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Thai English as a variety

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This study is about Thai English (ThaiE), a variety of World Englishes that is presently spoken in Thailand, as the result of the spread of English and the recent Thai government policies towards English communication in Thailand. In the study,

This study is about Thai English (ThaiE), a variety of World Englishes that is presently spoken in Thailand, as the result of the spread of English and the recent Thai government policies towards English communication in Thailand. In the study, I examined the linguistic data of spoken ThaiE, collected from multiple sources both in the U.S.A. and Thailand. The study made use of a qualitative approach in examining the data, which were from (i) English interviews and questionnaires with 12 highly educated Thai speakers of English during my fieldwork in the Southwestern U.S.A., Central Thailand, and Northeastern Thailand, (ii) English speech samples from the media in Thailand, i.e. television programs, a news report, and a talk radio program, and (iii) the research articles on English used by Thai speakers of English. This study describes the typology of ThaiE in terms of its morpho-syntax, phonology, and sociolinguistics, with the main focus being placed on the structural characteristics of ThaiE. Based on the data, the results show that some of the ThaiE features are similar to the World Englishes features, but some are unique to ThaiE. Therefore, I argue that ThaiE is structurally considered a new variety of World Englishes at the present time. The findings also showed an interesting result, regarding the notion of ThaiE by the fieldwork interview participants. The majority of these participants (n=6) denied the existence of ThaiE, while the minority of the participants (n=5) believed ThaiE existed, and one participant was reluctant to give the answer. The study suggested that the participants' academic backgrounds, the unfamiliar notion of ThaiE, and the level of the participants' social interaction with everyday persons may have influenced their answers to the main research question.

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2013

Shibboleth: an automated foreign accent identification program

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The speech of non-native (L2) speakers of a language contains phonological rules that differentiate them from native speakers. These phonological rules characterize or distinguish accents in an L2. The Shibboleth program creates combinatorial rule-sets to describe the phonological pattern of

The speech of non-native (L2) speakers of a language contains phonological rules that differentiate them from native speakers. These phonological rules characterize or distinguish accents in an L2. The Shibboleth program creates combinatorial rule-sets to describe the phonological pattern of these accents and classifies L2 speakers into their native language. The training and classification is done in Shibboleth by support vector machines using a Gaussian radial basis kernel. In one experiment run using Shibboleth, the program correctly identified the native language (L1) of a speaker of unknown origin 42% of the time when there were six possible L1s in which to classify the speaker. This rate is significantly better than the 17% chance classification rate. Chi-squared test (1, N=24) =10.800, p=.0010 In a second experiment, Shibboleth was not able to determine the native language family of a speaker of unknown origin at a rate better than chance (33-44%) when the L1 was not in the transcripts used for training the language family rule-set. Chi-squared test (1, N=18) =1.000, p=.3173 The 318 participants for both experiments were from the Speech Accent Archive (Weinberger, 2013), and ranged in age from 17 to 80 years old. Forty percent of the speakers were female and 60% were male. The factor that most influenced correct classification was higher age of onset for the L2. A higher number of years spent living in an English-speaking country did not have the expected positive effect on classification.

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2013

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Coincidence or contact: a study of sound changes in eastern Old Japanese dialects and Ryukyuan languages

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This thesis investigates similarities in the diachronic sound changes found in Eastern Old Japanese dialects and in Ryukyuan languages and tests a hypothesis of language contact. I examine three sound changes attested in the Eastern Old Japanese corpus of Kupchik

This thesis investigates similarities in the diachronic sound changes found in Eastern Old Japanese dialects and in Ryukyuan languages and tests a hypothesis of language contact. I examine three sound changes attested in the Eastern Old Japanese corpus of Kupchik (2011). These three are denasalization of prenasalized obstruents, the fortition of the labial glide [w] and prenasalized / simple voiced fricative [(n)z], and the irregular raising of Eastern Old Japanese mid vowels. Extralinguistic and linguistic evidence is presented in support of a hypothesis for language contact between 8th century Ryukyuan speakers and Eastern Old Japanese speakers. At present, many assumptions bog down any potential evidence of contact. However, cases where reconstructed Ryukyuan could have donated a form into EOJ do exist. With future research into early Ryukyuan development and the lexicons, phonologies, and syntactic patterns of Ryukyuan languages, more can be said about this hypothesis. Alongside testing a hypothesis of language contact, this thesis can also be viewed as an analysis of Eastern Old Japanese spelling variation of the three changes mentioned above.

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2015

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Verbs of Perception and Evidentiality in Standard Arabic

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This dissertation provides an account of evidentiality of a number of selected verbs of perception in Modern Standard Arabic (MSA). The verbs are divided into three categories: activity, experiential, and source-based, following Viberg (1983). The data shows that the activity

This dissertation provides an account of evidentiality of a number of selected verbs of perception in Modern Standard Arabic (MSA). The verbs are divided into three categories: activity, experiential, and source-based, following Viberg (1983). The data shows that the activity P.Vs in MSA are rarely used evidentially whereas the experiential and the source-based ones are commonly used to indicate evidential meaning. It also shows that while the source-based verb is mostly used with an inferred evidential meaning, the evidentiality encoded by the experiential perception verbs is determined by the complementation pattern and the person of the subject (first or third person subject). With the non-finite complement, these verbs indicate a direct evidentiality when having a first person subject, and a reported evidentiality when having a third person subject. With the finite CP complement, they indicate an indirect evidentiality. This corpus-based study also examines the grammaticalization of these verbs when used evidentially. I argue that only the verb ra’aa of the selected experiential verbs is fully grammaticalized, but only when it is in the past tense and followed by a verbal non-finite complement. In this usage, it becomes a light verb. The source-based verb badaa/yabduu when indicating an evidentiality, it is grammaticalized into copulative verb when followed by an adjectival predicate, and modal verb when followed by a finite complement.

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2019

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Isomorphy and Syntax-Prosody Relations in English

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This dissertation investigates the precise degree to which prosody and syntax are related. One possibility is that the syntax-prosody mapping is one-to-one (“isomorphic”) at an underlying level (Chomsky & Halle 1968, Selkirk 1996, 2011, Ito & Mester 2009). This predicts

This dissertation investigates the precise degree to which prosody and syntax are related. One possibility is that the syntax-prosody mapping is one-to-one (“isomorphic”) at an underlying level (Chomsky & Halle 1968, Selkirk 1996, 2011, Ito & Mester 2009). This predicts that prosodic units should preferably match up with syntactic units. It is also possible that the mapping between these systems is entirely non-isomorphic, with prosody being influenced by factors from language perception and production (Wheeldon & Lahiri 1997, Lahiri & Plank 2010). In this work, I argue that both perspectives are needed in order to address the full range of phonological phenomena that have been identified in English and related languages, including word-initial lenition/flapping, word-initial segment-deletion, and vowel reduction in function words, as well as patterns of pitch accent assignment, final-pronoun constructions, and the distribution of null complementizer allomorphs. In the process, I develop models for both isomorphic and non-isomorphic phrasing. The former is cast within a Minimalist syntactic framework of Merge/Label and Bare Phrase Structure (Chomsky 2013, 2015), while the latter is characterized by a stress-based algorithm for the formation of phonological domains, following Lahiri & Plank (2010).

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2019