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It's Been Said Before

By Orin Hargraves

It's Been Said Before "examines why certain phrases become clichés and why they should be avoided -- or why they still have life left in them."

New from Cambridge University Press!


Sounds Fascinating

By J. C. Wells

How do you pronounce biopic, synod, and Breughel? - and why? Do our cake and archaic sound the same? Where does the stress go in stalagmite? What's odd about the word epergne? As a finale, the author writes a letter to his 16-year-old self.

Academic Paper

Title: Two-Year-Olds Use Primary Sentence Accent to Learn New Words
Author: Susanne Grassmann
Institution: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Author: Michael Tomasello
Institution: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Linguistic Field: Language Acquisition; Phonology
Abstract: German children aged 2;1 heard a sentence containing a nonce noun and a nonce verb (Der Feks miekt). Either the noun or the verb was prosodically highlighted by increased pitch, duration and loudness. Independently, either the object or the action in the ongoing referential scene was the new element in the situation. Children learned the nonce noun only when it was both highlighted prosodically and the object in the scene was referentially new. They did not learn the nonce verb in any condition. These results suggest that from early in linguistic development, young children understand that prosodic salience in a sentence indicates referential newness.


This article appears IN Journal of Child Language Vol. 34, Issue 3.

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