LINGUIST List 9.307

Mon Mar 2 1998

Qs: "Why?", Bamun/Bamileke, Negotiations

Editor for this issue: Anita Huang <>

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  1. Bobby D. Bryant, Child's "Why?"
  2. Seok-Chae Rhee, Bamun, Bamileke
  3. Mike FOX-ecki, negotiations [yes/no survey]

Message 1: Child's "Why?"

Date: Sat, 28 Feb 1998 01:48:18 -0600
From: Bobby D. Bryant <>
Subject: Child's "Why?"

I refer to the familiar phenomenon of a young child going through a
phase of responding to virtually every utterance with "Why?". I have
always assumed that this was merely the conjunction of expanding
curiosity and the newly discovered power of maintaining attention by
keeping the conversation going.

But I wonder if it doesn't have a specifically linguistic function as
well? Asking "Why?" makes it possible to elicit several sequential
utterances addressing a fairly well circumscribed topic, and
explanations may [I speculate] require sentences somewhat more complex
that those the child is accustomed to in direct address. So my question
is: Does a child's progress in understanding and producing complex
sentences and/or complex discourse structures show any marked
acceleration that can be specifically associated with the why-asking

And of course -- to what extent is this phenomenon cross-cultural?

Bobby Bryant
Austin, Texas
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Message 2: Bamun, Bamileke

Date: Sun, 1 Mar 1998 22:04:17 -0600 (CST)
From: Seok-Chae Rhee <>
Subject: Bamun, Bamileke

Hi everybody,

Could any body point me to any previous works
on phonetic or phonological research on Bamun
(sometimes called Bamum), or Bamileke/Widekum
languages mainly spoken in Cameroon, W. Africa?
Directions to any general descriptions on linguistic
properties of the above languages are also greatly

I'll post a summary if I get enough directions.
Thank you very much in advance.

- ------------------------------------------------------------------------
Seok-Chae Rhee		
Department of Linguistics
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
217-244-3063(FLB), 333-1501(ASX), 351-1189(H)
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Message 3: negotiations [yes/no survey]

Date: Fri, 27 Feb 1998 17:41:39 +0100
From: Mike FOX-ecki <>
Subject: negotiations [yes/no survey]

A friend of mine is writing her MA thesis on the subject of negotiations in
Polish and English. Now she needs some native English respondents so if you
would like to contribute to her work answering a short [only 20 questions]
yes/no survey then mail me <> an empty message with a
subject line 'negotiations survey' and I shall mail you the survey.
Should you have any futhrer questions concernign her work I would be glad to
pass it on to her.
We will of course put a summary on the list.
tafn mike
Mike FOX-ecki <> 
irc [lisu] <> 
UIN [4324037] 
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