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Voice Quality

By John H. Esling, Scott R. Moisik, Allison Benner, Lise Crevier-Buchman

Voice Quality "The first description of voice quality production in forty years, this book provides a new framework for its study: The Laryngeal Articulator Model. Informed by instrumental examinations of the laryngeal articulatory mechanism, it revises our understanding of articulatory postures to explain the actions, vibrations and resonances generated in the epilarynx and pharynx."

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Let's Talk

By David Crystal

Let's Talk "Explores the factors that motivate so many different kinds of talk and reveals the rules we use unconsciously, even in the most routine exchanges of everyday conversation."

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Dissertation Information

Title: Constraints on Structural Borrowing in a Multilingual Contact Situation Add Dissertation
Author: Tara Sanchez Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: University of Pennsylvania, Department of Linguistics
Completed in: 2005
Linguistic Subfield(s): Morphology; Sociolinguistics;
Subject Language(s): Papiamento
Director(s): Ellen Prince
Gillian Sankoff
Rolf Noyer

Abstract: Many principles of structural borrowing have been proposed, all under qualitative theories. Some argue that linguistic conditions must be met for borrowing to occur ('universals' of borrowing); others argue that aspects of the socio-demographic situation are sometimes more relevant than linguistic considerations (e.g. Thomason and Kaufman 1988). This dissertation evaluates the roles of both linguistic and social factors in structural borrowing from a quantitative, variationist perspective via a diachronic and ethnographic examination of the language contact situation on Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao, where the Iberian creole, Papiamentu, is in contact with Spanish, Dutch, and English. Data are from texts (n=171) dating 1776-1999 and sociolinguistic interviews (n=129) collected in 2003 by the author, a non-native speaker of Papiamentu. The periphrastic progressive (marked by ndo), the passive construction (wordu, ser, keda alternate as passivizing verbs), and focus fronting (marked by ta) are examined. In addition, variationist methods were applied in a novel way to the system of verbal morphology in an effort to systematically assess the effect of those borrowing 'universals' which refer to the grammar as a whole (e.g. 'grammatical gaps are filled by borrowing') on the forms which were eventually borrowed.

At the systemic level, linguistic factors are primarily responsible for determining what will be borrowed and what will not. Some 'universals' of structural borrowing are shown to have merit, such as 'structural compatibility', 'morphological renewal' and 'convergence'. However, 'grammatical gaps' are not filled by borrowing. Only one non-linguistic factor was significant, and implicates indirectly that the longer speakers are bilingual, the more likely they are to borrow verbal morphology. However, none of the other social and demographic factors quantified here were significant. So for example, observed changes in 'amount and degree of bilingualism' as measured by census reports were not correlated with increased integration of foreign forms. Well-integrated foreign forms such as the individual variables studied here may become sociolinguistic variables. This is seen at first in the language contact factors (i.e. dealing with individual speakers' proficiency in, attitudes toward, and use of the various languages in contact), which may be quantitatively stronger constraints than linguistic factors. Eventually, the variables may become sensitive to social factors traditionally significant in monolingual communities (such as social class, gender, etc.). At this point,
borrowings behave like any other sociolinguistic variable, and familiar patterns are observed, including those related to change from above and the hypercorrect pattern of the second-highest status group (here, Bonaire speakers). Thomason and Kaufman's position is not supported at the systemic level in terms of what is borrowed and what is not, but it is supported in terms of factors governing the use of borrowed forms—social/demographic factors relating to language contact are stronger than linguistic constraints.

This study is one of the first to use quantitative methods to evaluate principles of structural borrowing. The findings contribute to our understanding of the long-term consequences of language contact.