LINGUIST List 6.342

Mon 06 Mar 1995

Qs: Private lgs, Acoustic data, Turkish variation, Elvis

Editor for this issue: <>


  1. R J Stevenson, query: private languages
  2. Mario Cal Varela, Acoustic data in sociolinguistics
  3. "Dennis.Preston", Turkish variation

Message 1: query: private languages

Date: Fri, 3 Mar 1995 10:31:51 +query: private languages
From: R J Stevenson <>
Subject: query: private languages

I have had a request from someone not on the list for literature on children
who use private languages. The request is from a language support teacher
who is taking a course in bilingualism and special educational needs and who
is doing a case study on a bilingual child who seems to speak a private
language. I quote from her letter below. Any references to similar
examples, bilingual or otherwise, or any reports of similar examples
will be gratefully received. Please send replies to me and I will pass them
on to her. I will post a summary of the responses if there is sufficient

Thanks in advance,

Rosemary Stevenson

"For (my) assessment in April, I have to do a case study. I have chosen
a 5 year old Chinese boy who speaks a language which no-one, not even his
mother, understands. It sounds Chinese, but is incomprehensible. A
Chinese psychologist has said that there appears to be a pattern to his
utterances but she could only recognise a few words which might have been
Cantonese. His mother tongue is actually Hakka but he watches videos in
Cantonese. His parents and 8 year old brother speak Hakka, Cantonese and
English. The childminder, with whom he spends most of his time, speaks
Cantonese but uses `baby talk' to him.

He now knows some words in English eg. shut up, cool, get fucked(!!), O
my God!, Power Rangers, Popeye the Sailor Man, but appears to have an
articulation problem. Apparently this is also evident in his few
recognisable words in Cantonese.

I wonder if you have ever come across a child with similar problems or if
you know of any research which has been done on children with a private
language which no-one understands. I have found research on the language
of twins, but that hasn't proved very helpful."
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Message 2: Acoustic data in sociolinguistics

Date: Fri, 3 Mar 1995 11:01:16 +Acoustic data in sociolinguistics
From: Mario Cal Varela <>
Subject: Acoustic data in sociolinguistics

Content-Length: 1437

Dear linguist list subscribers:
I am currently doing research on the sociolinguistics of Gibraltarian
English. I am using acoustic data as input to my analysis (formant values
for a number of vowels, VOT measurements for voiceless plosives) and my
intention is obviously to find patterns across speakers. Now my
problem is:

 -What is the best way to `normalize` formant values so that comparison
of individuals with different physiological characteristics is possible?
 -What is the optimal form to plot formant values onto charts? I`ve
read about a so-called Mel scale somewhere but no indications were given
as to how to build one.

 Many, many thanks in advance for your help.
 Mario Cal Varela
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Message 3: Turkish variation

Date: Sun, 05 Mar 95 08:12 EST
From: "Dennis.Preston" <22709MGRMSU.EDU>
Subject: Turkish variation

Content-Length: 301

We still hope for any reference to studies of social stratification in Turkey,
but, failing that, can anyone provide the title (or even a clue) to any work
on Turkish regional (dialect) distribution? Hopeful in East Lansing.
Dennis Preston
( changing (alas) to:
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Date: Fri, 03 Mar 95 08:06:31 CSQUESTION: ELVIS PRESLEIUS?

Content-Length: 651

Yesterday's ABC evening news (Thursday, March 2) carried a brief report
of a new compact disc of Elvis Presley recordings in Latin. Songs in-
clude "Nunc hic aut numquam" ("It's Now or Never"), "Non adamare non
possum" ("Can't Help Falling in Love"), "Nun aeternitatis" ("I Surrender"),
"Cor ligneum" ("Wooden Heart"), and "Tenere me ama" ("Love Me Tender").
Can anyone provide information on how to go about getting a hold of this

Associate Professor Phone (316) 689-3180
Wichita State University Fax (316) 689-3293
Wichita, KS 67260-0011
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