LINGUIST List 7.1569

Wed Nov 6 1996

Qs: Quantitative Sociolinguistics, Names

Editor for this issue: Susan Robinson <>

We'd like to remind readers that the responses to queries are usually best posted to the individual asking the question. That individual is then strongly encouraged to post a summary to the list. This policy was instituted to help control the huge volume of mail on LINGUIST; so we would appreciate your cooperating with it whenever it seems appropriate.


  1. David Silva, Quantitative Sociolinguistics
  2. Laurie Bauer, Query: Names

Message 1: Quantitative Sociolinguistics

Date: Mon, 04 Nov 1996 19:55:40 CST
From: David Silva <>
Subject: Quantitative Sociolinguistics

For all those out there who teach sociolinguistics courses I have the
following three questions:

(1) To what extent do you incorporate discussions of QUANTITATIVE
analysis into your syllabus(es)? (Do you have a separate course for
quantititative socioling?)

(2) What sorts of quantitative tools do you cover? t-tests?
correlation? regression? VARBRUL? ANOVA? Other(s)?

(3) For those who do talk about / teach VARBRUL:
 a) what do you assign for readings?
 b) which version(s) of the software do you use?
 c) do your students get "hands on" training?

As per the rules, please be sure to reply to me directly
Many thanks for your responses. I shall post a summary if there is 
sufficient interest.

- David Silva (
 Asst Prof of Ling
 U Texas at Arlington
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Message 2: Query: Names

Date: Tue, 05 Nov 1996 15:40:06 +1000
From: Laurie Bauer <>
Subject: Query: Names

On p. 29 of +Aspects+, Chomsky refers to 'the assumption that proper
names, in any language, must designate objects meeting a condition of
spatiotemporal contiguity'. It would seem that the same is true of
concrete nouns in general, although, as Chomsky says, it is not a
logical necessity. In a footnote, Chomsky points out that 'The United
States' is an object, given a name, which does not appear to meet such
a condition. The same is true of virtually any country made up of a
number of islands (though 'the United States' is particularly
interesting because of Canada's appearance between Washington State
and Alaska), 'The University of London' and a number of other cases.

But these lack spatial contiguity. What about temporal contiguity?
The only example I have been able to come up with is 'The Hundred
Years' War', waged in the fourteenth century plus a bit between the
Kings of England and France, and having a long peace in the middle.
Are there any other names which fail to meet a condition of temporal
contiguity? More particularly, are there any +words+ (as opposed to
idiomatic phrases) which have this property? Reply to me, and I'll
summarize for the list if there's interest. Thanks. Laurie
Department of Linguistics, Victoria University, PO Box 600, Wellington, New
Ph: +64 4 472 1000 x 8800 Fax: +64 4 495 5057
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