How to be a language detective The Language Detective Villiers Park 9-13 July 2007 Methodologies for language study Introspection Use an existing corpus Collect a new corpus
Introspection What is or is not possible for you as a speaker Example: constraints on the beginning of syllables that begin with /s/ in English still, spill, skill; strike; sprain; scratch; *stl-; splint; *skl- etc. How widespread is this constraint is it peculiar to you? To the dialect of English
you speak? To English? How would you answer those questions? Corpora Large collections of machine readable text Can contain spoken or written language,
or both Can represent contemporary language or language from earlier periods Can represent one or more than one language Bas Aarts talk tomorrow night Collecting your own corpus Could be for a variety of purposes:
language attitudes; regional variation; language change; linguistic universals; etc. Will make your research unambiguously unique! Representativeness Exercise (a) (b) (c) (d) (e)
Each group to discuss possible methods for investigating the following linguistic questions, then report back in a plenary session in 15 minutes Is the word order of English and Japanese different? If so, in what ways is it different? How has the marking of negation in French changed over time? Do men speak more than women? Do the Hopi people of Arizona, USA, have any way of referring to the concept of time? What is a noun? The tools of the trade
Describing phonology How would you transcribe this: You could use ordinary letters, but that wouldnt distinguish the different qualities of the two types ofs IPA IPA originated in nineteenth century as a
uniform means of representing the spoken sounds of the worlds languages Has a wide range of uses (e.g. in SLT, in foreign language learning, phonological theory) Uniformity means that anyone trained in using the IPA knows what any other writer is trying to represent when she gives IPA transcriptions IPA detective work
Using the IPA chart, spend 15 minutes in groups trying to transcribe the phrases on the handout into English orthography. The IPA transcription of these phrases was based on a particular regional accent of English. Which one? What particular features of the transcription helped you to identify that accent? A difficult case The Lakhota exercise things to work out (a) Generally which words in Lakhota correspond to which words in English? (b) What is the word order? (c) How are person, number and
grammatical role marked? (d) Do interrogatives have a different marking from declaratives? (e) How are the clauses coordinated? (f) Is there a noun marker? Lakhota English correspondences lakhota Indian; matho bear; hoksila boy wiha- them; ma- me; ni- you (obj.); tuwa someone (indef.); wihasa someone (def.); no marking for 3s; ya- you (subj.); -pi they; wa- I kte killed; ho called; hi came Ki = noun marker; he = question particle ha = and, when the subject of clause A is different from
the subject of clause B; na = and when the two subjects are the same Word order Word order is SOV where S and O are full nouns; pronouns are attached to the verb lakhota ki wiha kte Indian NOUN 3PlObj killed
matho Bear ki NOUN wa 1SSubj kte killed Person, number and role subject
object 1s wa- ma- 2s ya- ni-
3s 3pl -pi wiha- Assignments 1 and 2 Ass. 1 I came, and the Indians and the bears killed
them Someone killed you and called me Someone killed you and someone (maybe somebody else) called me He or she killed you Ass. 2 Who did he or she kill? Who killed him or her? Assignment 3 1. 2. 3. 4.
lakhota ki hokita ki ktepi ha matho ki hi yahi na lakhota ki yakte tuwa waho he wihaa ki hipi ha tuwa wihakte Case solved!
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