Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Wiley-Blackwell Publisher Login
amazon logo
More Info

New from Oxford University Press!


Language Planning as a Sociolinguistic Experiment

By: Ernst Jahr

Provides richly detailed insight into the uniqueness of the Norwegian language development. Marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of the Norwegian nation following centuries of Danish rule

New from Cambridge University Press!


Acquiring Phonology: A Cross-Generational Case-Study

By Neil Smith

The study also highlights the constructs of current linguistic theory, arguing for distinctive features and the notion 'onset' and against some of the claims of Optimality Theory and Usage-based accounts.

New from Brill!


Language Production and Interpretation: Linguistics meets Cognition

By Henk Zeevat

The importance of Henk Zeevat's new monograph cannot be overstated. [...] I recommend it to anyone who combines interests in language, logic, and computation [...]. David Beaver, University of Texas at Austin

Summary Details

Query:   An interim report of the "understandability" Q.
Author:  Noriko Nakanishi
Submitter Email:  click here to access email
Linguistic LingField(s):   Applied Linguistics
General Linguistics
Language Acquisition

Summary:   Dear Linguists,

Thank you for your help with the research on the ''understandability of errors'', posted to the query page on Wed, 25 Aug 2004: http:/
This is an interim report of the comments that I have received, besides the responses to the questionnaire.

The following is a summary of the comments, advice, and opinions:

1. ''Many of the sentences in the questionnaire are not errors.''
''They mean exactly the same as the bracketed sentences.''
''One of the items means the opposite to the bracketed sentence.''
-->1280 samples were taken from 10 different articles that show ''errors'', and categorized into several types of errors. Then, the 60 items in all were chosen randomly from each category, and rearranged into random order. As shown on top of the questionnaire (NOTE that some have no errors.), some of the items are the ''control sentences'', the sets of ''grammatically accepted'' sentences. They are included in order to keep the credibility of the responses.

2. ''Bear in mind that the responses would be very different depending on the background of the respondents.''
-->Yes, I will, so please answer all the questions, as you are, as the one that carries the linguistic, cultural, or social background as you do now. It is not necessary to use your imagination such as ''If I were an average American...'' and so on.

3. ''If a context or surrounding dialogue was supplied instead of your bracketed sentence, it would be easier to see how out of place the sentences may be.''
-->Thank you for your advice. I will keep that in mind nest time I do the same kind of research.

4. Definition of the ''understandability level''
''Non-understandable'' and ''misunderstandable,''
''grammatical acceptability'' and ''understandability''
should be treated differently.

--> Non/mis understandability.
Yes, they are different because, in my opinion, when you do not understand what is said, you can ask again, or do something about it, where, when you misunderstand what is said, the utterance would be kept mistaken until you notice that there was some misunderstanding (though only if you ever notice it.) It is an interesting topic for research, but for the time being, I would like to focus on the mental distance between the intended meaning (bracketed sentences) and your understanding of the ''error'' sentences. So if you think the two sentences are very close, your answer would be ''understandability Level 1. Very EASY'', and if you think that you cannot relate the two sentences at all, the answer would be ''Understandability Level 5. Very DIFFICULT.''

-->''Grammatical acceptability'' and ''understandability''
The research is to see the seriousness of the errors in the sentences that are considered ''unaccepted'' in the articles mentioned above. Please indicate your opinion about how easily you can associate the two sentences, NOT about the grammatical correctness of the sentences.

5. ''Why don't you remove the 'view the result' button?''
-->The on-line questionnaire is a rental web page, and the system person says that the basic style of the form cannot be altered, because there are other people using the same form, and an alteration would also affect all the other pages. I am sorry about the confusion, I should have noticed the inconvenience of the system, and tried some other rental pages, before letting out the questionnaire. As some of you mentioned in the mail, I am afraid I have lost quite a few responses from the ones who viewed the previous result and did not actually submit the responses. If you are the respondent who entered your e-mail address at the end of the questionnaire and not sure whether your response was submitted or not, please try again: The first one of the responses with an identical e-mail address will be omitted.
Also, it means, if you change your mind about your answers that you have already submitted, you can re-submit your response.

Finally, special thanks to the one who pointed out the misspelling of a ward in my HP (the left column.)
6. ''Please submit you responce...'' should be ''Please submit your response...'' I corrected it as soon as I read your mail.

I would very much like to say a lot more and ask for your ideas, but wait until all 300 responses are gatherd, because I feel that it is not fair if the debate here affects the decisions of the subsequent respondents.

As of Aug. 29,
67 more responses from the native speakers of Japanese,
15 more responses from the native speakers of English, and,
70 more responses from the speakers of other languages
are awaited.

If you have any respondent-to-be-acquaintance on your mind, please help me by giving them the UEL below:

I will post my hypothesis and the result after the sufficient numver of responses are gathered.
Thank you again for your cooperation.

Noriko Nakanishi

LL Issue: 15.2412
Date Posted: 29-Aug-2004
Original Query: Read original query


Sums main page