LINGUIST List 7.720

Tue May 21 1996

Disc: Languages in dreams, Typology, Millennium

Editor for this issue: T. Daniel Seely <dseelyemunix.emich.edu>


Directory

  1. Rebecca Larche Moreton, Re: 7.717, Disc: Foreign languages in dreams
  2. Karen Kay, Re: 7.717, Disc: Foreign languages in dreams
  3. B.Dielsstudent.kun.nl, Re: 7.717, Disc: Foreign languages in dreams
  4. Matthew Dryer, Disc: Syntactic Typology
  5. Mark Mandel, the millennium

Message 1: Re: 7.717, Disc: Foreign languages in dreams

Date: Mon, 20 May 1996 16:28:53 CDT
From: Rebecca Larche Moreton <mlrlmsunset.backbone.olemiss.edu>
Subject: Re: 7.717, Disc: Foreign languages in dreams
In reference to Joel Hoffman's suggestion that dreams are a-linguistic and
that we do not actually use any language in our dreaming interactions:
what is going on when people talk in their sleep? Here they are at least
speaking their native language.
And in reference to William J. de Reuse's theory that what we remember
doing in a dream is not necessarily what we were actually doing (we could
go much further and say that we are rarely doing what we dreamed we were
doing, we're mostly sleeping); yet it would be interesting to study which
parts of the brain are actively involved during those dream-periods in
which we "remember" having spoken any language.
I am interested in the question because I believe that a student can mark
his real entry into usable learning of a language by
the appearance of the first dream in which he spoke the language easily
and well. Such a dream indicates the learner is over the rank beginner
stage and into the long middle journey which will end, if ever, when
he can understand jokes in the language. I wonder if anybody else has
noticed a similar phenomenon or has a idea about what might be happening. 

Rebecca Larche Moreton 
<rebelingmailhost.tcs.tulane.edu>
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Message 2: Re: 7.717, Disc: Foreign languages in dreams

Date: Mon, 20 May 1996 19:42:17 PDT
From: Karen Kay <karenknetcom.com>
Subject: Re: 7.717, Disc: Foreign languages in dreams
I have also had the experience of dreaming in foreign languages. When I
stopped teaching Japanese, I started dreaming in Japanese about once a week.
This lasted for 2 years or so, until I started doing Japanese technical
translation. Interestingly, the dreams didn't re-occur when I stopped doing
translation.

More recently, I went to Paris for 10 days to celebrate my birthday, and I
dreamt in French *every night*. I dreamt about ordering food, buying
groceries, buying my Orange Card, changing trains, and so on. The dreams
were rehearsals of stressful situations that might occur. 

The dreams continued in this fashion for a couple of nights after I got
back, but after that, the dreams took place in France, but the language was
English.

C'est la vie.:)


Karen
 karenknetcom.com
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Message 3: Re: 7.717, Disc: Foreign languages in dreams

Date: Tue, 21 May 1996 11:20:54 +0200
From: B.Dielsstudent.kun.nl <B.Dielsstudent.kun.nl>
Subject: Re: 7.717, Disc: Foreign languages in dreams
Being all but an expert in this field, I hesitate to react to Mr. 
Hoffman's remark that dreams would be a-linguistic. But as his suggestion 
is so contrary to my own intuition (which of course must always be 
listened to, but never be trusted), I would like to join the discussion. 

If I am right, Mr. Hoffman argues that the existence of dreams in which the 
dreamer fluently speaks a language he doesn't really master is an 
indication for the a-linguistic character of dreams. This does not quite 
convince me. If dreams would be totally a-linguistic, one could dream of 
speaking any language, but this doesn't seem to be the case: people seem 
to dream only of speaking languages that they more or less know. I guess
that someone who doesn't speak a word of Chinese in real life will never 
be speaking Chinese in his dreams.

When a poor speaker of a certain language dreams of speaking it fluently, 
we of course must conclude the dream deceives him. But this does not 
necessarily mean he doesn't speak a word at all in this dream (and 
therefore, that he dreams the content of the conversation, rather than 
the words) - it could also mean that this person's judgement of his 
performance is deceptive. Many who ever woke up at night with a 
brilliant idea that had to be written down immediately lest it would be 
lost for ever will have found out the morning after how deceptive 
nighttime judgements of one's own genius are. I think judgements of 
one's linguistic capabilities are no exception to this.

Bart Diels
B.Dielsstudent.KUN.NL
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Message 4: Disc: Syntactic Typology

Date: Fri, 17 May 1996 14:58:19 PDT
From: Matthew Dryer <DRYEROREGON.UOREGON.EDU>
Subject: Disc: Syntactic Typology
Richard Cameron inquires as to the basis of my claim that some Austronesian
languages have become OV due to contact with non-Austronesian Papuan languages.
While this would require more support if I were to claim this in print, let me
just say here that I base this claim on the following six languages: Manam,
Wedau, Iduna, Pokau, Motu, and Balawaia. Further inquiries can be sent
directly to me.

Matthew Dryer
Email address until June 15: DRYEROREGON.UOREGON.EDU
Permanent email address: lindryerubvms.cc.buffalo.edu
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Message 5: the millennium

Date: Mon, 13 May 1996 14:09:18 CDT
From: Mark Mandel <Markdragonsys.com>
Subject: the millennium
The name of the movie "2001" was universally pronounced "two thousand
(and) one", never "twenty oh one"; or has someone else heard the
latter? So I expect the years to be called "two thousand", "two
thousand (and) one", .... "two thousand (and) nine". (By then the
habit should be fairly well set and make the next year "two thousand
(and) ten" rather than "twenty ten".) And the obvious generalization
over those names is "the two thousands"; so I expect that to be the
commonest name for the decade. While it might LOGICALLY be taken to
refer to the century 20xx, or even the millennium 2xxx, I think the
immediate influences will prevail.

If, OTOH, people wind up calling the years "twenty oh one", etc.,
then the decade should become "the twenty oh's", or even "the
twenties". By the time people start referring to the decade as a
socially recognizeable period, how often will the 1920's be a common
topic?

I've sometimes heard the 190x years called "nineteen one", "nineteen
two", etc., where I would use and expect "nineteen oh one", .... But
that's not practicable for 200x, since "twenty one" means 21.

 Mark A. Mandel : markdragonsys.com
 Dragon Systems, Inc. : speech recognition : +1 617 965-5200
320 Nevada St. : Newton, MA 02160, USA : http://www.dragonsys.com/
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