Featured Linguist!

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: A comparison of homonym and novel word learning: the role of phonotactic probability and word frequency
Author: Holly L. Storkel
Institution: University of Kansas
Author: Junko Maekawa
Institution: University of Kansas
Linguistic Field: Language Acquisition
Abstract: This study compares homonym learning to novel word learning by three- to four-year-old children to determine whether homonyms are learned more rapidly or more slowly than novel words. In addition, the role of form characteristics in homonym learning is examined by manipulating phonotactic probability and word frequency. Thirty-two children were exposed to homonyms and novel words in a story with visual support and learning was measured in two tasks: referent identification; picture naming. Results showed that responses to homonyms were as accurate as responses to novel words in the referent identification task. In contrast, responses to homonyms were more accurate than responses to novel words in the picture-naming task. Furthermore, homonyms composed of common sound sequences were named more accurately than those composed of rare sound sequences. The influence of word frequency was less straightforward. These results may be inconsistent with a one-to-one form–referent bias in word learning.

CUP at LINGUIST

This article appears in Journal of Child Language Vol. 32, Issue 4, which you can read on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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