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It's Been Said Before

By Orin Hargraves

It's Been Said Before "examines why certain phrases become clichés and why they should be avoided -- or why they still have life left in them."

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Sounds Fascinating

By J. C. Wells

How do you pronounce biopic, synod, and Breughel? - and why? Do our cake and archaic sound the same? Where does the stress go in stalagmite? What's odd about the word epergne? As a finale, the author writes a letter to his 16-year-old self.

Academic Paper

Title: Interpretation of contrastive pitch accent in six- to eleven-year-old English-speaking children (and adults)
Author: Kiwako Ito
Institution: Ohio State University
Author: Sarah A. Bibyk
Institution: University of Rochester
Author: Laura Wagner
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: Ohio State University
Author: Shari R. Speer
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: Ohio State University
Linguistic Field: Language Acquisition; Phonetics
Subject Language: English
Abstract: Both off-line and on-line comprehension studies suggest not only toddlers and preschoolers, but also older school-age children have trouble interpreting contrast-marking pitch prominence. To test whether children achieve adult-like proficiency in processing contrast-marking prosody during school years, an eye-tracking experiment examined the effect of accent on referential resolution in six- to eleven-year-old children and adults. In all age groups, a prominent accent facilitated the detection of a target in contrastive discourse sequences (pink cat→ cat), whereas it led to a garden path in non-contrastive sequences (pink rabbit→ monkey: the initial fixations were on rabbits). While the data indicate that children as young as age six immediately interpret contrastive accent, even the oldest child group showed delayed fixations compared to adults. We argue that the children's slower recovery from the garden path reflects the gradual development in cognitive flexibility that matures independently of general oculomotor control.


This article appears IN Journal of Child Language Vol. 41, Issue 1.

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