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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?

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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

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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: Testing the role of phonetic knowledge in Mandarin tone sandhi
Author: Jie Zhang
Email: click here to access email
Institution: Pennsylvania State University
Author: Yuwen Lai
Institution: National Chiao Tung University
Linguistic Field: Phonetics
Subject Language: Chinese, Mandarin
Abstract: Phonological patterns often have phonetic bases. But whether phonetic substance should be encoded in synchronic phonological grammar is controversial. We aim to test the synchronic relevance of phonetics by investigating native Mandarin speakers' applications of two exceptionless tone sandhi processes to novel words: the contour reduction 213→21/—T (T≠213), which has a clear phonetic motivation, and the perceptually neutralising 213→35/—213, whose phonetic motivation is less clear. In two experiments, Mandarin subjects were asked to produce two individual monosyllables together as two different types of novel disyllabic words. Results show that speakers apply the 213→21 sandhi with greater accuracy than the 213→35 sandhi in novel words, indicating a synchronic bias against the phonetically less motivated pattern. We also show that lexical frequency is relevant to the application of the sandhis to novel words, but cannot account alone for the low sandhi accuracy of 213→35.

CUP at LINGUIST

This article appears in Phonology Vol. 27, Issue 1, which you can read on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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