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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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Academic Paper


Title: Honorifics: A sociocultural verb agreement cue in Japanese sentence processing
Author: Yuki Yoshimura
Institution: University of Massachusetts
Author: Brian Macwhinney
Email: click here to access email
Institution: Carnegie Mellon University
Linguistic Field: Applied Linguistics; Sociolinguistics; Syntax
Subject Language: Japanese
Abstract: Case marking is the major cue to sentence interpretation in Japanese, whereas animacy and word order are much weaker. However, when subjects and their cases markers are omitted, Japanese honorific and humble verbs can provide information that compensates for the missing case role markers. This study examined the usage of honorific and humble verbs as cues to case role assignment by Japanese native speakers and second-language learners of Japanese. The results for native speakers replicated earlier findings regarding the predominant strength of case marking. However, when case marking was missing, native speakers relied more on honorific marking than word order. In these sentences, the processing that relied on the honorific cue was delayed by about 100 ms in comparison to processing that relied on the case-marking cue. Learners made extensive use of the honorific agreement cue, but their use of the cue was much less accurate than that of native speakers. In particular, they failed to systematically invoke the agreement cue when case marking was missing. Overall, the findings support the predictions of the model and extend its coverage to a new type of culturally determined cue.

CUP at LINGUIST

This article appears in Applied Psycholinguistics Vol. 31, Issue 3, which you can read on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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