LINGUIST List 9.1614

Mon Nov 16 1998

Qs: Parallel texts, Icelandic there-constructions

Editor for this issue: Jody Huellmantel <>

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. John Nerbonne, Parallel texts in FL learning
  2. YukaMakita, Icelandic there-constructions

Message 1: Parallel texts in FL learning

Date: Sat, 14 Nov 1998 15:46:32 +0100
From: John Nerbonne <>
Subject: Parallel texts in FL learning

There are lots of "parallel texts" published in English/German
(Reclam) or Russian/English (Penguin) or Latin/English (Harvard et
al.). I've seen them in other language pairs, too, such as
Irish/English (Mercier) where they're called "dual language texts".
The existence of the series suggests that the market recognizes value
in the parallel texts.

 - Are such texts recommended for use for people who wish to learn a
 foreign language?
 - Or is their proven value limited to making genuine texts available
 to beginning and intermediate students of a language?
 - Can you refer me to studies of this, either systematic reflexion
 or, if it exists, empirical studies?

Thanks. I'll post a summary of responses within, say, three weeks.

Here is more detail, for those who wish it:

I work in computer processing of language, and my question is
motivated by thoughts about applying some of that technology to
language learning. (I've done some work on this which is available on
my web page "papers"). Technically,
we are in a position to align translations of texts. So if I have a
copies of a book in English and French, the programs will align these
well enough so that one can point to a word in French and ask: how was
this translated? The translation, in context, can be supplied.

It's pretty clear that translators like this technology. If nothing
else, it reminds them quickly of old solutions to problems in
translation. So I'm wondering whether an application in
computer-assisted language learning (CALL) makes pedagogical sense.
(Actually, a project I was involved with, GLOSSER, developed this as
part of a package for CALL, and it is technically satisfactory. See But now I want to know how much
pedagogical sense it makes.)

John Nerbonne,
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Message 2: Icelandic there-constructions

Date: Sun, 15 Nov 1998 02:24:30 EST
From: YukaMakita <>
Subject: Icelandic there-constructions

Dear members,

 I'm a graduate student at Nagoya University, Japan. I'm now studying
there-constructions in English and Icelandic, and looking for
Icelandic native speakers for grammatical judgements on Icelandic
there-constructions. I also welcome those who are interested in the
comparative study of there-constructions. I would be very glad if you
could contact me at my personal e-mail address<>.
Thank you in advance.

 Yuka Makita
 Nagoya University
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