LINGUIST List 6.1125

Fri Aug 18 1995

Qs: Address, Text Identification, Audio, German, Latin

Editor for this issue: T. Daniel Seely <>


  1. John B. Lowe, Email address for W. Dressler
  2. George Fowler, Query: Letter frequencies for text identification
  3. Monique Fargues 656-2859, question on audio samples
  4. Alexis Manaster Ramer, Q: German linguistic terms
  5. "Larry Trask", Query: Latin and Romance

Message 1: Email address for W. Dressler

Date: Fri, 18 Aug 1995 11:07:00 Email address for W. Dressler
From: John B. Lowe <>
Subject: Email address for W. Dressler

Colleagues -

We are trying to contact Wolfgang Dressler of Vienna via email. Does
anyone know his address (we have not been able to find it on the internet
so far). Thanks!

JB Lowe

- -----------------------------------------------------------------------
| John B. Lowe, Ph.D. | Sino-Tibetan Etymological Dictionary and |
| Department of Linguistics | Thesaurus Project (STEDT) : 510-643-9910 |
| University of California | Comparative Bantu Online Dictionary |
| 2337 Dwinelle Hall | Project (CBOLD) : 510-643-5623 |
| Berkeley, CA 94720-2650 | FAX : 510-643-9911 |
| "tat tvam asi" | Home: : 510-848-0651 |
- -----------------------------------------------------------------------
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Message 2: Query: Letter frequencies for text identification

Date: Fri, 18 Aug 1995 16:27:13 Query: Letter frequencies for text identification
From: George Fowler <>
Subject: Query: Letter frequencies for text identification

 I am posting this inquiry for Sergei Atamas
(, a research associate at the University of
Maryland at Baltimore. His field is molecular biology, and his work
involves comparing DNA strings using various algorithms. I don't understand
the details well enough to pass them along. At any rate, one such algorithm
relies upon frequencies with which the letters G, A, T, and C occur in the
DNA strings. He would like to explore the analogous use of letter (sound)
frequencies in natural language texts. Hence this posting.
 Specifically, Sergei wonders if any Linguist subscribers could help
steer him to recent literature concerning text identification based on
letter frequencies. Any suggestions could be sent directly to him at the
above address, or to me and I'll pass them along. He would also be
interested in collaborative work if this research connects with the work of
any linguists or text processing specialists. He observes that very often
work in one field would actually help work in a far-removed field, if only
people knew what was going on over there.
 George Fowler

George Fowler GFowlerIndiana.Edu [Email]
Dept. of Slavic Languages **1-317-726-1482 [home] ** [Try here first!]
Ballantine 502 1-812-855-2624/-2608/-9906 [dept.]
Indiana University 1-812-855-2829 [office]
Bloomington, IN 47405 USA 1-812-855-2107 [dept. fax]
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Message 3: question on audio samples

Date: Fri, 18 Aug 1995 15:16:30 question on audio samples
From: Monique Fargues 656-2859 <>
Subject: question on audio samples

I am looking for audio samples of english speech
spoken by non-native english speakers for some
work in speech processing.
 I saw the posting by L. Hiliman dated 8/3/95
dealing with English dialects. Would anyone
 have any further suggestion regarding where I
could find samples of english spoken with a
foreign accent?
I will post responses to this query on the
linguist list.

Monique Fargues
ECE Depart.
Naval Postgraduate School
Monterey, CA 93943, USA
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Message 4: Q: German linguistic terms

Date: Thu, 17 Aug 1995 17:50:32 Q: German linguistic terms
From: Alexis Manaster Ramer <amrCS.Wayne.EDU>
Subject: Q: German linguistic terms

Does anybody know the German for hissing fricatives alias sibilants
vs. hushing fricatives alias shibilants? And also the term if any
for the hissing-hushing fricatives (like the Polish s-acute, z-acute)
which Russians call 'svistjashche-shipjashchie' and Georgian

Alexis Manaster Ramer
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Message 5: Query: Latin and Romance

Date: Fri, 18 Aug 1995 16:07:50 Query: Latin and Romance
From: "Larry Trask" <>
Subject: Query: Latin and Romance

The following hypothetical question has arisen in connection with what
is possibly a real case of the same sort, but in another domain.

Suppose that Latin had only occasionally been written down, and
suppose that all Latin texts, and indeed all knowledge of Latin, had
been totally lost long ago, apart perhaps from the odd place name or
personal name, now of unknown significance. Suppose further that only
a single Romance language had survived down to the present day -- say,
Galician, or Gascon, or Sicilian -- and that this variety had been
written down for no more than four centuries and had never acquired
any learned words from Latin. In fact, to be on the safe side, let's
assume that the entire Indo-European family had died out apart from
this one Romance language.

Now, suppose that a few fairly substantial Latin texts happened to be
dug up somewhere, none of them longer than about fifty words, with
word-boundaries not systematically marked and the subject matter
unknown; these might have been written down over several centuries,
but in no case later than the first century BC. Knowing the alphabet,
we would be able to read them at the phonological level, at least
roughly, but at first the language would be utterly mysterious.

So here's my question. Would it be possible for specialists in that
last surviving Romance language to establish that the recovered texts
in fact represented an archaic form of that language, and would they
be able to use their knowledge to interpret (at least in part) the
texts themselves?

If anything turns up, I'll summarize the responses and explain what
the point of this admittedly curious inquiry is.

I'm sending this query to both the Linguist List and the IE List; my
apologies to those who receive it twice.

Larry Trask
University of Sussex
Brighton BN1 9QH
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