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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: Writing Meaning Rather Than Sound in the Orthographies of Tone Languages
Author: David Roberts
Email: click here to access email
Institution: Langage, langues et cultures d'Afrique noire
Author: Steven L. Walter
Linguistic Field: Writing Systems
Abstract: Some orthographies represent tone phonemically by means of diacritics; others favor zero marking. Neither solution is entirely satisfactory. The former leads to graphic overload; the latter to a profusion of homographs. Both may reduce fluency./L//L/But there is a 'third way' which does not align itself with either extreme: highlighting the grammar rather than the tone system. To test this approach, we developed two experimental strategies for writing Kabiye: a grammar orthography and a tone orthography. Both are modifications of the standard orthography that does not mark tone. We tested these in a quantitative experiment involving literate native speakers that included dictation and spontaneous writing./L//L/The fact that writers of the experimental grammar orthography perform faster and more accurately than writers of the experimental tone orthography suggests that they have an awareness of the morphological and syntactic structure of their language that may even exceed their awareness of its phonology. Moreover, frequency of exposure to a particular grammatical construction in natural contexts proves to be a strong predictor of performance for those writing the experimental grammar orthography, but it confers no advantage for those writing the experimental tone orthography. This provides evidence that languages that use tone to convey grammatical information might benefit from grammatical markers in the orthography.
Type: Individual Paper
Status: In Progress
Venue: Paper presented at the 7th International Workshop on Writing Systems and Literacy. 30 September - 1 October 2010, Paris, France.
Publication Info: OBERTS, David & Steven L. WALTER (2010):


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