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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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Medical Writing in Early Modern English

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Academic Paper


Title: On the role of locality in learning stress patterns
Author: Jeffrey N. Heinz
Email: click here to access email
Homepage: http://www.ling.udel.edu/people/jeffrey-heinz
Institution: University of Delaware
Linguistic Field: Language Acquisition; Phonology; Psycholinguistics; Typology
Abstract: This paper presents a previously unnoticed universal property of stress patterns in the world's languages: they are, for small neighbourhoods, neighbourhood-distinct. Neighbourhood-distinctness is a locality condition defined in automata-theoretic terms. This universal is established by examining stress patterns contained in two typological studies. Strikingly, many logically possible – but unattested – patterns do not have this property. Not only does neighbourhood-distinctness unite the attested patterns in a non-trivial way, it also naturally provides an inductive principle allowing learners to generalise from limited data. A learning algorithm is presented which generalises by failing to distinguish same-neighbourhood environments perceived in the learner's linguistic input – hence learning neighbourhood-distinct patterns – as well as almost every stress pattern in the typology. In this way, this work lends support to the idea that properties of the learner can explain certain properties of the attested typology, an idea not straightforwardly available in optimality-theoretic and Principle and Parameter frameworks.

CUP at LINGUIST

This article appears in Phonology Vol. 26, Issue 2, which you can read on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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