LINGUIST List 13.187

Thu Jan 24 2002

Qs: Language Analysis, Greenberg Bibliography

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  1. Van Haesevelde Aldona, Language Analysis within the Scope of an Asylum Procedure
  2. Bill Croft, Greenberg bibliography question

Message 1: Language Analysis within the Scope of an Asylum Procedure

Date: Thu, 24 Jan 2002 11:19:33 +0100
From: Van Haesevelde Aldona <>
Subject: Language Analysis within the Scope of an Asylum Procedure

Dear colleagues,

The origin of an asylum seeker is of fundamental importance during the
asylum procedure. Although it is a key element, it is not often that
transparent. For example, a number of asylum seekers do not possess
the required documents to support their citizinship. One way, among
others, to clarify the social environment of the asylum seeker is
performing an analysis of his/her speech. This does not implicate
however that the final goal of a language analysis is to determine
one's citizinship. The actual result of a analysis is in fact the
identification of a certain language variety, which can be linked to
(a) certian geographical region(s). This location often transcends
state boundaries.

Language is a complex phenomenon and a fundamental aspect of human
behaviour. As we change during our life, so does our language. To put
it differently, language use is a inherent dynamic process. Due to
this complexity, performing a language analysis within the scope of a
n asylum application demands a methodology that allows for the
linguistic diversity.

In general, I can describe our method as follows; First of all, we
work with native speakers, who all enjoyed a linguistic training. A
conversation between an asylum seeker and an interpreter will be
recorded and eventualy used as data for the actual analysis. The NS
will listen as many times he/she finds necessary to that tape and note
down all the elements she/he hears that can be used to prove the
identity of the recorded language.

The NS originates from the same region as the asylum seeker and speeks
the same language or language variety. At the final stage, everything
is written down in an official report, where there are four
categories; phonology, lexicon, syntaxis and particularisms (proverbs,
interjections, non-verbal elements, etc.). The final conclusion is
wether person X actually speaks language Y, and therefore lived in
region Z.

I would like to consider this mail as an invitation for every
suggestion remark, etc. concerning this methodology. I am all ears.

My best regards

Aldona Van Haesevelde

Dienst Taalanalyse
tel: +32 2 205 56 25
fax: +32 2 205 51 24

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Message 2: Greenberg bibliography question

Date: Thu, 24 Jan 2002 16:30:15 +0000
From: Bill Croft <>
Subject: Greenberg bibliography question

 I am compiling a bibliography of Joseph H. Greenberg's publications
(1989 - present) to supplement the bibliography found in Greenberg's
essay collection "On Language" (published 1990). I believe I have found
everything, but I am missing the title of one item, which I was unable to
obtain by interlibrary loan:

1990. {Address to NACAL, Emory University, March 1990.} California
Linguistic Newsletter 20:3.8-10.

I would appreciate it if someone could email me (
the actual title of this item as soon as possible. And I would very much
appreciate it if someone could send me a photocopy of the article.

Thanks very much,

Bill Croft
Department of Linguistics
University of Manchester
Manchester M13 9PL
United Kingdom
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