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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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This volume provides a new perspective on the evolution of the special language of medicine, based on the electronic corpus of Early Modern English Medical Texts, containing over two million words of medical writing from 1500 to 1700.


Academic Paper


Title: Using nonsense words to investigate vowel merger
Author: Jennifer B. Hay
Email: click here to access email
Homepage: http://www.ling.canterbury.ac.nz/jen
Institution: University of Canterbury
Author: Katie Drager
Email: click here to access email
Homepage: http://www.katiedrager.com/
Institution: University of Hawai'i at Mānoa
Author: Brynmor Thomas
Institution: United Arab Emirates University
Linguistic Field: Phonology
Subject Language: English
Abstract: In previous work, we have found that New Zealand listeners who produce merged tokens of near and square can accurately distinguish between the vowels in perception even though they report that they are guessing. The ability to distinguish the vowels is affected by a variety of factors for these listeners, including the likelihood that the speaker and experimenter maintain the distinction (Hay et al. 2006b; Hay et al. 2010). In this article, we report on experiments that examine the production and perception of real and nonsense words in the context of two mergers: the Ellen/Allan merger in New Zealand English and the lot/thought merger found in American English. The results demonstrate that speakers’ degree of merger depends at least partially on whether the word is a real or nonsense word. Additionally, the results indicate that a token's real word status affects the merger differently in production and perception. We argue that these results provide evidence in favour of a hybrid model of speech production and perception, one with both abstract phoneme-level representations and acoustically detailed episodic representations.

CUP at LINGUIST

This article appears in English Language and Linguistics Vol. 17, Issue 2, which you can read on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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