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The Social Origins of Language

By Daniel Dor

Presents a new theoretical framework for the origins of human language and sets key issues in language evolution in their wider context within biological and cultural evolution


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Preposition Placement in English: A Usage-Based Approach

By Thomas Hoffmann

This is the first study that empirically investigates preposition placement across all clause types. The study compares first-language (British English) and second-language (Kenyan English) data and will therefore appeal to readers interested in world Englishes. Over 100 authentic corpus examples are discussed in the text, which will appeal to those who want to see 'real data'


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Academic Paper


Title: Language against the odds: the learning of British Sign Language by a polyglot savant
Author: Gary Morgan
Institution: City University London
Author: Neil Smith
Institution: University College London
Author: Ianthi-Maria Tsimpli
Email: click here to access email
Homepage: http://www.enl.auth.gr/instructor_en.asp?Id=25
Author: Bencie Woll
Email: click here to access email
Homepage: http://www.city.ac.uk/lcs
Institution: University College London
Linguistic Field: Language Acquisition
Subject Language: English
Abstract: In this paper we report on our attempt to teach the polyglot savant Christopher ('C' hereinafter) British Sign Language (BSL). BSL presents C with a novel challenge in the use of hand-eye coordination, while at the same time offering him the linguistic ingredients he is obsessed with. Despite his deficits in key areas of intellectual ability, communication skills and visuo-spatial cognition, C has developed a working knowledge of BSL through processes of circumvention, adaptation and invention. As a form of control, we taught BSL to a comparator group of talented second-language learners. We do not discuss this comparison in depth here (see Morgan et al. in preparation) but refer to some of the test scores as a guide to how normal a sign learner C is.
Results from formal tests of C's linguistic knowledge, and observational study of his developing communicative ability in BSL, are analysed and described. These results illuminate the structure and use of BSL, highlighting the important role of visuo-spatial cognition in its acquisition and manipulation.
Our findings support the assumption that the organisation of knowledge of language is largely modality independent, whereas the exploitation of specific grammatical devices is language and modality dependent. C has attained a certain level of linguistic competence in BSL, and his performance in the language is largely in conformity with his previously established mixed profile of abilities and disabilities.

CUP at LINGUIST

This article appears in Journal of Linguistics Vol. 38, Issue 1, which you can read on Cambridge's site .



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