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Evolutionary Syntax

By Ljiljana Progovac

This book "outlines novel and testable hypotheses, contains extensive examples from many different languages" and is "presented in accessible language, with more technical discussion in footnotes."

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The Making of Vernacular Singapore English

By Zhiming Bao

This book "proposes a new theory of contact-induced grammatical restructuring" and "offers a new analytical approach to New English from a formal or structural perspective."

Academic Paper

Title: Learning Lexical Indexation
Author: Andries W. Coetzee
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: University of Michigan
Linguistic Field: Language Acquisition; Psycholinguistics
Abstract: Morphological concatenation often triggers phonological processes. For instance, addition of the plural suffix /-ən/ to Dutch nouns causes vowel lengthening in some nouns due to the stress-to-weight principle ([xɑt] vs. [ˈxaː.tən] ‘hole’). These kinds of processes often apply only to a subset of words – not all Dutch nouns undergo this process ([kɑt] vs. [ˈkɑ.tən] ‘cat’). Nouns need to be lexically indexed as either undergoing this process or not. I investigate how phonological grammar and lexical indexation are learned when learners are confronted with data like these. Based on learnability considerations, I hypothesise that learners acquire a grammar with default non-alternation, so that novel items are treated as non-alternating. I report the results of artificial language learning experiments compatible with this hypothesis, and model these results in a version of the Biased Constraint Demotion algorithm (Prince & Tesar ).


This article appears IN Phonology Vol. 26, Issue 1, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .

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