LINGUIST List 5.22

Wed 05 Jan 1994

Qs: Breath, Mass Nouns, Gender, Foreign Accent Syndrome

Editor for this issue: <>


  1. "charles, breath control
  2. , Mass nouns in English
  3. Kutz Arrieta-Stemen, default gender
  4. , Foreign Accent Syndrome??

Message 1: breath control

Date: Tue, 4 Jan 1994 10:00:00 +breath control
From: "charles <>
Subject: breath control

I am hunting for information on audible breathing and its
relation to speaking. I have two questions:

1. where are citations talking about the relation between duration
of air intake prior to speech and the duration of the ensuing
utterance? I have looked through the Ilse Lehiste and Phil Lieberman
material I have on hand, certain that one or both of them had discussed
it. No luck.

2. are there citations in linguistic literature covering 'breath
control', the instructions given to e.g. singers and broadcasters on how
to breathe inaudibly?

Thanks in advance for any help. If there is demand, I'll post a
summary to the list.

 # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # #
Charles Hoequist, Jr. | Internet:
BNR, Inc. | voice: 919-991-8642
PO Box 13478 | fax: 919-991-8008
Research Triangle Park NC 27709-3478
The number you have dialed is imaginary. Please rotate your
telephone ninety degrees and try again.
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Message 2: Mass nouns in English

Date: Tue, 4 Jan 94 19:11:06 ESTMass nouns in English
From: <>
Subject: Mass nouns in English

My wife, a Middle School teacher of French, was assigned a class in ESL this
year; a problem common to learners of all language backgrounds is the
identification of nouns that cannot cooccur with numerals or "a/an", like
FURNITURE, INFORMATION, AIR (the gas), RICE, etc., or which change their
lexical identity if plurlized, like PAPER (material) vs. PAPERS (newspapers,
documents); TOAST (bread) vs. TOASTS (drinks in honor of someone).
We would appreciate references in the literature to exhaustive lists of
such nouns, if they exist. Lists of numerator expressions, like "a piece
 /sheet if paper, a grain of rice, a head of cattle, etc., would also be
I will post a summary.
Please respond to
Thank you.
Ernest McCarus
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Message 3: default gender

Date: Wed, 5 Jan 94 10:25:19 ESTdefault gender
From: Kutz Arrieta-Stemen <>
Subject: default gender

Some years ago a study was performed by a company called Softex to determine
what the default gender was for nouns in German. The results pointed to the
fact that the majority of the nouns in their database (mostly technological)
were feminine.
Does anyone know of a similar type of study for French and/or Spanish?
Thank you,
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Message 4: Foreign Accent Syndrome??

Date: 5 Jan 94 18:25 EST
From: <>
Subject: Foreign Accent Syndrome??

The following item appeared in the Parade Magazine (Sunday supplement)
January 2, 1994. Does anybody have any idea what *really* happened
here, or what the literature cited is about?

>From the _Trenton Times_:

 A 46-year-old Massachusetts man walked away from a car accident
with an unexpected problem: He spoke with a French accent.

 "At first it bothered me very much, because I can't make myself
well understood," the man, who asked not to be identified, said in a
telephone interview. He said that he had not experience with a
foreign language and had never even traveled farther than New Jersey
from his home in Worcester, Mass.

 The case offers a clue into a rare neurological problem dubbed
Foreign Accent Syndrome that has been chronicled in the scientific
literature about two dozen times since 1907.
[end of item]

Paul Chapin, NSF
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