LINGUIST List 3.470

Sat 06 Jun 1992

Qs: Lx and Lit, Software, Nat. Phonology, SF

Editor for this issue: <>


  1. Pamela A Downing, Linguistics and Literature
  2. Pamela A Downing, Software
  3. , 3.441 Natural Phonology?
  4. Zvi Gilbert, Science Fiction and Linguistics

Message 1: Linguistics and Literature

Date: Fri, 5 Jun 92 16:29:40 CDTLinguistics and Literature
From: Pamela A Downing <>
Subject: Linguistics and Literature

I am scheduled to teach a seminar on "Linguistic Perspectives on
Literature" for our fairly cutting edge English Department graduate
students next spring. Never having taught a pure stylistics course
before, I'm wondering what other folks out there have used as readings
for similar classes. I'd greatly appreciate your suggestions, and
I'll summarize for the list. Thanks.

Pamela Downing
Dept. of English and Comparative Literature
P.O. Box 413
Milwaukee, Wi. 53201

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Message 2: Software

Date: Fri, 5 Jun 92 16:38:10 CDTSoftware
From: Pamela A Downing <>
Subject: Software

Yes, another software question. I have a PC with Windows 3.1 and WP
for Windows, and an HP IIIP printer. What's the best way to get all
the IPA symbols and American variants (for English primarily)? I've
looked at the new Adobe Stone phonetic font, but I'm irritated about
having to switch between the IPA and Alternative fonts, or use the
overstrike feature, to get all the symbols I need to keep my Intro
students from flipping out because my symbols don't match those in
their books. Any other suggestions from satisfied users?

Also, does anyone know of software capable of producing Japanese kanji
with the configuration of hard and software listed above?

Heartfelt thanks!

Pamela Downing
Dept. of English and Comparative Literature
P.O. Box 413
Milwaukee, Wi. 53201

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Message 3: 3.441 Natural Phonology?

Date: Thu, 28 May 1992 3:40:27 -3.441 Natural Phonology?
From: <>
Subject: 3.441 Natural Phonology?


 I was delighted to read here that natural phonology still lives! I thought
the (CLS Parasession on the Interplay of Phonology, Morphology and Syntax)
effort by Donegan and Stampe to integrate phonology and syntax was
rich with possibilities. Did natural phonology regroup after 1980's attacks
by formalists (I have in mind, e.g. those attacks summarized in S.R. Anderson,
"Phonology in the Twentieth Century", p. 345 ff. I would be grateful to
learn of a recent summary of the status of that discussion (and that of
natural phonology.)

 In particular, the role of phonology in any putative "bootstrap" mechanism
for the early acquisition of language (such as that discussed by S. Pinker et.
al.) seems poorly understood - are there any psycholinguistics or
developmental psychologists that think natural phonology is interesting enough
to apply it to studies of the acquisition of language?

 Dan Dennett, in his book on consciousness, trades heavily on what used to be
called the emergent nature of language - the fact that a child's talking
or lalling to itself (and listening) is a highly non-trivial encounter.
Can this encounter constrain "universal natural processes" and thus contribute
to the acquisition of language?

 J.A. Given
 SUNY Stony Brook
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Message 4: Science Fiction and Linguistics

Date: Wed, 3 Jun 1992 00:19:04 Science Fiction and Linguistics
From: Zvi Gilbert <>
Subject: Science Fiction and Linguistics

On the Linguist List, Kean Kaufmann writes:

"Science fiction was also a significant influence, though I'd rather
call it 'speculative fiction' and reserve the modifier 'science' for
stuff with equations in the appendices. For instance: Samuel R.
Delany's incredible novel _Babel-17_, which takes the Sapir-Whorf
hypothesis and runs with it.

"Has anyone else thought of an undergrad course on "Linguistics through
Fiction"? Since so many linguists seem to have gotten a boost from
s.f. (whatever you want the initials to stand for), and since there are
so many works of s.f. dealing directly or indirectly with linguistics,
I'd imagine such a class would be ideal for recruitment purposes.

Kean Kaufmann (

I have done some reading and research with regards to science fiction
and linguistics... I gave an informal talk on it once. Besides the
connections that have been discussed on the list in terms of them both
being fields "between" in some sense the sciences and the humanities,
there is another place of overlap, as Kaufmann mentioned, where
speculative fiction (SF) meets linguistics.

There are some very interesting works of SF out
there that use linguistic themes, or have linguistic elements in their
world creation. Delany's _Babel-17_, as Kaufmann mentioned, is an
example of the former, while Frank Herbert's _Dune_ is an example of
the latter, with carefully worked out historical derivations of Arabic
religious language set thousands of years in the future. If anyone is
interested in seeing my (admittedly incomplete) list of such SF books,
please e-mail me.

Two books for anyone interested in the linguistics in SF:

Delany, Samuel R. The Jewel-Hinged Jaw: Notes on the Language of
Science Fiction.

--Contains some essays that talk about the way sentences work in SF as
distinct from other kinds of writing. The backbone structure of the
language of SF... an impressive early critical achievment. (Professor
Delany teaches at University of Massachusetts, Amherst, as well as
writing SF and fantasy.)

Meyers, Walter E. Aliens and Linguists: Language Study and Science
Fiction. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 1980

--A scholarly work analyzing the linguistics in SF... how plausable it
is, frequent errors that SF authors make when talking about linguistics,
and examples of good linguistics.

--Zvi Gilbert
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