LINGUIST List 3.443

Wed 27 May 1992

Disc: Tone, RelativMarkers, Human Subjects

Editor for this issue: <>


  1. Bill Poser, reference to pre-autosegmental work on tone
  2. Sue Blackwell, Re: 3.433 Chomsky Citations
  3. , Re: 3.426 Queries: OULIPO; Relative Markers; Reflexives
  4. "Nancy Frishberg", 3.421 Linguists, Human Subjects

Message 1: reference to pre-autosegmental work on tone

Date: Sat, 23 May 92 15:09:00 -0reference to pre-autosegmental work on tone
From: Bill Poser <>
Subject: reference to pre-autosegmental work on tone

While I think it is true that some earlier work on tone, especially
by Pike and by various Africanists, was not adequately credited
by early workers on autosegmental phonology, it is not quite true
that people at MIT were unaware of this work and did not credit it.
Will Leben's 1973 thesis, which provided the impetus to Goldsmith,
contains very explicit reference to this work. Inspection of
p.10, for example, reveals references to Edmondson & Bendor-Samuel
(1966), Rowlands (1959), Welmers (1962) and Pike (1948).

Nor was this tradition lost sight of. I reproduce here footnote
3 (p.156) of Poser (1982), published when I was an MIT graduate student:

 Although the theory was formalized by Goldsmith (1976)
 many of the basic observations had been known to Africanists
 for some time. See for example Welmers (1959), who says:
 "If sequences of two or three tonemes can be crowded into
 sumultaneity with a single vowel, it is equally true that,
 in some languages, the domain of a toneme may be more than
 one `syllable'." (p.6)


Edmondson, T. & J.T. Bendor-Samuel (1966)
"Tone Patterns of Etung,"
Journal of African Languages 5.1-6.

Leben, William (1973)
_Suprasegmental Phonology_.
Ph.D. dissertation, MIT.

Pike, K. L. (1948)
_Tone Languages_.
Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

Poser, William J. (1982)
"Phonological Representation and Action-at-a-Distance",
in Harry van der Hulst and Norval Smith (eds.)
_The Structure of Phonological Representations_
(Part II)_ (Dordrecht: Foris) pp. 121-158.

Rowlands, E.C. (1959)
_A Grammar of Gambian Mandinka_.
London: SOAS.

Welmers, William (1959)
"Tonemics, Morphotonemics, and Tonal Morphemes,"
General Linguistics 4.1-9.

Welmers, William (1962)
"The Phonology of Kpelle,"
Journal of African Languages 1.69-93.
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Message 2: Re: 3.433 Chomsky Citations

Date: Mon, 25 May 92 11:35:27 BSRe: 3.433 Chomsky Citations
From: Sue Blackwell <>
Subject: Re: 3.433 Chomsky Citations

If Chomsky is really so prolific, how come he's not contributing to
this discussion? :-)
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Message 3: Re: 3.426 Queries: OULIPO; Relative Markers; Reflexives

Date: Sat, 23 May 1992 21:23 ESTRe: 3.426 Queries: OULIPO; Relative Markers; Reflexives
From: <CARTERACFcluster.NYU.EDU>
Subject: Re: 3.426 Queries: OULIPO; Relative Markers; Reflexives

Re relative markers over time: Cathy Ball could start with The Oxford Book of
English Talk, ed. James Sutherland, Oxford U.P. 1953, which gives extracts
from English dialogues starting in 1417 and ending in 1949. As far as possible
 they are genuine (from transcripts of trials, diaries etc.) with occasional
literary sources used. The texts themselves may not supply all the material
required but each one is properly attributed and should enable more copious
texts to be traced.
Mike Carter
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Message 4: 3.421 Linguists, Human Subjects

Date: Wed, 20 May 92 11:44:21 ED3.421 Linguists, Human Subjects
From: "Nancy Frishberg" <>
Subject: 3.421 Linguists, Human Subjects

Thanks, Mark Mandel...your description of the UC Berkeley ASL seminar
reminded me of another similar occasion. I videotaped two deaf men in
conversation in front of my ASL Structure class at LaGuardia Community
College (New York) in the early '80s. They hadn't seen each other in
6-8 years and didn't realize that they both were living in NY City.

One man is a practicing attorney (with another grad degree besides the
law degree), deaf from infancy, but best classified as a native speaker
of English. His sign language acquisition started about age 21, while in
grad school.

The other is a professional dancer, also deaf from birth or infancy, who
reports that his high school diploma was granted just to get him out of
school, since he was the right age and still illiterate. (The school
has since been closed for educational malpractice or whatever the state
ended up calling it.) He was nearly alingual when the three of us met
in 1976 - communicative but using highly idiosyncratic gestural
behavior. He now uses a mix of ASL signs and idiosyncratic gestures in
a wonderfully inventive way, after having been immersed as an adult into
an enriched ASL-signing environment. He's still basically illiterate.
His is an amazing story for another occasion.

I had, of course, described the videotaping when inviting them to the
class. I presented them each with a written consent form, somewhere
between the formality of the two Mark described (3.421) (legalistic &
conversational). I had the lawyer interpret the informed consent form
for the dancer while the camera was running. I don't know whether this
procedure conformed to the college's policy (was there one?) or
accepted practice.

Nancy Frishberg (
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