LINGUIST List 9.856

Wed Jun 10 1998

Qs: ESL,ae>ya,Word Recognition

Editor for this issue: Martin Jacobsen <>

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. Tonia Bleam, PCs and Software for ESL
  2. Wen-Chao Li, ae > ya
  3. Amy McManus, Suspension of Word Recognition

Message 1: PCs and Software for ESL

Date: Mon, 8 Jun 1998 13:30:51 -0400 (EDT)
From: Tonia Bleam <tbleamUDel.Edu>
Subject: PCs and Software for ESL

I am forwarding this message from a non-linguist who is looking for
software for teaching reading to ESL adults. I don't have expertise in
this area and hoped someone out there would. Please respond directly
to Joe at this address:

From: "Zaffiro, Joe" <JZAFFIROSMURFIT.COM>


Forwarded Message:

I'm sponsoring a literacy project at the manufacturing plant that I
work at in Seattle. In particular, we have many inteligent people who
are held back from advancing into more skilled and better paying jobs
due to literacy issues. For many of our employees English is a second
language. Jim mentioned that you might be able to help us in terms of
providing information in the way of your experience. In particular,
we are thinking of getting pc's for our training room that could be
equipped with reading software in addtion to other items.

Any help you can offer in the way of recommendations or experiences
would be helpful



Joseph B Zaffiro
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Message 2: ae > ya

Date: Mon, 8 Jun 1998 15:49:42 -0500 (CDT)
From: Wen-Chao Li <>
Subject: ae > ya

Dear All,

My questions concerns the vowel [ae] -- by this I mean the vowel in
American English "cat" and "bad", which is sometimes written as [&] or
[] on ASCII systems.

Now that you know what my symbol means, my question is this: when an
[ae]-less language imports loanwords from a language with the vowel
[ae], normally, one of two things happen: either

(1) [ae] is substituted with an [a] vowel, or 
(2) [ae] is re-analyzed as [ya] (that is, [a] with a yod-onglide)

I am looking for examples of the latter. I am aware of such phenomena
in English loanwords in Japanese and in certain English dialects of
the Carribean. For example:

camping			kyanpingu
gallery			gyarari
gang			gyangu
cabin			kyabin

In the Japanese data however, such re-analysis seems to be limited to
words with velar initials. If you know of other languages that behave
in a similar way, I would love to know about it. I will post a
summary if there is enough interest.

Wen-Chao Li
University of Minnesota
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Message 3: Suspension of Word Recognition

Date: Tue, 9 Jun 1998 21:00:14 -0000
From: Amy McManus <>
Subject: Suspension of Word Recognition

I am studying a phenomenon in language perception which I'll call here
"the suspension of word recognition". What I mean by that is the
effect of a familiar word suddenly looking odd and unfamiliar (when
reading), or sounding odd and unfamiliar (when listening, especially
when repetition is involved). "Suddenly" is an operative word here.

I am not, at this point, looking for responses from those who have
experienced this phenomenon - I plan to seek that in the future. I AM
searching for any organized information, published or unpublished, on
this topic. I have been unable to find any material dealing directly
with this, despite the fact that it is a common occurrence. I don't
even know if it has a name (hence, my own effort above).

Hopefully I have explained the phenomenon sufficiently. Other terms I
can think of are:

-problems in language processing and/or perception 
-problems in word/speech recognition
-dissociation of meaning from form

I would greatly appreciate any information on this subject, and will
post a summary if enough response.

Thank you,
Amy E. McManus
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