LINGUIST List 13.1531

Tue May 28 2002

Qs: Irregularity/Kinship Vocabulary, L2 Research

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  1. Lise Dobrin, irregularity in kinship vocabulary
  2. Rudolf Reinelt, L2 and L3 research

Message 1: irregularity in kinship vocabulary

Date: Mon, 27 May 2002 10:31:22 +0000
From: Lise Dobrin <>
Subject: irregularity in kinship vocabulary

I'm looking for any references that might help explain the high degree
of formal irregularity one tends to find in kinship vocabulary --
unpredictable plurals, marked morphosyntactic behavior, etc. (Some of
my colleagues share my intuition that this is the case; others do
not. Any comments based on your experience?) The high frequency of
this area of the vocabulary doesn't entirely help in the cases I'm
most concerned with, since the irregularity in some ways varies
inversely with the use of kin terms in address (which ups their
frequency dramatically). Renewal of vocabulary in association with
linguistic taboos is also relevant but probably insufficiently general
to account for the phenomenon which is more widespread. Cultural
factors are surely the key but the question is how to convert
something like "cultural salience" into lexical irregularity in an
explanatory way. 

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Message 2: L2 and L3 research

Date: Tue, 23 Apr 2002 01:19:05 +0900
From: Rudolf Reinelt <>
Subject: L2 and L3 research

Dear colleagues,

Presently we are researching the following problem, mainly from a
second foreign language learning point of view (but possibly with
ramifications for second language learning too): On the one hand,
every language learning is different according to a host of factors
science has not been able to grasp fully but is constantly trying to
systematize. On the other hand, even the circumstances and factors of
learning a third language, for example L3 German, L3 French, L3
Chinese, etc. are comparable. This holds at least for the most
important actants, the students who have to make a choice. Thus
despite the diversity of students, the languages themselves, the
varying teaching methods, materials and circumstances, valid (and
financially influential) comparisons are made regularly, especially at
the beginning of a term or shortly afterwards, e.g. at Japanese
universities after two weeks, when signing in ends. Thus not comparing
these learning processes would come to closing the eyes before the
difficulties of reality. 

Here is my question Do you know of any studies, where third or other
foreign language learning of different languages e.g. on the same
institutional� level has been compared, e.g. as regards ease,
progress, etc.

Any hints would be welcome. I post a summary of the results

Rudolf Reinelt, Universitaet Ehime, Lit.- jur. Fakultaet, Abteilung
fuer Humanwissenschaften Ehime University, Fac. of Law & Letters,
Dept. of Humanities Bunkyo-cho 3, Matsuyama 790-8577 JAPAN

Tel& Fax (W) -81-89-927-9359 
JALT OLE affiliate SIG Coordinator, CAJ Chuugoku/Shikoku Chapter Coordinator 

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