LINGUIST List 11.1553

Sat Jul 15 2000

Qs: Minimal Pairs, Int'l Business Communication

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  1. Scobbie, Jim, Disc: Homophony and minimal pair counts cross-linguistically
  2. JUAN ANTONIO PENA, Cross cultural business communication

Message 1: Disc: Homophony and minimal pair counts cross-linguistically

Date: Fri, 14 Jul 2000 13:18:56 +0100
From: Scobbie, Jim <>
Subject: Disc: Homophony and minimal pair counts cross-linguistically

Can anyone quantify the amount of homophony in different languages in major
category words? I don't know whether this is an unanswerable request, given
the difficulty of establishing criteria (let alone cross-linguistic
criteria) for distinguishing homophony (different headwords with same
phonology) from multiple subsenses of the same headword. 

Rather more easily, are there cross-linguistic quantifications of the
numbers of minimal pairs (in total, per contrast, relative to number of
items in the inventory) given a standard phonemic inventory?

I see there is a brief discussion of quantifying homophones and minimal
pairs in LINGUIST List 4.2 Wed 06 Jan 1993 by John Higgins, and my interest
was sparked.
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Message 2: Cross cultural business communication

Date: Fri, 14 Jul 2000 18:09:50 -0400 (GMT-0400)
Subject: Cross cultural business communication

Dear List members,
 My name is Juan Antonio Pena. I teach Business Communication in Spanish
at University of Puerto Rico. I am writing to you in look for your help.
 I am trying to locate different kinds of resources on international
business communication, language and culture barriers. Specifically, what
I am most interested in is how each country/people write differently, what
characteristics each people, culture, has. In other words, when one
communicates with another country, what differentiates the style of each
language: is length of sentences clearly different, do one people use
mostly a polished language while the other goes straight to the point, do
each country write salutations always with or without titles? This is a
very interesting topic, and one that is gaining importance given the surge
in global communication..
 I have searched the Library of Congress catalog, Amazon, my own
university, and, of course, Internet. However, and contrary to what I
expected, I have only found very few, indeed very few, references. 
 Since this research is for an international conference in September, I
wondered if you would know of an Internet site, journals, people...indeed
whatever, that could interest me. 
 I know this is a burden for you, but I would greatly appreciate your
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