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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?

By: Tim William Machan

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

Edited by Irma Taavitsainen and Paivi Pahta

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: Variation in the input: a case study of manner class frequencies
Author: Robert Daland
Institution: University of California, Los Angeles
Linguistic Field: Language Acquisition; Text/Corpus Linguistics
Subject Language: English
Abstract: What are the sources of variation in the input, and how much do they matter for language acquisition? This study examines frequency variation in manner-of-articulation classes in child and adult input. The null hypothesis is that segmental frequency distributions of language varieties are unigram (modelable by stationary, ergodic processes), and that languages are unitary (modelable as a single language variety). Experiment I showed that English segments are not unigram; they exhibit a ‘bursty’ distribution in which the local frequency varies more than expected by chance alone. Experiment II showed the English segments are approximately unitary: the natural background variation in segmental frequencies that arises within a single language variety is much larger than numerical differences across varieties. Variation in segmental frequencies seems to be driven by variation in discourse topic; topic-associated words cause bursts/lulls in local segmental frequencies. The article concludes with some methodological recommendations for comparing language samples.

CUP at LINGUIST

This article appears in Journal of Child Language Vol. 40, Issue 5, which you can read on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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