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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: Listeners' Knowledge of Phonological Universals: Evidence from nasal clusters
Author: Iris Berent
Institution: Northeastern University
Author: Tracy Lennertz
Email: click here to access email
Institution: Northeastern University
Author: Paul Smolensky
Institution: Johns Hopkins University
Author: Vered Vaknin-Nusbaum
Institution: University of Haifa
Linguistic Field: Linguistic Theories; Phonetics; Phonology; Psycholinguistics; Typology
Abstract: Optimality Theory explains typological markedness implications by proposing that all speakers possess universal constraints penalising marked structures, irrespective of the evidence provided by their language (Prince & Smolensky ). The account of phonological perception sketched here entails that markedness constraints reveal their presence by inducing perceptual ‘repairs’ to structures ungrammatical in the hearer's language. As onset clusters of falling sonority are typologically marked relative to those of rising sonority (Greenberg ), we examine English speakers' perception of nasal-initial clusters, which are lacking in English. We find greater accuracy for rising-sonority clusters, evidencing knowledge of markedness constraints favouring such onset clusters. The misperception of sonority falls cannot be accounted for by stimulus artefacts (the materials are perceived accurately by speakers of Russian, a language allowing nasal-initial clusters) nor by phonetic failure (English speakers misperceive falls even with printed materials) nor by putative relations of such onsets to the statistics of the English lexicon.

CUP at LINGUIST

This article appears in Phonology Vol. 26, Issue 1, which you can read on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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