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This is an engaging introduction to the study of language for undergraduate or beginning graduate students, aimed especially at those who would like to continue further linguistic study. It introduces students to analytical thinking about language, but goes beyond existing texts to show what it means to think like a scientist about language, through the exploration of data and interactive problem sets. A key feature of this text is its flexibility. With its focus on foundational areas of linguistics and scientific analysis, it can be used in a variety of course types, with instructors using it alongside other information or texts as appropriate for their own courses of study. The text can also serve as a supplementary text in other related fields (Speech and Hearing Sciences, Psychology, Education, Computer Science, Anthropology, and others) to help learners in these areas better understand how linguists think about and work with language data. No prerequisites are necessary. While each chapter often references content from the others, the three central chapters on sound, structure, and meaning, may be used in any order.
Of all Victorian authors, Trollope comes closest to aspiring to the “degree zero” style that has played such an important role in modern theorizations of prose. Committed to an ideal of stylistic transparency, Trollope sought the unmediated transmission of authorial thought-content, borrowing from the more psychological strains of belletrism. However, Chapter 5 challenges the moralization of Trollope’s “disappearing” style as honest or forthright by cataloguing the acts of formal deception necessary to render such effects. Moreover, Trollope’s writings on style reveal his interest in non-mimetic features of prose such as harmony and rhythm, challenging “ease” and “lucidity” as preeminent realist virtues. The chapter concludes that Trollope’s blend of Attic simplicity with Ciceronian schemes proves his style to be one of the most artfully mannered in Victorian English, creating an impression of aesthetic virtuosity where many critics have seen only functional pedestrianism.
I provide a syntactic analysis of the take-time construction (It took an hour to complete the test). The investigation provides insight into well-known issues concerning the related tough-construction. Using a battery of standard syntactic diagnostics, I conclude that the take-time construction and the tough-construction require a predication analysis of the antecedent-gap chain, not a movement analysis. I also conclude that the nonfinite clause is in a modificational relationship with the main clause predicate, not a selectional relationship. Broadly, this study expands the class of tough-constructions, illustrating crucial variation among predicates, and pointing the way to a unified analysis. The investigation also reveals undiscussed aspects of English syntax, including the fact that English has a high applicative position.
We used a multi-method approach to investigate how children avoid (or retreat from) argument structure overgeneralisation errors (e.g., *You giggled me). Experiment 1 investigated how semantic and statistical constraints (preemption and entrenchment) influence children’s and adults’ judgments of the grammatical acceptability of 120 verbs in transitive and intransitive sentences. Experiment 2 used syntactic priming to elicit overgeneralisation errors from children (aged 5–6) to investigate whether the same constraints operate in production. For judgments, the data showed effects of preemption, entrenchment, and semantics for all ages. For production, only an effect of preemption was observed, and only for transitivisation errors with intransitive-only verbs (e.g., *The man laughed the girl). We conclude that preemption, entrenchment, and semantic effects are real, but are obscured by particular features of the present production task.
Several studies have signaled grammatical difficulties in individuals with developmental dyslexia. These difficulties may stem from a phonological deficit, but may alternatively be explained through a domain-general deficit in statistical learning. This study investigates grammar in children with and without dyslexia, and whether phonological memory and/or statistical learning ability contribute to individual differences in grammatical performance. We administered the CELF “word structure” and “recalling sentences” subtests and measures of phonological memory (digit span, nonword repetition) and statistical learning (serial reaction time, nonadjacent dependency learning) among 8- to 11-year-old children with and without dyslexia (N = 50 per group). Consistent with previous findings, our results show subtle difficulties in grammar, as children with dyslexia achieved lower scores on the CELF (word structure: p = .0027, recalling sentences: p = .053). While the two phonological memory measures were found to contribute to individual differences in grammatical performance, no evidence for a relationship with statistical learning was found. An error analysis revealed errors in irregular morphology (e.g., plural and past tense), suggesting problems with lexical retrieval. These findings are discussed in light of theoretical accounts of the underlying deficit in dyslexia.
This chapter gives an introductory overview of the strategies used in mainland Southeast Asian languages for making verbal predications in the core of clauses. There is an overview of verbal marking including patterns of negation, aspect, and modality. An important feature of the area’s languages is the heavy reliance on serial verb constructions (or multi-verb constructions) for packaging information in clauses and sentences. The chapter surveys various sub-categories of multi-verb construction, including depictive/adverbial constructions and complementation strategies. The chapter closes with a section on valency-changing strategies, including syntactic causatives, reflexives, and reciprocals.
This chapter gives an introductory overview of the patterns of reference and nominal syntax in the languages of mainland Southeast Asia. The chapter begins with the principles by which head nouns are modified, for example by adjectives or relative clauses, or in possessive constructions. Many languages of the area have systems of nominal classification, especially numeral classifiers and class terms. Personal pronoun systems range from extremely simple, such as in certain varieties of Chinese, to extremely complex, such as in the systems of Thai, Burmese, or Cambodian, whose systems of pronouns show elaborate distinctions in social-hierarchical structure and politeness. Demonstrative systems of the area span the range of complexity, ranging from two-term systems to systems with eight or more distinctions.
Recent studies have found correlations between sentence-level tests and reading comprehension. However, the task demands of sentence-level tests are not well understood. The present study investigated syntactic knowledge as a construct by examining the convergent and discriminant validity of two sentence-level tasks, sentence comprehension and sentence repetition, designed to test syntactic knowledge and their relation with reading comprehension. Results from 86 Grade 6 students showed that the syntax tests were more highly correlated with each other than with tests of working memory and vocabulary. This suggests that the syntax measures tap into a set of skills that are at least partially separate from these other cognitive constructs. Furthermore, syntactic knowledge explained unique variance in reading comprehension beyond controls. The syntax tasks were working memory dependent, but working memory was not the primary reason why syntax tasks are correlated with reading comprehension.
The chapter presents the theory of interactive alignment and primarily focuses on the alignment of linguistic representations underlying the utterances that each speaker contributes to the dialogue. Such representations enable interlocutors to formulate phrases, words, or gestures that move the dialogue forward. We also consider two dimensions of alignment (focal vs. global, and linguistic vs. dialogue model) and how alignment relates to reference and the role of dialogue routines in support of alignment.
This article explores the syntax of compound pronouns (e.g. someone, nothing). Several theories of these formatives have been proposed previously (e.g. Kishimoto 2000; Blöhdorn 2009), but most of them fail to account for the fact that compound pronouns behave simultaneously like compounds and phrases. By presenting corpus data of some special coordination and modification patterns of compound pronouns, I argue that they should instead be analysed as compound phrases: constructions which are morphologically compounds, but syntactically phrases. Both features play important roles in determining how compound phrases are modified. Moreover, I propose a modification paradigm based on Larson & Marušič (2004), which classifies common postmodifiers at different levels. Finally, I examine the syntactic behaviour of less frequently used nominal compound pronouns such as nobody, which are supplementary to the phrasal ones.
This chapter surveys what the ethological record reveals about the uniqueness of the human computational system, and explores how linguistic theories account for what ethology may determine to be human-specific. The core computational architecture of the language faculty is compared alongside existing accounts of non-human primates, songbirds and a number of other species, helping to delimit what computational processes electrophysiological models of language need to account for.
This introductory chapter will discuss the general goals of the book, which are essentially exploratory (i.e. a comprehensive review of the current state of the art) and explanatory (i.e. discussing the potential for particular aspects of brains dynamics and neuroanatomy to explain basic features of linguistic cognition). A background of the relevant linguistic concepts will be presented, and the concept of natural language syntax will be sufficiently decomposed into more generic computational processes.
The aim of the present research is to investigate the development of left and right dislocation in child French through a corpus study of three children until age 2;7 from the corpus of Lyon (Demuth & Tremblay, 2008). We extracted a total of 704 dislocations and analysed their syntactic properties. We show that (i) right dislocations are more frequent than left dislocations and (ii) left dislocations are significantly more complete than right dislocations (fewer omissions of verbs or pronouns). We compare these results to the hypothesis of Freudenthal, Pine, Jones & Gobet (2015, 2016) according to which some properties of child language can be explained by a learning mechanism from the right edge of the sentences from the input. We will show that this hypothesis can explain the general trend found in our data, but it is not sufficient to account for the entire development of dislocation in French.
While current debates oppose the cochlear implant's privileging of speech acquisition to teaching sign language, nineteenth-century debates, in contrast, opposed those who saw sign language as a tool for learning to read and write, and those who saw in it an autonomous language for organizing thought itself. Should the order of gestural signs follow written syntax? Or should it have its own coherence, that is, possibly a different syntax and order of enunciation? Starting with these questions, distinct teaching legacies developed, specifying which kinds of signs to use in which context and what role signs were to fulfill. This article focuses on French deaf and hearing teachers whose positions were influential throughout Europe and the United States, moving from Abbé de l'Epée's 1784 method to Rémi Valade's 1854 publication of the first sign language grammar.
Drawing on cutting-edge ideas from the biological and cognitive sciences, this book presents both an innovative neuro-computational model of language comprehension and a state-of-the-art review of current topics in neurolinguistics. It explores a range of newly-emerging topics in the biological study of language, building them into a framework which views language as grounded in endogenous neural oscillatory behaviour. This allows the author to formulate a number of hypotheses concerning the relationship between neurobiology and linguistic computation. Murphy also provides an extensive overview of recent theoretical and experimental work on the neurobiological basis of language, from which the reader will emerge up-to-date on major themes and debates. This lively overview of contemporary issues in theoretical linguistics, combined with a clear theory of how language is processed, is essential reading for scholars and students across a range of disciplines.
For centuries philosophers and scientists have puzzled over the meaning of words and the intricacies of grammar. How did the human species develop such a complex system that allowed us to work collaboratively and to share experiences – be it about the past or future? How did the species derive a system that allowed for optimal representation of the world in a way that also optimized quick communication among members of the species? Our language can mend conflicts, share grand ideas, and allow us to express and grow our everyday thoughts.
This chapter addresses how you can approach an early programming exercise. What do you need to know, and to have available, before you can start? How can you make some progress, even if you do not immediately know how to complete the exercise? What should you do if you get confused?
Theories of language processing differ with respect to the role of abstract syntax and semantics vs surface-level lexical co-occurrence (n-gram) frequency. The contribution of each of these factors has been demonstrated in previous studies of children and adults, but none have investigated them jointly. This study evaluated the role of all three factors in a sentence repetition task performed by children aged 4–7 and 11–12 years. It was found that semantic plausibility benefitted performance in both age groups; syntactic complexity disadvantaged the younger group but benefitted the older group; while contrary to previous findings, n-gram frequency did not facilitate, and in a post-hoc analysis even hampered, performance. This new evidence suggests that n-gram frequency effects might be restricted to the highly constrained and frequent n-grams used in previous investigations, and that semantics and morphosyntax play a more powerful role than n-gram frequency, supporting the role of abstract linguistic knowledge in children's sentence processing.
Objective: Delve into programming logic and flow, VBA syntax, and debugging tools. Become familiar with code structure, communication with spreadsheets, dynamic data storage, conditional statements and loops, calling worksheet functions, and creating user-defined ones.
The majority of the world’s population is believed to speak more than one language. Moreover, given current demographic trends, older adults make up a significant portion of our population. In this chapter, we review what is known about the intersection between cognitive aging and language processing in one’s first and second language. We review current research findings concerning speech and language processing in older bilinguals at the level of words, sentences, and discourse. We review the implications of being bilingual for nonlinguistic cognitive functions and cognitive reserve. We close by highlighting the need for models of auditory and visual language processing to accommodate age-related changes in sensation, perception and cognition, and to account for important individual differences in language history and use.