LINGUIST List 6.566

Sat 15 Apr 1995

Qs: Computing kinship terms, CAI lg learning,'d', Coronal vowels

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  1. Jose R. Alvarez (LUZ, Computing kinship terms
  2. , Advice
  3. , Whatever happened to 'd?
  4. Joseph P Stemberger, Query: coronal vowels

Message 1: Computing kinship terms

Date: Thu, 13 Apr 1995 00:38:40 Computing kinship terms
From: Jose R. Alvarez (LUZ <>
Subject: Computing kinship terms

I managed to convince two students of computer science at the Universidad
del Zulia (Maracaibo, Venezuela) to develop, for their licenciatura theses,
an expert system which will answer queries in Guajiro (an Indian language
of the Arawakan family), and also in Spanish, about kinship relationships
in a given database of related individuals, using different kinship systems
for the same individuals, outputting the traditional genealogical trees as
required (changing EGO at will), with depth for cases of poligamous unions,
etc. Although our work is going well, access to related experiences in this
field is not easy here. Can anyone out there provide us with bibliographic
references, addresses, commercial o noncommercial software in this area, or
any other type of information that can be relevant to our work? Please,
send your replies to my address. I will post a summary to the list if there
is a substantial number of replies. Thank you in advance.

Jose Alvarez "Pipo" (
Departamento de Ciencias Humanas
Facultad Experimental de Ciencias
Universidad del Zulia
Maracaibo, Venezuela
Tel: +58 (061) 972548
Fax: +58 (061) 515390, 524310, 78246
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Message 2: Advice

Date: Thu, 13 Apr 1995 15:03:23 Advice
From: <>
Subject: Advice

Greetings to all. I'm a mature student [polite for old and returned to
university to improve on an obsolete degree]. I have an assignment to
assess the advantages and disadvantages of networked and standalone
computers when used in the teaching of foreign languages. If anyone has
any suggestions, I would appreciate them very much.
Keith McCormick []
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Message 3: Whatever happened to 'd?

Date: Mon, 10 Apr 1995 14:04:41 Whatever happened to 'd?
From: <>
Subject: Whatever happened to 'd?

A number of subscribers have continued to express interest in the above
topic, subsequent to my recent posting of a summary of the initial
replies. If anyone has any further comments to make on the subject,
please would they direct them to me; I would be grateful to receive them
and I would post a supplementary summary of the comments at a later

Thanks for your interest,

Debbie Ziegeler
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Message 4: Query: coronal vowels

Date: Thu, 13 Apr 1995 16:51:24 Query: coronal vowels
From: Joseph P Stemberger <>
Subject: Query: coronal vowels

Content-Length: 1470

I have a question of a phonology/phonetics nature.

It has become standard to treat front vowels as [+coronal] (or as
[Coronal], if you'd rather use a privative feature). This is based on
phonological patterns that we find front vowels (especially [i]), taking
part in. The original phonetic justification was that [i] (and all
palatal consonants) are accidental coronals: when the front part of the
tongue body is raised, the tongue tip/blade gets raised as well, pulled
along mechanically.

However, the mid and low front vowels [e] and [ae] are also treated as
[+coronal]. I have a lot of difficulty with the notion that the tip of
the tongue is raised during the production of [ae]. (And insofar as it IS
raised, it seems to me when introspecting that the tip/blade is raised as
much in [u], which we wouldn't want to treat as [+coronal].)

My question: Is there in fact good PHONETIC evidence for treating even
low front vowels as [+coronal]? (Or is the phonological treatment of [ae]
as [+coronal] possible only if we stretch the notion that phonological
features should have phonetic content?)

It's becoming a very crucial issue, since more & more phonologists are
abandoning the feature [back]. The only thing that tells us that [ae] is
a front vowel is that it is coronal (if [-back] can no longer be used).

References to published papers (or to people working on the issue) would
be appreciated.

---Joe Stemberger
 University of Minnesota
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