LINGUIST List 5.874

Fri 05 Aug 1994

Qs: Russian articles, Course, Comparative method, Conversation

Editor for this issue: <>


  1. , Russian lx articles wanted
  2. Mr. Calvin Rome, Solicit Advice on Course Development
  3. , Q: How far back does the comparative method reach?
  4. Sean Boisen, repair in conversational analysis

Message 1: Russian lx articles wanted

Date: Thu, 4 Aug 94 15:08:00 BSTRussian lx articles wanted
From: <>
Subject: Russian lx articles wanted

Dear World,

Is there a (Russian-reading) reader of this list who has access to,
and could oblige me with a copy of certain articles from, the books
_Sovremennyj russkij jazyk: Aktual'nye voprosy leksiki i grammatiki_,
Moscow, 1975, and _Spornye voprosy sintaksisa_, Moscow State University,
1974? Unfortunately my reference doesn't name the editor of either.

--Ivan A Derzhanski
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Message 2: Solicit Advice on Course Development

Date: Thu, 4 Aug 94 10:07:23 EDTSolicit Advice on Course Development
From: Mr. Calvin Rome <>
Subject: Solicit Advice on Course Development

I am Calvin Rome, a Dept of the Army civilian, employed by the U.S. Army
John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School. I work in the
Special Operations Forces (SOF) Language Office. My office is the proponent
for foreign language within the Special Operations.

My reason for posting is that the SOF Language Office is at a crossroads
and would like some feedback from the foreign language academic community.

1. A SOF Language Project is winding down which is managed by the
Defense Language Institute. This project has lasted for about 3 years.
The main objective was to produce a Basic Military Language Course in
13 languages which mets the needs of the SOF. This course includes the
traditional course material, books and audio tapes, plus computer assisted
study homework.

2. We are in the process of validating the products at this time and
several problems remain.

 a. At the beginning of the project the German course was developed
first and used as a "template" for the other 12 languages. The first
major problem was that cultural and linguistic characteristics of
German was showing up in the other courses. We think the most serious
problems were taken care of but we feel that the German course still
had too much influence on the development of the other courses.

 b. The second problem is that traditional course development and
the computer assisted study development was executed almost in parallel,
using the template method for the computer programming also. Problems
which are contained in the traditional products also show up in the
software products. The programming package selected to do the development
was Toolbook v1.53. This was probably not a bad choice for most of the
development but many problems still exist with scripted languages (Korean,
Arabic, Thai, Persian).

 c. All the products are "beta" products for which we feel a premium
price was paid. For instance, instead of hiring professional computer
programmers, linguists were taught Toolbook programming. There currently
is no plan to make these beta products into final products; however, we
probably will.

3. Finally the point of this posting:

 a. We have additional development to do in Indonesian,
Hungarian, Pushtu, Urdu and possibly other such as Turkish and Modern
Standard Arabic.

 b. The DLI BMLC products' terminal learning objectives are supposed to
be InteragencyLanguage Roundtable (ILR) 1. Those languages are German,
French, Spanish, Portuguese, Tagalog, Korean, Thai, Vietnamese, Arabic-
Egyptian, Persian-Farsi, Russian, Polish, and Czech. We also need to
develop a course to talk ILR 1 linguists to ILR 2 in all languages.

 c. We are looking for course development experiences from the academic
community, suggestions, books and references on both the target languages
and foreign language course development, positive and negative experiences
with contract foreign language course developers, suggested methodologies,
positive and negative experiences in multimedia software development to
support foreign language instruction. In other words if you have something
to offer us that you think is significant to our future course development
efforts, we would like to hear from you.

Please send E-mail directly to me instead of flooding the listservers.
If there is sufficient response, I may try to summarize the feedback.

E-mail address for responses is:

Calvin Rome
GS-11, DAC
Training Specialist
SOF Language Office

Mailing Address:
U.S.Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School
Fort Bragg, NC 28307-5200

(910) 432-2069
DSN 239-2069

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Message 3: Q: How far back does the comparative method reach?

Date: Thu, 4 Aug 94 12:05:40 EDTQ: How far back does the comparative method reach?
From: <>
Subject: Q: How far back does the comparative method reach?

I am trying to find out WHO ever came up with the claims
that keep cropping up in the literature WITHOUT attribution
to the effect that the comparative method does not work
further than 7000-10000 years back. I have found such
a statement in Kroeber's 1960 Language article, but without
any argument. That's the oldest reference I have and I
wonder if it was just something he said in off-hand way
that has subsequently become a piece of dogma. The
only thing remotely relevant that I have found that is
substantive is a 1973 paper by Bender in Language Sciences
which argues for a time window for GLOTTOCHRONOLOGY, not
for the comparative method, and this on the basis of
an argument involving the percentage of vocabulary lost
per century or millenium, but w/o as far as I can see
taking into account the fact that not all of the vocabulary
tends to be lost at the same rate.

Anyway, I would be grateful for any references to substantive
work on this that I might have missed. It would also be
useful to collect a body of refences to works by prominent
linguists who make this assertion without any citation or

I will post a summary.

Alexis Manaster Ramer
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Message 4: repair in conversational analysis

Date: Fri, 5 Aug 94 14:51:56 -04repair in conversational analysis
From: Sean Boisen <sboisenBBN.COM>
Subject: repair in conversational analysis

A colleague is seeking pointers to conversational analysis literature
on the acceptability or offensiveness of various correction or repair
initiation techniques. In particular, how does the relative social
status of the speakers influence openness to correction? Have certain
correction strategies been shown to be more or less

Sean Boisen --
BBN Systems and Technologies, Cambridge MA
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