Matching Items (58)

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The rise of new copulas in Arabic

Description

Arabic is widely known for the lack of copulas in nominal sentences in the present tense. Arabic employs a copula ‘kana’ in the past and future tenses. However,

Arabic is widely known for the lack of copulas in nominal sentences in the present tense. Arabic employs a copula ‘kana’ in the past and future tenses. However, in some constructions the presence of a third person pronoun is necessary for the purpose of emphasis or ambiguity reduction. The data investigated in this thesis was from Classical Arabic, Standard Arabic, and the Western Saudi ‘Hijazi’ dialect. The thesis briefly discussed the grammaticalization of a transitive verb to a non-present tense copula in Classical Arabic. In addition, the thesis discussed the process of copularization that was a result of grammaticalization of the demonstrative third person pronoun ‘huwa’ to a present tense copula in Standard Arabic. It was shown that the pronoun went through a process of reanalysis from the specifier to the head position of PredP driven by Feature Economy and the Head Preference Principle. The result was the loss of the person feature. The new copula developed and attached to the negative particle ‘ma’ in the Hijazi dialect losing all its phi-features. These phenomena are known as the copula and negative cycles, respectively. The analysis was based on the Generative Grammar framework and the Minimalist program. This study attempted to shed light on Arabic copulas and contribute to more understanding of the use of these copulas in question and negative constructions. It may also help in typological studies, which may lead to a better understanding of the linguistic theory and the language faculty.

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  • 2015

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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

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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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

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

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Morphology and pragmatics of the diminutive: evidence from Macedonian

Description

Extensive cross-linguistic data document a wide gamut of semantic and pragmatic uses of the diminutive that revolve around the fundamental concepts of `small' and `child'. As typical inventory of informal

Extensive cross-linguistic data document a wide gamut of semantic and pragmatic uses of the diminutive that revolve around the fundamental concepts of `small' and `child'. As typical inventory of informal registers, diminutives are utilized as pragmatic markers of politeness in a wide range of contextual meanings. This dissertation is intended to fill some major gaps in the systematic and empirical research on the formation and pragmatic uses of the diminutives in Macedonian and to explore the role of diminutivization in a broader linguistic framework, by examining the consistency of the field of diminutives, the core and peripheral meanings of the diminutive, their typology, as well as their pragmatic potential. The morphology and pragmatics of the diminutive is examined by combining data from electronic and printed sources, video recordings of natural conversations, as well as from material collected from participant and non-participant observations. At the level of morphology, it is argued that three fundamental semantic constraints underlie the formation of diminutives: [-big], [+ emotional], and [+ informal]. Furthermore, it is shown how diminutive combinability is rule governed in Macedonian by proposing sets of formal constraints for all grades of diminutives. At the level of pragmatics, the pragmatic functions of the diminutives proper and the related periphrastic diminutive malku are investigated in a variety of contexts involving child-directed speech (CDS) and adult communication. By analyzing the pragmatic functions of the diminutive in a series of speech acts, and drawing upon cross-cultural interpretations suggested by Wierzbicka (1991), it is argued that, in Macedonian, social bonding, cordiality, intimacy or affection are pragmatically more salient than personal autonomy in the Anglo-Saxon societies, realized through non-imposition, tentativeness, or similar pragmatic strategies for saving face. Additionally, it is contended that there exist cultural differences in the assessment of the concept of imposition between these societies. The analyses of the pragmatic potential of the diminutive proper and the periphrastic diminutive 'malku' give rise to the claim that Macedonian culture is predominantly founded on the pragmatic principle of positive politeness.

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  • 2012

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Explaining Fukushima to children: a cross-cultural study of bodily functions as metaphor in Japanese

Description

This research proposes that a cross-cultural disconnect exists between Japanese and American English in the realm of bodily functions used as metaphor. Perhaps nowhere is this notion illustrated more clearly

This research proposes that a cross-cultural disconnect exists between Japanese and American English in the realm of bodily functions used as metaphor. Perhaps nowhere is this notion illustrated more clearly than by a cartoon that was inspired by recent tragic events in Japan. In the afternoon of Friday, March 11, 2011, the northeast coast of Japan was struck by a massive earthquake and tsunami that caused immeasurable loss of life and property and catastrophic damage to the nuclear power plant in Fukushima Prefecture. In the immediate wake of these events, Japanese artist Hachiya Kazuhiko, determined to make the situation comprehensible to children, created a cartoon in which he anthropomorphized the damaged Fukushima Daiichi reactor and likened the dangers associated with it to illness and bodily functions. This cartoon garnered considerable notoriety, both in Japan and abroad. The reactions of English speakers appeared to differ from those of Japanese speakers, suggesting the existence of a possible cross-cultural disconnect. This research into the reactions to the cartoon and other relevant literature (both in English and Japanese), viewed against federal regulations regarding the broadcast of "obscenity" in the United States, commentary on American society, and how the use of similar language in American cartoons is seen, clearly indicates that negative attitudes toward the use of bodily functions as metaphor exist in the United States, while the same usage is seen differently in Japan.

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  • 2012

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Errors and buffers: essays in the economics of syntactic rearrangement

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This dissertation draws upon modern Chomskyan theory to address issues surrounding the development of a unified, minimalist account of language as a mental and biological object, both in terms of

This dissertation draws upon modern Chomskyan theory to address issues surrounding the development of a unified, minimalist account of language as a mental and biological object, both in terms of its generation and historic change. Towards that end, I investigate, apply, and advance the labeling approach to generative syntax. Labeling is a hypothetical process, operating within the confines of phase theory, which is thought to prepare constructed syntactic objects for interpretation at relevant mental interfaces. I argue a number of points applicable to both synchronic and diachronic linguistics: 1) Labeling failures happen as a matter of course during a derivation, forcing re-evaluation of labeled syntactic structures which ultimately leads to a successful derivation. 2) Labeling and its errors do not happen in real-time, but are bounded by phases. This has consequences for how researchers ought to look at notions and limitations of phasal memory. 3) Labeling not only drives an individual’s mature syntax, but has an effect on how children acquire their syntax, causing them in some cases to alter structures and create new categories. This is responsible for many cases of language change, and I support this argument by investigating data from the history of Chinese and Macedonian that are sensitive to labeling-based phenomena. 4) Research into labeling can help us speculate about the evolution of language generally. Although recursion is sometimes thought to be a defining feature of Universal Grammar, labeling in fact is a much more likely candidate in this regard.

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  • 2016

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Towards a sensorimotor approach to L2 phonological acquisition

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Studies in Second Language Acquisition and Neurolinguistics have argued that adult learners when dealing with certain phonological features of L2, such as segmental and suprasegmental ones, face problems of articulatory

Studies in Second Language Acquisition and Neurolinguistics have argued that adult learners when dealing with certain phonological features of L2, such as segmental and suprasegmental ones, face problems of articulatory placement (Esling, 2006; Abercrombie, 1967) and somatosensory stimulation (Guenther, Ghosh, & Tourville, 2006; Waldron, 2010). These studies have argued that adult phonological acquisition is a complex matter that needs to be informed by a specialized sensorimotor theory of speech acquisition. They further suggested that traditional pronunciation pedagogy needs to be enhanced by an approach to learning offering learners fundamental and practical sensorimotor tools to advance the quality of L2 speech acquisition.

This foundational study designs a sensorimotor approach to pronunciation pedagogy and tests its effect on the L2 speech of five adult (late) learners of American English. Throughout an eight week classroom experiment, participants from different first language backgrounds received instruction on Articulatory Settings (Honickman, 1964) and the sensorimotor mechanism of speech acquisition (Waldron 2010; Guenther et al., 2006). In addition, they attended five adapted lessons of the Feldenkrais technique (Feldenkrais, 1972) designed to develop sensorimotor awareness of the vocal apparatus and improve the quality of L2 speech movement. I hypothesize that such sensorimotor learning triggers overall positive changes in the way L2 learners deal with speech articulators for L2 and that over time they develop better pronunciation.

After approximately eight hours of intervention, analysis of results shows participants’ improvement in speech rate, degree of accentedness, and speaking confidence, but mixed changes in word intelligibility and vowel space area. Albeit not statistically significant (p >.05), these results suggest that such a sensorimotor approach to L2 phonological acquisition warrants further consideration and investigation for use in the L2 classroom.

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  • 2015

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Syntactic cartography as a forensic linguistics tool: a retrospective analysis of prepositional phrases in two appellate court cases

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This thesis argues for the utility of syntactic cartography in representing and analyzing the disputed language of legal statutes. It presents an analysis of two appellate court cases, Flores-Figueroa v.

This thesis argues for the utility of syntactic cartography in representing and analyzing the disputed language of legal statutes. It presents an analysis of two appellate court cases, Flores-Figueroa v. United States (2009) and In re Sanders (2008). Each case involves a difference of opinion with respect to the position and function of prepositions found in 18 U.S.C. § 1028A(a)(1) and 11 U.S.C. § 1328(f), respectively. Informing the tree structures are Merlo and Ferrer's (2006) six diagnostics for PP attachment: head dependence, optionality, iterativity, ordering, copular paraphrase, and deverbal nouns. In Flores-Figueroa, the analysis yields a conclusion that affirms the court's decision, as does the analysis in Sanders, although it only concurs in part. Implications of the study and the overall cartography approach are discussed, including how it could impact the drafting of jury instructions and future legislation. The paper also addresses the unique heritage of legal language, the ways in which it contrasts with civic, non-legal English, and how its characteristics give rise to ambiguity and vagueness, two suitable phenomena for linguistic analysis. Further, it discusses the potential for providing linguistic input on active cases to the Supreme Court and other judicial bodies.

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  • 2017

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Who's blogging now?: linguistic features and authorship analysis in sports blogs

Description

The field of authorship determination, previously largely falling under the umbrella of literary analysis but recently becoming a large subfield of forensic linguistics, has grown substantially over the last two

The field of authorship determination, previously largely falling under the umbrella of literary analysis but recently becoming a large subfield of forensic linguistics, has grown substantially over the last two decades. As its body of research and its record of successful forensic application continue to grow, this growth is paralleled by the demand for its application. However, methods which have undergone rigorous testing to show their reliability and replicability, allowing them to meet the strict Daubert criteria put forth by the US court system, have not truly been established.

In this study, I set out to investigate how a list of parameters, many commonly used in the methodologies of previous researchers, would perform when used to test documents of bloggers from a sports blog, Winging It in Motown. Three prolific bloggers were chosen from the site, and a corpus of posts was created for each blogger which was then examined for each of the chosen parameters. One test document for each of the three bloggers which was not included in that blogger’s corpus was then chosen from the blog page, and these documents were examined for each of the parameters via the same methodologies as were used to examine the corpora. Once data for the corpora and all three test documents was obtained, the results were compared for similarity, and an author determination was made for each test document along each parameter.

The findings indicated that overall the parameters were quite unsuccessful in determining authorship for these test documents based on the author corpora developed for the study. Only two parameters successfully identified the authors of the test documents at a rate higher than chance, and the possibility exists that other factors may be driving these successful identifications, demanding further research to confirm their validity as parameters for the purpose of authorship work.

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  • 2017

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The interpretation of Spanish grammatical aspect with habitual and episodic readings and the influence of adverbials

Description

Adult second-language learners of Spanish struggle with the acquisition of preterite and imperfect selection due to the overtly morphological representation of grammatical aspect. Prior studies have documented the effect of

Adult second-language learners of Spanish struggle with the acquisition of preterite and imperfect selection due to the overtly morphological representation of grammatical aspect. Prior studies have documented the effect of a default encoding without influence of the lexical aspect in the emergence of aspectual morphology, and have proposed the Default Past Tense Hypothesis (DPTH).

This study investigates the emergence of aspectual morphology by testing the DPTH and the effect of adverbials at interpreting grammatical aspect in this process of acquisition. Twenty-eight English-speaking learners of Spanish (beginning, intermediate and advanced) and twenty native-Spanish speakers are tested with two written comprehension tasks that assess the interpretation of habitual/imperfect and episodic/preterite readings of eventive verbs. The truth-value judgment task incorporates forty short stories with two summary sentences, from which participants must choose one as true. The grammaticality judgment task presents sixty-four sentences with temporal adverbials of position and duration, thirty-two are grammatical and thirty-two are ungrammatical. Participants must accept or reject them using a 5-point likert scale.

The findings indicate that the DPTH is partially supported by the statistical data showing a default marker, imperfect for beginning learners, and preterite for intermediate learners. This provides support to the argument of unsteady aspectual checking of [-bounded] in the spec of AspP and not necessarily by only checking [+past] in the TP for intermediate learners. The influence of the lexical aspect value of the verb is partially evident with advanced learners. Temporal adverbials play an important role at interpreting grammatical aspect with intermediate and advanced learners. Results show that beginning learners are not influenced by the presence of adverbials due to their inexperience with the Spanish aspectual morphology.

The findings also allow the confirmation of prior results about factors that influence the interpretation of preterite and imperfect. First, the instruction of aspectual morphology co-indexed with specific temporal adverbials, and second, that learners rely on lexical cues at the sentential level, while native speakers rely on discursive ones.

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Date Created
  • 2016