LINGUIST List 4.425

Wed 02 Jun 1993

Qs: Brain activity, Measure phrases, Baby talk, Software

Editor for this issue: <>


  1. Stuart Robert Hall, Brain activity and language.
  2. David Adger, Measure Phrases and agreement
  3. N.Kodama, Query: Babysitters' Lexicon
  4. Zhang, software for teaching Linguistics

Message 1: Brain activity and language.

Date: Tue, 1 Jun 93 20:33:06 CDTBrain activity and language.
From: Stuart Robert Hall <>
Subject: Brain activity and language.

 I am looking for information on braiin activity and language. I am
by no means an expert on the subject, but I have read papers on a couple of
experiments run years ago, and I would like to know if there is any more
recent scholarship on the subject.
 The articles I haev read dealt with CT-scan data collected from
speakers of Japanese and English. It appears that years ago, someone had the
idea to take scans of the brain during speech acts, to get an idea of which
regions of the brain were active during nouns, verbs, etc. In what appears
to me to be very poorly-conceived research, scans from Japanese-born Japanese
speakers of Japanese were compared with American-born Caucasian speakers of
American English. Not surprisingly, or surprisingly, the scans were quite
different. The researchers concluded that the Japanese brain was somehow
different than the European brain. I am sorry that I am unable to cite
sources; perhaps someone out there remembers this study.
 Anyway, later, a team of somewhat more inspired researchers studied
scans from Japanese-born Japanese monolingual speakers of Japanese, American-
born Caucasian monolingual speakers of American English, and, as a control,
American-born Japanese monolingual speakers of American English. The A.-b.
J. speakers of American English had brain patterns very similar to the
Caucasians and quite distinct from the Japanese speakers. These data were
used to support the thesis that it is language which shapes the outlay of
the brain.
 These studies seem to me very inconclusive at best. I agree whole-
heartedly that language has a great deal to do with the mind and thinking,
but what about culture, upbringing, etc.? I may be way off track in my
understanding of the research that has been done, and may be misquoting the
conclusions of the researchers. I would greatly appreciate any information
I could get on such scholarship, its data and results.
 Thank you.
 Stuart R. Hall
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Message 2: Measure Phrases and agreement

Date: Wed, 2 Jun 93 12:03:03 BSTMeasure Phrases and agreement
From: David Adger <>
Subject: Measure Phrases and agreement

I'm looking for languages which display overt object agreement and
which also have verbs that take measure complements (examples like
English "last", "weigh", "cost" etc). The complements of these verbs
share a number of properties such as accepting only weak determiners:

(1) Anson weighs *most/*every/many/several kilos

and having degraded extraction from weak islands such as factives etc
(a la Rizzi, Cinque etc):

(2)* How many kilos did you regret that Anson weighed?

Another correlation seems to be that they do not show agreement in
contexts that demand it. Thus extracted measure phrases from past
participles in French cannot have agreement, which is usually optional
for canonical NP complements.

I'd like to know if anyone who speaks or knows a language with object
agreement can support or falsify this last generalisation.

If you reply directly to me I'll post a summary to the list if there's
sufficient interest.

Many thanks,

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Message 3: Query: Babysitters' Lexicon

Date: Wed, 2 Jun 93 17:16:24 JSTQuery: Babysitters' Lexicon
From: N.Kodama <>
Subject: Query: Babysitters' Lexicon

I am sending this request on behalf of a student of mine, who is working on
Japanese baby-talk from a lexical point of view. Could anyone recommend
general or specific references on babytalk, preferrably with more stress
on its lexicon? I would also appreciate any examples from other languages.

Instead of defining a babytalk, I outline the Japanese version.
 1) primarily used TO babies by native speakers of Japanese.
 2) with some dialectal, maybe regional, variations.
 3) a large portion of its lexicon (BabyTalk Lexis) exclusive.
 4) Japanese BabyTalk Lexis typically refer to body parts, or animals,
 or actions. A majority are apparent derivations from Grown-up forms.
 BT verbs (or action words) have no inflection contrary to G forms.
For example:

 BTL G.Japanese
 otete 'a hand' te
 omeme 'an eye' me
 aNyo 'a foot, to walk' asi
 waNwaN 'a dog' inu cf. waNwaN 'bowwow' (ADV)
 zizi 'fish'(dial.) sakana
 buQbu 'a car'(dial.?) kuruma
 oQki 'to sit up' oki-
 oNri 'to get down' ori-
 nenne 'to lie down,sleep' ne-
 cyuQcyu 'to suck' suw-
 aaN 'to open mouth' ?
 /Q/ realizes as a glottal stop or lengthens the followiong plosive.

Thanks in advance.

 KODAMA Nozomi
 Dept. of Linguistics, University of Kumamoto
 2-40-1 Kurokami, Kumamoto-shi 860, JAPAN
 tel. +81-96-344-2111 ext. 2433
 fax. +81-96-345-9592
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Message 4: software for teaching Linguistics

Date: Wed, 2 Jun 93 10:50:16 BSTsoftware for teaching Linguistics
From: Zhang <>
Subject: software for teaching Linguistics

Hi there,

I am looking for some softwares for the purpose of computer-aided
Linguistics-related teaching. Could anyone give some ideas about it? I
would be most grateful if you could also let me know the advantages and
disadvantages of the softwares.

Qiao Zhang
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