LINGUIST List 7.1795

Thu Dec 19 1996

Qs: Pidgin/creole, Schwa, Malay, ATN parser

Editor for this issue: T. Daniel Seely <>

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. Ad Neeleman, African refugees speaking English-lexifier pidgins/creoles
  2. Gabriele Azzaro, Two variants of schwa
  3. IDRISSI ALI, Malay
  4. Gayatri (Dr.SR), request for ATN parser in C

Message 1: African refugees speaking English-lexifier pidgins/creoles

Date: Tue, 17 Dec 1996 13:39:54 -0600 (CST)
From: Ad Neeleman <>
Subject: African refugees speaking English-lexifier pidgins/creoles

I am making the following request for information on behalf of
a fellow linguist who works as a refugee counsellor and who
does not have access to e-mail. Please send all replies
directly to me, and I will make sure that they are passed on.

Ad Neeleman
Utrecht University/OTS

Re: West-African English-lexifier pidgins and creoles

Many Liberian, Sierra-Leonese and Nigerian refugees come to the
Netherlands to seek asylum. To verify their origin, the Dutch
immigration authorities question these people thoroughly in
English, while many West-Africans in fact speak a pidgin or
creole. Miscommunications occur and, as a result, asylum
requests are unrightfully rejected. Since the future of many
people is at stake, I want to provide the legal bar with an
essay in which the following claims are defended:

1. Both lexical and grammatical differences between English and
West-African English-lexifier pidgins/creoles can cause
misunderstandings that are not necessarily noticed by the
speakers themselves. For instance, Nigerian Pidgin English
`yellow' means `white'.

2. When the questioning is in a pidgin/creole, it should be in
the right one. In West-Africa, many varieties exist and mutual
intelligibility is limited.

3. When a pidgin/creole speaker maintains that there is no
language problem, this is sociolinguistically explicable. In
West-Africa, the distinction between English and pidgin/creole
is not always known, and a good command of English is a matter
of prestige.

I am looking for material (facts, anecdotes, publications) that
could support these claims, and that could help make them
comprehensible to non-linguists. Any suggestion will be
welcome, but what I need most is information on intelligibility
since the literature is particularly unclear in this respect.
Needless to say, full credits will be given to anyone whose
information is used.

Ren! Schrader
refugee counsellor
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Message 2: Two variants of schwa

Date: Wed, 18 Dec 1996 22:35:56 +0100
From: Gabriele Azzaro <>
Subject: Two variants of schwa

Dear linguists,

a student of mine is writing a dissertation on the vowel systems of British
and American English. Her major concern at the moment is finding out the
distribution of the two "variants" of the schwa phoneme in specific
contexts: the "variants" in question are standardly assumed to be: (i)
normal schwa (here transcribed as /6/); (ii) its slightly higher
realization, transcribed as an /i/ with a dash over it (here transcribed as
/i-/). Could anyone kindly help us with the two following questions?
(i) do you agree on the distribution of the weak /i-/ phoneme in the first
list below? (ii) do you agree on the distribution of schwa /6/ in the second
list below? (Symbols are from the CHILDES UNIBET chart (MacWhinney 1991:
63-4), stress & details omitted).

Thanks for any help, will post a sum as soon as we get some answers back.

abdominal [&bdQmi-n6l]
abstinence [&sti-n6ns]
America [6meri-k6]
badminton [b&dmi-nt6n]
cylinder [sIli-nder]
counterirritant [kaunt6rIri-t6nt]
determinant [dIt3:mi-n6nt]
economical [ek6nQmi-k6l]
electrical [Ilektri-k6l]
emigrant [emi-gr6nt]
eminence [emi-nens]
geophisical [dZi:QfIzi-c6l]
immigrant [Imi-gr6nt]
imminent [Imi-n6nt]
intoxicant [intQksi-k6nt]
incriminate [InkrImi-neIt]
inquisitive [IquIzi-tIv]
nightingale [naIti-ngeIl]
palmistry [pa:mi-stri]
participal [pa:tIsi-pQl]
philippine [fIli-pin]
Anglicism [&ngl6si-z6m]
egotism [i:g6ti-z6m]
consumerism [kQnsu:m6ri-z6m]
nationalism [n&S6n6li-z6m]

babyhood [beIbi-h6d]
boyhood [boIh6d]
childhood [tSaIldh6d]
livelihood [laIvli-h6d]
maidenhood [meId6nh6d]
manhood [m&nh6d]
parenthood [per6nth6d]

- Gabriele Azzaro
- Dipartimento di Psicologia dello Sviluppo e della Socializzazione
- Universita' di Padova
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Message 3: Malay

Date: Wed, 18 Dec 1996 17:47:51 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Malay

Looking for help with Malay phonology:
I would like to communicate with someone who can help me with Malay. I am
looking at the adaptation of Malay loanwords into English. I have access
to reliable published lists of these words but, for instance, I am not
sure how they are pronounced in the original Malay (and some related
All help will be greatly appreciated. Please contact me directly, as am
not a LINGUIST LIST subscriber, at:
Jean-Francois Prunet, Universite du Quebec a Montreal
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Message 4: request for ATN parser in C

Date: Thu, 19 Dec 1996 10:04:35 +0530 (IST)
From: Gayatri (Dr.SR) <>
Subject: request for ATN parser in C

I am a research scholar working on natural language interfaces.
I want the source code of ATN parser for English, written in C language.
The parser should be able to deal with interrogative sentences apart from
declarative sentences. can anybody help me get the source code ?

- gayatri

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