LINGUIST List 7.1421

Fri Oct 11 1996

Qs: Lg of instruction, Polarity, Character representation

Editor for this issue: Ljuba Veselinova <>

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  1. Peter White, Choosing a lg of instruction in a multilingual environment
  2., Qs: polarity
  3. Ljuba Veselinova, Character representation

Message 1: Choosing a lg of instruction in a multilingual environment

Date: Fri, 11 Oct 1996 09:44:06 +1000
From: Peter White <peterwlingua.cltr.uq.OZ.AU>
Subject: Choosing a lg of instruction in a multilingual environment

Here's a request from a colleague in South Africa. If you can offer
some assistance, please email directly to him on the address below.

Peter White

Dear Colleague/s

I am a project manager at the Centre for Courseware Design and
Development at the Technikon SA (South Africa) and am currently doing
a masters degree on"'stylistic considerations in writing, editing and
translating interactive courseware for distance education in a
multicultural, multilingual environment." Please visit our homepage
at for more info on the Centre.

In designing courseware for our students, we have a twofold dilemma:

1. Although our main language of instruction is English, the majority
of our students speak/read/write English as their second or even third
language. (We have eleven official languages is SA.) 

2. Typically, as a result of South Africa's (unfortunate) historical
policy of 'separate development', there is also a significant
difference in the basic educational level of students from
(previously) black communities (who generally speak/read/write English
as second or third language) and that of white students (who generally
speak/read/write English as first language).

My research aims at finding solutions to the dilemma of writing and
designing distance education courseware for students from such
 widely diverging backgrounds.

One of the main problems is to pitch the language at a level that will
be readily accessible to all students, without oversimplifying it in
the case of the first language speaker, and without compromising the
content level and educational standards in an attempt to make the
contents accessible to all students.

It would be greatly appreciated if you could point me to literature,
dissertations, articles, institutions, etc. dealing with this
problem. Personal comments will be most welcome, although I would not
like to take up to much of your time -- I appreciate that you have a
very busy schedule.

 I realise of course that I have greatly oversimplified the problem
here, and that one would have to look at different
solutions/techniques to solve different aspects of the problem -- the
idea, however, was merely give a broad indication of my research.

Thanking you in anticipation for your contributions


Jan Steenekamp
Project Manager: CCDD
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Message 2: Qs: polarity

Date: Fri, 11 Oct 1996 18:29:16 +0900
From: <>
Subject: Qs: polarity

Dear linguists,

I would like to ask native speakers of English to judge the
acceptability of the following sentences. The focus of these data is
the compatibility of Negative Polarity Items (NPIs) like any or ever
with various licensers like not, etc. Would you mind rating the
following sentences on a four-point scale, where an evaluation of *4*
signifies perfect acceptability

and a rating of *1* indicates unacceptability. Let 2 and 3 represent
intermediate points along this scale.

 perfectly 	not perfectly rather unacceptable
 acceptable natural bad
 4 3 2 1

Please limit your response to *4*, *3*, *2* or *1*, and avoid using decimal

(1) a. [ ] Chomsky wasn*t a bit happy about these facts.
 b. [ ] Chomsky didn*t talk about these facts yet.
 c. [ ] Chomsky didn*t talk about any of these facts.
(2) a. [ ] No one was a bit happy about these facts.
 b. [ ] No one has talked about these facts yet.
 c. [ ] No one talked about any of these facts.
(3) a. [ ] At most three linguists were a bit happy about these facts.
 b. [ ] At most three linguists have talked about these facts yet.
 c. [ ] At most three linguists have talked about any of these facts.

I hope that you will send an e-mail directly to my e-mail address below.
Thank you in advance. I will post a summary of the results.

Akiko Yoshimura
Osaka Gakuin University
2-36-1 Kishibe-Minami Suita
564 Osaka JAPAN

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Message 3: Character representation

Date: Thu, 10 Oct 1996 23:32:31 EDT
From: Ljuba Veselinova <>
Subject: Character representation
Dear LINGUIST subscribers,

I'm the person from the LINGUIST crew who is in charge of collecting
information about representing linguistic texts and multilingual
characters on the net. What we're interested in doing is finding out
how you, our subscribers, typically represent non-ASCII characters.

So, my question is: What ways do you currently use for representing
IPA and language specific characters in email and on Web sites? Do
you use GIFs? SGML entities? Ad hoc representations?

We're particularly interested in finding out how non-English speakers
represent non-ASCII characters when they send e-mail to others who
speak their own language. Do you need special software? Fonts?
Operating systems? Can you tell us what these are?

I would be very interested in corresponding with anyone who is working
on a similar project.

Any information on that subject will be greatly appreciated. A summary
will follow shortly after I receive responses.

Please respond to my personal account:

Thank you in advance for your time!

Best regards,
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