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Jost Gippert: Our Featured Linguist!

"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more



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What is English? And Why Should We Care?

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To find some answers Tim Machan explores the language's present and past, and looks ahead to its futures among the one and a half billion people who speak it. His search is fascinating and important, for definitions of English have influenced education and law in many countries and helped shape the identities of those who live in them.


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This volume provides a new perspective on the evolution of the special language of medicine, based on the electronic corpus of Early Modern English Medical Texts, containing over two million words of medical writing from 1500 to 1700.


Academic Paper


Title: On the perceptual origin of loanword adaptations: experimental evidence from Japanese
Author: Sharon Peperkamp
Institution: Laboratoire de Sciences Cognitives et Psycholinguistique
Author: Inga Vendelin
Institution: Laboratoire de Sciences Cognitives et Psycholinguistique
Author: Kimihiro Nakamura
Institution: University of Tokyo
Linguistic Field: Phonology
Subject Language: Japanese
Abstract: Japanese shows an asymmetry in the treatment of word-final [n] in loanwords from English and French: while it is adapted as a moraic nasal consonant in loanwords from English, it is adapted with a following epenthetic vowel in loanwords from French. We provide experimental evidence that this asymmetry is due to phonetic differences in the realisation of word-final [n] in English and French, and, consequently, to the way in which English and French word-final [n] are perceived by native speakers of Japanese. Specifically, French but not English word-final [n] has a strong vocalic release that Japanese listeners perceive as their native vowel [ɯ]. We propose a psycholinguistic model in which most loanword adaptations originate in perceptual assimilation, a process which takes place during perception and which maps non-native sounds and sound structures onto the phonetically closest native ones. We compare our model to alternatives couched within phonological theory.

CUP at LINGUIST

This article appears in Phonology Vol. 25, Issue 1, which you can read on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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