LINGUIST List 7.277

Wed Feb 21 1996

Qs: Nivkh, Yiddish, Using newsgroups

Editor for this issue: Ljuba Veselinova <lveselinemunix.emich.edu>


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.

Directory

  1. Alexis Manaster Ramer, Q: Nivkh
  2. Alexis Manaster Ramer, Q: Yiddish
  3. Mark Davies, Using newsgroups for L2 grammaticality judgments

Message 1: Q: Nivkh

Date: Wed, 21 Feb 1996 09:40:48 EST
From: Alexis Manaster Ramer <amrCS.Wayne.EDU>
Subject: Q: Nivkh
Would anybody know of a recent bibliography of Nivkh linguistics?
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Message 2: Q: Yiddish

Date: Wed, 21 Feb 1996 09:41:58 EST
From: Alexis Manaster Ramer <amrCS.Wayne.EDU>
Subject: Q: Yiddish
Would anybody know of a study of the distribution of the 2pl. suffix
-c or of the 3pl. possessive pronoun zayer in Yiddish dialects?
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Message 3: Using newsgroups for L2 grammaticality judgments

Date: Tue, 20 Feb 1996 15:34:27 CST
From: Mark Davies <mdaviesrs6000.cmp.ilstu.edu>
Subject: Using newsgroups for L2 grammaticality judgments

For those that might find it difficult to gain access to more than a
handful of native speakers of a language that they are researching, a
possible source of native speaker input might come from posting
"grammaticality surveys" to the USENET newsgroups geared towards the
particular language. I'm wondering how widespread such a practice is,
and what are some of the methodological issues involved.

The reason that I ask is that I just completed a survey involving more
than 140 Spanish speakers from 18 different newsgroups (soc.culture.*,
eg. soc.culture.bolivia, soc.culture.spain) who responded to a query
that I had posted concerning the <parecer> "seem" construction in
Spanish (parecia que lo habiamos visto, nos parecia haberlo visto,
??nosotros, parecia que lo habiamos visto, *pareciamos haberlo visto,
etc). Obviously, due to the nature of newsgroups, no speakers were
"forced" to respond to the survey; they could just pass on to the next
message if they so desired. In the survey, the speakers were asked to
rate 10 separate sentences from 1 (bad) to 5 (good), and to email me
their responses (rather than posting them to the newsgroup). In a
follow-up survey to all of the 140 speakers that emailed me a
response, I asked for the same type of judgments for 14 additional
sentences. In this email message I tried to assure the speakers that
they didn't need to feel obligated to respond, and that if I didn't
receive word back, I wouldn't "bother" them with further surveys.

I'm pleased that I got more than 140 responses from speakers in more
than 16 different Spanish-speaking countries, all of which has
provided me with a fair amount of data obtained in a relatively
painless way. Yet, being new to this type of data collection, I'm
wondering about general protocol / methodological issues that I might
not be aware of. In addition, I'm left wondering how reliable this
data is, compared to other types of linguistic surveys that one might
carry out.

Any general comments on the benefits / problems in working with this
type of data? Any experiences of others in using newsgroups to obtain
grammaticality judgments? If there's interest, I'd be happy to post a
summary of the responses.

Thanks,

Mark Davies, Assistant Professor, Spanish Linguistics
Dept. of Foreign Languages, Illinois State University
Normal, IL 61790-4300

Voice:309/438-7975 email:mdaviesilstu.edu
Fax:309/438-8038 http://www.ilstu.edu/~mdavies/welcome.htm
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