemáticas de las propiedades gramaticales del fenómeno en el siglo XIX. En §4 se discute el estado actual de los estudios sobre la pseudocoordinación en el español contemporáneo, incluyendo la variación dialectal y algunas implicaciones para la sintaxis teórica. Palabras clave: pseudocoordinación, hendíadis, sintaxis, coordinación, historiografía lingüística.
ABSTRACT: In this article I summarize the history of research on verbal pseudocoordination (as exemplified by go and get or try and do in English), a cross-linguistically understudied phenomenon. Varied terminology and disconnected research traditions make comparative research with this early work difficult. Section 1 explores the origin of the term hendiadys, which represents the first research on noncoordinative usage of the coordinating conjunction ‘and’. Starting with Diálogo de la Lengua, written by Juan de Valdés in 1535, Section 2 describes the earliest research on verbal pseudocoordination in Spanish. Section 3 compiles the earliest research in several other languages and the first systematic descriptions of the grammatical properties of the phenomenon in Danish, English and Italian in the 1800s. Section 4 discusses the extent of research on pseudocoordination in Spanish today, including dialectal variation and implications for syntactic theory. Keywords: Pseudocoordination, Hendiadys, Syntax, Coordination, Linguistic historiography.
- Tanner, D. (2015). On the left anterior negativity (LAN) in electrophysiological studies of morphosyntactic agreement. Cortex, 66, 149-155.
In a review of event-related potential (ERP) studies, Molinaro, Barber, and Carreiras (2011) lay out a theory of the temporal and neural dynamics of grammatical agreement comprehension. As is clear from their review, ERPs are an excellent tool for studying agreement processing because they have a temporal resolution high enough to detect transient events in the brain, such as those that characterize language comprehension, and their multidimensional nature allows one to make inferences about qualitatively dissociable cognitive processes engaged during real-time processing (Otten & Rugg, 2005; Rugg & Coles, 1995). In particular, their theory accounts for findings across domains of linguistic agreement (e.g., determinerenoun, subjecteverb) and agreement feature types (e.g., person, number, gender) and proposes three separable sub-stages in the processing of sentence-embedded agreement anomalies. While the latter two stages in their theory are indexed by a large positive-going wave in the anomalous relative to well-formed condition (the P600 effect), it is the ERP index of the first stage that is of concern here. According to their theory, this first stage occurs between approximately 300 and 500 msec after presentation of an anomalous word, and reflects a syntactic analysis where a morphosyntactic violation is detected based on a mismatch with predicted features. The ERP index of this stage is a negative-going wave in the anomalous compared to wellformed condition, most prominent over left anterior electrodes: the left anterior negativity (LAN).
Although it is widely known that high-pass filters can reduce the amplitude of slow ERP components, these filters can also introduce artifactual peaks that lead to incorrect conclusions. To demonstrate this and provide evidence about optimal filter settings, we recorded ERPs in a typical language processing paradigm involving syntactic and semantic violations. Unfiltered results showed standard N400 and P600 effects in the semantic and syntactic violation conditions, respectively. However, high-pass filters with cutoffs at 0.3 Hz and above produced artifactual effects of opposite polarity before the true effect. That is, excessive high-pass filtering introduced a significant N400 effect preceding the P600 in the syntactic condition, and a significant P2 effect preceding the N400 in the semantic condition. Thus, inappropriate use of high-pass filters can lead to false conclusions about which components are influenced by a given manipulation. The present results also lead to practical recommendations for high-pass filter settings that maximize statistical power while minimizing filtering artifacts.
In this article we argue from distributional and semantic evidence that the affixal combination of ta- plus -i in Cherokee is a circumfixal marker of modality rather than a marker of future tense plus one of motion, as claimed in previous descriptive accounts. We then provide a morphosyntactic analysis within the Distributed Morphology framework, in which ta-/-i instantiates a (deontic) Modal head that has undergone Enrichment and subsequent Fission. Our analysis of ta-/-i as a modal opposes previous characterizations of ta-/-i as future tense, accounting for the various meanings yielded by these affixes and for the fact that ta-/-i can co-occur with other tense markers in the language. Furthermore, the Distributed Morphology analysis constitutes an important contribution to the literature on the phenomenon of distributed exponence and paves the way for future formal treatments of TAMM morphology in Cherokee and other Iroquoian languages.
The first linguistic accounts of im/politeness were proposed to explain departures from the shortest, clearest, and most succinct way of speaking. While this early perspective tied politeness to indirectness, empirical studies from different cultures have shown that it is impossible to circumscribe a closed set of expressions whose utterance guarantees a polite effect in any single culture, let alone universally. I survey five types of evidence – from questionnaire and corpus studies, L1 and L2 acquisition studies and impoliteness studies – that lead me to place at the heart of im/politeness not indirectness but conventionalization as a three-way relationship between expressions, contexts and speakers. Unlike previous semantic-based definitions of conventionalization, this habit-based definition allows that any expression can be conventionalized to a speaker, and is inherently evaluative. The proposal presented in summary form here is that conventionalized expressions (whenever available for a situation or to a speaker) are used all else being equal, irrespective of the degree of face-threat. They can be adapted to a wide range of frequently experienced situations with minimal effort and, while they are the most expedient means of achieving im/politeness, departing from conventionalized expression is also possible and may be associated with either increasing politeness or increasing impoliteness.
Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Im/politeness brings together the work of linguists, psychologists, neuroscientists, and second language experts in order to provide readers with a snapshot of the possibilities for studying im/politeness in the 21st century. The volume is organized along methodological lines in three parts each preceded by a brief introduction outlining the evolution and advantages and disadvantages of the relevant methodologies, while a specially commissioned epilogue places the volume in the field as a whole. Part I is dedicated to self-reporting studies, Part II covers observational studies, and Part III introduces experimental studies. A central goal of the present collection is to make a case for the relevance of all these types of data and of both quantitative and qualitative methodologies to the ongoing theoretical debates in the field of im/politeness.
Brown and Levinson proposed that three sociological variables—Distance, Power, and Ranking of the imposition—affect politeness assessments. Later scholarship, however, argued that these variables can be operationalized in several ways and are too abstract to capture the realities of im/polite discourse. We focus on one variable, Distance, whose operationalization has produced mixed results, and argue that introducing another variable (Relationship Affect) does not solve this problem, as further variables, such as the Speaker’s Emotional State, can override the latter, leading to an unnecessary proliferation of variables. We propose that local politeness assessments can be better accounted for under a frame-based approach, and report on two studies, a metalinguistic judgment task and a vignette study focusing on the Greek address term re malaka, that support this point.
This study examined how adult L2 learners make use of grammatical and extragrammatical information to interpret reflexives and pronouns. Forty adult English native speakers and 32 intermediate–advanced Korean L2 learners participated in a visual world paradigm eye-tracking experiment. We investigated the interpretation of reflexives (himself) and pronouns (him) in contexts where there is a potential coargument antecedent and in the context of picture noun phrases (a picture of him/himself), where the distribution of reflexives and pronouns can overlap. The results indicated that the learners interpreted reflexives in a nativelike fashion in both contexts, whereas they interpreted pronouns differently from native speakers, even when learners had advanced English proficiency. Adopting the binding theory as developed in the reflexivity/primitives of binding framework (Reinhart & Reuland, 1993; Reuland, 2001, 2011), we interpret these results to mean that while adult L2 learners are able to apply syntactic binding principles to assign an interpretation to anaphoric expressions, they have difficulty in integrating syntactic information with contextual and discourse information.
This study investigated changes with Differential Object Marking (DOM)—the overt morphological marking of animate direct objects—observed in Spanish heritage speakers who are second generation immigrants in the United States. Previous studies of these speakers found that they omit the obligatory use of a with animate, specific direct objects in oral production (Montrul, 2004; Montrul and Bowles, 2009). The present study assessed the potential effects of quantity and quality of input on the degree of DOM erosion by controlling for age of onset of bilingualism and by establishing whether this phenomenon would also be subject to attrition in the first generation of immigrants. A total of 64 young adult heritage speakers, 23 adult immigrants from Mexico, and 40 native speakers from Mexico matched in age and SES were tested with a written/auditory comprehension and a written production task. Main findings indicated that native speakers from Mexico performed largely at ceiling in both tasks, whereas the three immigrant groups, including the first generation immigrants, omitted obligatory a in written production and made errors in comprehension. These findings suggest that structural changes with DOM in US Spanish occur at the representational level in some individuals are due to both insufficient input in middle childhood and different parental input in adolescence and early adulthood, in addition to potential transfer from English.
Global age of acquisition of L1 and L2 in individual speakers has been investigated as a deterministic factor in nativelikeness of grammatical knowledge and lexical processing. The age of acquisition of individual words has also been shown to affect both native and nonnative lexical access. Given the centrality of the lexicon to language acquisition and use, this study investigated which of these variables is most relevant and how these two variables may potentially interact during lexical access of the less dominant language in bilinguals. A group of English-speaking late L2 learners of Spanish and a group of early bilingual speakers who were exposed to Spanish as an L1 at home and learned English in childhood (heritage speakers) completed a lexical decision task in Spanish and an English–Spanish translation decision task. The performance of the two groups, which vary on global age of acquisition of Spanish, but not on language dominance, was compared. The results indicated no differences in the overall accuracy of lexical access according to global age of acquisition of L1 and L2, though the L2 learners responded more quickly than the heritage speakers in both tasks. The results differed within each participant group depending on word age of acquisition, with heritage speakers showing a speed and accuracy advantage for words learned early in L1 Spanish and L2 learners showing an advantage for words learned early in L2 Spanish. Based on these findings, it is argued that it is the language experience along with word age of acquisition that determines lexical processing of the weaker language, whether in L1 or L2.
A widely accepted orthodoxy is that it is impossible to do replication studies within qualitative research paradigms. Ontologically and epistemologically speaking, such a view is largely correct. However, in this paper, I propose that what I call comparative re-production research—that is, the empirical study of qualitative phenomena that occur in one context, which are then shown also to obtain in another—is a well-attested practice in ethnomethodological conversation analysis (CA). By extension, I further argue that researchers who do research on second and foreign language (L2) classrooms inspired by the conversation analysis-for-second-language acquisition movement should engage in comparative re-production research in order to make broad statements about the generality or prototypicality of the qualitative organization of particular practices across languages, cultures and institutional contexts.
Offering an interdisciplinary approach, The Handbook of Classroom Discourse and Interaction presents a series of contributions written by educators and applied linguists that explores the latest research methodologies and theories related to classroom language.
• Organized to facilitate a critical understanding of how and why various research traditions differ and how they overlap theoretically and methodologically
• Discusses key issues in the future development of research in critical areas of education and applied linguistics
• Provides empirically-based analysis of classroom talk to illustrate theoretical claims and methodologies
• Includes multimodal transcripts, an emerging trend in education and applied linguistics, particularly in conversation analysis and sociocultural theory
In this paper I analyze a construction in Scottish Gaelic that presents challenges for our understanding of the individual level/stage level distinction, the mechanics of nonverbal predication, and the semantics of lexical items like ‘sit’, ‘stand’, and ‘lie’. I argue that this “stage-level” construction, with the verb bi ‘be’, the preposition ann ‘in’, and a noun or “verbal noun”, appears when a very specific kind of nominal predicate is required, not just one that is stage-level. This type of predicate requires functional structure not available in the nominal domain for creation, so the material is merged with prepositional structure. The “verbal nouns” that appear with bi + ann form an intuitive semantic class; I argue that what unites them is a root-internal specification for (a) posture of body or mind and (b) homogeneity in nonverbal environments. This analysis resolves several open questions about the construction, including the semantic characterization of the roots that occur with ann and the categorization and interpretation of the predicates it creates. The analysis has implications for our understanding of the creation of nonverbal predicates cross-linguistically and provides insight into the puzzling meanings of sit/stand/lie roots.
Dueling Discourses offers qualitative and quantitative analyses of the linguistic and discursive forms utilized by opposing lawyers in their closing arguments during criminal trials. Laura Felton Rosulek analyzes how these arguments construct contrasting representations of the same realities, applying the insights and methodologies of critical discourse analysis and systemic functional linguistics to a corpus of arguments from seventeen trials. Her analysis suggests that silencing (omitting relevant information), de-emphasizing (giving information comparatively less attention and focus), and emphasizing (giving information comparatively more attention and focus) are the key communicative devices that lawyers rely on to create their summations. Through these processes, lawyers' lexical, syntactic, thematic, and discursive patterns, both within individual narratives and across whole arguments, function together to create versions of reality that reflect each individual lawyer's goals and biases.
The first detailed analysis of closing arguments, this book will significantly improve our understanding of courtroom discourse. Furthermore, as previous research on all genres of discourse has examined exclusion/inclusion and de-emphasis/emphasis as separate issues rather than as steps on a continuum, this book will advance the field of discourse analysis by establishing the ubiquity of these phenomena.
The current study reports on three role-plays investigating the understanding and uses of politeness by native speakers of Spanish from Spain, native speakers of English from the United States, and nonnative speakers of Spanish from the United States. Motivated by the different characterization of Peninsular Spanish and U.S. American cultures as solidarityand distancing cultures, respectively (Hickey, 2005; Pinto, 2011), we expected that American English speakers would be more inclined towards the use of politeness strategies linked to the protection of face, while Spaniards would make more use of maneuvers to enhance face. The pertinent research question is whether learners transfer into L2 their L1 preference for face-saving, or, conversely, are able to adapt their behavior depending on the language of the interaction. Our results show that, overall, nonnative speakers still abide by the norms of their L1 to some extent, attaching more importance to the avoidance of face-threats when speaking in Spanish than native speakers do, although this preference tends to become less marked as their proficiency in the L2 increases.
The close link between politeness and culture has often been highlighted, with some scholars having proposed taxonomies of cultures based on the diverse uses and conceptions of politeness. Generally, research (Hickey 2005; Ardila 2005) places Spanish-speaking cultures in the group of rapprochement cultures, which relate politeness to positively assessing the addressee and creating bonds of friendship and cooperation; and English-speaking cultures in the group of distancing cultures,which primarily use politeness to generate respect and social differentiation. This means that English politeness is not only supposed to be different from Spanish politeness, but diametrically opposed to it. The main goal of this study is to check these predictions against the understandings and use of politeness by native speakers of Spanish from Spain and nonnative speakers of Spanish from the U.S. Thus, this research is grounded in first-order politeness norms, which are then correlated with the informants’ behavior as reported in written questionnaires. The results confirmed these predictions and further showed that the more advanced learners were able to align themselves better with Spanish norms. Nevertheless, even they found some aspects of Spanish politeness –– such as the turn-taking system –– harder to adapt to, suggesting that certain aspects of native norms may be more difficult to abandon. We propose that first-order notions of politeness may be prototypically structured, with some aspects being more central to its definition and therefore less easily foregone than others.
Standard accounts of indirect speech share two assumptions: that indirect speech always has a direct alternative, and that it is strategic. I survey a number of cases that challenge one or both of these assumptions and propose a new nomenclature for indirect speech that crucially includes, in addition to cases where indirect speech is strategic, cases where it is ‘enabling.’ The enabling potential of indirect speech lies in allowing us to give voice to thoughts or experiences that may be possible to express propositionally only in part. In such cases, the speaker does not start off with a direct alternative in mind but rather uses speech to invite the hearer to help her develop an inchoate thought. Including these cases under the same scheme allows us to consider ways other than recognition of the speaker’s intention in which indirect meanings may arise, such as through shared experience and the interlocutors’ habitus. The proposed nomenclature thus yields a multi-faceted view of indirect speech that goes beyond its current, formally driven, understanding.
Brown and Levinson proposed that three sociological variables—Distance, Power, and Ranking of the imposition—affect politeness assessments. Later scholarship, however, argued that these variables can be operationalized in several ways and are too abstract to capture the realities of im/polite discourse. We focus on one variable, Distance, whose operationalization has produced mixed results, and argue that introducing another variable (Relationship Affect) does not solve this problem, as further variables, such as the Speaker’s Emotional State, can override the latter, leading to an unnecessary proliferation of variables. We propose that local politeness assessments can be better accounted for under a frame-based approach, and report on two studies, a metalinguistic judgment task and a vignette study focusing on the Greek address term re malaka, that support this point.
Abstract: This book examines the question of whether languages can differ in grammatical complexity and, if so, how relative complexity differences might be measured. The volume differs from others devoted to the question of complexity in language in that the authors all approach the problem from the point of view of formal grammatical theory, psycholinguistics, or neurolinguistics. Chapters investigate a number of key issues in grammatical complexity, taking phonological, morphological, syntactic, and semantic considerations into account. These include what is often called the 'trade-off problem', namely whether complexity in one grammatical component is necessarily balanced by simplicity in another; and the question of interpretive complexity, that is, whether and how one might measure the difficulty for the hearer in assigning meaning to an utterance and how such complexity might be factored in to an overall complexity assessment.
Measuring Grammatical Complexity brings together a number of distinguished scholars in the field, and will be of interest to linguists of all theoretical stripes from advanced undergraduate level upwards, particularly those working in the areas of morphosyntax, psycholinguistics, neurolinguistics, and cognitive linguistics.
The nature and extent of the impact of language transfer in majority–minority language contexts have been widely debated in both second- and heritage-language acquisition. This study examines four linguistic areas in three oral narratives collected from Egyptian and Palestinian heritage speakers in the United States (namely, plural and dual morphology, possessive constructions, and restrictive relative clauses), with a special focus on how the second language (English) influences the structure and use of these areas in connected discourse. In addition, the study examines the relationship between second-language transfer and the incompleteness and attrition of heritage Arabic. The findings show that heritage speakers have various gaps in their knowledge of the examined areas, particularly in forms and patterns that diverge from their counterparts in their dominant L2. The results also suggest that transfer effects are restricted to specific forms that are marked (e.g. broken
plurals), infrequent (duals), or characterized by processing difficulty (as seems to be the case with the dependencies in the relative clauses). Moreover, transfer effects are intimately related to both the attrition and incomplete acquisition of the speakers’ knowledge of the four areas under study. The implications of the study for heritage language research are discussed.
This study compares Arabic L1, L2, and heritage speakers’ (HS) knowledge of plural formation, which involves concatenative and nonconcatenative modes of derivation. Ninety participants (divided equally among L1, L2, and heritage speakers) completed two oral tasks: a picture naming task (to measure proficiency) and a plural formation task. The findings indicate that both L2 learners and heritage speakers have consistent problems with nonconcatenative plural morphology (particularly plurals with geminated and defective roots). However, the difficulties that heritage speakers displayed were mainly restricted to forms that are acquired late by L1 children, unlike L2 learners who displayed a sharp performance dichotomy between concatenative and nonconcatenative plurals. Furthermore, with regard to the default strategy, heritage speakers resorted to the language-specific default form, namely the sound feminine, whereas L2 learners opted for the sound masculine, which is likely a case of adhering to a universal tendency.
This paper revisits the issue of the representation of sentential negation in Arabic varieties with particular reference to Standard Arabic and four colloquial varieties, Egyptian Arabic, Gulf/Kuwaiti Arabic, Moroccan Arabic, and Jordanian Arabic/Levantine Arabic. The goals are both empirical and conceptual. Empirically, the paper incorporates data from different Arabic varieties including varieties that have not figured prominently in recent debates about sentential negation in Arabic. Conceptually, the paper aims to engage the important topic of the location of the negative projection relative to the projection that carries the temporal information of the clause. The paper also discusses some patterns that, so far, have not received extensive attention and which provide strong support for locating the negative projection above the temporal projection. The overall goal is to broaden the debate about the syntax and morphology of negation in Arabic varieties and add critical and novel facts that any diachronic or synchronic analysis would want to take into account.
- Benmamoun, E., Abunasser, M., Al-Sabbagh, R., Bidaoui, A., & Shalash, D. (2014, July). Variations on the same theme: Negative copula in Arabic. In Perspectives on Arabic Linguistics XXIV-XXV: Papers from the annual symposia on Arabic Linguistics. Texas, 2010 and Arizona, 2011 (Vol. 1, p. 121). John Benjamins Publishing Company.
The main aim of this paper is to provide both synchronic and diacrhonic evidence that Standard Arabic and the spoken dialects pattern the same way with regard to the syntactic mechanisms that govern the relationship between lexical categories and functional categories. The focus is on sentential negation and more specifically the so-called negative copula in verbless sentences - as demonstrated by laysa in Standard Arabic and negative pronouns in the modern dialects. Despite the surface differences between Arabic varieties, the underlying syntax is the same, particularly with regard to clause structure and the interaction between tense, negation and the predicate. This interaction that is governed by the same mechanisms and the options they allow helps explain why the same system keeps getting reporduced over time.
Abstract: Attraction interference in language comprehension and production may be as a result of common or different processes. In the present paper, we investigate attraction interference during language comprehension, focusing on the contexts in which interference arises and the time-course of these effects. Using evidence from event-related brain potentials (ERPs) and sentence judgment times, we show that agreement attraction in comprehension is best explained as morphosyntactic interference during memory retrieval. This stands in contrast to attraction as involving the representation of the subject NP’s root-node number feature, which is a strong contributor to attraction in production. We thus argue that the cognitive antecedents of agreement attraction in comprehension are non-identical with those of attraction in production, and moreover, that attraction in comprehension is primarily a consequence of similarity-based interference in cue-based memory retrieval processes. We suggest that mechanisms responsible for attraction during language comprehension are a subset of those involved in language production.
“Unless Bulgaria and Romania manage to enact judicial reforms, fight corruption and organized crime, and protect human and minority rights, they will not be able to capitalize on the benefits of EU membership, and will continue to be regarded as second-class EU members.”
We investigated individual differences in the neural substrates of morphosyntactic processing among monolingual English speakers using event-related potentials (ERPs). Although grand-mean analysis showed a biphasic LAN-P600 pattern to grammatical violations, analysis of individuals׳ ERP responses showed that brain responses varied systematically along a continuum between negativity- and positivity-dominant ERP responses across individuals. Moreover, the left hemisphere topography of the negativity resulted from component overlap between a centro-parietal N400 in some individuals and a right hemisphere-dominant P600 in others. Our results show that biphasic ERP waveforms do not always reflect separable processing stages within individuals, and moreover, that the LAN can be a variant of the N400. These results show that there are multiple neurocognitive routes to successful grammatical comprehension in language users across the proficiency spectrum. Our results underscore that understanding and quantifying individual differences can provide an important source of evidence about language processing in the general population.
Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
KEYWORDS: ERPs, Familial sinistrality, Individual differences, LAN, Morphosyntax, N400, P600
Using event-related potentials (ERPs), we investigated the impact of a range of individual difference measures related to L2 learning on proficient L1 Spanish – L2 English bilinguals’ brain responses during L2 morphosyntactic processing. Although grand mean ERP analyses revealed a biphasic N400–P600 response to English subject–verb agreement violations, subsequent analyses showed that participants’ brain responses varied along a continuum between N400- and P600-dominance. To investigate this pattern, we introduce two novel ERP measures that independently quantify relative brain response type and overall magnitude. Multivariate analyses revealed that larger overall brain responses were associated with higher L2 proficiency, while relative brain response type (N400 or P600) was predicted by a coalition of variables, most notably learners’ motivation and age of arrival in an L2 environment. Our findings show that aspects of a learner’s background can differentially impact a learner’s overall sensitivity to L2 morphosyntax and qualitative use of linguistic cues during processing.
Keywords: ERP, N400, P600, individual differences, morphosyntax, second language acquisition
Addressing a rapidly growing interest in second language research, this hands-on text provides students and researchers with the means to understand and use current methods in psycholinguistics. With a focus on the actual methods, designs, and techniques used in psycholinguistics research as they are applied to second language learners, this book offers the practical guidance readers need to determine which method is the best for what they wish to investigate as well as the tools that will enhance their research.
Each methods chapter is written by a leading expert who describes, discusses, and comments on how a method is used and what its strengths and limitations are for second language research. These chapters follow a specific format to ensure cohesion and a predictable structure across all chapters. The chapters also inform the novice researcher on such key issues as ease of use, costs, potential pitfalls, and other related matters, each of which impact decisions that researchers make about the paths they take.
With the most reliable information available from experienced reseachers, Research Methods in Second Language Psycholinguistics is an essential resource for anyone interested in conducting second language reserach using psycholinguistic methods.
This paper presents a detailed, analytical review of two prominent accounts of off-record indirect speech – Brown and Levinson's Politeness Theory (1978/1987) and Pinker and colleagues' Strategic Speaker approach (Pinker 2007; Pinker et al. 2008; Lee and Pinker 2010). We begin by outlining both accounts, aiming to disentangle the theories by exploring the key theoretical features of each account, highlighting the similarities and differences between them, and reflecting on the scope and limitations of each. We continue by examining two additional motivations for off-record speech – immediacy and intimacy – with the goal of presenting a more comprehensive view of the phenomenon of off-record indirectness. We conclude the paper with theoretical questions that have arisen from our discussion to date and suggestions for empirical research on the topic.
Bach and Harnish’s (1979) Speech Act Schema (SAS) breaks down into a series of inferential steps the process involved in understanding an utterance as a particular kind of speech act. At the heart of the SAS lies the notion of illocutionary intention, a special kind of reflexive intention whose fulfilment consists in its recognition. This article re-assesses Bach and Harnish’s Speech Act Schema in two ways. First, I discuss three types of indirect speech acts—acts exchanged between intimates, alerts, and ritual indirectness—arguing that in all three cases, a perlocutionary effect of re-affirming or testing the degree of sharedness between speaker and addressee is also achieved, making all three types of acts overt collateral acts in Bach and Harnish’s terminology. Second, I consider cases when the speaker’s illocutionary intention exists in only a rudimentary form, such as children’s early directives and metaphorical utterances expressing feelings. In such cases, the hearer is called upon to play a more active role, by constructing (rather than recognizing) an understanding based on the linguistic material provided by the speaker. The need to account for this second set of acts challenges the centrality of the speaker’s illocutionary intention as the ultimate arbitrator of communicative outcomes and forces us to accord at least equal weight to the contribution of the hearer. The end result is a novel emphasis on the intersubjective aspects of linguistic communication, which were given less prominence in more traditional models, such as the SAS.
What lessons can we learn from history, and more importantly: how?
This question is as commonplace as it is essential. Efficient transitional justice policy evaluation requires, inter alia, an historical dimension. What policy has or has not worked in the past is an obvious key question. Nevertheless, history as a profession remains somewhat absent in the multi-disciplinary field of transitional justice. The idea that we should learn lessons from history continues to create unease among most professional historians.
In his critical introduction, the editor investigates the framework of this unease. At the core of this book are nine national European case studies (post 1945, the 1970s dictatorships, post 1989) which implement the true scholarly advantage of historical research for the field of transitional justice: the broad temporal space. All nine case studies tackle the longer-term impact of their country’s transitional justice policies. Two comparative conclusions, amongst others by the internationally renowned transitional justice specialist Luc Huyse, complete this collection.
This volume is a major contribution in the search for synergies between the agenda of historical research and the rapidly developing field of transitional justice.
This study investigates heritage speakers’ knowledge of plural formation in their colloquial varieties of Arabic, which use both concatenative and non-concatentative modes of derivation. In the concatenative derivation, a plural suffix attaches to the singular stem (muhandis ‘engineer-sg.’ → muhandis-iin ‘engineer-pl’); in the non-concatenative, the relation between the singular (gamal ‘camel’) and the plural (gimaal ‘camels’) typically involves vocalic and prosodic alternations with the main shared similarity between the two forms being the consonantal root (e.g., g-m-l). In linguistic approaches, non-concatenative patterns have been captured in different ways, though the earliest and most recognizable approach involves the mapping of a consonantal root onto a plural template. We investigated heritage speakers’ knowledge of the root and pattern system in two independent experiments. In Experiment 1, oral narratives were elicited from 20 heritage speakers and 20 native speakers of Egyptian and Palestinian Arabic. In Experiment 2, another group of 24 heritage speakers and 24 native speakers of the same dialects completed an oral picture-description task. The results of the two experiments show that heritage speakers’ knowledge of the root and pattern system of Arabic is not target-like. Yet, they have a good grasp of the root and template as basic units of word formation in their heritage Arabic dialects. We discuss implications for debates about the acquisition of the root and pattern system of Arabic morphology.Keywords: heritage speakers, Arabic, root and pattern, plural morphology
Arabic is one of the world's largest languages, spoken natively by nearly 300 million people. By strength of numbers alone Arabic is one of our most important languages, studied by scholars across many different academic fields and cultural settings. It is, however, a complex language rooted in its own tradition of scholarship, constituted of varieties each imbued with unique cultural values and characteristic linguistic properties. Understanding its linguistics holistically is therefore a challenge.
The Oxford Handbook of Arabic Linguistics is a comprehensive, one-volume guide that deals with all major research domains which have been developed within Arabic linguistics. Chapters are written by leading experts in the field, who both present state-of-the-art overviews and develop their own critical perspectives. The Handbook begins with Arabic in its Semitic setting and ends with the modern dialects; it ranges across the traditional - the classical Arabic grammatical and lexicographical traditions—to the contemporary—Arabic sociolinguistics, Creole varieties and codeswitching, psycholinguistics, and Arabic as a second language - while situating Arabic within current phonetic, phonological, morphological, syntactic and lexicological theory. An essential reference work for anyone working within Arabic linguistics, the book brings together different approaches and scholarly traditions, and provides analysis of current trends and directions for future research.
In this paper, we bring to the attention of the linguistic community recent research on heritage languages. Shifting linguistic attention from the model of a monolingual speaker to the model of a multilingual speaker is important for the advancement of our understanding of the language faculty. Native speaker competence is typically the result of normal first language acquisition in an environment where the native language is dominant in various contexts, and learners have extensive and continuous exposure to it and opportunities to use it. Heritage speakers present a different case: they are bilingual speakers of an ethnic or immigrant minority language, whose first language often does not reach native-like attainment in adulthood. We propose a set of connections between heritage language studies and theory construction, underscoring the potential that this population offers for linguistic research. We examine several important grammatical phenomena from the standpoint of their representation in heritage languages, including case, aspect, and other interface phenomena. We discuss how the questions raised by data from heritage speakers could fruitfully shed light on current debates about how language works and how it is acquired under different conditions. We end with a consideration of the potential competing factors that shape a heritage language system in adulthood.
This volume is the first book-length collection of studies on the assessment of pragmatic competencies in a second or foreign language. Grounded in theoretical perspectives on communicative and interactional competencies, the first section of the book examines the reception and production of speech acts through a variety of assessment methods and a range of quantitative and qualitative analyses. The second section investigates interviewer and candidate interaction in different forms of oral proficiency interview.
This volume contains scholarly papers from the Veda Sessions of the 15th World Sanskrit Conference, touching a broad spectrum of the Vedic tradition and focusing on three major aspects of that tradition: language and linguistics; textual criticism and text edition; and culture, philosophy, mythology.
The use of English in rituals in the Hindu diaspora in the US is a major change for the religion, since English is excluded from Hindu rituals in India. This paper demonstrates that: (a) this change has impacted the structure of English and the system of Hinduism; (b) Hindu saints, the ‘authority’ in Hinduism, sanction this change; (c) the media further promotes it; and (d) it impacts the degree of functional load and transparency for the languages of rituals while creating di-systems, or mixed codes with two systems of thought. The implications of this discussion for the theory of language change, maintenance and loss of language will be presented.
We use insights and methods from ethnomethodological conversation analysis and discursive psychology to develop an account of embodied word and grammar searches as socially distributed planning practices. These practices, which were produced by three intermediate learners of Italian as a Foreign Language (IFL), occurred massively in natural data that were gathered during a 3-week period from a third-semester IFL course at a university in the United States. We develop a behavioral analysis of these data that shows: (1) what participants do during planning talk and how they do such talk and (2) whether they actually do what they planned to do.
I argue that sentence contents should be assigned truth-values relative to parameters other than a possible world only if those parameters are fixed by the context of assessment rather than the context of use. Standard counterexamples, including tense, de se attitudes, and knowledge ascriptions, all admit of alternative analyses which do not make use of such parameters. Moreover, allowing such indices greatly complicates the task of defining disagreement, and forces an odd separation between what is true, and what someone has truthfully said. If non-world indices are always fixed by the context of assessment, a characterization of semantic theories as ‘relativist’ in terms of assessment-sensitivity converges with a characterization in terms of sensitivity to non-world indices. More tentatively, I suggest that even a possible world index, when used in the assignment of truth-values to sentence contents, should be fixed by the context of assessment, not the context of use. This eliminates MacFarlane's category of ‘non-indexical contextualism’, and results in a system in which parameters fixed by the context of use are used only in the assignment of contents to linguistic expressions, and parameters used in the assignment of truth-values to contents are uniformly fixed by the context of assessment.
The nature and extent of the impact of language transfer in majority–minority language contexts have been widely debated in both second- and heritage-language acquisition. This study examines four linguistic areas in three oral narratives collected from Egyptian and Palestinian heritage speakers in the United States (namely, plural and dual morphology, possessive constructions, and restrictive relative clauses), with a special focus on how the second language (English) influences the structure and use of these areas in connected discourse. In addition, the study examines the relationship between second-language transfer and the incompleteness and attrition of heritage Arabic. The findings show that heritage speakers have various gaps in their knowledge of the examined areas, particularly in forms and patterns that diverge from their counterparts in their dominant L2. The results also suggest that transfer effects are restricted to specific forms that are marked (e.g. broken plurals), infrequent (duals), or characterized by processing difficulty (as seems to be the case with the dependencies in the relative clauses). Moreover, transfer effects are intimately related to both the attrition and incomplete acquisition of the speakers’ knowledge of the four areas under study. The implications of the study for heritage language research are discussed.
This study presents an investigation of oral narratives collected from heritage Egyptian and Palestinian Arabic speakers living in the United States. The focus is on a number of syntactic and morphological features in their production, such as word order, use of null subjects, selection of prepositions, agreement, and possession. The degree of codeswitching in their narratives was also investigated. The goal was to gain some insights into the Arabic linguistic competence of this group of speakers. The results show that although Arabic heritage speakers display significant competence in their heritage colloquial varieties, there are gaps in that knowledge. There also seems to be significant transfer from English, their dominant language.
Heritage language acquisition has been characterized by various asymmetries, including the differential acquisition rates of various linguistic areas and the unbalanced acquisition of different categories within a single area. This paper examines Arabic heritage speakers’ knowledge of subject–verb agreement versus noun–adjective agreement with the aim of contrasting their distributions and exploring areas of resilience and vulnerability within Arabic heritage speech and their theoretical implications. Two oral-production experiments were carried out, one involving two picture-description tasks, and another requiring an elicited narrative. The results of the study show that subject–verb agreement morphology is more maintained than noun–adjective morphology. Moreover, the unmarked singular masculine default is more robust than the other categories in both domains and is often over-generalized to other marked categories. The results thus confirm the existence of these asymmetries. We propose that these asymmetries may not be explained by a single factor, but by a complex set of morphological, syntactic, semantic, and frequency-related factors.
Al-cArabiyya is the annual journal of the American Association of Teachers of Arabic and serves scholars in the United States and abroad. Al-cArabiyya includes scholarly articles and reviews that advance the study, research, and teaching of Arabic language, linguistics, literature, and pedagogy. The journal is published once a year.
Textbooks in phonology often specify a distinction between segmental features (e.g., place and manner of articulation) vs. suprasegmental features (stress and phrasing). The distinction between segmental and suprasegmental features is useful even in autosegmental models like Articulatory Phonology, because it distinguishes between features shared by the different instantiations of a phoneme vs. those not so shared. In a model like Articulatory Phonology, however, there is no requirement that a segmental feature should be synchronous with the other features of the same segment. Classification results are provided from Levantine Arabic, showing that features of the primary articulator of a fricative are acoustically signaled during frication, but that features of the secondary articulator are signaled during the preceding and following vowels, suggesting that the definition of the word “segmental” should not require synchronous implementation.
Magnetic resonance imaging has been applied only recently to the study of Arabic speech production. Arabic has a relatively large number of sounds produced with constrictions in the pharynx, a part of the vocal anatomy well-suited to investigation using MRI. We show that static 3D MRI techniques can be useful in distinguishing the pharyngeal sounds of Arabic and that average pixel intensity in MRI images can be used to track pharyngeal articulations as a function of time.
Special Issue: Subject and object marking in Bantu
This paper examines the status of locative phrases in Bantu and the argument-adjunct distinction. We look at verbal locative agreement and at other morphosyntactic patterns related to locative phrases in different Bantu languages including Kiswahili, Sambaa, Haya, and several Nguni languages. We propose that object marking cannot be taken to be evidence for the objecthood of the corresponding NP in Bantu. We focus on three domains where verbal agreement marking of locative complements differs from the corresponding marking of non-locative complements: (i) object-marking paradigms without locative markers, (ii) contexts in which locative object markers may be used, but where other, non-locative object markers are disallowed, and (iii) locative complements marked by post-verbal locative clitics rather than, or in addition to, locative object markers. We then show how variation in locative object marking is related more generally to corresponding variation in locative marking in Bantu on one hand, and on the other hand to several processes of grammaticalisation for which locative markers serve as a starting point. We propose that, because the system of morphosyntactic coding of locatives in Bantu is in flux, locative object marking may be related to more or less object-like grammatical functions, depending on the particular state within the wider process of transition of locative marking, and hence presents a mixed picture.
- Montrul, S. 2012. El bilingismo en el mundo hispanohablante (copyright year 2013). Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell. (pp. xii+ 352)
Esta amplia introducción al bilingüismo en español abarca los contextos sociales, políticos y culturales del español en EE. UU., España y Hispanoamérica. Escrito para estudiantes no nativos de español, es el primer libro de texto de estas características para los estudiantes de lingüística hispánica.
- Este libro de texto en español presenta los temas fundamentales en el estudio del bilingüismo a estudiantes y profesionales
- Explora comunidades bilingües en Estados Unidos, Hispanoamérica y España
- Crea conciencia crítica sobre la complejidad del bilingüismo como un fenómeno sociopolítico y cultural
- Se organiza en tres secciones principales centradas en la sociedad y el individuo: el bilingüismo y la sociedad; el bilingüismo y el individuo; y la política y la educación
- Incluye mapas, recuadros de resumen del capítulo, vocabulario y conceptos clave y preguntas de comprensión, así como preguntas para reflexionar, investigar y comentar al final de cada capítulo
This wide-ranging introduction to Spanish bilingualism covers the social, political, and cultural contexts of Spanish in the US, Spain, and Hispanoamérica. Written for non-native Spanish learners, it offers the first textbook of its kind for students of Hispanic linguistics.
- This Spanish-language textbook introduces students and professionals to the fundamental issues in the study of bilingualism
- Explores bilingual communities in the United States, Hispanoamérica, and Spain
- Raises critical awareness of the complexity of bilingualism as a sociopolitical and cultural phenomenon
- Organized in three main sections which focus on both society and the individual: bilingualism and society; bilingualism and the individual; and politics and education
- Includes maps, chapter summary boxes, key terms and concepts, and comprehension questions, as well as questions for reflection, research and discussion at the end of each chapter
- Montrul, S. 2012. Is the heritage language like a second language? EUROSLA Yearbook, 12, 1-29.
Many heritage speakers (bilinguals in a minority language context) turn to the second language (L2) classroom to expand their knowledge of the heritage language. Critical questions arise as to how their linguistic knowledge compares to that of post puberty L2 learners. Focusing on recent experimental research on grammatical domains typically affected in both L2 learners and heritage speakers, this article addresses whether exposure to the family language since birth even under reduced input conditions leads to more native-like linguistic knowledge in heritage speakers as opposed to L2 learners with a later age of acquisition of the language, how differences in input and language learning experience determine the behavioral manifestations of linguistic knowledge, and whether formal instruction in the classroom is beneficial to heritage speakers. I argue that the extension of theoretical frameworks and methodologies from SLA has significantly advanced the field of heritage language acquisition, but deeper understanding of these speakers will also need more fruitful integration of the psycholinguistic and sociolinguistic factors that contribute to the acquisition and maintenance of heritage languages.
- Montrul, S. and Ionin, T. 2012. Dominant language transfer in Spanish heritage speakers and L2 learners in the interpretation of definite articles. The Modern Language Journal 96, 1, 70-94
This study investigates dominant language transfer (from English) in adult Spanish second language (L2) learners and Spanish heritage speakers. We focus on contrasting properties of English and Spanish definite articles with respect to generic reference (‘Elephants have ivory tusks’ vs. Los elefantes tienen colmillos de marfil) and inalienable possession (‘Peter raised his hand’ vs. Pedro levantóla mano). Thirty adult Spanish heritage speakers and 30 L2 learners of Spanish completed four written tasks (acceptability judgment, truth-value judgment, picture-sentence matching, and sentence-picture acceptability judgment). The results show that the heritage speakers and the L2 learners exhibited dominant language transfer from English with the interpretation of definite articles in generic contexts; transfer effects were not as pronounced in the inalienable possession construction. We discuss the implications of these findings for heritage language research and teaching.
- Montrul, S., Bhatt, R., Bhatia, A. 2012. Erosion of Case and Agreement in Hindi Heritage Speakers. Linguistic Approaches to Bilingualism 2, 141-176
Recent research has identified several vulnerable areas in heritage language grammars, among which morphosyntax is among the most affected. In this study, we report on the morphosyntactic competence of Hindi heritage speakers living in the U.S and show that these speakers have representational problems with ergative, accusative and dative case morphology, albeit to different degrees. Hindi is a split ergative language with a complex interaction of case and agreement. Transitive predicates in perfective aspect co-occur with subjects marked with ergative case (-ne) and object agreement. Animate specific direct objects are marked with the particle -ko, and so are the indirect objects and dative subjects. 21 Hindi native speakers and 28 Hindi heritage speakers completed a sociolinguistic questionnaire, a Hindi cloze test, an oral narrative task and a bimodal acceptability judgment task. The results showed significant differences between the fluent native speakers and the heritage speakers on all measures.
- Lasersohn, Peter. 2012. Contextualism and Compositionality. Linguistics and Philosophy 35.2.171-189I argue that compositionality (in the sense of homomorphic interpretation) is compatible with radical and pervasive contextual effects on interpretation. Apparent problems with this claim lose their force if we are careful in distinguishing the question of how a grammar assigns interpretations from the question of how people figure out which interpretations the grammar assigns. I demonstrate, using a simple example, that this latter task must sometimes be done not by computing a derivation defined directly by the grammar, but through the use of pragmatic background knowledge and extragrammatical reasoning, even when the grammar is designed to be fully compositional. The fact that people must sometimes use global pragmatic mechanisms to identify truth conditions therefore tells us nothing about whether the grammar assigns truth conditions compositionally. Compositional interpretation (or the lack thereof) is identifiable not by the mechanisms necessary to calculating truth conditions, but by the structural relation between the interpretation of a phrase in context and the interpretations of its parts in that same context. Even if this relation varies by context, an invariant grammar is possible if grammars can “invoke” pragmatic concepts; but this does not imply that grammatical theory must explain these concepts or incorporate a theory of pragmatics.
- Shosted, Ryan, Jose Ignacio Hualde and Daniel Scarpace. Palatal Complexity Revisited: An Electropalatographic Analysis of the palatal nasal in Brazilian Portuguese with Comparison to Peninsular Spanish. Language and Speech. Prepublished February, 22, 2012, DOI: 10.1177/0023830911434120
Are palatal consonants articulated by multiple tongue gestures (coronal and dorsal) or by a single gesture that brings the tongue into contact with the palate at several places of articulation? The lenition of palatal consonants (resulting in approximants) has been presented as evidence that palatals are simple, not complex: When reduced, they do not lose their coronal gesture and become dorsals; instead, they manifest reduced linguopalatal contact while retaining their anterior place of articulation. The frequently-reported deocclusivization of the Brazilian Portuguese (BP) palatal nasal may support this claim. However, the linguopalatal configuration of this sound has not been studied directly. Electropalatographic evidence from three speakers of BP (compared with data from three speakers of Peninsular Spanish) demonstrates that the palatal nasal is frequently realized as an approximant. There is no evidence of anterior occlusion in BP’s post-palatal, lenited nasal. Under conditions of focus/hyperarticulation, there is no evidence of stronger/more anterior occlusion. We argue that the articulatory target of the BP palatal nasal is neither occluded nor anterior.
- Ionin, Tania, Silvina Montrul and Monica Crivos. 2012. A bidirectional study on the acquisition of plural noun phrase interpretation in English and Spanish. Applied Psycholinguistics, FirstView article.
- Ionin, Tania, Soondo Baek, Eunah Kim, Heejeong Ko and Ken Wexler. 2012. That's not so different from the: definite and demonstrative descriptions in second language acquisition. Second Language Research, 28, 69-101.
- Terkourafi, Marina (2012). Politeness and pragmatics. In: Jaszczolt, Katarzyna & Allan, Keith (eds.) The Cambridge Handbook of Pragmatics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 617-637.
This chapter focuses on developments in im/politeness research within linguistic pragmatics with a view to identifying the main trends and directions for future research. By way of carving out an area of investigation that does justice to the recent expansion of the field, I begin by introducing two recent developments, namely
the distinction between first-order and second-order politeness (section 2), and the increasing attention paid to impoliteness/rudeness (section 3). These recent developments are also having an impact on how scholars are defining and applying to empirical data central theoretical notions of im/politeness research, to which I turn next. Section 4 deals with the notion of face, descended from sociology, while section 5 discusses how im/politeness may be accounted for using the notions of the speaker’s intentions, implicatures and perlocutionary effects, as these have developed within (post-)Gricean pragmatics. Finally, section 6 tackles the question of how im/polite language use relates to extra-linguistic context, and considers some proposed conceptualisations of extra-linguistic context within im/politeness studies. Section 7 concludes the chapter. The overall picture that emerges is that of a rich and dynamic, if also polyphonic and fluid in its boundaries, field, much like our experience of
the everyday enactment of im/politeness itself.
- Shosted, Ryan, Christopher Carignan and Panying Rong. 2012. Managing the distinctiveness of phonemic nasal vowels: Articulatory evidence from Hindi. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 131 (1): 455-465.
There is increasing evidence that fine articulatory adjustments are made by speakers to reinforce and sometimes counteract the acoustic consequences of nasality. However, it is difficult to attribute the acoustic changes in nasal vowel spectra to either oral cavity configuration or to velopharyngeal opening (VPO). This paper takes the position that it is possible to disambiguate the effects of VPO and oropharyngeal configuration on the acoustic output of the vocal tract by studying the position and movement of the tongue and lips during the production of oral and nasal vowels. This paper uses simultaneously collected articulatory, acoustic, and nasal airflow data during the production of all oral and phonemically nasal vowels in Hindi (four speakers) to understand the consequences of the movements of oral articulators on the spectra of nasal vowels. For Hindi nasal vowels, the tongue body is generally lowered for back vowels, fronted for low vowels, and raised for front vowels (with respect to their oral congeners). These movements are generally supported by accompanying changes in the vowel spectra. In Hindi, the lowering of back nasal vowels may have originally served to enhance the acoustic salience of nasality, but has since engendered a nasal vowel chain shift.
- Lasersohn, P. 2011. Mass Nouns and Plurals. In: von Heusinger, et al., eds., Semantics: An International Handbook of Natural Language Meaning, DeGruyter, vol. 2, pp. 1131-1153.
Abstract: Mass and plural expressions exhibit interesting similarities in distribution and interpretation, including cumulative reference, the ability to appear bare, and a parallel alternation between existential and generic readings. They also exhibit important differences in agreement, determiner choice, and in the types of quantification available. Major approaches to plural denotation make conflicting claims whether plurality involves reference to collective objects such as sets or mereological sums, or instead requires simultaneous saturation of an argument place by multiple individuals. Theories of mass denotation differ as to whether the count/mass distinction is a difference in discrete vs. continuous denotation, reference to objects vs. the material they are composed of, or reference to mereological sums vs. classes of individuals. Bare plurals and mass nouns sometimes denote “kinds”; there is disagreement whether they also have an indefinite reading. Several kinds of plural and mass quantification can be distinguished, depending on determiner choice, predicate modification, and the use of a classifier or measure phrase. Plural quantifiers may interact to give a “cumulative” reading, in which the quantifiers are scopally independent. Sentences containing plurals sometimes exhibit an ambiguity between collective and distributive readings; the number of readings and mechanisms for producing them is in dispute.
- Lasersohn, P. 2011. Context, relevant parts and (lack of) disagreement over taste. Philosophical Studies 156(3): 433-439
Response to arguments given in Cappelen and Hawthorne's book Relativism and Monadic Truth against a relativist analysis of expressions of personal taste. doi: 10.1007/s11098-010-9625-x
- Puri, V. 2011. The Influence of English on the History of Hindi Relative Clauses. Journal of Language Contact, VARIA IV 2011 , pp. 250-268(19).
The influence of Hindi on English has been well documented; however, little has been said about the influence of English on the structure of Hindi. In this paper I provide evidence that Hindi “embedded“ (i.e. post-nominal) relative clauses result from English influence. Hindi originally had Relative-Correlative (RC-CC) constructions that could adjoin to the left or the right of the main clause. Since evidence from early Hindi is limited, I draw on Awadhi and Braj Bhakha to provide greater time depth for the earlier history of Hindi. In addition I examine early 19 th century grammars and texts. None of these provide unambiguous evidence for embedded relative clauses. By contrast, late 19 th century and early 20 th century Hindi texts translated from English exhibit many instances of central embedded relative clauses (besides the old adjoined relativecorrelatives), thus supporting the argument that Hindi embedded relative clauses result from the influence of English. I argue that what may have helped in this developed is the occasional occurrence of potentially ambiguous structures in earlier Hindi, which could be reinterpreted as involving embedding, rather than a relative-correlative construction with deleted correlative pronoun.
- Carignan, Christopher, Ryan Shosted, Chilin Shih, and Panying Rong. 2011. Compensatory articulation in American English nasalized vowels. Journal of Phonetics 39: 668-682.
- Shosted, Ryan. 2011. An articulatory-aerodynamic approach to stop excrescence. Journal of Phonetics 39: 660-667.
- Tania Ionin, Silvina Montrul, Ji-Hye Kim and Vadim Philippov. 2011. Genericity distinctions and the interpretation of determiners in second language acquisition. Language Acquisition, 18(4), 242-280.
Abstract: English uses three types of generic NPs: bare plurals ( Lions are dangerous), definite singulars ( The lion is dangerous), and indefinite singulars ( A lion is dangerous). These three NP types are not interchangeable: definite singulars and bare plurals can have generic reference at the NP-level, while indefinite singulars are compatible only with sentence-level genericity. This study investigates whether L1-Russian and L1-Korean L2-English learners, whose article-less L1s do not morphologically encode the distinction between the two types of genericity, can distinguish between the different types of English generics. The results of a written acceptability judgment task with intermediate/advanced L2-learners showed that the learners exhibited sensitivity to the two types of genericity. They were target-like on their interpretation of bare plural and indefinite singular generics, but had not acquired the interpretation of definite singular generics. Theoretical implications of these findings are discussed.
- Kate Kokhan's article accepted in Language Testing
Kate Kokhan has had a solo-authored article accepted for publication in the journal Language Testing. Kate is a graduate of the MATESL program in Linguistics and is presently working toward a PhD, also in our department.
Language Testing is the premier refereed outlet for research and scholarship in the field of language assessment. Her article is based on her MATESL thesis, and it is entitled: "Investigating the possibility of using TOEFL scores for university ESL decision making: Placement trends and effect of time lag". The abstract of her paper appears below. This research is a significant and seminal contribution to work on entry and placement language testing in general, and it makes some important conclusions about the TOEFL, as well.
The English Placement Test (EPT) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) is designed to provide an accurate placement (or exemption) of international students into the ESL writing and pronunciation classes. Over the last five years, UIUC has experienced an increase in number of international students taking the EPT. Because of the costs of the EPT, various stakeholders have suggested using TOEFL as a substitute placement tool. The purpose of this research is to find out whether TOEFL iBT can serve as a suitable pre-screening tool for placement of international students into the ESL writing courses at UIUC.
While there is a general statistically significant tendency that students with higher TOEFL iBT scores are placed into higher levels of ESL classes, there is no particular set of either total or section scores which can be used as a reliable criterion for dividing students into ESL classes without significant misplacement. Furthermore, the correlation between TOEFL iBT and the EPT shows a distinct pattern of time dependence: the correlation is stronger when the time gap between these tests is short but it dramatically decreases and even becomes slightly negative around Week 50; however, starting from the 50th week it increases. Some possible interpretations of the findings as well as recommendations for score users are discussed in this paper.
- Bob McMurray, Jennifer Cole, & Cheyenne Munson. 2011. Features as an emergent product of perceptual parsing: Evidence from vowel-to-vowel coarticulation. In C.N. Clements and R. Ridouane (eds.), Where do Phonological Features Come From? Cognitive, Physical and Developmental Bases of Distinctive Speech Categories, Amsterdam, The Netherlands: John Benjamins, pp. 197-236.
Speech perception must ultimately contrast between discrete units of meaning, words, which are minimally distinguished by phonological features. While traditional approaches argued that discreteness is imposed by mechanisms like categorical perception that discard within-category detail, recent research suggests that fine-grained detail is preserved throughout processing. We develop an alternative that argues that discreteness emerges from processes that parse overlapping sources of variance from the signal. These need not discard acoustic detail and may make it more useful to listeners. We develop a computational implementation (Computing Cues Relative to Expectations, C-CuRE) and test it on a corpus of vowel productions. It shows how C-CuRE reveals underlying vowel features despite contextual variance, and simultaneously uses the variance to better predict upcoming vowels.
- Cole, J. and J.I. Hualde. 2011. Underlying Representations. In van Oostendorp, Marc, Colin J. Ewen, Elizabeth Hume and Keren Rice (eds.), The Blackwell Companion to Phonology. Blackwell Publishing, pp. 1-26.
- Terkourafi, Marina. The pragmatic variable: Toward a procedural interpretation. Language in Society 40: 4, 343-372.
- Terkourafi, Marina. Why direct speech is not a natural default: Rejoinder to Steven Pinker's Indirect Speech, Politeness, Deniability, and Relationship Negotiation. Journal of Pragmatics 43, 2869-2871.
- Terkourafi, Marina.The puzzle of indirect speech. Journal of Pragmatics 43, 2861-2865.
- Shosted, Ryan. 2011. Towards a glottalic theory of Mayan. In H. Avelino (Ed.), New Perspectives in Mayan Linguistics (pp. 80-113). Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholar's Publishing.
- Hans Henrich Hock, editor. World of Linguistics
Hans Henrich Hock is editor of the series World of Linguistics, published by de Gruyter Mouton.
The first volume in the series (The languages and linguistics of Europe) has just appeared in print.
The second volume (The indigenous languages of South America) will come out in November 2011.
- Albirini, Abdulkafi, Elabbas Benmamoun, and Eman Saadah, Grammatical features of Egyptian and Palestinian Arabic Heritage Speakers Oral Production. Studies in Second Language Acquisition 33.2.273-303 (2011)
This study presents an investigation of oral narratives collected from heritage Egyptian and Palestinian Arabic speakers living in the United States. The focus is on a number of syntactic and morphological features in their production, such as word order, use of null subjects, selection of prepositions, agreement, and possession. The degree of codeswitching in their narratives was also investigated. The goal was to gain some insights into the Arabic linguistic competence of this group of speakers. The results show that although Arabic heritage speakers display significant competence in their heritage colloquial varieties, there are gaps in that knowledge. There also seems to be significant transfer from English, their dominant language. doi: 10.1017/S0272263110000768
- Annie Tremblay, Proficiency Assessment Standards in Second Language Acquisition Research. Studies in Second Language Acquisition 33.3.339-372 (2011)
The present study aims to sensitize SLA researchers to the importance of documenting and controlling for their participants’ proficiency in the target language, with the goal of establishing more robust proficiency assessment standards in experimental research. First, this article presents a survey of recent (2000–2008) foreign and second-language (L2) acquisition studies that show that such standards have yet to be met. Second, it demonstrates the validity, reliability, and practicality of a cloze (i.e., fill-in-the-blank) test designed to discriminate among L2 learners of French at different proficiency levels. Subject and item analyses are performed on the cloze test scores of 169 L2 learners of French from various language backgrounds. The relationship between these scores and the learners’ language background is examined. Cutoff points between proficiency levels are identified in the data. The test then is shared with scholars so that those working with a similar population of L2 learners of French can also use it. doi: 10.1017/S0272263111000015
- Ryan K. Shosted and Sharon Rose (2011). Affricating ejective fricatives: The case of Tigrinya. Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 41, pp 41-65
The production of an ejective fricative involves an aerodynamic dilemma. An ejective requires increased intraoral air pressure, while a fricative requires air to be continuously vented through a narrow constriction. This venting may defeat the pressure increase. Because ejectivity is realized by forming a complete oral closure, we hypothesize that complete closure (i.e. affrication) may also typify ejective fricatives in some languages. We test this hypothesis through an acoustic production experiment with speakers of Tigrinya. We find substantial evidence that Tigrinya /s’/ is commonly realized as [ts’] and comment on the plausibility of affrication as a general strategy for the realization of ejective fricatives.
- Riaz, Mehwish and Roxana Girju. Another Look at Causality: Discovering Scenario-specific Contingency Relationships with No Supervision. The 4th IEEE International Conference on Semantic Computing (IEEE ICSC 2010), Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh PA, September, 2010.
Contingency discourse relations play an important role in natural language understanding. In this paper we propose an unsupervised learning model to automatically identify contingency relationships between scenario-specific events in web news articles (on the Iraq war and on hurricane Katrina). The model generates ranked contingency relationships by identifying appropriate candidate event pairs for each scenario of a particular domain. Scenario-specific events, contributing towards the same objectives in a domain, are likely to be dependent on each other, and thus form good candidates for contingency relationships. In order to evaluate the ranked contingency relationships, we rely on the manipulation theory of causation and a comparison of precision-recall performance curves. We also perform various tests which bring insights into how people perceive causality. For example, our findings show that the larger the distance between two events, the more likely it becomes for the annotators to identify them as non-causal.
[32% acceptance rate]
- Paul, Michael, Cheng Zhai and Roxana Girju. Summarizing Contrastive Viewpoints In Opinionated Text. The Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP 2010), MIT, Cambridge, Massachusetts. October 2010.
This paper presents a two-stage approach to summarizing multiple contrastive viewpoints in opinionated text. In the first stage, we use an unsupervised probabilistic approach to model and extract multiple viewpoints in text. We experiment with a variety of lexical and syntactic features, yielding significant performance gains over bag-of-words feature sets. In the second stage, we introduce Comparative LexRank, a novel random walk formulation to score sentences and pairs of sentences from opposite viewpoints based on both their representativeness of the collection as well as their contrastiveness with each other. Experimental results show that the proposed approach can generate informative summaries of viewpoints in opinionated text.
[14% acceptance rate]
- Girju, Roxana and Michael Paul. Modeling Reciprocity in Social Interactions with Probabilistic Latent Space Models. Journal of Natural Language Engineering - Distributional Lexical Semantics. 17(1), pages 1-36, Cambridge University Press, January 2011.
Reciprocity is a pervasive concept that plays an important role in governing people's behavior, judgments, and thus their social interactions. In this paper we present an analysis of the concept of reciprocity as expressed in English and a way to model it. At a larger structural level the reciprocity model will induce representations and clusters of relations between interpersonal verbs. In particular, we introduce an algorithm that semi-automatically discovers patterns encoding reciprocity based on a set of simple yet effective pronoun templates. Using the most frequently occurring patterns we queried the web and extracted 13,443 reciprocal instances, which represent a broad-coverage resource. Unsupervised clustering procedures are performed to generate meaningful semantic clusters of reciprocal instances. We also present several extensions (along with observations) to these models that incorporate meta-attributes like the verbs' affective value, identify gender differences between participants, consider the textual context of the instances, and automatically discover verbs with certain presuppositions. The pattern discovery procedure yields an accuracy of 97 per cent, while the clustering procedures – clustering with pairwise membership and clustering with transitions – indicate accuracies of 91 per cent and 64 per cent, respectively. Our affective value clustering can predict an unknown verb's affective value (positive, negative, or neutral) with 51 per cent accuracy, while it can discriminate between positive and negative values with 68 per cent accuracy. The presupposition discovery procedure yields an accuracy of 97 per cent.
On the list of Cambridge Journals Online - Top 10 Most Read Articles.
- Terkourafi, Marina. (2010) Dont go V-ing in Cypriot Greek: semantic, pragmatic and prosodic aspects of a prohibitive construction. Constructions and Frames 2:2, 208-241.
Abstract: This article deals with the expression oi na+V realizing mild prohibitions in Cypriot Greek. Drawing on spoken corpus and experimental results, I propose that oi na+V simultaneously expresses two speech acts: (1) a prohibition against some act; (2) the assumption that this act is likely. In this way, the speaker appears to be adopting the hearer’s perspective, advising him accordingly. The resulting account of oi na+V as a neg-raising construction motivated by positive face in contemporary Cypriot society is supported by prosodic and psycholinguistic evidence, and has implications for the contribution of prosody to constructional meaning, the relationship between arbitrariness and generativity in language, and the importance of face in the emergence of constructions.
- Terkourafi, Marina. (2011) Thank you, Sorry, and Please in Cypriot Greek: What happens to politeness markers when they are borrowed across languages? Journal of Pragmatics 43, 218-235.
Abstract: This article investigates the semantic/interactional import of three expressions, ‘thank you’, ‘sorry,’ and ‘please,’ when these are borrowed from English into other languages. Focusing on spoken corpus data from Cypriot Greek, it is proposed that, once borrowed into the recipient language, these terms lose much of their speech-act potential, functioning primarily to signpost locally relevant dimensions of variation, such as discourse-, gender-, class-, or ethnicity-based variation. In this way, they do not supplant native (inherited) terms for expressing the speech acts of thanking, apologizing and requesting, respectively, but rather function complementarily with them to verbalize a more shaded range of these behaviors.
- Ionin, Tania (2010) The scope of indefinites: An experimental investigation. Natural Language Semantics, 18(3): 295-350.
Abstract: This paper reports on an experimental investigation of the scope of English a indefinites and a certain indefinites. Three experiments test whether native English speakers allow indefinites to scope out of syntactic islands, and to take intermediate as well as widest scope. The experimental findings indicate that a indefinites and a certain indefinites have different ranges of interpretations available to them. Experiment 1 shows that a certain indefinites, unlike a indefinites, cannot be interpreted in the scope of an intensional operator, and further shows that functional readings are available to a certain indefinites but not to a indefinites. Experiment 2 focuses on the availability of long-distance readings of indefinites out of scope islands, and shows that the most accessible reading for a certain indefinites is the widest-scope reading, while the most accessible reading for a indefinites is the narrow-scope reading. Experiment 3 shows that modification of an a indefinite by a relative clause does not facilitate long-distance readings, as long as it does not restrict the domain to a singleton set. Overall, these findings are consistent with the proposal of Schwarz (Proceedings of the Thirteenth Amsterdam Colloquium, ILCC, University of Amsterdam, 192-197, 2001) that a certain indefinites and a indefinites are derived by different semantic mechanisms. The behavior of a certain indefinites is shown to be consistent with the contextually determined choice function approach of Kratzer (Events in grammar, Kluwer, Dordrecht, 165-196, 1998) and the singleton indefinite approach of Schwarzschild (J Semant 19:289-314, 2002). In contrast, a indefinites are most compatible with a purely quantificational approach, contra much recent theoretical literature. These findings highlight the value of conducting experimental studies testing the predictions of semantic theories.
- Ionin, Tania, and Silvina Montrul (2010) The role of L1 transfer in the interpretation of articles with definite plurals. Language Learning 60(4): 877-925.
Abstract: This study examines second language (L2) acquisition of the interpretation of plural noun phrases. Languages with articles differ in whether they use bare plurals (English) or definite plurals (Spanish) to express generic interpretation (Chierchia, 1998; Dayal, 2004; among others). It is hypothesized that Spanish-speaking learners of English transfer the interpretation of definite plurals from their native language. Results of a truth-value judgment task provide support for this hypothesis: Spanish speakers (N =24) overaccepted the generic interpretation of English definite plurals to a greater extent than proficiency-matched speakers of Korean (N = 29), an articleless language. Results of a follow-up study further show that with advanced proficiency and increased immersion in the target language, Spanish-speaking learners of English (N = 11) were as targetlike as Korean-speaking learners of English (N = 9) on the interpretation of definite plurals, which suggests that recovery from first language transfer is possible. Implications of these findings for theories of L2 acquisition are discussed.
- Lasersohn book reprinted: Conjunction, Plurality and Events. Berlin: Springer (2010)
Peter Lasersohn's (1995) book Plurality, Conjunction and Events, originally published by Kluwer Academic Publishers, has been reissued in paperback by Springer.
Abstract: Plurality, Conjunction and Events presents a novel theory of plural and conjoined phrases, in an event-based semantic framework. It begins by reviewing options for treating the alternation between 'collective' and 'distributive' readings of sentences containing plural or conjoined noun phrases, including analyses from both the modern and the premodern literature. It is argued that plural and conjoined noun phrases are unambiguously group-denoting, and that the collective/distributive distinction therefore must be located in the predicates with which these noun phrases combine. More specifically, predicates must have a hidden argument place for events; the collective/distributive distinction may then be represented in the part/whole structure of these events. This allows a natural treatment of 'collectivizing' adverbial expressions, and of 'pluractional' affixes; it also allows a unified semantics for conjunction, in which conjoined sentences and predicates denote groups of events, much like conjoined noun phrases denote groups of individuals. http://www.springer.com/education+%26+language/linguistics/book/978-90-481-4494-5
- Loucks, Torrey M. J., Ryan K. Shosted, Luc F. De Nil, Christopher J. Poletto and Amie King (2010) Coordinating vocalization onset with articulation: A potential role for sensory cues. Phonetica 67(12): 47-62.
Abstract: In the typical speech of any language, voicing onset and offset are effortlessly coordinated with articulation as part of the intrinsic coordination of sound production. In this paper, we argue that voicing-articulatory coordination patterns could be shaped by sensory feedback during early speech learning and these patterns persist in mature syllable productions. Our experimental results show that voicing onset is closely associated with the peak velocity and peak amplitude of jaw and upper lip movements for VC syllables in adults. This robust coordination in the onset position may function to increase the salience of VC syllables and provide a phonetically natural explanation for vowels to undergo phonological lengthening and to avoid phonological reduction in word-initial onset position. doi:10.1159/000319378
- Shosted, Ryan and Jose Ignacio Hualde (2010) The production and provenance of Spanish and Portuguese palatal nasals. In S. Colina, A. Olarrea, and A. Carvalho (eds.), Romance Linguistics 2009: Selected Papers from the 39th Linguistic Symposium on Romance Languages (LSRL), 43-62. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Abstract: We present acoustic evidence bearing on the articulation of the palatal nasal consonants in Portuguese and Spanish. We outline the etymological origins of these consonants, some of which are shared by the two languages. One class of Portuguese palatal nasals arose from a nasalized palatal approximant – the phonetic leftovers of a historical process (typical of Galician-Portuguese but not Spanish) that nasalized vowels and deleted intervocalic alveolar nasal consonants. Some descriptions of Brazilian Portuguese suggest that this nasalized approximant is still extant and perhaps even dominant among speakers of the modern language. We compare the articulation of palatal nasals in a variety of vocalic contexts to determine the degree of impedance. We find evidence suggesting that the nasalized approximant of medieval Galician-Portuguese may have been retained in Brazilian Portuguese. This highly conservative trait appears to have spread throughout the lexicon even to etymologically unrelated forms and may be the reason for attested asymmetries in coarticulation among BP nasal consonants. http://www.benjamins.com/cgi-bin/t_bookview.cgi?bookid=CILT%20315
- Markee, N. (in press). Doing, and justifying doing, avoidance. Journal of Pragmatics.Abstract: In this paper, I treat avoidance as a locally contingent practice that is collaboratively coconstructed by participants in real time as a topic of interaction during the course of naturally occurring institutional talk. In order to develop this post-cognitive account of how participants do, and justify doing, avoidance-as-behavior, I draw on ethnomethodological conversation analysis and discursive psychology to frame and explicate a number of emerging issues in the conversation analysis-for-second language acquisition literature. These issues include: (1) How can we respecify individual notions of cognition as socially situated activity? (2) How can we use longitudinal talk to show how participants demonstrably orient in speech event 2 (SE2) to a course of action that first occurred in speech event 1 (SE1)? And (3) how can we legitimately use exogenous (that is, talk-external) cultural artifacts (here, a Power Point presentation and a self-evaluation form) as resources for analyzing language learning behavior? doi:10.1016/j.pragma.2010.09.012
- Lasersohn, Peter (in press) Context, relevant parts and (lack of) disagreement over taste, Philosophical Studies
Responds to an argument against relativist semantics advanced in Cappelen and Hawthorne’s Relativism and Monadic Truth. doi:10.1007/s11098-010-9625-x
- Terkourafi, Marina (2010) The Languages of Global Hip-Hop, Continuum.
In the case of hip-hop, the forces of top-down corporatization and bottom-up globalization are inextricably woven. This volume takes the view that hip-hop should not be viewed with this dichotomous dynamic in mind and that this dynamic does not arise solely outside of the continental US. Close analysis of the facts reveals a much more complex situation in which market pressures, local (musical) traditions, linguistic and semiotic intelligibility, as well as each country's particular historico-political past conspire to yield new hybrid expressive genres.
This exciting collection looks at linguistic, cultural and economic aspects of hip-hop in parallel and showcases a global scope. It engages with questions of code-switching, code-mixing, the minority language/regional dialect vs. standard dynamic, the discourse of political resistance, immigrant ideologies, youth and new language varieties and will be essential reading for graduates and researchers in sociolinguistics and discourse analysis.
- Girju, Beamer, Rozovskaya, Fister & Bhat (2010) A Knowledge-rich Approach to Identifying Semantic Relations between Nominals. Information Processing and Management Journal 46(5): 589-610
Abstract: This paper describes a state-of-the-art supervised, knowledge-intensive approach to the automatic identification of semantic relations between nominals in English sentences. The system employs a combination of rich and varied sets of new and previously used lexical, syntactic, and semantic features extracted from various knowledge sources such as WordNet and additional annotated corpora. The system ranked first at the third most popular SemEval 2007 Task – Classification of Semantic Relations between Nominals and achieved an F-measure of 72.4% and an accuracy of 76.3%. We also show that some semantic relations are better suited for WordNet-based models than other relations. Additionally, we make a distinction between out-of-context (regular) examples and those that require sentence context for relation identification and show that contextual data are important for the performance of a noun–noun semantic parser. Finally, learning curves show that the task difficulty varies across relations and that our learned WordNet-based representation is highly accurate so the performance results suggest the upper bound on what this representation can do. doi:10.1016/j.ipm.2009.09.002
- Jennifer Cole, Gary Linebaugh, Cheyenne Munson, Bob McMurray (2010) Unmasking the acoustic effects of vowel-to-vowel coarticulation: A statistical modeling approach. Journal of Phonetics 38(2): 167-184
Abstract: Coarticulation is a source of acoustic variability for vowels, but how large is this effect relative to other sources of variance? We investigate acoustic effects of anticipatory V-to-V coarticulation relative to variation due to the following C and individual speaker. We examine F1 and F2 from V1 in 48 V1-C#V2 contexts produced by 10 speakers of American English. ANOVA reveals significant effects of both V2 and C on F1 and F2 measures of V1. The influence of V2 and C on acoustic variability relative to that of speaker and target vowel identity is evaluated using hierarchical linear regression. Speaker and target vowel account for roughly 80% of the total variance in F1 and F2, but when this variance is partialed out C and V2 account for another 18% (F1) and 63% (F2) of the remaining target vowel variability. Multinomial logistic regression (MLR) models are constructed to test the power of target vowel F1 and F2 for predicting C and V2 of the upcoming context. Prediction accuracy is 58% for C-Place, 76% for C-Voicing and 54% for V2, but only when variance due to other sources is factored out. MLR is discussed as a model of the parsing mechanism in speech perception.
- Lasersohn, Peter (2009) Compositional Interpretation in which the Meanings of Complex Expressions are not Computable from the Meanings of their Parts, Theory and Evidence in Semantics, 133-158, ed. by Erhard Hinrichs and John Nerbonne. Stanford: CSLI Publications.
Abstract: It is often claimed that the principle of compositionality explains the ability of language users to understand novel sentences: they must have some way of calculating the meanings of complex expressions from the meanings of their parts. However, mathematical theories of compositionality typically do little or nothing to capture this idea. Usually, the main idea is that meaning is assigned homomorphically, not that it is assigned computably.
Because language users obviously employ some computational procedure in understanding sentences, it may seem natural to impose a computability requirement on the semantic algebra used in homomorphic interpretation. However, a simple example demonstrates that sentences interpreted into a non-computable algebra may nonetheless be comprehensible and easily truth-evaluable.
I therefore distinguish two distinct notions of compositionality: The interpretation of an expression is C-compositional if there is a way of computing it; but this computation need not be done on the interpretations of the parts. H-compositionality is the familiar requirement that interpretation be assigned by homomorphism. Only C-compositionality is directly motivated by the ability of languages users to understand novel sentences; H-compositionality must be motivated on different grounds.
I demonstrate that H-compositionality is equivalent to a familiar “substitutivity” principle, viz. that one expression may be substituted for another with the same interpretation without altering the interpretation of any complex expression of which it is a part. H-compositionality is then motivated to the extent that this principle is observed to hold, regardless of any considerations of language users’ abilities to understand novel sentences. Conversely, any counterexample to H-compositionality must take the form of a context in which substitution of one expression for another with the same interpretation results in a change of interpretation for some larger expression containing it. It follows that any counterexample to H-compositionality of reference must involve an intensional context, and that in a language with no perfect synonyms, meaning is always H-compositional.
- Lasersohn, Peter (2009) Relative Truth, Speaker Commitment, and Control of Implicit Arguments, Synthese 166(2): 359-374.
Abstract: Recent arguments for relativist semantic theories have centered on the phenomenon of “faultless disagreement.” This paper offers independent motivation for such theories, based on the interpretation of predicates of personal taste in certain attitude contexts and presuppositional constructions. It is argued that the correct interpretation falls out naturally from a relativist theory, but requires special stipulation in a theory which appeals instead to the use of hidden indexicals; and that a hidden indexical analysis presents problems for contemporary syntactic theory. doi:10.1007/s11229-007-9280-8
- P. Phillips Batoma, R. Girju, E. Lowe, and P. Minacori (2009) Educating and Assessing the Human Translator in an Age of Technology. Proceedings of the Machine Translation Summit XII, Ottawa, Canada
Abstract: This paper presents a few ideas of the Center for Translation Studies at University of Illinois on the present and future of human and machine translation. In particular, as we will elaborate at our panel, we believe that we should focus more on how we prepare humanities students to succeed as translators in a technology-driven environment. At the MT Summit panel, we will discuss the interface between human and machine translation and the related pedagogical and research issues.