Monthly Archives: October 2019

Mukherjee (2019) – A Note on the Exclusivity of Human Language

A Note on the Exclusivity of Human Language
Sibansu Mukherjee
direct link: http://ling.auf.net/lingbuzz/004794
September 2019
Human language is exclusive among all primary vocal communicating tools used in the kingdom animalia. However, there are debates on what makes human language exclusive. Among these debates, the most persuasive view is that human language is unique by the virtue of infinite syntactic recursion, which is universal to all human languages. The latest development of this view is backed by certain biological investigation and duly criticized by other scholars. In this paper, I argue that language is not a single product of a solitary process of evolution of the so-called linguistic species Homo sapiens. Thus, syntactic recursion may not be the universal aspect of all human languages. Syntactic recursion can be imagined only as an essential property of some developed languages that may not always be empirically observable. To consider human language as exclusive, I argue that human language in-itself is such a field where context-specific choice-based linguistic expressions are made up of certain syntagmatic relationships. These are substituted paradigmatically, instead of imagining language as a result of syntactic recursiveness, the fundamental function of universal grammar.

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Forbes (2019) – Tsimshianic

Tsimshianic
Clarissa Forbes
direct link: http://ling.auf.net/lingbuzz/004784
June 2019
[This is a language sketch of the Tsimshianic family oriented toward non-specialists, with reference to topics in phonetics, phonology, syntax, and semantics.] Languages of the Tsimshianic family, spoken in the Skeena River watershed of British Columbia, share a number of properties with other languages of the Pacific northwest region. Their sound inventories feature glottal consonants, and they permit clusters of consonants without vowels. Their word order is verb-first (VSO), and a central property of the grammar is a robust system of plural marking on both nouns and verbs. This chapter reviews topics in the sound system, word formation, and sentence building. In particular, I review two topics that commanded the majority of linguists’ attention until about a decade ago: glottalized sounds, and the agreement/pronoun system. This second is a complicated core area of the grammar, particularly for an L1 English learner, and is perhaps unique to Tsimshianic: linguists have described the pattern as one of ‘pivoting ergativity’ across two types of clauses. In the course of discussing sounds, words, and sentences, I also briefly review some more recent lines of linguistic work of interest to language learning and teaching: the placement of stress, mismatches between words and syntactic units, plural marking, tense and perspective, and ways to form questions and convey emphasis.

Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/004794
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Unpublished
keywords: human language (hl), primary verbal communication (pvc), syntactic recursion, writing, semiotics, paradigmatic axis, significance, syntax, phonology, semantics, morphology
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Nevins & Costa (2019) – Prominence Augmentation via Nasalization in Brazilian Portuguese

Prominence Augmentation via Nasalization in Brazilian Portuguese
Andrew Ira Nevins, Paula Pinheiro Costa
direct link: http://ling.auf.net/lingbuzz/004769
August 2019
This article aims to demonstrate that dialectal and idiolectal variants of Brazilian Portuguese that exhibit rhotic metathesis (e.g. vidro > vrido ‘glass’), spontaneous nasalization of high vowels (as in diachronic hibernum > inverno ‘winter’ and non-standard ingreja ‘church’), and pretonic vowel lowering of mid-vowels are all instantiations of the same process: prominence-boosting in stressed, secondary-stressed, or word-initial positions.

Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/004784
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: (submitted) Handbook of Languages and Linguistics of North America
keywords: tsimshianic, overview, language sketch, glottalization, v1 order, ergativity, extraction, syntax, phonology, semantics, morphology
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Breiss (2019) – Cumulativity by default in phonotactic learning

Cumulativity by default in phonotactic learning
Canaan Breiss
direct link: http://ling.auf.net/lingbuzz/004747
August 2019
An ongoing debate in phonology concerns whether the grammar is better characterized by frameworks which use strictly-ranked constraints (such as Optimality Theory, “OT”) or weighted constraints (Harmonic Grammar, “HG”). This paper uses a series of Arti^Lcial Grammar Learning experiments focused on static phonotactics to probe an empirical domain where OT and HG make different empirical predictions: cumulative constraint interactions, also known as “gang effects”. OT does not allow gang effects by default, while HG permits ganging automatically. I show that learners exhibit spontaneously emerging ganging behavior in a poverty-of-the-stimulus environment, providing experimental data supporting weighted-constraint theories of phonological grammar.

Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/004769
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: To appear in Catalan Journal of Linguistics
keywords: spontaneous nasalization, brazilian portuguese, rhotic metathesis, prominence augmentation, initial syllables, phonology
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Mckenzie & Punske (2019) – Language Development during Interstellar Travel

Language Development during Interstellar Travel
Andrew Mckenzie, Jeffrey Punske
direct link: http://ling.auf.net/lingbuzz/004743
April 2019
This paper explores the consequences that language change might trigger in the languages of crew members during a long journey in space or interplanetary settlement. Languages drift apart as communities grow more isolated from each other, so the long isolation of a traveling community may lead to enough difference to render its language unintelligible to the original community it left. This problem may compound as later vessels bring new crews with their own changed languages to mix with those from earlier crews. We discuss various aspects that contribute to language change, through comparison to historical Earthbound cases involving some of these aspects, such as the Polynesian settlement of far-flung Pacific islands, and dialect development in relatively isolated European colonies. We also weigh the effects of multilingualism amongst the crew, with or without a common lingua franca in use, as well as the effects of time and the role that children play in language change and creation. As we lay out possible outcomes, we also suggest possible methods of shaping this development within limits.

Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/004747
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: submitted
keywords: phonotactics, cumulative constraint interaction, gang effects, poverty of the stimulus, artifi^Lcial grammar, acquisition, phonology
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Guzzo & Garcia (2019) – Phonological Variation and Prosodic Representation: Clitics in Portuguese-Veneto Contact

Phonological Variation and Prosodic Representation: Clitics in Portuguese-Veneto Contact
Natália Brambatti Guzzo, Guilherme Duarte Garcia
direct link: http://ling.auf.net/lingbuzz/004726
August 2019
In a variety of Brazilian Portuguese in contact with Veneto, variable vowel reduction in clitic position can be partially accounted for by the phonotactic profile of clitic structures. We show that, when phonotactic profile is controlled for, vowel reduction is statistically more frequent in non-pronominal than in pronominal clitics, which indicates that these clitic types are represented in separate prosodic domains. We propose that this difference in frequency of reduction between clitic types is only possible due to contact with Veneto, which, unlike standard BP, does not exhibit vowel reduction in clitic position. Contact thus provides speakers with the possibility of producing clitic vowels without reduction, and the resulting variation is used to signal prosodic distinctions between clitic types. We show that the difference in frequency of reduction is larger for older speakers, who are more proficient in Veneto and use the language regularly.

Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/004743
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Acta Futura 12 (to appear)
keywords: language change, diachrony, dialect, space, syntax, phonology, semantics, morphology
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Shih, Ackerman, Hermalin, Inkelas, Jang, Johnson, Kavitskaya, Kawahara, Oh, Starr & Yu (2019) – Cross-linguistic and language-specific sound symbolism: Pokémonastics

Cross-linguistic and language-specific sound symbolism: Pokémonastics
Stephanie Shih, Jordan Ackerman, Noah Hermalin, Sharon Inkelas, Hayeun Jang, Jessica Johnson, Darya Kavitskaya, Shigeto Kawahara, Miran Oh, Rebecca Starr, Alan Yu
direct link: http://ling.auf.net/lingbuzz/004725
August 2019
The cross-linguistic prevalence of sound symbolism raises key questions about the universality versus language-specificity of sound symbolic correspondences. One challenge to studying cross-linguistic sound symbolic patterns is the difficulty of holding constant the real-world referents across cultures. In this study, we address the challenge of cross-linguistic comparison by utilizing a rich, cross-linguistic dataset drawn from a multilingual entertainment franchise, Pokémon. Within this controlled universe, we compare the sound symbolisms of Pokémon names (pokemonikers) in six languages: Japanese, English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean, and Russian. Our results show that the languages have a tendency to encode the same attributes with sound symbolism, but crucially also reveal that differences in sound symbolism are rooted in language-specific structural and lexical constraints.

Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/004726
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Accepted for publication in Journal of Language Contact
keywords: clitics, prosodic representation, language variation, brazilian portuguese, veneto, contact, phonology
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Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/004725
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: manuscript
keywords: sound symbolism; iconicity; names; onomastics; phonology; corpus linguistics; cognitive science; english; japanese; mandarin; cantonese; russian; korean; translation; localization, phonology
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Garcia (2019) – When lexical statistics and the grammar conflict: learning and repairing weight effects on stress

When lexical statistics and the grammar conflict: learning and repairing weight effects on
stress

Guilherme Duarte Garcia
direct link: http://ling.auf.net/lingbuzz/004712
August 2019
In weight-sensitive languages, stress is influenced by syllable weight. As a result, heavy syllables should attract, not repel, stress. The Portuguese lexicon, however, pr
esents a case where weight seems to negatively impact stress: antepenultimate stress is more frequent in light antepenultimate syllables than in heavy ones. This pattern i
s phonologically unexpected, and appears to contradict the typology of weight and stress: it is a case where lexical statistics and the grammar conflict. Portuguese also c
ontains gradient, not categorical, weight effects, which weaken as we move away from the right edge of the word. In this paper, I examine how native speakers’ grammars cap
ture these subtle weight effects, and whether the negative antepenultimate weight effect is learned or repaired. I show that speakers learn the gradient weight effects in
the language, but do not learn the unnatural negative effect. Instead, speakers repair this pattern, and generalize a positive weight effect to all syllables in the stress
domain. This study thus provides empirical evidence that speakers may not only ignore unnatural patterns, but also learn the opposite pattern.

Format: [ pdf ]
Re
ference:
lingbuzz/004716
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: B. Elan Dresher and Harr
y van der Hulst (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of the history of phonology. To appear
keywords: learnability, language acquisition, phonology, histo
ry of linguistics, mathematical linguistics, computational linguistics, phonology
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Cavirani & Van Oostendorp (2019) – Empty morphemes in Dutch dialect atlases: Reducing morphosyntactic variation by refining emptiness typology

Empty morphemes in Dutch dialect atlases: Reducing morphosyntactic variation by refining e
mptiness typology

Edoardo Cavirani, Marc Van Oostendorp
direct link: http://ling.auf.net/lingbuzz/004710
August 2019
In the literature on Dutch morphosyntactic microvariation, it is sometimes assumed that a subpart of Dutch dialects lack certain morphemes, because they have no direct pho
netic exponent. More careful analyses, however, suggest that these dialects display so-called zero morphemes, whose presence is argued for either on paradigmatic or phonol
ogical ground. In this contribution, we present some examples of such morphemes in the verbal inflection and adjectival concord systems, and develop an analysis that, by e
xploiting the formal mechanism relating underlying and surface phonological representations provided by Turbidity Theory, allows for the formalization of various degrees o
f emptiness: morphosyntactic, phonological and phonetic. This, in turn, allows for the shifting of the burden of (some instances of) microvariation from morphosyntax to PF
.

Format: [ pdf ]
Re
ference:
lingbuzz/004712
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Accepted for publication
in Language
keywords: stress, weight, lexical statistics, bayes, probabilistic grammar, maxent, phonology
Format: [ pdf ]
Re
ference:
lingbuzz/004710
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: http://doi.org/10.5334/g
jgl.689
keywords: dutch dialects, empty morpheme, morphosyntax-phonology interface, phonology-phonetics interface, turbidity theory, phonology</t d>
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