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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: Comparison of native versus nonnative perception of vowel length contrasts in Arabic and Japanese
Author: Kimiko Tsukada
Institution: Macquarie University
Linguistic Field: Language Acquisition; Psycholinguistics
Subject Language: Arabic, Standard
English
Japanese
Abstract: This study assessed the prediction that individuals are able to use the knowledge from their first language (L1) in processing the comparable sound contrasts in an unknown language. Two languages, Arabic and Japanese, which utilize vowel duration contrastively, were examined. Native Arabic (NA) and native Japanese (NJ) listeners' discrimination accuracy for native (known) and nonnative (unknown) vowel length contrasts was assessed in an AXB discrimination test. A group of Australian English (OZ) speakers who do not know either Arabic or Japanese participated as a control group. Despite the expectation that native listeners positively transfer and generalize the L1 knowledge to process unknown languages with equivalent phonetic characteristics, both the NA and NJ groups were clearly less accurate in discriminating vowel length contrasts in unknown languages. Further, they showed no advantage over the OZ listeners who have limited experience with vowel length contrasts in their L1. These results suggest that, not only for stop place contrasts examined previously, but also for vowel length contrasts, experience with specific phonetic contrasts may not be sufficient for attaining truly nativelike discrimination accuracy.

CUP at LINGUIST

This article appears in Applied Psycholinguistics Vol. 33, Issue 3, which you can read on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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